New Executive Director Wellington brings depth of experience to MBA

Issue January 2006 By Bill Archambeault

Photo by Jeff Thiebauth
Marilyn J. Wellington
Marilyn J. Wellington, the Massachusetts Bar Association's new executive director, has been an adjunct professor, legal counsel for a state office and chief of staff for the Trial Court Department. She even taught music to students in grades kindergarten through eight before embarking on her legal career.

But it was her last job, evaluating courts nationwide as a management consultant in Denver, that put the finishing touch on the skill set she thinks will help her run the MBA. As a management consultant for the National Center for State Courts, she traveled across the country evaluating courts and recommending changes.

"I was able to see a variety of management structures and styles. I think that will help me look at the different opportunities available to us (at the MBA)," she said.

Being a consultant "allows you to think things through a little less personally. You can see things a little more thoroughly because you don't have a personal stake in it. That job was really the icing on the cake and makes me a very strong administrator, a very strong leader. I think that really helped solidify it all. It's very exciting to bring all of those perspectives back to Massachusetts."

Wellington, who came to Boston for college in 1979 and had worked here her entire career, said she loved her job in Colorado and wasn't searching for a reason to return.

"I love being back in Massachusetts, but I came back because of this particular job and can't think of another job I'd come back for," she said. "This job has been a goal of mine. It was just too good to pass up. I feel very lucky to be here. It made it really easy to decide to come back from Colorado."

Photo by Bill Archambeault
MBA Sales Representative Joseph Caci, Wellington, MBA President Warren Fitzgerald and MBA Marketing and Advertising Coordinator Martha Sullivan talk after Wellington’s introduction to the Boston staff.
Evaluating and setting priorities

Wellington, who started Dec. 1, said she is still evaluating the MBA's needs and setting her priorities, though she does have some familiarity with the organization and recognizes some immediate goals. She has been a member of the MBA since being admitted to the bar in 1991.

"The strengths of the Massachusetts Bar are the services it provides and its representation as the only statewide voice for the bar. The experience and dedication of the staff is unbelievable. I think the Massachusetts Bar has all of the groundwork set. The MBA is at an exciting point, where it's ready to expand and move forward. We're providing great services, but there is so much more that can be done. My most immediate goal is to look at membership and what we're providing," she said. "Many Massachusetts attorneys remain nonmembers and we need to find out why."

Photo by Tricia Oliver
Wellington and Hon. Maurice Richardson (Ret.) at the MBA’s Dec. 12 holiday reception.
Wellington also cited one of MBA President Warren Fitzgerald's priorities, which is improving the MBA's visibility.

"The MBA is the statewide representative of the bar," she said. "Anytime anything happens that affects the legal community, we should be the first source of information."

Fitzgerald had high praise for Wellington's ability to achieve the MBA's goals.

"We are extremely pleased to have Marilyn join us," Fitzgerald said. "She is the consummate professional and will be the perfect leader for the extraordinarily talented MBA staff. Likewise, our membership will benefit from Marilyn's energy and vision as we maintain a statewide, regional and national position on legal affairs."

MBA General Counsel Martin W. Healy said he was encouraged by Wellington's hire.

"The MBA is very fortunate to have landed such a skilled professional. Marilyn's breadth of senior management experience in both the public and private sectors will greatly enhance the efforts underway by staff and members," said Healy.

Healy, who served as interim executive director for 15 months in 2004 and 2005 and for 18 months in 2000 and 2001, said he is excited about focusing on his role as general counsel with Wellington on board.

"I am looking forward to assisting our members and our leadership team