Mark J. Sommaruga has spent nearly 28 years proudly representing the interests of public agencies, schools (whether traditional/public, magnet, charter or private), and employers in Connecticut. Among other things, Mark has extensive experience in counseling and representing public and private sector clients in labor, employment, education, and municipal law issues, including Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) matters. Mark is the author of Understanding Connecticut's Freedom of Information Act (Fifth Edition, 2018); his book is published by Pullman & Comley and jointly distributed with the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education (“CABE”) and provides guidance to public agencies and their members (not to mention members of the public) seeking to navigate the maze of edicts and exceptions associated with the FOIA. Mark prides himself on being a self-described FOIA nerd. While Mark has ample experience litigating cases before courts at all levels, and administrative agencies of all kind, including several cases of first impression, Mark takes the most satisfaction in advising clients with practical solutions to address their day to day needs.
Mark is a member of the Labor, Employment Law and Employee Benefits Department and the School Law Section. Mark routinely counsels and represents his clients on labor, employment, education law, and any legal issue that effects their day to day operations, especially FOIA issues. He routinely advises clients on a wide range of employment law matters, including hiring, discipline/termination, compensation, leave, accommodations, discrimination, sexual harassment, and personnel policies and procedures. He also routinely counsels school clients on a wide variety of education law issues, including student discipline, special education, discrimination, abuse/neglect, residency/school accommodations, and policy review, along with counseling clients in disputes with vendors and contractors (including construction matters) and with and between municipal and state agencies. Mark represents his clients in the state and federal courts on both the trial and appellate court levels, as well as before various state and federal agencies such as the State of Connecticut and U.S. Departments of Education, the Connecticut Department of Labor (including the State Board of Mediation and Arbitration and the State Board of Labor Relations), the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities, and the Connecticut Freedom of Information Commission, along with the American Arbitration Association. He is routinely involved in representing clients in all stages of collective bargaining.
Mark has been a participant in and presenter/trainer at numerous workshops, seminars and conferences on municipal, FOIA, education, special education, labor and employment law issues, including those sponsored by the Connecticut Bar Association, the Freedom of Information Commission and the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education. He is a frequent presenter at the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education’s annual convention. He has written numerous articles on FOIA, employment law and school law issues in various trade journals and newsletters and is a regular columnist for the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education Journal. He currently conducts Legal Issues Forums for Connecticut Charter Schools with attorney Zachary D. Schurin and Special Education Legal Issues Forums with attorney Michael P. McKeon and Melinda B. Kaufmann. He is also a member of the Firm’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee.