The Massachusetts Bar Foundation honored U.S. District Court
Judge William G. Young with its Great Friend of Justice Award at
its annual meeting, which was held Jan. 25 at the Social Law
Library in the John Adams Courthouse.
The award is presented annually to an individual who has
demonstrated extraordinary passion for justice, consistent with the
MBF's values and mission.
Newly elected MBF President Jerry Cohen noted, "Judge Young's
unwavering commitment to the rule of law in our society, to the
absolute importance of trial by jury, and to the preservation of
individual rights in our justice system exemplifies the values the
MBF Great Friend of Justice Award recognizes."
In his keynote address, Young inspired the more than 125 MBF
Fellows, grantees and friends in attendance to do all that they can
to ensure that justice remains a priority, not just for the
judiciary and those in the legal community, but for the nation's
Citing a troubling decrease in trial by jury, particularly in the
federal courts on civil cases, Young challenged those assembled to
seek out ways to keep this vital aspect of democracy alive. He
said, "[T]here has to be a place where these words that we lawyers
and judges use - 'Equal justice under the law, fair and impartial'
- where these words have actual meaning, and we have to be
In addition to honoring Young, the MBF inducted 14 new Life
members into the MBF Society of Fellows, all of whom successfully
completed generous pledges to advance the MBF's mission of
increasing access to justice.
Before closing the meeting, Cohen stated the MBF's determination
to preserve the structure and scope of legal services and urged
outreach by the MBF Fellows to identify new sources of funding and
volunteer efforts to mitigate the effects of the drastic cuts in
Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts (IOLTA) and other funding
sources for the foundation and its grantees.
Cohen told the lawyers and judges present, "In addition to
teaching today's truth of the legal system, as urged by Judge
Young, we can also preach a vision built on our aspirations for
better days of legal services and work at it so the aspirations of
today become the truth of tomorrow."
Founded in 1964, the MBF is the philanthropic partner of the
Massachusetts Bar Association. Through its grant making and
charitable activities, the MBF works to increase access to justice
for all Massachusetts citizens. In 2011, the MBF IOLTA Grants
Program awarded grants totaling approximately $3.4 million to legal
service related programs statewide.
For more information, go to www.MassBarFoundation.org.