World Justice Project Conference: focus on commitment and advocacy

Issue July/August 2008 By Kelsey Sadoff

The June 11 World Justice Project Conference, held at the historic John Adams Courthouse in Boston, brought together community leaders to discuss the meaning of the rule of law.

As part of the American Bar Association’s World Justice Project, the conference, which was co-sponsored by the Massachusetts Bar Association, Boston Bar Association, Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce and Social Law Library, was part of an international dialogue on the rule of law that will convene at the World Justice Forum in Vienna in July.

"There is a misconception in society that ‘rule of law’ is only for lawyers and judges," said Michael S. Greco, World Justice Project Conference planning committee co-chair. Greco, a partner at the Boston law firm K&L Gates, is also a past president of both the ABA and the MBA. "Rule of law is constantly at risk."

Gov. Deval Patrick’s Chief Legal Counsel Ben Clements welcomed attendees on behalf of the governor. He said that when communities work together, the rule of law achieves great things, such as women’s suffrage and "One Person, One Vote" initiatives. "It is a fundamental principle that people come before their government as equals," said Clements.

Conference attendees participated in several interactive breakout groups, which included one session moderated by Supreme Judicial Court Associate Justice Robert J. Cordy on the challenges to the rule of law in Massachusetts. SJC Chief Justice Margaret H. Marshall gave the closing remarks.