EXECUTIVE BOARD

EXECUTIVE BOARD MEMBERS

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MAKANA ELLIS

President

Makana Ellis is an associate attorney at Carlton Fields in Hartford, CT. She represents clients in mass tort and product liability matters, medical malpractice defense, and construction litigation. Makana received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Yale College (2005) and her Juris Doctor degree from the University of New Hampshire School of Law (2012). She is admitted to practice law in the state courts of Connecticut and New York.

Makana worked as a Public Defender at the Bridgeport G.A. 2 Courthouse, representing clients on the motor vehicle and domestic violence dockets and providing arraignments. Makana also clerked at the New Haven J.D. Superior Courthouse in family, civil and criminal courts. She assisted judges, attorneys and self-represented parties during trials and hearings, jury selection and conducted legal writing and research. Prior to law school, Makana worked at Yale University as the inaugural director of the Dixwell-Yale University Community Learning Center, an educational facility which provided after school programs for New Haven area youth and health and wellness programs for adults.

 

Makana is also an active member of a number of professional and civic associations and boards, including Christian Community Action, Inc. of New Haven, the Legislative Policy and Review Committee of the Connecticut Bar Association, the New Haven County Bar Association, and the Middlesex County Bar Association. She is a native of New Haven.

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THAMAR ESPERANCE-SMITH

President-Elect

Thamar Esperance-Smith is an Assistant Attorney General in the State of Connecticut Office of the Attorney General. She is assigned to the support enforcement and collections department. Thamar received her Bachelor of Science degree from Pace University and her Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Connecticut School of Law with cum laude honors. 

 

Upon graduating Thamar completed a one year clerkship with the Judicial Branch as a legal research clerk for Superior Court judges. Thamar then went on to became a Staff Attorney at Greater Hartford Legal Aid, where she represented low income clients in various civil matters. 

 

Thamar has served in various civic and professional organizations. She was a member of the Connecticut Bar Association, where she was selected as a 2015 Presidential Fellow. Additionally, she served on the Executive Board of the Connecticut Bar Association’s Young Lawyer’s Section, on the House of Delegates, and the Family Law Executive Committee. Thamar has also served as a board member, secretary, treasurer, and vice president of the George W. Crawford Black Bar Association. Thamar is currently a class of 2021 Connecticut Bar Foundation Cooper Fellow and serves on the Tolland Judicial District grievance panel for the CT Statewide Grievance Committee. 

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MALLORI DEANNA THOMPSON

Vice President

Mallori Deanna Thompson is the term clerk for Chief Justice Richard A. Robinson of the Connecticut Supreme Court. She received her B.A. in Comparative Women’s Studies from Spelman College and her J.D. & Human Rights Certificate from the University of Connecticut School of Law.

During law school, Mallori served as the Editor-in-Chief of the Connecticut Law Review, the Chief Administrative Officer of the Student Bar Association, and as a member of the Connecticut Bar Association’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee. Mallori also completed the Community Justice Fellowship at Greater Hartford Legal Aid.

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GIDEON ASEMNOR

Treasurer

Gideon Asemnor is an associate in the Updike Kelly & Spellacy’s Hartford office, where he practices in the areas of professional liability, insurance coverage and defense litigation, construction law, administrative proceedings, and commercial litigation.

While attending law school, Mr. Asemnor was the Executive Director of the Connecticut Moot Court Board, Assistant Managing Editor of the Connecticut Public Interest Law Journal, and Academic Chair of the Black Law Students Association.  

Mr. Asemnor received his J.D. from the University Of Connecticut School Of Law and earned his B.A. in Economics and Political Science from the University of Connecticut.

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ELWYN BREWSTER QUIRK

Secretary

Attorney Quirk is a graduate of Western New England University, School of Law with law school achievements including Best Oral Advocate and Commencement Speaker. During law school, she participated in the Jessup Moot Court Competition, BLSA International Negotiations Team, and the Small Business Clinic.

 

Upon graduation, she worked as a clerk at the Hartford Superior Criminal and Civil Courts and then entered private practice as an associate attorney for a long-standing personal injury firm in Bristol, Connecticut.  As an associate attorney, she diligently pursued, handled, and settled a number of personal injury cases as well as workers’ compensation claims. She was also responsible for a large number of the firm’s favorable decisions before the Social Security Administration.

 

Attorney Quirk opened her downtown Meriden, Connecticut office in 2010 and continues her legal practice in Residential Real Estate Closings; Probate; Wills; Personal Injury; Social Security Disability; Workers’ Compensation; and Landlord-Tenant/Collections.  She has received recognitions as the top 10 Best Real Estate Attorneys 2018-2019 and was recently named as a top 100 National Black Lawyer 2021-2022.

