Lawyers Journal

Chief Justice Marshall thanks MBA for bar association efforts

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Margaret H. Marshall spoke glowingly at the recent MBA Leadership Forum of the role that bar associations play in mentoring young lawyers, shaping the public and political will and improving the court system.

Photo by David Gordon
MBA President Warren Fitzgerald greets SJC Chief Justice Margaret H. Marshall at the Sept. 13 forum.
The forum was held at the John Adams Courthouse Sept. 13 for bar affiliates and MBA Section Council members.

Marshall told the audience that cooperation between the judiciary and the state's bar associations has improved the Massachusetts court system, and that she expects that relationship to remain a strong one.

"When I consider what the bar associations continue to accomplish, I'm amazed," she said. "I see the relationship between the bar and the bench as very much of a two-way street, even though I know it often feels as though we're always asking you for help."

In general, Marshall said that bar associations send a message that the law, civic life and participation matter. She also thanked the MBA for helping the judiciary maintain high standards for itself.

"I hope you will continue to work with us as we continue to try to find ways to do that," she said. "You continue to make our system of justice so much stronger just through the work you do."

MBA President Warren Fitzgerald told the audience, "The independence of our judiciary is of the greatest importance to those of us in this room."

Marshall, the first woman to serve as chief justice in the SJC's 300-year history, is a native of South Africa who earned her master's degree from Harvard University and her JD from Yale Law School after arriving in the United States in 1968.

"I came to this town as a foreigner in every sense of the word," she told the audience, stressing the role that bar associations play in mentoring and supporting new lawyers.

"We were very honored to have Chief Justice Marshall at our leaders forum starting the new association year," Fitzgerald said after the event. "The grandeur of the John Adams Courthouse was an appropriate setting for the discussion and planning of the very generous contributions made by our MBA section and committee leaders and by our county and affiliated bar association leaders."

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