National Women's History Month

Issue March 2011 By Denise Squillante

The first semblance of celebrating women's history in our nation came to light in the 1970s. The official observance has since grown into a month-long celebration. First recognized as "Women's History Week" in 1981, National Women's History Month carries throughout the month of March and enjoys bipartisan support in the House and Senate, as both continue to support the resolution annually.

This national observance is also a timely excuse for me to highlight the extraordinary women who enrich our profession and those who simply serve as an inspiration to us all.

First, I look to the women who have come before me in the MBA office of the president. I've been privileged to gain much from each of these women presidents, who all have aptly led the association as the preeminent voice of the legal community in Massachusetts. I trust you'll read with great interest the cover article that focuses on this impressive slate of women.

Second, I salute the women in our profession who continue to make a difference in their clients' livelihoods on a daily basis -- from the many women attorneys who have succeeded in being named partner at their respective large firms to the many solo practitioners across the state.

I also applaud those women who respectfully serve as part of Massachusetts's exemplary judiciary. I commend the Hon. Margaret Marshall and her work as the first female SJC chief justice, and applaud the examples set by Associate Justice Margot Botsford, outgoing Associate Justice Judith Cowin and the newest addition to the Supreme Judicial Court, the Hon. Fernande R.V. Duffly. Their collective contributions have been remarkable and have set a path for younger female attorneys to aspire to.

Likewise, we are honored to have three of the departments of the Trial Court led by highly respected jurists. Chief Justices Barbara J. Rouse, Lynda M. Connolly and Paula M. Carey have consistently led the Superior, District and Probate and Family courts in the commonwealth to better serve the citizens of Massachusetts.

Last, stepping back and looking beyond our legal community, I am not at a loss to quickly point out leading women at the helm of influential public and private institutions. I applaud the hard work of Attorney General Martha Coakley, Senate President Therese Murray, Sen. Cynthia Stone Creem, Harvard Law School Dean Martha Minow, Bentley College President Gloria Larson and Blue Cross Blue Shield Chief Legal Counsel Sandra Jesse, to name only a few.

I encourage the legal community, men and women alike, to let this column serve as a reminder of the important impact women attorneys have had on the good of the commonwealth. As a mother to a grown daughter, I take particular pride in seeing the opportunities awaiting her as she begins to make her mark in the professional arena and beyond.