"The heritage of the past is the seed that brings forth the
harvest of the future."
-Unknown, inscribed on the National Archives building in
I stand on the strong shoulders of the past leaders of the
Massachusetts Bar Association who have blazed the remarkable trail
before me to continue the association's timeless mission.
The beauty and strength of the organization was and is not only in
the depth and diversity of our membership, but in the caliber and
courage of our many inspirational leaders.
What a tremendous difference a century makes.
Following the tenure set by MBA's inaugural president Richard
Olney signature quote, "the most eminent lawyer may often fail to
make himself felt," the association embarked to improve the
professionalism of the bar. The shift then began from a profession
widely recognized for its corporate focus to what founding member
Louis D. Brandeis exemplified as the "people's lawyer."
Such a shift eased the way for Alfred Hemenway, "an unknown boy
without any influence or even business acquaintance" from a farm in
Hopkinton to make an impressive mark in the Massachusetts bar and
serve as the second president of the MBA.
The association set its early sights on improving the standard of
bar admission, a necessity given the local effects following the
American bar's rapid growth from 60,000 lawyers in 1880 to 114,000
at the turn of the 20th century.
Embracing the diversity of the bar from its onset, the MBA openly
welcomed legal professionals from all genders, races, ethnicities,
religions and geographic residences.
In 1913, the MBA proudly set a precedent by welcoming Mary A.
Mahan of West Roxbury as its first woman member; and by doing so,
was one of the first associations in America to welcome women
Since then, we've had seven women aptly lead this fine
association, with Alice Richmond serving as its first in 1986. My
succession to president as the eighth female president marks the
first time that the MBA's office of the president has been filled
by two consecutive women.
I look forward to carrying on the tradition of the association's
longstanding motto-"Fiat Jusititia." Fellow leaders hailing from
all four corners of the state and specializing in the full spectrum
of practice areas have kept true to this motto first chosen in 1911
by Hollis Bailey, the outspoken secretary of the MBA's Grievance
I commend the likes of MBA President John W. Cummings (1918-19)
for embracing the early concepts of legal aid and welcoming
Reginald Heber Smith, author of Justice and the Poor and a national
champion for a legal aid movement as a featured speaker at the 1919
annual meeting. Smith explained that respect for legal institutions
would increase "if we can get into the fact that the bar really
champions and directs the legal aid work for poor persons in this
President Samuel P. Sears (1950-53) began an important celebratory
and awareness building tradition with instituting the "Good
Citizenship Program," that ultimately led to "Massachusetts
Heritage Month," a noted precursor to the American Bar
Association's Law Day program.
I also applaud President Livingston Hall for his whirlwind term
(1963-64) that resulted in the establishment of a client services
fund, the creation the MBA's philanthropic partner the
Massachusetts Bar Foundation and the formation of the MBA's Young
Lawyers Section, now a division of its own in the MBA.
And, I extend much gratitude to the collective efforts of a
succession of leadership in the 1960's and 70's that led to a
necessary evolution of statewide continuing legal education.
Likewise, the consistent efforts of Presidents Charles J.
Kickham Jr. (1974-75), Charles Y. Wadsworth (1975-76) and Paul R.
Sugarman (1976-77) on judicial reform and those of William
Bernstein's (1983-84) to improve court facilities proved
undoubtedly that the MBA continued to be an important influence in
I marvel at President Paul Tamburello's (1966-68) vision to
expand the MBA's sole focus on our profession to a broader look at
the law's effect on society as a whole. Tamburello's findings
related to Bridgewater State Hospital led to the 1974 passage of
the Massachusetts Health Code and earned him the American Bar
Association's "Award of Merit."
Tamburello's innovation laid the groundwork for President Wayne
Budd (1978-79), as MBA's youngest president and its first African
American leader, to continue to very visibly strengthen the MBA's
new policy of civic leadership a decade later.
In 2010, we have a wealth of lessons and inspiration to draw from
the last ten decades. I look forward to revisiting such inspiration
in upcoming issues of Lawyers Journal throughout this