Lawyers Journal

Thank you

 

"… the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law." - Galatians 5:22

It is the generosity of spirit that distinguishes the Massachusetts legal community that I have come to further appreciate during my term as your president. As my term comes to a close, I acknowledge the fruit of your spirit and express my gratitude for your active and conscious role in raising the bar.

We all know caring and generous lawyers, those who freely and generously give of their time, talent and resources to better the livelihood of those lives they touch. Like all of you, I have had the good fortune of meeting many such lawyers throughout my career. However, this year in particular has shed light on the abundance of such lawyers that grace our association and the commonwealth.

I express my gratitude to those who served as chairs of the MBA's various section councils and committees as well as those volunteers who joined and supported these workhorses of our fine association. A better educated, more animated and more relevant association is the fruit of your spirit and effort.

I offer appreciation to the numerous lawyers and judges who volunteered their time and talent serving as panelists and presenters on the myriad conferences and CLE programs that were conducted throughout the past year. Your shared knowledge has resulted in a more informed, skilled and competent Massachusetts bar.

To the lawyers who contributed to the Veterans Pro Bono and Eco-Challenge initiatives, Dial-A-Lawyer, High School Mock Trial program, Walk to the Hill for Civil Legal Aid, Court Advocacy Day, Elder Law Education and Drug Policy Task Force, I wish to let you know that your commitment and energy nourishes the communities in which we practice and live.

Beyond the association, I am grateful for the opportunity to have collaborated with the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation's Lonnie Powers and Julia Huston, as well as the Equal Justice Coalition's Pattye Comfort. These individuals' focus inspired the best in us, and their dedication ensured continued access to justice in a most difficult economic and funding environment.

In the midst of extraordinary budgetary circumstances at the state level, the MBA worked diligently with Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Margaret H. Marshall, Chief Justice for Administration and Management Robert A. Mulligan, the chief justices of the respective trial court departments and Massachusetts Judges' Conference President Peter W. Agnes Jr. in communicating the dire need for appropriately funding the third branch of government. Their level of dedication on behalf of the citizens of Massachusetts deserves broader recognition.

Thanks to my fellow officers, Robert L. Holloway Jr., Marsha V. Kazarosian, Denise Squillante, Douglas K. Sheff, members of the Executive Management Board and the House of Delegates for their considerable sacrifices. What distinguishes their service is their profound interest in maintaining the MBA's position as a leading voluntary bar association.

I could not have had a more gracious and caring leader to partner with at the Boston Bar Association than President Kathy Weinman. Advocating with her at the ABA Lobby Day in April and throughout this year on Beacon Hill convinced me of the power of unity. Kathy is an astute leader and the Massachusetts legal community is a beneficiary of her dedication. I look forward to seeing our successors continue the strong MBA-BBA collaboration.

I am especially grateful for the opportunity to have served with President-Elect Valerie Yarashus for the past four years. During this time, we have shared dozens of books, scores of conversations and a common purpose. For the past two years, we have co-chaired the Leadership Roundtables and shared our readings and aspirations with future leaders of the MBA. Valerie's candor and compassion are characteristic of her vision for the association.

My sincere gratitude goes out to the staff of the MBA for its service and skill in responding brilliantly under time constraints to rapidly changing and challenging circumstances. I could not have asked for better staff support to carry out the MBA's mission.

Some of you have asked how a solo practitioner from Clinton could manage to lead the MBA. The answer to that question is with lots of understanding from my wife, Mary, and our family, as well as the flexibility and understanding displayed by defense counsel, clerks and judges who were key in helping me balance the duties of the office and case-related events. The support of my fellow officers was also critically important in fulfilling the office's responsibilities when I was unavailable.

I am most grateful to the MBA membership for allowing me to lead our fine organization. Nearly a century ago, the founders of our association set forth what I have referred to throughout the year as "founding principles." As Alfred Hemenway and others envisioned in 1911, the MBA would cultivate public understanding of the law, facilitate the administration of justice, further the uniformity of legislation, uphold the honor of the profession and encourage critical discourse among its membership. I believe these principles continue to have great relevance today. And, because MBA members continue to adhere by them, our future is as bright as it has ever been.

 



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