Lawyers Journal

Member Spotlight

Three MBA members receive St. Thomas More Award at Red Mass in Fall River

Four members of the justice system, three of them MBA members, were awarded the St. Thomas More Award for distinguished service at the annual Red Mass on Sunday, Oct. 15, at 3 p.m. at St. Mary's Cathedral in Fall River. The St. Thomas More Awards were presented at the conclusion of the Mass. Traditionally, a judge, a lawyer, a court personnel member, and an ecumenical recipient are honored.

The MBA members who received the award are Hon. Bernadette L. Sabra of Somerset, who is first justice of the New Bedford District Court; Attorney Robert J. Marchand of Fall River; and Hon. Malcolm Jones of Dartmouth, who is a retired justice of the Bristol County Probate and Family Court.

Judge Sabra became first justice of the New Bedford District Court in 2000. She also currently heads the Drug Court in New Bedford. She was first appointed to the bench in 1997 and served in a variety of district courts and in the Appellate Division for the Southern District. Prior to becoming a judge, she was in private practice in Somerset for over eight years with her husband, attorney Steven Sabra. She also worked as an assistant corporation counsel for the City of Fall River.

Judge Sabra graduated with honors from Boston College Law School and began her legal career as an assistant in the Consumer Protection Division of the Attorney General's Office. From there she went on to the Bristol County District Attorney's Office where she was as a criminal prosecutor in both District and Superior Courts. Sabra has served as co-chairperson of the Child Care Advisory Committee for the Fall River District Court as well as on the board of directors of local agencies such as the Stanley Street Treatment and Resource Center, Inc., where she was also treasurer, and the Fall River Family Resource Center. She lives in Somerset with her husband and their four daughters ranging in ages 16 to 25.

Attorney Marchand has practiced law for 30 years. After many of those years as a partner in law firms, he opened his own law office in Fall River in 2002. He is an active member of local, regional, and state bar associations, serving on many of their boards and committees, and is a past president of both the Fall River and the Bristol County Bar Associations. In the community, he has been involved in several non-profit agencies including Steppingstone, Inc., of which he was president for 16 years and is now a board member, the United Way, and the YMCA. He is also a life member of the Appalachian Trail Conservatory.

He has received recognition for his many contributions to his profession and to civic life. In 1997, the Massachusetts Bar Association has presented him its Community Service Award and this year the Bristol County Bar Association and the New Center for Legal Advocacy gave him the Pro Bono Publico Award.

Judge Jones practiced law in New Bedford for 35 years until his appointment as a justice in the Probate and Family Court in 1989, where he served for 11 years before reaching the mandatory retirement age. Since his retirement from the bench, he has continued to work as of counsel to the New Bedford firm of Rusitzky and Russell, specializing in mediation. He earned his law degree from Boston University School of Law and has been a member of the Massachusetts Bar since 1954.

While serving as an assistant attorney general under Edward W. Brooke he drafted legislation which merged the New Bedford Institute of Technology with the Bradford Durfee Technological Institute in Fall River to become the Southeastern Massachusetts Technological Institute, now the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth. As counsel to the then Institute's Board of Trustees, he did the necessary legal work to acquire the land in Dartmouth on which the campus is located.

Hon. Phillip Rapoza sworn in as Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Appeals Court

On Tuesday, Oct. 17, Hon. Phillip Rapoza was sworn in as the fifth Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Appeals Court during a public ceremony held in the House Chamber of the State House. Former Appeals Court Justice George Jacobs served as Master of Ceremonies and Governor Mitt Romney administered the oath of office. Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Margaret H. Marshall and former Appeals Court Chief Justice Christopher J. Armstrong also attended the ceremony and offered kind remarks about Rapoza's appointment. Justice Rapoza was formerly an Associate Justice of the Appeals Court.. The event was convened by State Representative Robert Correia of Fall River.

