President’s Message: Three cheers for MBA volunteers

Thursday, July 13, 2023 By MBA President Grace V.B. Garcia
Article Picture
MBA President Grace V.B. Garcia

To steal a quote, “Remember that the happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving more.” Given the incredible volunteers at the Massachusetts Bar Association who consistently give to the organization, the MBA is full of happy people! 

Last month, I had the privilege to recognize six MBA members for their extraordinary volunteer efforts with the MBA at a special celebration at the MBA’s Boston office. As chair of the MBA’s Volunteer Recognition Committee for the last several years, the opportunity to honor MBA volunteers in person each summer has always been one of my favorite MBA activities. Congratulations once again to Thomas J. Carey Jr., Professor Andrew L. Kaufman, Paul Klehm, Dean A. Mazzone, Marc A. Moccia and Melina Muñoz Turco. These six members truly went above and beyond as MBA volunteers – several of them over decades of service to the MBA. If you aren’t familiar with this year’s honorees and their accomplishments, I encourage you to read the recent recap in eJournal.

Like many nonprofits, the MBA relies on volunteers for much of its work, including its leadership. The MBA, through its volunteers, serves fellow members of the bar through programs and initiatives aimed at education, advocacy and networking, among others. MBA volunteers also serve the public at large, particularly underserved communities, through the MBA’s public service programs and advocacy. 

No matter how you participated, I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has volunteered at the MBA this year. So much work by our MBA volunteers is done behind the scenes, but know that it is appreciated!

Thank you to everyone who served on one of our 18 section councils, including our related practice groups, or as a member of the Young Lawyers Division board, this year. As MBA leaders, your input, active participation and commitment to work together across sections contributed greatly to our CLE programs and advocacy efforts, and was a model of successful collaboration. 

Thank you also to everyone who served on the Amicus Curiae Committee; the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee; and the Lawyer Well-Being Committee; as well as any one of the nearly 20 committees and task forces, which address important and unique issues that affect our members and the legal profession as a whole. 

I am grateful to everyone who volunteered to participate in an MBA CLE program, whether you moderated a webinar, appeared on a panel, captained a breakout session at a conference or contributed in other meaningful ways. By sharing your knowledge and expertise with others, MBA members were better educated and better prepared to anticipate or respond to the evolving aspects of the law and the practice of law.

Similarly, I offer my thanks to everyone who contributed to our MBA publications this year. The scholarly members of the MBA’s Massachusetts Law Review Editorial Board continue to do incredible work as stewards of the longest continually published law review in the country. Further, we appreciate  everyone who contributed to a Section Review or eJournal article for keeping their fellow practitioners informed with timely updates and observations about the law.

So much of what we do at the MBA is meant to benefit the public at large, particularly when it comes to improving access to justice for all. Thank you to everyone who has volunteered during the MBA’s monthly Dial-A-Lawyer programs, including the many section councils who choose one month to volunteer together as a group. Your efforts helped hundreds of Massachusetts residents get answers to their legal questions. 

Thanks also to everyone who volunteers with the Elder Law Education Program, which publishes the MBA’s free Elder Law Education Guide each year and whose members also volunteer to give free educational presentations about elder law to senior centers and councils on aging around the commonwealth. 

Several of the MBA’s programs introduce students to opportunities in the legal profession. Thank you to everyone who participated in the MBA’s award-winning Tiered Mentoring Community Program this year as a mentor or helped volunteer for the Judicial Youth Corps, where the MBA partners with the Supreme Judicial Court to administer the Worcester program. Particularly after the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to end race-conscious decision-making in higher education, both programs are vital to our goals of increasing diversity in the legal pipeline. We also thank everyone who participated in Law Day, in which we speak with students about constitutional issues.

The MBA’s High School Mock Trial Program also provides opportunities for lawyers to give back or share their trial experience with students in a simulated court case. I am grateful for all the MBA members who volunteered this year as judges or attorney-coaches for also encouraging the next generation of lawyers.

Of course, I also cannot miss out on thanking my fellow officer volunteers, and all who volunteer on the Executive Management Board. The time, commitment and work is vital to the MBA.

While volunteering takes dedication and a willingness to give your time and efforts to others, it is also incredibly rewarding. Ask any longtime MBA volunteer why they keep returning year after year, and you will likely hear answers that include things like “connections,” “friendships” or the joys of “giving back.” It simply makes people happy!

Do you want to add more happiness to your life? Simply volunteer! The next MBA year is set to begin in just over a month, and MBA leaders and staff members are already putting the program and events calendars together. Join us! Check out the volunteer opportunities on the MBA’s website, or reach out to an MBA officer, section leader, or member of our staff to see what other options might be available. The MBA is truly a community of opportunity, and I encourage you to find yours.