At the Sept. 8 reception launching his 2011-12 term as president
of the Massachusetts Bar Association, Richard P. Campbell decried
the lack of adequate funding for the state's court system, saying
it was crucial to protecting the rule of law.
"Our way of living is dependent on the rule of law, and the rule
of law is under attack now, because without properly funded and
operating courts, the rule of law will diminish, and with it, so
too will the quality of our lives."
(See Campbell's President's View column in the
September issue of Lawyers Journal to read about his three
priorities for the 2011-12 term.)
"Dick brings great stature to this position. He has been
successful wherever he's been," MBA Past President Michael E. Mone
(1993-94) in his introduction. Mone also praised Campbell's
advocacy in combating underage drinking
Speaking three days before the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11
terrorist attacks, Campbell talked about the role that MBA leaders
played in its aftermath. As the chair of the American Bar
Association's Tort, Trial & Insurance Practice Section,
Campbell held the section's first meeting about a month after the
attack. Much of that meeting was spent eulogizing a young lawyer he
knew, Kirsten Christophe, who had just returned from maternity
leave. She worked on the 101st floor at the World Trade Center.
"I raise 9/11 with you tonight because I want to bring to your
attention again the huge role that Massachusetts lawyers played in
the aftermath of that terrible disaster," Campbell said,
referencing the efforts of Leo Boyle, Ken Feinberg, Mike Greco,
Kathy O'Donnell, Michael Mone Jr. and others.
"Fast forward to 2011," Campbell said. "Massachusetts lawyers
face another important challenge to the rule of law. It may not be
tied as directly to violence and mayhem, but it is nonetheless
under attack. Courthouses are closing and those that continue to
operate have diminished hours of operation. Court staffs are
suffering layoffs, furloughs and pay freezes. Judges are leaving
the bench at alarming rates."
Campbell used examples -- such as residents expecting the
electricity to work if they pay their bills, or not having to pay a
cop a bribe if they get pulled over -- to illustrate how "our
way of life depends on the viability of the rule of law."
Campbell said he hopes a future MBA president will be able to
look back with relief that the MBA successfully fought for adequate
court funding. "Ten years from now, hopefully another MBA president
will reflect back on 2011 and tell the audience at this reception
that the members of the MBA played a pivotal role in keeping our
courts open and vibrant," Campbell said. "I look forward to working
in that direction, and I look forward to working with all of