Tara Knight is the founding member and senior partner of the firm of Knight & Cerritelli L.L.C. located in New Haven, Connecticut. Attorney Knight specializes in criminal defense law and is board-certified in criminal trial advocacy by the National Board of Trial Advocacy.
In 2012 and 2014 the Expanded Governing Board of Yale Law School appointed her Clinical Tutor in Law at the Yale Law School.
She is one of the directors of the National Board of Legal Specialty Certification which is the governing board overseeing the certification of lawyers as Board Certified throughout the nation in criminal law and other areas of specialty. In 2012 she was inducted into the American Board of Criminal Lawyers.
She is rated “AV” by Martindale Hubbell, it’s highest rating.
Her extensive criminal litigation background includes trial and appellate experience in both state and federal courts. She has tried numerous cases to verdict including defending individuals charged with: Capital Murder; robbery; assault; sexual assault; narcotics; weapons violations; computer and pornography crimes; embezzlement; marijuana; and domestic violence.
Attorney Knight is admitted to practice before the Connecticut State and Federal Courts; the Second Circuit Court of Appeals; and the United States Supreme Court.
She is one the first women ever to be listed in the publication, The Best Lawyers in America, as an outstanding criminal law practitioner in Connecticut. She has been listed in The Best Lawyers In America yearly since 2003.
In May 2016, Attorney Knight was awarded the honor of being the only female attorney in Connecticut listed as a “Best Lawyer” for Criminal Defense Practice in the Spring 2016 issue of Best Lawyers Business Edition.
Attorney Knight has been named a ” Connecticut Super Lawyer ” yearly since 2006. Additionally, she was designated as one of the Top 25 Women Lawyers in the state since 2007, 2011 and 2012 and one of the Top 50 Lawyers in the state in 2006 by Connecticut Magazine. She was listed in New York Magazine in its 2006 through 2014 editions as one of the best criminal defense lawyers in the New York area. In 2009, Irish America magazine and the Irish Voice Newspaper named her to their “Legal 100” list- a listing of the leading figures in the legal profession across North America.
Attorney Knight taught Criminal Procedure at the University of Connecticut Law School during the Fall Semester 2010. Additionally she was an Adjunct Professor of Criminal Law at Quinnipiac University from 1999-2001 and has been a guest lecturer for classes at Yale University Law School, Quinnipiac School of Law, and the University of New Haven and has participated as a panelist and/or lecturer at numerous seminars and conferences sponsored by various bar associations, law schools, television and radio programs, colleges and other organizations.
She is a past-president of the Connecticut Criminal Defense Lawyers Association (2005-2006).
She was appointed by the Judges of the Superior Court in Connecticut to serve as a member of the grievance/ethics panel for the Ansonia/Milford Judicial District (2006-2009, 2009-2012).
In 2007 the Mayor of New Haven, John DeStefano, Jr., selected her to be a member of an independent review board which was formed to examine the policies, procedures and structures of the New Haven Police Department in the wake of a well-publicized corruption scandal.
She has been a guest commentator on The Today Show, Court TV, now TruTV, since 1997 and has been invited to comment as an expert on criminal law on MSNBC, CNN and Fox News. Additionally she has been featured in two A & E Network Productions and on Court TV’s, The System. She and Attorney Hugh F. Keefe are frequent guests on New Haven’s popular morning radio program, “Chaz and AJ in the Morning” (99.1 WPLR).
Her publications include “How Many Fingers Do You See?” (Connecticut Law Tribune, November 2002) and “Criminal Justice Model A Costly Mistake,” (Connecticut Law Tribune, January 2012).
Attorney Knight is a member of the Connecticut Bar Association and New Haven County Bar Association. In 2001 she was inducted into the Connecticut Bar Foundation. She is an active member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys. She has been an executive committee member of the Criminal Law Section of the Connecticut Bar Association since 1995. She is a member of the NORML (National Organization for the Reformation of Marijuana Laws) legal committee and FAMM (Families Against Mandatory Minimums).
Attorney Knight is a graduate of Fairfield University in Fairfield, Connecticut and Suffolk University School of Law in Boston, Massachusetts. She also completed the National Criminal Defense College in Macon, Georgia.
Ms. Knight resides in New Haven with her husband, Hugh Keefe, who is the senior and managing partner of Lynch, Traub, Keefe and Errante PC in New Haven, Connecticut.
Areas of Practice
- 95% Criminal Defense Law
- 5% Pardons and Expungements
- 95% of Practice Devoted to Litigation
Certified Legal Specialties
- Criminal Trial Advocacy, National Board of Trial Advocacy, 2008
- Connecticut, 1990
- U.S. District Court District of Connecticut, 1991
- U.S. Federal Courts
- U.S. Court of Appeals 2nd Circuit, 2002
- U.S. Supreme Court
- Suffolk University Law School , Boston, Massachusetts
- Fairfield University , Fairfield, Connecticut
- Major: English
- “How Many Fingers Do You See” , Connecticut Law Tribune, November, 2002
- “Criminal Justice Model – A Costly Mistake” , Connecticut Law Tribune, January, 2012
- “Reining In the Mavericks,” , Connecticut Law Tribune, January , 2013
- Criminal Procedure, University of Connecticut Law School, 2010 – Present
- Criminal Law, Quinnipiac University, 1999 – 2001
Honors and Awards
- Connecticut Super Lawyer , 2006 – 2012
- Best Lawyers In America , 2003 – 2016
- Top 25 Women Lawyers in the State, Connecticut Magazine, 2007, 2011, 2012
- Top 50 Lawyers in the State, Connecticut Magazine, 2006
- Best Lawyers in the State, New York Magazine , 2006 – 2012
- Top 50 Lawyers in New England, New England Magazine, 2009, 2012
- Legal 100 in North America, Irish American Magazine and the Irish Voice Newspaper, 2009
Professional Associations and Memberships
- Connecticut Criminal Defense Lawyers Association , President, 2005 – 2006
- Local Connecticut Grievance Panel , Member, 2006 – 2012
- Connecticut Bar Association (CBA) , Member, 1990 – Present
- New Haven County Bar Association , Member, 1990 – Present
- Connecticut Bar Foundation , Member, 2001 – Present
- National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers , Member, 1998 – Present
- Criminal Law Section of the Connecticut Bar Association , Executive Committee Member , 1995 – Present
- NORML (National Organization for the Reformation of Marijuana Laws) , Member
- FAMM (Families Against Mandatory Minimums) , Member
Past Employment Positions
- Connecticut Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, past-president, 2005 – 2006