Mark’s Biographical Sketch

Attorney Mark A. Shiffrin

Attorney Mark A. Shiffrin

I am a practicing attorney based in New Haven, Connecticut who has served in public office, including as Commissioner of Consumer Protection of the State of Connecticut and Deputy General Counsel of the U.S. Department of Education.

 

I maintain a general practice of law and have represented individuals and businesses as an attorney since graduating from the Georgetown University Law Center and being admitted to the Connecticut bar in 1981.

 

In addition to what I have learned in my law practice, my experience includes my background from having served as a senior government official in local, state and federal service.

 

As Consumer Protection Commissioner of the State of Connecticut, I successfully implemented the merger of the former Department of Liquor Control into the Department of Consumer Protection. I reformed management practices of the state’s leading business regulatory agency with a multi-million dollar budget and over 200 employees, and my efforts resulted in significant assistance to Connecticut consumers in a wide variety of areas, including protection from fraud and unsafe products.

 

I was routinely involved in many matters of great significance, often using authority that was granted to the commissioner under the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act in bipartisan collaboration with my colleague, the then Attorney General of Connecticut and current U.S. Senator, Richard Blumenthal.

 

After leaving the commissionership, I continued to serve as the governor’s designee as chairman of the Connecticut-Israel Exchange Commission and was called on to advise then Lt. Gov. M. Jodi Rell in her transition to the governorship.

 

My federal government service included analyzing the management of the U.S. Postal Service for the incoming George H.W. Bush administration as a member of the policy development staff of the office of the President-elect, then coordinating the United States Department of Education’s regulatory program as part of my duties as Deputy General Counsel.

 

At the Education Department, I conceived and implemented an innovative policy of non-regulatory guidance that addressed a need identified by President Bush in the Education Summit with the Nation’s Governors, led by then Gov. Bill Clinton. This initiative cut red tape and allowed schools across America to more fully utilize personal computers that had been purchased for student use with federal funds, overturning a widely ridiculed policy that had limited use of these computers to school students who were pre-qualified for a narrow federal program and otherwise required the schools to keep the computers turned off and under lock and key.

 

After I left the Bush Administration and returned to law practice in New Haven, President Bush appointed me as a Member of the President’s Committee on Developmental Disabilities.

 

As Corporation Counsel of the City of Ansonia, which had had a history of government integrity issues, I made a public stand against municipal corruption by objecting to the granting of a pretrial diversion program for a city official who had been charged with wrongdoing and was not cooperating with a corruption inquiry.

 

In Ansonia, I also successfully set a precedent in settling a claim made under a federal law addressing sex discrimination, Title IX, correcting a deep-seated inequality by allowing girls equal access to municipal recreation facilities that had historically been denied.

 

As a Member and then President of the City of New Haven’s Civil Service Commission, I led efforts to create fair promotional testing for the supervisory rank of sergeant in the police department. This successfully diversified the rank, which had been devoid of women and African Americans, and did so without using quotas or race-based criteria.

 

My law practice has also included serving as an adviser to senior government officials and campaigns at the local, state and national levels. I’ve served on the board of the Center for Public Policy of B’nai B’rith International, which led to my involvement representing B’nai B’rith at the United Nations, as well as in efforts to confront ethnic genocide, then occurring in Rwanda and Burundi.

 

Pro bono legal activities have always been integral to my practice and have included:

  • Obtaining the first funding under Title XIX of a heart-lung transplant for a Connecticut recipient;
  • Obtaining a federal court injunction mandating the first minimum training requirements for all special deputy sheriffs providing courthouse security in Connecticut;
  • Coordinating the historic restoration of New Haven’s Orchard Street Shul, listed on the National Register of Historic Places;
  • Obtaining temporary restraining orders protecting victims of domestic violence.

I have published articles on current issues in select forums including The New York Times, International Herald Tribune, Boston Globe, Hartford Courant, New Haven Register and Industry Standard, and I have done broadcast interviews including on Dateline NBC, CNN and the BBC.

 

My technology entrepreneurship includes having founded ShivaList.net, an online system for death notices in the Jewish community, as a principal in Mavens, LLC.

 

My extensive involvement in civic activities includes having served as vice president of New Haven’s historic Orchard Street Shul coordinating its historic restoration, as a board member of the Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven, and as an Associate Fellow of Yale University’s Davenport College.