 

Attorney Quirk is a member of the New Haven County Bar, Hartford County Bar, and the George W. Crawford Black Bar Associations. She also serves as the Chairperson for the Meriden-Wallingford-Cheshire Section of the New Haven County Bar, as well as Board of Director for MidState Chamber of Commerce, the Meriden Economic Board, and the CT After School Network. She is also currently the Secretary of the George W. Crawford Black Bar Association.  She is admitted to practice before Connecticut Superior as well as Connecticut Federal District courts.

 

Attorney Quirk is an alumna of Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts degrees and of Trinity College, Hartford, where she earned her Master's degree.

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CHRISTINE BAPTISTE-PEREZ

Director

Christine Baptiste-Perez is an associate general counsel of the Trayner Group, Ltd. Christine received her B.A. in American Studies from Cornell University and her J.D. from the University of Connecticut School of Law.

 

Prior to attending law school, taught high school Spanish in Louisiana and worked in human resources recruitment. While in law school, Christine was the recipient of the Milton W. Memorial Prize for excellence in Torts, the CALI Excellence for the Future Award ® in Torts, and the CALI Excellence for the Future Award ® in Islamic Finance and Investment Law. She also completed several long-term internships at international corporations based in Connecticut. Some of her work included managing the launch, ongoing administration, and ultimate expansion of an international compliance platform. She has a background in product liability litigation, foreclosure litigation, personal injury litigation, international business compliance and securities regulatory matters.

Christine is a native of Brooklyn, New York, and she came to Connecticut for law school and resides with her family in Bridgeport. Christine is currently a member of her district’s Democratic Town Committee, a member of the Harriet Tubman Learning Center’s Steering Committee, and assisted in the creation of a local organization aimed at empowering property owners in Bridgeport.

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JOY GARY

Director

Joy Gary is a Deputy Assistant State’s Attorney for the State of Connecticut Division of Criminal Justice. She prosecutes criminal matters in the Judicial District of Stamford/Norwalk.

 

Joy graduated from Howard University, magna cum laude, with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and a minor in Psychology in 2012. She graduated from Touro Law Center with a Juris Doctor in 2015.

 

Joy worked as a Legislative Attorney in the Legislative Commissioners’ Office, where she drafted legislation and provided legal counsel to the members of the Connecticut General Assembly. Joy also worked as a Temporary Assistant Clerk in the New Haven Judicial District and a Special Deputy Assistant State’s Attorney at Geographical Area 23 in New Haven.

 

Joy serves as a member of the State of Connecticut Board of Examiners of Psychologists and the Downtown Evening Soup Kitchen Board in New Haven. Additionally, Joy is a member of the New Haven Inn of Court.

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KOMLA MATREVI

Director

Attorney Komla Matrevi is originally from Togo, a West-African country, where he received an LLB at the Universite de Lomé. He served briefly in the U.S. Army and enrolled at the University of Connecticut School of Law thereafter. He completed an LLM degree in human rights and social justice and graduated in 2017. After completing a legal internship at the attorney general office, he served as an aide to former attorney general George Jepsen. Komla Matrevi was admitted to the Connecticut bar in June 2019. Since then, he has represented small businesses at McCalla Raymer Leibert and Pierce, LLC in real estate foreclosure and debt collection cases as an associate attorney. He currently works for the small business administration department of the federal office of disaster assistance as an attorney-advisor. He lives in Hartford where he also volunteers as commissioner on refugee and immigrant affairs. In his spare time, Komla Matrevi enjoys cooking, travelling, meditation, poetry, and soccer. He speaks fluently Ewe, French, and has a working knowledge of Spanish.

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SHELDON POOLE

Director

Sheldon Poole is an associate in Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani LLP’s Hartford office and handles a wide range of litigation matters in state and federal courts with a focus on products liability, toxic tort, premises liability, retail and hospitality law (representing hotel chains), entertainment, and employment related matters. He also handles pro bono matters representing clients in claims alleging Civil Rights violations and claims involving domestic violence.

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TYLER WILLIAMS

Director

Tyler Williams is an associate at Berchem Moses PC in the Milford office. He is a member of the firm’s litigation group specializing in Commercial, Municipal, and Insurance Litigation as well as assisting in business services and commercial matters. Tyler graduated from Stonehill College in 2013 and obtained his Juris Doctor Degree from the University of Connecticut School of Law in 2018.

 

While attending the University Of Connecticut School Of Law, Tyler worked as a student attorney for the School’s Connecticut Urban Legal Initiative and was a member of the Connecticut Insurance Law Journal. Additionally, Tyler had the opportunity to work in-house for two large corporations.

 

Tyler is an active member of the New Haven Bar Association and Connecticut Bar Association. He also serves as an Executive Board Member for several local organizations.

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