Section council members and chairs prepare for year at annual orientation

Issue September 2006 By Kate O'Toole

Over 100 attorneys and MBA staff members attended the annual Section Council Orientation on July 26 at the John Adams Courthouse in downtown Boston. The event gave the 2006-07 section council chairs and members the opportunity to meet one another and learn about their roles for the upcoming year.

MBA Executive Director Marilyn J. Wellington welcomed everyone to the event and highlighted the important work of the section leaders that ranges "from educational programs to legislative advocacy to policy development to support for our profession." She continued, "These are the reasons that attorneys join the Massachusetts Bar Association and view their membership as a necessary tool to their successful professional life."

Wellington then introduced incoming MBA President Mark D. Mason, who expressed high hopes for the new leaders. "We have assembled an extremely talented, energetic and experienced group of section council chairpersons and section council members. With the support of the MBA's officers and dedicated staff, we look forward to moving the MBA to new heights in promoting the mission of the association."

After a networking luncheon, MBA staff members spoke about the interaction between section council leaders and the MBA. General Counsel Martin W. Healy opened the conversation, describing the "unique role" of the section council chairs and urging them to "act as advisors" to the Legislature and the House of Delegates.

Later in the afternoon, MBA Vice President and former Family Law Section Chair Denise Squillante addressed the group, along with longtime Criminal Justice Section Chair Lee J. Gartenberg. Squillante noted what an "honor" it is to be selected as either a chair or member of a section council, and that the new council members should look forward to becoming "part of the voice of the MBA."

Gartenberg and Squillante talked about the friendships they have formed with one another and with other members of their respective section councils over the years. As a result, they both emphasized the value of discussion and collaboration within the councils. They encouraged the members to use all of the resources around them by reaching beyond their own councils, and to utilize their sections as a whole.

"The MBA relies on your expertise and experience," Gartenberg said, "and accomplishments should occur collaboratively. Encourage consensus and be open to differing views."

Squillante agreed, and recalled that she and Gartenberg were purposely placed on a committee together because their views were so different. "Good debate leads to good work," Squillante concluded.

Also at the meeting, Director of Programs and Services Lisa A. Ferrara discussed the role of the section leaders in developing new CLE programs; Director of Media and Communications Tricia M. Oliver spoke about media outlets and the place of the section leaders in forming the MBA's positions on various issues; and Public Services Director Elizabeth A. O'Neil highlighted the major service programs of the MBA, including the Lawyer Referral Service, Dial-a-Lawyer, Elder Law Education and Mock Trial.

This year's section council chairs include: Julio Hernando (Access to Justice); Peter D. McDermott (Business Law); Jeffrey N. Catalano (Civil Litigation); Lee J. Gartenberg (Criminal Justice); Fern L. Frolin (Family Law); Susan G. Anderson (Health Law); Kevin G. Powers (Individual Rights & Responsibilities); Kathy Jo Cook (Judicial Administration); Rosemary Pye (Labor & Employment); Denise M. Guerin (Law Practice Management); Edward Notis-McConarty (Probate Law); Sabrina K. Lanz (Property Law); Robert Lawrence Quinan Jr. (Public Law); Michele E. Randazzo (Public Law); Patricia Ann Metzer (Taxation Law); and Sanjay K. Sankaran (Young Lawyers).

The new section council members and chairs officially begin their terms on Sept. 1.