Practicality Over Profundity

Practicality Over Profundity

Diane whitney’s name receives things completed. Lee hoffman, a member on the hartford workplace of pullman & comley, tells of failing to steer an uncooperative court docket clerk to offer a record. “i then uttered the magic word, ‘it’s for diane whitney,’ and immediately the lady’s face changed into transformed,” hoffman remembers. The clerk no longer most effective gave him the document, she spent the following forty five minutes recounting memories of whitney’s knowledge, tact and kindness. As a companion at pullman & comley, whitney practices land use and environmental law—assisting improve the first-class of existence in which people stay and work. Far from her regulation exercise, whitney has been worried with various government and non-government establishments and organizations promoting practical land use, supporting the humanities and extra. “diane epitomizes what we have to all attempt to be on this proud profession—folks that resolve our customers’ troubles with integrity and faithfulness to the laws we are sworn to uphold, while on the equal time making improvements to society through advancing the rule of law,” says tim shearin, the firm’s chairman. Whitney was raised in port jefferson on ny. Her father ran woodfield’s menswear and her mom stayed domestic with whitney and her more youthful brother, gary, now an legal professional in florida. It become, she says, an idyllic adolescence—children walked domestic from faculty each day alongside the harbor and spent summers on the beach swimming, waterskiing and organizing clambakes. She changed into energetic in faculty authorities, performed discipline hockey and sang in choral companies. Developing up, she didn’t know any lawyers, a good deal less woman ones. “after i went to college, ladies didn’t go to regulation faculty,” she remembers. “no one said, ‘you may’t do it.’ we simply didn’t.” after william smith college in geneva, big apple, whitney got a grasp’s degree from colgate college after which taught english, first in ilion, new york, and later in hartford. She and her husband, gary whitney, a former laser physicist for united technologies, settled in windsor, a hartford suburb, and she stayed home with their sons. David, forty six, is an architect and matthew, 42, is a economic representative; both are inside the boston suburbs. She changed into a hectic mother, volunteering for college and civic organizations and serving as a docent at hartford’s renowned wadsworth atheneum museum of artwork. Whilst she taken into consideration returning to work after the men were vintage sufficient, she contemplated the regulation. Her husband furnished the nudge. He stated, “it might be sort of stupid to be eighty years antique and nevertheless questioning if you have to have long past to regulation faculty.” her 1982 magnificence on the university of connecticut school of law had almost as many women as guys. More than half of the women were over 30, and several had kids. However while her magnificence graduated in 1985, the nice jobs have been nevertheless going to the younger guys. Interviewing, whitney was requested: “is your husband comfortable with you working as a lawyer?” “how can you possibly manage with children at home?” she bit her tongue. “they didn’t get a upward push out of me the way they might if i heard those questions these days,” whitney says. “i desired the task.” she were given it. At her first company, danaher, o’connell, attmore, tedford & flaherty in hartford, she did actual estate closings, probate, preferred industrial litigation and a number of asbestos defense work. When the firm broke up in 1987, she went to the connecticut lawyer widespread’s office, representing the state in toddler welfare trials for 4 years. In 1991, she practiced land-use regulation at pepe & chance, then moved to leboeuf, lamb, greene & macrae’s hartford office in ‘94. In 2003 she left. “i didn’t like in which the company was heading,” she says. (nine years later, after a merger with dewey ballantine, dewey & leboeuf went bankrupt.) her paralegal and several leboeuf colleagues observed whitney to pullman & comley. Several clients came, too, along with alcoa, for whom she handled predominant environmental cases, such as toxic torts, throughout the u . S .. Whitney tells testimonies of assembly pleased law college students who expect she’s a tree-hugging environmental legal professional, and reduce away upon understanding she often represents defendants in environmental matters. Then she explains that for a lot of her customers, environmental damage is frequently done with the aid of a subsidiary earlier than it was received, and frequently when harmful practices were more desirable. She cites a purchaser whose waste sludge become prized fertilizer—humans took it home and unfold it on their gardens—till it turned into deemed a contaminant years later. “the full-size majority of my instances are noticeably