Lawyers Journal

Collaborations, partnerships define McIntyre presidency

 

"I wanted this year to be one of relationships," said McIntyre, who concentrated on creating partnerships among members of the MBA, affiliated and county bars, courts and court personnel. With an association year that has been challenging at times, McIntyre's focus on mindfulness in the profession, building the leadership capacity within the MBA and connecting with lawyers throughout the commonwealth has helped keep the association devoted to serving the legal needs of the public.

"Under Ed's guidance, we saw a different perspective on leadership, one that is focused on sensitivity and mindfulness," said MBA Vice President Marsha V. Kazarosian. "These two attributes are often overlooked in our day-to-day practice of law, but by Ed's example, he has effectively raised our awareness. In doing so, he reminded us all of the true meaning and importance of relationships and professional courtesy."

McIntyre, a solo practitioner in Clinton, approached his presidential term endeavoring to exemplify the prized small-town values he was raised with: respect, dignity and value for the individual. McIntyre believes lawyers should incorporate mindfulness (a combination of self-awareness and relationship-building skills) into their daily practice.

"Although mediation and conciliation are not mindfulness, mediation and conciliation express an awareness that we can be doing much better in the present moment servicing the legal needs of people," said McIntyre. "Mindfulness is not a destination; it is a way of being."

Influenced by his initial MBA leadership position as the Judicial Administration Section chair in 2003, McIntyre has worked diligently during his presidency to "leverage the skills of everyone to improve the court system." In March, he spearheaded a Court Advocacy Day co-sponsored with the Boston Bar Association, bringing together members of the legal community to lobby for adequate court funding from the Legislature ― to ensure the courts' core functions and ability to provide access to justice in light of the current economy and impending trial court budget cuts.

"The MBA has been at the forefront of obtaining the necessary resources for the courts," said MBA General Counsel and Acting Executive Director Martin W. Healy. "This year, we saw a continuation of these Herculean efforts."

Citing Court Advocacy Day as an example of the legal community coming together because of stronger relationships, McIntyre believes "[The MBA] has done some good, but we are not done yet."

It was also through his work within the MBA's Judicial Administration Section that McIntyre first entertained the notion of serving as an MBA officer. MBA Past President Richard C. Van Nostrand, who appointed McIntyre to his section chair position, found that "Ed was always attuned to the core values of the profession and the critical leadership role that the law and lawyers play in society generally. He embraced that role with courage and dedication and showed that he had the potential to someday lead on a statewide level."

McIntyre, who still carries the business card holder that Van Nostrand presented to him at the end of his section chair term (McIntyre recently presented the same token of appreciation to his terms' section chairs), believes he has had a unique opportunity as president to "plant seeds" within the association that will help lead the MBA into a bright future. In an effort to produce "a long harvest of leaders," McIntyre filled section councils with both seasoned attorneys and "a core group of young people that I hope hang around the MBA for years."

John G. Dugan, as the Probate Law Section chair appointed by McIntyre this year, found his position offered an opportunity to develop lasting leadership skills. The Probate Law Section was instrumental in campaigning for Uniform Probate Code overhauls for nearly two decades before the legislation was finally passed in January. The Uniform Probate Code, which assists the courts in implementing the new laws, rules, procedures and forms, was a feat that required years of work from many council members.

"Ed recognizes each member's efforts and makes us feel like we are appreciated," said Dugan.

A communicator, McIntrye has found open dialogue the most effective way to build partnerships. This year, he established listening posts before every House of Delegates meeting, convening a conversation between "county bar personnel and the stakeholders" to figure out both how the MBA is doing as a bar association and how it is perceived in the community. "These listening posts were an important opportunity for us officers to listen and digest what we were hearing from people across the state," said McIntyre.

With President-Elect Valerie A. Yarashus, McIntyre also organized MBA Leadership Roundtables, monthly conversations among MBA leaders, who used the opportunity to engage in conversations on books about leadership, developing consensus and organizational communication.

"I have had hundreds, if not thousands, of conversations with lawyers," said McIntyre of his role. "This has been a tremendous learning opportunity for me."

In addition, McIntyre, a Vietnam veteran, has given a strong voice to the MBA's Pro Bono Veterans Initiatives, programs he credits Past President David W. White Jr. for bringing to the MBA's attention and MBA Director of Public and Community Services Elizabeth A. O'Neil for implementing.

"I think Ed is a compassionate person," said MBA Treasurer Denise Squillante. "I think it is his life experiences as a veteran - combined with his compassion - that led to these initiatives."

McIntyre, who said he is overwhelmingly impressed by the pro bono work lawyers are doing across the country, subtly tied together his commitment to community and his personal experiences as a veteran to prioritize these community services.

McIntyre's dedication to the profession, along with his ability to maintain a positive perspective in the face of adversity, has helped steady the MBA and its leadership during the external and internal pressures that the association faced during the year.

"No school prepares you for this job. I don't want a second year," said McIntyre, when asked about the personal challenges he has faced as president. "I am doing everything I can to bring Val to a better starting point than I was at."

"There are a lot of different personalities at the MBA - different ideas," said McIntyre. "All of us care - care deeply about the profession, rule of law - but how we get there generates debate and contention sometimes. Deliberate dialogue can get us through those moments."

Now nearing the conclusion of his term, McIntyre has been directing his energies toward making the leadership transition for Yarashus as smooth and efficient as possible. To that end, McIntyre has invited 2009-10 MBA officers, Vice President-elect Richard P. Campbell and Secretary-elect Jeffrey N. Catalano, to recent Executive Management Board meetings to help acclimate them.

"All good leadership has to have challenges to move forward," said MBA Secretary Douglas K. Sheff. "In the midst of stress and pressure, Ed has remarkable perspective. Ed pulls out the silver lining and inspires people."

"Improving communication and developing leaders and leadership skills are important," said MBA Vice President Robert L. Holloway Jr. By addressing these, Holloway believes that McIntyre has "seized all available opportunities in planting seeds for further positive changes in our profession."

As Edward W. McIntyre finishes his 2008-09 term as Massachusetts Bar Association president, he has set in motion a series of collaborations within the legal community that serve as a bridge to the MBA's future.

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