Luminaries in public service, legal aid saluted at May 7 Access to Justice Luncheon

Issue April 2009 By Tricia M. Oliver

Rep. Harold P. Naughton Jr., Mass. IOLTA executive director Jayne B. Tyrrell among those honored

The picturesque views from the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum are once again the backdrop for the MBA’s Access to Justice Luncheon. The May 7 luncheon is an annual opportunity for the MBA to recognize attorneys and firms who have delivered exemplary pro bono and other legal services.

In addition to the seven Access to Justice Awards, MBA President Edward W. McIntyre will bestow the 2009 Legislator of the Year Award to State Rep. Harold P. Naughton Jr. and the President’s Award to Jayne B. Tyrrell, executive director of the Massachusetts Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts (IOLTA) program.

This year’s awardees hail from across the state. “Chosen from a deep pool of nominees, the awardees really stood out and serve as role models for all of us,” said James Van Buren, chair, MBA Access to Justice Section. “We appreciate those who placed the nominations for bringing the impressive efforts of their colleagues to our attention.”

Legal Service Award
The first of two legal services awards will be presented to Barbara Kaban of the Children’s Law Center in Lynn. The award is given to a public or agency attorney who has made contributions beyond his or her required job responsibilities. In addition to establishing herself as a trial attorney, administrator and manager at the Children’s Law Center, Kaban has authored numerous articles focusing on issues related to juvenile justice and low-income children; conducted research on matters affecting disadvantaged youth; and developed an appellate advocacy practice addressing questions of juvenile law.

The second award will go to James M. McCreight of Greater Boston Legal Services. A nationally known expert on housing issues, McCreight has dedicated his career to the protection of tenants’ rights. Working closely with tenant associations and advisory boards to ensure that tenants are aware of their rights, he offers his depth of knowledge to colleagues at GBLS and the legal community as a whole.

Pro Bono Award for Law Firms

Two of the Pro Bono Award for Law Firms will be presented this year. The award is presented to firms whose meaningful pro bono activities are particularly noteworthy given the firm’s size.

Tennant Lubell LLC in Newton will receive this award. Partners Doris Tennant and Ellen Lubell are part of a network of lawyers who represent Guantanamo Bay prisoners. Since its founding, Tennant Lubell has been committed to pro bono cases, collaborating with organizations such as Amnesty International, Boston Mobilization and the International Justice Network.

McDermott Will & Emery of Boston will also receive the Pro Bono Award for a Law Firm for its commitment to community service, volunteerism and unique devotion to meeting the critical legal needs of low-income children. First providing free representation for several disabled children in 2003, the firm’s work with the Children’s Law Center has expanded over six years to provide countless hours of free legal assistance.

Pro Bono Publico Award
The Pro Bono Publico Award is given to an individual who has been instrumental in developing, implementing and supporting pro bono programs for the MBA, a local bar association, law firm or agency. Wendy J. Rickles, a solo practitioner in Worcester, is the 2009 recipient of this award for her volunteer efforts in the areas of criminal, family and employment law. She is active with the Worcester County Bar Association’s Committee on Services to the Poor and Homeless and the Hon. Harry Zarrow Homeless Advocacy Project, a collaboration of the WCBA and the Legal Assistance Corporation of Central Massachusetts. Also, through her work as co-chair of the WCBA’s Family Law Section, she has orchestrated numerous outreach efforts for Worcester’s homeless.

Defender Award
This year’s Defender Award will go to Lawrence J. McGuire, a public defender with the Committee for Public Counsel Services in the Salem Superior Court. The award is given to a public or non-profit agency attorney who provides or contributes to the provision of criminal legal services to low-income clients. A mentor to CPCS and all criminal law attorneys in Essex County, McGuire’s public defense career has spanned three decades. His effective skills as an innovative litigator have proven to be successful in the courtroom, but also in training new bar advocates and as an advisor and faculty member for Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education.

Prosecutor Award
The Prosecutor Award will go to Aloke Chakravarty, a Boston-based assistant U.S. attorney. The award is bestowed upon a state or federal prosecutor who has distinguished him or herself in public service. A federal prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Anti-Terrorism and National Security Unit, Chakravarty tries a variety of cases involving human rights violations, immigration fraud, export and drug offenses, as well as terrorism related crimes. A career public servant, Chakravarty brings cultural sensitivity to the courtroom and the communities in which he has served.

Legislator of the Year and President’s Awards
The MBA has chosen Rep. Naughton as the recipient of the MBA’s Legislator of the Year Award. “Rep. Naughton includes the bench and bar of Central Massachusetts among his constituents and both have no greater supporter than ‘Hank’ Naughton,” said McIntyre. “The people of the commonwealth are the ultimate beneficiaries of his work to appropriately resource the full administration of justice spectrum.” A member of the House of Representatives since 1995, Naughton serves as the chairman of the Veterans and Federal Affairs Committee. An informed voice on court funding, CPCS, bar advocates and district attorneys, Naughton’s other legislative priorities include local affairs, education, environment and veteran’s affairs.

The MBA President’s Award is given to attorneys who have made a significant contribution to the work of the MBA, its values and success of its initiatives by promoting the MBA’s leadership role within the legal community. McIntyre has chosen Tyrrell to receive this high honor.

As longtime executive director of Massachusetts IOLTA, Tyrrell has earned a national reputation for her innovative collaborations with banking institutions. Most recently, she was instrumental in changing guidelines to ensure that banks were required to pay interest on IOLTA accounts comparable to rates on similar commercial accounts.

She is the co-chair of the Boston Bar Association Task Force on Expanding the Right to Counsel and is a member of the National Coalition on Civil Right to Counsel and the Supreme Judicial Court Working Group on Limited Assistance Representation. Also, she is a past president of the National Association of IOLTA Programs. “Jayne’s dedication to the core values of the MBA, including access to justice, inspires everyone who comes in contact with her,” said McIntyre.