Shaping the future of the profession

Issue September 2005 By Warren Fitzgerald

We should pause a moment to reflect upon the past before proceeding on our journey.

She began her year by thanking us for the honor of being elected to serve us as president. She ended her year by thanking us again for the pleasure of having served us. Despite the strength and assuredness which she displayed while presiding as one of the finest presidents the association has ever had, she said little about her accomplishments. She said less about the challenges she faced and the work she did.

She started her presidency without the aid of an executive director, with many senior staff positions vacant and with the customary preparations for the year behind schedule. She ended it with a full and reinvigorated complement of the finest association professionals in any organization anywhere, the search for a new executive director in its final stages, and a momentum which will ensure the enjoyment of another successful year. In the interim she orchestrated the launch of the MBA's Judicial Evaluation Program, worked tirelessly with our General Counsel Marty Healy on the successful efforts to obtain increases in bar advocate compensation, brilliantly guided us through the very complicated situation posed by the concerns about the safety of the Middlesex Courthouse, coordinated the most successful and best attended annual convention in our history, arranged a spectacular MBA-sponsored opening celebration for the John Adams Courthouse, fashioned an updated amicus brief policy adopted by our membership and other things literally too numerous to mention. Kathleen O'Donnell, to be sure, didn't do all of the work herself. But her wisdom in selecting chairpersons, committee members and other talented, dedicated and inspired volunteers put the MBA in the forefront in efforts to reform our profession's handling of lawyer discipline, create a roadmap though the new territory of same-sex marriage law, provide access to justice to all citizens, restate our rules of evidence, reform our probate laws and in many other areas.

Each year the incoming president is asked, many times, about the agenda and objectives for the upcoming year. I shall not use a phrase common to this and a past federal administration, but suffice it to say that I would like to see the MBA continue heading in its present direction.

There are many initiatives which are in progress, and there are others, from the many suggestions of our members and staff, which we will begin. We will increase the amount of information which the MBA provides to the public through the media, invite more young lawyers to fully enjoy this profession through involvement in our association, reach out to lawyers in transition, many of them raising families, and we will provide assistance to our judiciary in ensuring that it remains truly independent. With the group of extraordinary officers working with me this year, I look forward to the MBA continuing to shape the future of the profession.

And thank you for the honor of permitting me to do so.