President’s Message: A community worth celebrating

Thursday, May 25, 2023 By MBA President Grace V.B. Garcia
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MBA President Grace V.B. Garcia

Last September, soon after our Massachusetts Bar Association year began, I encouraged members to “ask someone to the table,” meaning, to invite their friends and co-workers to join them at an MBA event so that they can see what the MBA community is all about. 

Judging from the lively pre-dinner cocktail reception and full ballroom at the MBA’s Annual Gala on May 11, many of you took those words to heart. And I’m glad you did, because the MBA’s warm and welcoming community was clearly evident well beyond the large crowd size and wonderful ovations that greeted each honoree after their award presentations. 

Both during and after the Annual Gala, my fellow MBA officers and I heard from so many people how wonderful it felt to spend time socially with colleagues they had not seen in several years. When Judge Bonnie MacLeod (Ret.) — a more-than-50-year member of the MBA and this year’s MBA Public Service Award winner — spoke glowingly about her MBA family during her acceptance remarks, many of us could relate. Some of my closest professional relationships have come from my MBA involvement, and spending time and celebrating with so many of my MBA colleagues at the Annual Gala was truly one of the highlights of this MBA year.

Thank you to everyone who attended, bought a table, or sponsored the MBA’s Annual Gala for making this celebration possible. I’m especially grateful for those who “asked someone to the table” and brought someone with them — as well as for those who accepted that invitation. You’ve made our MBA community even stronger.

For those who said, “Let’s do this again,” we have another opportunity to celebrate together on June 8 at the Sheraton Framingham at our Access to Justice Awards, where we will recognize another deserving group of award winners. 

Improving access to justice is one of the foundations upon which the MBA is built, and the MBA’s Access to Justice Awards will honor nine individuals and one law firm who share this ideal and have made significant strides in enhancing access to justice. From the exceptional efforts by private attorneys and firms to the indispensable work of legal aid attorneys, prosecutors, and public defenders, the Access to Justice Awards salute the everyday heroes of the bar.

In addition to the inspirational stories that you will hear from the honorees, one of the elements that makes this event a true community celebration is that the winners were chosen by their peers — the dedicated members of the MBA’s Access to Justice Section Council — after reviewing the strong pool of nominees submitted by their fellow MBA members. 

We’re fortunate that the Access to Justice Awards will also include a keynote from Senate President Karen E. Spilka, an access to justice champion herself, who has made fighting for civil and social justice for all a priority during her career. Add on the networking reception with cocktails and hors d'oeuvres, and this is another event you won’t want to miss. As such, once again, I invite you to “ask someone to the table” and invite a colleague or a friend to join you at what will be another fantastic event.

Whether you renew acquaintances or make new ones, the relationships you make at the MBA will undoubtedly be some of the greatest benefits you’ll receive as a member of our MBA community. And that, in itself, is something worth celebrating.