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Law School Honors Brittain for Service, Names Scholarship For Him
October 18, 1999

During a 22-year career at the University of Connecticut School of Law, John C. Brittain's influence was felt throughout the campus and the community. Last week, two months after he l eft UConn to become dean of Texas Southern University's Thurgood Marshall School of Law in Houston, Brittain returned to Hartford to be honored for his efforts here.

On October 12, Brittain received the Distinguished Service Award at the annual meeting and dinner of the University of Connecticut Law School Alumni Association, at the Hartford Golf Club in West Hartford.

Brittain, who joined the law school in 1977, is well known for his work on the Sheff v. O'Neill lawsuit to end segregation in Hartford's public schools. The suit, first filed in 1989, alleges that racial segregation in the city's public schools violates the state constitution. In a 1996 ruling, the Connecticut Supreme Court found that the high percentage of African-American and Hispanic students in the school district could amount to a violation of segregation laws. The court ordered the state to desegregate.

While at the University of Connecticut, Brittain also served as president of the National Lawyers Guild, a group dedicated to the proposition that human rights are superior to property rights. During his two-year term as president of the 10,500-member organization, Brittain strove to help the guild fight against the repression of under-represented minorities.

Brittain, who received his law degree from Howard University in 1969, worked as a civil rights attorney in Mississippi where he was on a team of lawyers that won the first school desegregation case in the state.

His quest for human rights has taken him around the globe. Shortly after the coup d'etat in Haiti in 1991, Brittain accompanied former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark to the island to investigate human rights conditions. He has also investigated conditions in Northern Ireland, Israel and the Palestine territories, Nicaragua, Cuba, Puerto Rico and Mexico.

In addition to the award, a scholarship fund in Brittain's name was announced at the dinner. The John C. Brittain Scholarship Fund has been established by his friends and colleagues in honor of his years of service to the law school, the Hartford community and the state of Connecticut. The Brittain Scholarship will provide assistance for a first-year law student, preferably from a disadvantaged background.

Also during the dinner, Daniel F. Flynn, a 1962 honors graduate of the law school, received the Distinguished Graduate Award. Flynn worked on the Connecticut Law Review and was the first School of Law student to receive Best Oral Argument recognition in a regional moot court competition.

Flynn is currently managing director of Resources Management Group, where he oversees diversified assets. Flynn joined the organization in 1970 as chief operating officer. In addition, he is chairman of the John G. Martin Foundation, a trustee and executive committee member for the Horace Bushnell Memorial Hall Corp., a corporator for St. Francis Hospital & Medical Center, and a past president of the University of Connecticut Law School Foundation.

Flynn is listed in Who's Who in America, Who's Who in American Law, and Who's Who in Finance and Industry.

Allison Thompson