The MBA's annual Gala Dinner will feature a keynote address from
Morris Dees, founder and lead trial counsel for the Southern
Poverty Law Center. In addition, the night will include the
presentation of the MBA's Legislator of the Year Award to state
Sen. Cynthia Stone Creem. The March 11 event will take place at the
Westin Copley Place in Boston's Back Bay.
Dees co-founded the Southern Poverty Law Center with Julian Bond
and Joseph Levin in 1971 as a small civil rights law firm. Today,
the center is internationally recognized for its tolerance
education programs, its tracking of extremist hate groups and its
legal victories against those groups.
Dees has authored three books - A Lawyers Journal, his
autobiography; Hate on Trial; and Gathering Storm,
America's Militia Threat.
"We are honored to welcome Morris Dees to deliver our dinner's
keynote address," said MBA President Valerie A. Yarashus. "We look
forward to hearing his perspective about his landmark trials and
other work inspired by his tireless commitment to promoting
tolerance and combating hate groups through the legal system."
He remains actively involved in litigation and has received
numerous awards for his work. The U.S. Jaycees honored him as one
of the Ten Outstanding Young Men of America for his early business
success. Trial Lawyers for Public Justice named Dees Trial Lawyer
of the Year in 1987. In 2009, he was inducted into the Trial
Lawyers' Hall of Fame by the American Trial Lawyers' Association.
In addition, the University of Alabama, in conjunction with the New
York law firm Skadden Arps, bestows the Morris Dees Justice Award
In addition to Dees' keynote address, the Legislator of the Year
Award will honor the work of Creem, who has served in the
Massachusetts Senate since 1999, representing residents of Newton,
Brookline and Wellesley. As the co-chair of the Joint Committee on
the Judiciary, Creem weighs in on legislation related to criminal
law, the courts and civil and equal rights. A sponsor of four bills
on behalf of the MBA, Creem has a longstanding history of
collaboration with the MBA.
"We are pleased to recognize the hard work of Sen. Creem on
behalf of the Massachusetts legal community," said Yarashus, who
noted that Creem was a fierce advocate for sentencing reform during
last fall's Senate debate.
Creem is a former chair of the MBA's Family Law Section and
still a member of the section. In addition, she is a partner at
Stone, Stone & Creem, where she practices family law.
The six-term senator is also vice-chair of the Senate Committee
on Bonding, Capital Expenditures & State Assets and serves on
the Senate Committee on Ways and Means, as well as the joint
committees on Telecommunications, Utilities & Energy and on
Veterans and Federal Affairs.
The MBA's Legislator of the Year Award is presented annually to
a state or federal legislator who has a distinguished track record
in public service through outstanding contributions to the legal
profession, courts and administration of justice.