On the occasion of its 100th anniversary celebration,
the Massachusetts Bar Association honored a number of legal
professionals for their contributions at this year's Centennial
MBA Chief Justice Edward F. Hennessey
U.S. District Court Judge Nancy Gertner
The award is given to individuals who have demonstrated
extraordinary leadership and dedication to improving the
administration of justice, furthering public understanding of, and
respect for, the law; advancing legal scholarship and enriching the
literature of the law, and, in so doing, upholding the highest
traditions of public service.
MBA President-elect Richard P. Campbell presented retiring U.S.
District Court Judge Nancy Gertner with the MBA Chief Justice
Edward F. Hennessey Award.
The award, which is decided by special vote of the MBA's Executive
Committee, has been given only five other times, to: Chief Justice
Edward F. Hennessey (1988), Hon. Joseph L. Tauro (1993), Hon.
William G. Young (2006), Hon. Christopher Armstrong (2008) and
Chief Justice Margaret H. Marshall (2009).
Gertner gave a humorously self-deprecating acceptance speech in
which she described her transition in 1994 from a trial defense
attorney to judge, replacing retiring Judge A. David Mazzone. After
exhaustively studying the case materials, she took her seat for the
first time and realized she couldn't see out over the judge's
"My first order as a federal judge was to order phone books" to
sit on, she said. She also recalled walking into the courtroom
without her robes on, and once, carrying her pocketbook into the
courtroom with her.
Gertner's autobiography, In Defense of Women: Memoirs of an
Unrepentant Advocate, was published in April, and her
reputation for speaking out has earned her attention within the
"We don't want judges to be machines. We want judges to know what
they believe in. I wrote countless opinions because I wanted people
to know where I was coming from. I created space for that kind of
discussion, and it is with considerable sadness that I'm retiring
as of Sept. 1," she said, before hinting at her post-judicial
"I want to speak, I want to write, I want to talk about what these
experiences have been like," said Gertner, who will be a lecturer
on law at Harvard Law School starting in the winter 2011
"Retirement, candidly, is not what I have in mind," she said,
predicting "a Wikileaks dump" of briefs she's been saving up on
Sept. 2, the day after she retires, alluding to the controversial
online release of confidential U.S. documents.
MBA Gold Medal Award
Attorney Michael B. Keating
The award is given to individuals who have provided outstanding
legal services that have benefited the legal profession in
Massachusetts. Candidates must have performed actions that have
enhance the image of the legal profession and the MBA, and
demonstrate a commitment to public service and the principles
embodied in the MBA.
MBA Past President Leo V. Boyle introduced MBA Gold Medal Award
recipient Michael B. Keating as the "classic
"Mike Keating, this is our hall of fame, and you deserve to be in
it," Boyle said, acknowledging Keating's role as the chairman of
the Supreme Judicial Court's Court Management Advisory Board,
describing his leadership as "visionary."
If the Massachusetts Legislature institutes major court reform
legislation, Boyle said, Keating will deserve a share of the
Keating, a partner at Foley Hoag LLP and the chairman of its
Litigation Department, credited the MBA for outstanding public
service work and its steadfast advocacy for the courts.
"No organization has stepped forward more aggressively" and
effectively for the proper funding of the courts, Keating
"This is not easy advocacy."
MBA Centennial Award
Attorney Richard G. Mintz
Presented to a person of extraordinary achievement who
materially advanced the rule of law, enhanced the integrity of
lawyers, judges or the legal profession, engaged in important legal
scholarship, or protected the democratic principles upon which the
country was founded.
MBA Vice President Douglas K. Sheff delivered a presentation
honoring his mentor Richard G. Mintz, who died April 20 at the age
of 89. Against the backdrop of old photos of Mintz and an audio
snippet of Mintz speaking, Sheff gave an overview of Mintz's
contributions to his firm and the profession. (See Mintz
tribute, p. 14.)
The son of one of the firm's founders, Mintz was the eighth
attorney hired. Practicing in its Real Estate, Trust and Estates
and Corporate Sections, Mintz had been with the firm more than 60
"Richard's career began at the outset of a tremendous
transformation at Mintz Levin, and he helped to usher in remarkable
success for the firm without losing any of the humanity instilled
in its members from the very beginning," Sheff said.
"With Richard's blessing, Mintz Levin has sought to give back to
the community, and in fact helped make it possible for such
charitable institutions as the Jimmy fund and the Dana Farber
Hospital to flourish. It created a nationally renowned Domestic
Violence Prevention Program that made Richard extremely proud, and
then provided countless hours pro bono to ensure its success.
Richard was always active in Vilna Shul, environmental groups and
Discovering Justice, which prepares inner-city kids for the legal
Mintz Chairman Robert Popeo accepted the award on his behalf.