Lawyers Journal

Bar Bulletin Board

Lawyers Journal publicizes the recent and upcoming events of its affiliated bar associations. Submit items for publication to MBA Bar Services Liaison Patricia O. Plasse at [e-mail pplasse] by the first week of each month.

The Massachusetts Lesbian and Gay Bar Association held its 23rd Annual Dinner Celebration on May 9. The packed ballroom at the Royal Sonesta Hotel in Cambridge honored former MBA President and MLGBA member Mark D Mason with the MBA Community Service Award. Current MBA President David W. White Jr. presented Mason with the award. See page 18 for related article.

The MLGBA also honored former MLGBA co-chair and attorney for Foley Hoag, Vickie L. Henry with the Gwen Bloomingdale Pioneer Spirit Award. The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition and its director, Gunner Scott, received the Kevin Larkin Memorial Award for Public Service.

In addition, the MLGBA named M. Barusch from Boston University School of Law the second recipient of the Alec Gray Jr. Scholarship, which is granted to one law student each year.

Family law practitioners from Barnstable and Plymouth Counties attended the seminar, “The Elements of Proof in a Removal Case,” held at Barnstable Probate and Family Court on April 17. Hosted by the Family Law Committee of the Barnstable Bar Association, it examined the dynamic law of removal by staging portions of a fictional trial, Zelda Zaftig v. Harry Hirsute. A reception at the Barnstable Tavern followed the seminar.

The annual Plymouth County Bar Association Law Day Ceremonies were held at Hingham District Court on May 1, celebrating the 50th anniversary of Law Day. The theme for this year’s Law Day was “The Rule of Law — Foundation for Communities of Opportunity and Equity.” Fifth and eighth grade students from schools in Hingham, Rockland and Scituate participated in this year’s poster and essay contests and presented their submissions. Savings bonds and gifts were presented to the winners.

This year’s keynote speaker was the Hon. Margot Botsford, associate justice of the Supreme Judicial Court.

Appeals Court Chief Justice Phillip Rapoza praises the work of lawyers at Bristol County Bar Association Annual Dinner 

The Bristol County Bar Association honored Taunton attorney Thomas P. Gay, of Gay, Gay & Field PC, with the MBA Community Service Award on April 18, at the association’s annual dinner at Hawthorne Country Club in North Dartmouth. Appeals Court Chief Justice Phillip Rapoza, a New Bedford native who practiced and served as a judge in Bristol County for many years, was the guest speaker at this year’s dinner. We reproduce the concluding remarks of his speech with his permission:

In conclusion, let me say that there are times when I think we have emphasized too much the distance between the bench and the bar. Even in my current position, I consider myself a lawyer, although my role in the profession is to serve as a judge. This is not necessarily the case in other legal systems around the world. As your president mentioned in his kind introduction, I was a judge on a war crimes tribunal established by the United Nations in East Timor. There I served with judges from across the globe, all of them dedicated men and women doing important work in difficult circumstances. But not one of them had ever been a lawyer. Of course they had law degrees, but in their systems of justice becoming a judge was part of a career path leading directly from law school to the judge’s lobby.

Not one had ever had a client or had the experience of taking on the burdens of another by representing him. My colleagues were outstanding scholars of the law, but none had ever held the hand of a person in need or seen how justice is experienced from the other side of the bench. Put another way, for them, justice had never been up close and personal the way it is every day for every lawyer in this commonwealth.

Justice is not only a basic human right. Justice is also a basic human need. We, each of us, need food and water, shelter and safety. But we also need justice to live lives worth living. Our judicial system is charged with ensuring that the American creed as expressed in the Pledge of Allegiance is made real, and that we are indeed a nation of “liberty and justice for all.” There is no group in our society more aware of that fact and more committed to its accomplishment than our lawyers, and I salute them all.

It is well for us on the Appeals Court to remember that the magnificent courthouse in which we are located is named not after a judge, but a lawyer. When John Adams wrote the Massachusetts Constitution, in which he laid the foundation for an independent judiciary, he did so not as a judge defending his turf. Rather, he composed that document as a lawyer who understood in the most profound way the importance of a free, impartial and independent judiciary to the rule of law and the democracy that it supports.

So as you can see, from the very beginning, our judicial system has depended on the commitment and service of lawyers. And that is true even today. I commend all of you for what you do and I thank you for the opportunity to address you this evening.


©2017 Massachusetts Bar Association