Bayer Replacing The Keystone At Wiggin

May 30, 2003
Reprinted with permission from The Connecticut Law Tribune, by Thomas B. Scheffey
Scholar-warrior to fill Kravitz's void
As honored as it was to have lead appellate litigator Mark R. Kravitz nominated for a federal judgeship, New Haven-based Wiggin & Dana was losing its biggest name star.
In building the firm's appellate practice to national prominence, Kravitz melded top intellectual credentials with keen advocacy, all the while keeping a focus on the larger public policy picture.
Filling such a gap would certainly not be easy. But, in announcing the forthcoming addition of Aaron S. Bayer last week, Wiggin executive committee chairman Edward Wood Dunham promised that Bayer will not just be a fill-in for Kravitz, but would take the firm's appellate practice to "even greater heights."
Connecticut's deputy attorney general throughout the 1990s, Bayer has served as secretary and general counsel to Connecticut College in New London for the past three years. In an interview May 22, he said he is looking forward to appellate court work and to some of the less confrontational problem-solving he did as an in-house counsel.
Bayer, a Yale summa cum laude as an undergrad, graduated from Harvard Law School as editor in chief of the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review. After a D.C. court of appeals clerkship, he spent six years at the politically wired O'Melveny & Meyers in Washington, D.C. He was a top aide to U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman, when he was invited to become Richard Blumenthal's deputy in 1991.
In his 10 years managing the state's largest public "law firm," Bayer personally argued key cases before the state Supreme Court and the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. He got word of his first argument while on vacation in the Caribbean — with just three days to prepare. A quick study, Bayer handled the complex apportionment case with aplomb, before a packed court. Bayer also managed the state's defense in a complex state police wiretapping case.
Commented Dunham, "There are law lawyers and fact lawyers. Kravitz is the best law lawyer I've ever met, anywhere. The law as an intellectual discipline, practically applied, is what Mark is all about, and it's what Aaron's about."
Like Kravitz, Bayer has the ability to "wrap his arms around big thorny issues" and come up with solutions that are both practical and politic, Dunham said.
In Bayer's three years at Connecticut College, he served under three different college presidents. "I feel like I got 10 years experience in that time," he said in an interview. A Glastonbury resident, Bayer said he expects to begin work at Wiggin in August, spending more time in its New Haven offices, where the firm's appellate practice group is centered.
Wiggin had been positioning itself as firm strong in appellate practice, so Kravitz' impending departure portended a serious blow. Dunham said he believes Bayer will be a good fit to work with — and cultivate — the firm's young appellate talent. Besides [partner] Jeffrey Babbin, "we have a whole series of associates with impressive academic and clerkship pedigrees" including Sandra Glover, who clerked for both 7th Circuit Judge Richard A. Posner and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, Dunham noted.
It's not always easy to get the right mix of scholarship and pragmatism, Dunham added. "One of the risks of certain appellate lawyers is that they're sort of ivory tower eggheads who don't understand what it's really like dealing in the trenches, working with trial judges," he said. "Mark had been a trial lawyer [and], besides being brilliant, was eminently practical. Aaron is cut from the same cloth. Everyone knows he's a wickedly smart guy, but you can't work as Blumenthal's number two, as long as he did, without having a gift for practical solutions."
Bayer said "the opportunity to guide organizations to do the right thing in the right way is rewarding, and you can do that both in-house and as outside counsel — for companies and organizations."
"I don't intend to be Mark Kravitz," Bayer noted. "I bring a different set of skills, but I certainly have the ability to present and argue appellate cases, and I intend to do a good job."