As another year at the MBA draws near, I would like to take a moment to reflect on some of our many accomplishments of the association this year, and to say thank you. Before I do, I want to acknowledge the passing of our dear friend, MBA Vice President Robert F. Lucas.
Bob Lucas passed away on July 11. He was one of the finest people I have ever known. He was a gentleman in the greatest sense of the word and a wonderful family man, who adored and spoke often of his wife and children. He was a selfless volunteer at the MBA, committing decades of time and energy to the organization. Few could hold a candle to Bob’s knowledge of the MBA’s history, its many committees or its governance. When Bob spoke, it was with wisdom, and his ideas were inspirational. With deep sadness, we say farewell to a great leader and wonderful friend. We will miss him greatly.
I hope that you agree that it has been a very successful year for the MBA. I congratulate my fellow officers, our staff and our hundreds of leaders, committee members and other volunteers on all of their countless accomplishments. Allow me to highlight a few.
The Veterans’ Initiative, the brainchild of MBA President-elect Edward W. McIntyre, trained dozens of volunteers, aided veterans around the state and elevated the image of the bar in the eyes of the public.
Our treasurer and incoming president-elect, Valerie A. Yarashus, has continued to provide outstanding leadership in our diversity efforts and on the important court initiative of comprehensible jury instructions.
MBA Vice President Denise Squillante has continued to provide exemplary leadership on issues in the Probate and Family Court, including her work on the Alimony Task Force, the Scheduling Task Force and on our bench-bar committees.
Our newest officer, Secretary Robert L. Holloway Jr., is forging strong relationships with the Trial Court, and has begun leading initiatives on Rule 16 conferencing and on other rule and policy changes. Our collaboration with the courts this year has strengthened our relationship at every level and will continue to lead to improvements to benefit our members and the public.
The MBA has begun initiatives on a few other fronts. This year saw the strongest effort on criminal sentencing reform in many years. While the specific successes are hard to measure at this point, the debate on sentencing has begun to evolve. The Drug Policy Task Force has allowed us to forge strong working relationships with many new partners, including the Massachusetts Medical Society, the Massachusetts Pharmacists Association, the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, several sheriffs, district attorneys, members of the Patrick Administration and many others.
The Drug Policy Task Force will continue its work into the next association year, and I am confident that the MBA will continue to receive recognition for its important advocacy for sensible changes on drug policy issues. These are issues that affect so many of our clients in the criminal courts, the family courts and the juvenile courts, and in many other ways.
I am very proud of the leadership that our Energy and Environment Task Force has provided to the bar. Together with our new partner, the Conservation Law Foundation, we have led a successful Lawyers Eco-Challenge. These efforts have brought the MBA national attention for helping to lead the fight against global warming, and helped improve the image of lawyers. The legal profession, as a result of the task force’s work, has remained ahead of every other profession in Massachusetts in focusing on the reduction of the use of energy and natural resources.
These achievements, along with the many other excellent programs the MBA has offered this year, are made possible by the fact that we have a phenomenal staff. I will not single out any one of them, since they work so successfully as a team. Most of our members never get a peek behind the scenes; they see only the finely tuned products which our staff regularly produces. I can tell you from my firsthand observations, their hard work and professionalism are without comparison.
Challenges lie ahead. The MBA must continue to expand its programs in ways that uniquely serve our members, taking advantage of new technologies and communication preferences. As always, your suggestions will be welcomed.
So now I turn to my final theme: Thank you. I can never thank enough the staff, our volunteers and my fellow officers who have contributed so much during my term. I thank my family, my law partners and my office staff for their support. They can soon expect to see a lot more of me.
And above all, I thank you for giving me the honor to serve as your president this year. I hope my efforts have been worthy of your trust.
The reins of the organization will soon be in the hands of Ed McIntyre. I wish Ed every success in his term, and I look forward to helping him in any way I can.