Our Attorneys

Joseph B. Summa

Joseph B. Summa has a BA from Wesleyan University, a Masters Degree in Labor Law and Organizational Behavior from Cornell University and a Law Degree from the University of Connecticut.He has served as advisor and counselor to local companies, municipalities, and Fortune 500 corporations in all aspects of labor and employment law including National and State Boards of Labor Relations proceedings, employment discrimination, workers’ compensation, arbitration, contract negotiations and general labor relations strategy. Mr. Summa is frequent lecturer at universities and before business organizations on workplace issues, discrimination law, preventative labor relations and collective bargaining. He has authored numerous articles including one of the earliest studies of State employee collective bargaining “Collective Bargaining for State Employees: A Look at the Statute and Relevant Decisions” Connecticut Law Review, Summer 1977.

In the public sector he has worked with numerous municipalities and public sector employers over the last 40 years primarily as Labor Counsel and/or Chief Negotiator. He has served as Chief Negotiator for the State of Connecticut in its negotiations with state employee unions. He has also served as Counsel for Charter Revision Commissions for the City of Waterbury in 2010, the Town of Watertown in 2011 and again for the City of Waterbury in 2014.

In addition to the practice of law, Joe has been involved in other civic and community interests. He was part of a special mediation team that successfully resolved an armed Indian takeover of a camp in the Adirondack Mountains. Joe also has been involved in various community activities including the “Armory 2000” project, Sacred Heart Alumni Hall, and the Fairlawn Park restoration project. He founded the “Connecticut Kingz” basketball program, an academic and athletic basketball program currently run out of the Waterbury YMCA that has helped local high school basketball players secure millions of dollars in basketball scholarships over the last 15 years.

Joe also has served on the Board of Directors for Sacred Heart High School and currently still serves as President of the Greater Waterbury YMCA Board of Directors.

Mary Jane Ryan

Mary Jane Ryan is a 1978 honors graduate of the University of Connecticut School of Law where she concentrated in the study of private and public sector labor law. Upon graduation from law school she served as a Law Clerk to the judges of the Superior Court of the State of Connecticut. She also served as Vice-President and General Counsel to the Associated General Contractors of Connecticut, Inc., a trade association comprised of major commercial and industrial companies that engaged in multi-employer bargaining with Connecticut's various construction unions. Since then, she has engaged exclusively in the practice of labor and employment law in the public and private sector, representing management in contract negotiations, binding interest arbitration under M.E.R.A., S.E.R.A., and the Teachers’ Negotiation Act, contractual grievance and arbitration proceedings, and other employment law matters, including unfair labor practice proceedings before the state and federal boards of labor relations and discrimination cases before CHRO and EEOC, as well as in state and federal court. For the last several years her practice has been heavily concentrated in the representation of social service and health care providers.

Ms. Ryan has been an adjunct professor of labor relations at Post University and has served as instructor for certificate programs in human resources management and personnel relations and the law. She has lectured before a variety of trade and professional associations on numerous labor law related topics including privacy issues in the workplace, sexual harassment and other forms of discrimination and wrongful termination. She is admitted to practice both in Connecticut and the State of Washington.

Ms. Ryan has served on the Board of directors of Shakesperience, Productions, Inc. and on the Town of Burlington Planning and Zoning Board. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of Southmayd Home as the Chair of its Personnel Committee and as Treasurer of the Burlington Republican Town Committee.

Kara J. Summa

Kara J. Summa has a BA in political science from the University of San Diego and upon graduation in 2005 she worked as a paralegal and then in human resources for several years, gaining invaluable experience before moving back to Connecticut and attending law school at Quinnipiac University School of Law. Ms. Summa graduated Magna Cum Laude from law school in 2012 and received the distinguished Dean of Student’s Award along with several other recognitions including Service to the Community, Service to the Law School and Superior Classroom Performance. She also was the recipient of a merit scholarship during her time in law school, the Waterbury Bar Association Scholarship and received American Jurisprudence Awards for distinguished academic achievement in Non-Profit Organizations in 2011 and Employment Law in 2012. While in law school Ms. Summa was President of the International Human Rights law Society in which she led fundraising efforts and organized service projects to Nicaragua and Guatemala where she traveled and led delegations consisting local attorneys, judges, professors and fellow law students.

Upon graduation, Ms. Summa joined Summa & Ryan, P.C. and has been practicing labor and employment law, primarily representing management in both the public and private sector. Ms. Summa represents clients in contract negotiations, various employment and labor disputes, litigation in federal and state court, discrimination claims in CHRO and EEOC, arbitration proceedings, general business law relating to business formation and organization, and municipal law. She co-counseled as attorney to the Waterbury Charter Revision Commission in 2014. Ms. Summa also takes on pro bono cases and was appointed by the U.S. District Court of Connecticut as a pro bono attorney in a civil rights matter.

Ms. Summa was appointed by the Judges of the Superior Court to serve as an attorney member of the Statewide Grievance Committee for the State of Connecticut Judicial Branch in July of 2013 and is currently serving in her second three-year term. Ms. Summa serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors for United Way of Greater Waterbury; she has served on the Board of Directors for the United Way of Greater Waterbury since 2013 as well as several committees including Executive, Community Impact Cabinet, Governance and as Chair of Personnel. She has been a member of the New Haven Chapter of Inns of Court since 2012; and she has served as a member of the Governance Committee for Saint Mary’s Hospital from 2013 until 2016 and has been serving on the Board of Director’s for Saint Mary’s Hospital since 2016. Ms. Summa is also a member of the Connecticut Bar Association and the American Bar Association.