Wilton native sits as appellate judge

With a career aspiration to become an appellate court judge, the Honorable Ingrid L. Moll achieved that goal when she was appointed to the Connecticut Appellate Court by Gov. Dannel Malloy in May and approved by the Connecticut General Assembly.

“To become an appellate court judge has been my life’s dream for 20 years,” the Wilton native told The Bulletin on Monday. Her original ambition while in law school at UConn was to get into politics, but that changed, she said, when she spent a summer in an associate position at Cummings & Lockwood, LLC in Stamford after her second year.

“One of the requirements was to go through a mock trial program,” she said. “Part of that experience was I got the litigation bug. I wanted to start out as a trial lawyer. It was just something that clicked inside me. This was my passion.”

Her ambition evolved again. “I found I loved being in a courtroom and it was where I was really quite comfortable,” she continued. After graduating from law school in 1999, she clerked for the late Connecticut Supreme Court Justice David M. Borden “and I realized somewhere down the road I wanted to become a judge. To go into public service was something I wanted to do, to be a neutral decision maker as opposed to an advocate for a client.”

Moll started her career as an attorney at Motley Rice LLC, McCarter & English, LLP, and Cummings & Lockwood, focusing on commercial litigation at the trial and appellate levels in state and federal courts across the country.

She was named a superior court judge in 2014, working in the criminal divisions in the Waterbury and New Britain Judicial Districts, as well as the civil division in the Hartford Judicial District. Most recently, she presided over one of the Complex Litigation Dockets, as well as a consolidated products liability docket, which comprised over 2,300 individual product liability cases. While serving in this capacity, one of the cases that sticks in her mind, she said, was presiding over the Stamford Christmas fire case when when five people were killed in a house fire on Christmas morning of 2011.

Sitting on the appellate court, which was created in 1983, is a “completely different animal” to working as a trial judge, she said. She now is part of a panel of three judges.

“Now I’m participating in a collaborative decision-making process” in the intermediate appellate court hearing appeals, she said.

“I loved being a trial judge, but the issues [on the appellate court] are more academic,” she explained. “You are looking a what’s solely in the record before you. Was the decision correct as a matter of law?

“When you are sitting as a trial judge you are really in the trenches, dealing with lawyers, parties, witnesses, juries and all the issues that come up.”

In addition to her work in court, Moll serves on the judicial branch’s Judicial-Media Committee, the Client Security Fund Committee, and the Social Media Committee. In August 2016, she was appointed to serve as co-chair of the Access to Justice Commission, whose charge is to promote access to justice for all people.

Growing up in Wilton

Moll lived in Wilton from her birth until she went away to Wheaton College in Illinois, where she graduated with a degree in political science and French.

“I am a proud alum of the Wilton schools,” she said, noting she graduated Wilton High School in 1991. “There’s not one class per se that influenced me,” she said when asked about her academic experience here, “but I look back on those years as providing a very solid foundation for going on to getting my degree in college. It was just a solid foundation. I owe a debt of gratitude to the wonderful teachers I had.”

While her parents still live here, Moll now lives in West Hartford.

“I’m very proud to have come from a place where education is valued and each student’s success is really valued in town,” she said.