As chief judge of this panel, Rapoza supervised an international court staff that included judges from around the world. He took an unpaid leave of absence from the Appeals Court to serve on the panel. Governor Romney signed into law special legislation extending his leave of absence by six months, permitting him to complete his judicial service in East Timor.

Prior to his appointment to the Appeals Court in 1998, Judge Rapoza served for eight years as an Associate Justice of the Massachusetts Superior Court and the Fall River District Court. Before serving as a trial judge, Rapoza was a lawyer in private practice in New Bedford and Fall River. He began his legal career as a Suffolk County prosecutor and later served as an assistant district attorney in the Bristol County District Attorney's Office.

Judge Rapoza, who is the grandson of Portuguese immigrants, is the founder of a legal exchange program between the United States and Portugal that has dealt with issues such as criminal law, domestic violence and child abuse. In 2002, President Jorge Sampaio of Portugal cited Judge Rapoza's work in "promoting closer relations between the judicial systems of our two countries" and awarded him the rank of Commander in the Order of Prince Henry the Navigator, Portugal's highest civilian honor.

Judge Rapoza has extensive judicial experience within Massachusetts and internationally. From March 2004 to June 2005 he served as the chief administrative judge of the Special Panels for Serious Crimes, a war crimes tribunal established by the United Nations to prosecute human rights violations committed in East Timor during that country's struggle for independence. He was a central figure in implementing the UN Security Council's mandate to bring the guilty to justice.

Judge Rapoza received his undergraduate degree magna cum laude from Yale College and his law degree from Cornell University Law School. He is a lifelong resident of Dartmouth.

MBA members recognized for

pro bono work

Two "Pro Bono Recognition Receptions" were recently held at the Probate & Family Courthouse in Barnstable and at the Probate & Family Courthouse in Plymouth. Sponsors of the event included the Barnstable County Bar Association, Plymouth County Bar Association, the New Center for Legal Advocacy, Inc., Pilgrim Advocates, and South Coastal Counties Legal Services, Inc.

Hosted by the Hon. Michael J. Livingstone, associate justice of the Plymouth Probate & Family Court, and by the Hon. Robert A. Scandurra, associate justice of the Barnstable Probate & Family Court, the events recognized the voluntary efforts of private attorneys across Southeastern Massachusetts in providing free legal services through the Pilgrim Advocates' Lawyer of the Day Program and the Private Attorney Involvement Program of the New Center for Legal Advocacy, Inc.

Following remarks by Judge Livingstone and Judge Scandurra acknowledging the attorneys' dedication and contributions in assuring equal access to justice, Certificates of Appreciation were presented by Richard McMahon, Esq., Executive Director of the New Center for Legal Advocacy, Inc. A reception followed the award ceremony, at which a total of over 225 area attorneys were selected for recognition. This event was made possible through funding from the Legal Services Corporation and the Massachusetts Bar Foundation.

Attorney Leiha Macauley selected in Boston Business Journal's

"40 Under 40"

Leiha Macauley, an attorney at Day, Berry & Howard LLP, has been selected for this year's "40 Under 40" distinction, sponsored by the Boston Business Journal.

The "40 under 40" award recognizes young business professionals who have demonstrated extraordinary talent and leadership, and have outstanding promise. Macauley was recognized amongst 39 other Boston area business professionals whose community contributions and professional abilities have brought them measurable success in their chosen field.

Resident in the Day, Berry & Howard Boston office, Macauley is an attorney in the Individual Clients Department. Her practice focuses on trust administration, estate planning and estate administration.

Macauley is an active member of the Boston community. She developed and now co-directs the Child Health Advocacy Partnership, a joint venture of the East Boston Community Health Center, the Medical-Legal Partnership for Children, and Day, Berry & Howard that teams doctors with attorneys to provide legal information and advocacy for low-income families. Earlier this year, Leiha was recognized by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly as an "Up & Coming Lawyer".

Macauley accepted her award at a formal ceremony on Oct. 5 at the Westin Boston Waterfront Hotel.

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