precise corporations which have a problem that was not caused by any malicious reason, but that can be simply difficult to triumph over,” whitney says. (in reality, whitney has only as soon as found that a purchaser turned into an intentional polluter. Her response: “i fired the customer.”) she cites brownfields and superfund websites which are in high places for redevelopment but are luxurious to remediate. She works with every person—property proprietors, health officers, planning and zoning boards, private builders—to reclaim and repurpose land. She’ll go to trial, mainly if she thinks a plaintiff is creating a bogus claim, however prefers to bring the perimeters collectively. “i need an excellent settlement: reimbursement for folks that had been injured, and for injured, infected soil,” she says. “i'm no longer a profound thinker. I'm a realistic philosopher. I am true at locating sensible answers to problems.” brian armet, former govt director of the local sewer authority in cromwell, credits whitney with resolving a state as opposed to local authorities conflict over wastewater regulations: “her knowledge and capacity to tone down stressful negotiations turned into what enabled her to expand a truthful and equitable agreement.” whitney has been critical to the development of first rate pond village, a 670-acre brownfield being become a sustainable deliberate network along the farmington river north of hartford. The onetime manufacturing website online turned into polluted with a selection of toxic chemical compounds, however could be decontaminated and revitalized as a community with 4,000 residences and homes in addition to shops, a pedestrian-friendly downtown and leisure centers. “my fear became that the assets might be chopped up into warehouse distribution facilities,” whitney says. Whitney has served as president of more hartford legal resource, and is understood for embracing the most complicated cases. In one hague conference-related worldwide custody matter, a young albanian mom turned into accused of kidnapping after she fled to the u. S. From europe to store her 3 youngsters from her allegedly abusive italian husband. For six years, whitney fought in federal courtroom to maintain the case from being lower back to italy, wherein the courts almost truely would have dominated in favor of the husband. In 2013, whitney succeeded in retaining the family in the us. Considering that then, she has helped the mom and youngsters settle near hartford, dealt with the woman’s divorce, paved the circle of relatives’s path to citizenship and guided the girl thru the college of connecticut school of regulation’s international program. “the problem took hundreds of hours of seasoned bono time dedicated absolutely through diane without any fanfare,” says francis brady, an legal professional with the hartford workplace of murtha cullina. She’s additionally become a touchstone for women in connecticut regulation, both in formal bar committees and as a longtime leader of pullman & comley’s ladies’s management initiative, which has helped young mothers on the company stability work and circle of relatives existence. Whitney, a relaxing, savvy listener and adviser, insists her counseling is “not anything dramatic.” however one girl lately advised whitney that became the factor: she is a no-drama mentor whose advice helps “stiffen the spine” of more youthful ladies. “i wouldn’t have concept of that,” whitney says, “however i preferred listening to it.” she frequently stocks from her very own lifestyles-paintings balancing revel in: her husband became a full parenting companion, and he or she attempted to awareness on work in the office and circle of relatives at home: “i found out that in case you’re pretty diligent operating hard all day, for the maximum component you may get domestic for dinner.” women aren’t the most effective beneficiaries of her pragmatic information. “diane’s door is always open, from office service personnel to the very best rating accomplice,” says her longtime paralegal, kurt sheathelm. “she will usually pay attention and try to assist if there is an problem. If she can’t, she will be able to inform you why—or, in no uncertain terms, she will be able to inform you why some thing ought to not be an issue.” whitney has given up a number of her committee commitments however loves coming to work each day. She stitches quilts, takes banjo classes, throws open her domestic for firm celebrations and travels considerably along with her husband. Her mentorship reaches out to extra than simply younger legal professionals, in particular in connection together with her poem of the month club. Its participants? Her 5 grandchildren. Every month she sends them a poem—recently, “seaside” via jacqueline kennedy onassis, and several with the aid of langston hughes and maya angelou. “occasionally the kids stumble upon the poems in faculty and say, ‘howdy, i understand that poem,’” whitney says. “i really like that.”