More than 50 years after the legal community first began to talk
about reforming the management of the state's Trial Court
Department, it has become a reality. It's a change that could never
have happened without the work of Speaker of the House Robert A.
DeLeo, who partnered with Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice
Roderick L. Ireland to draft legislation that will, this spring,
place a civilian in charge of the court's business functions.
"This was the first time in my history that a speaker and Supreme
Judicial Court chief justice were standing together," DeLeo said, a
hint of awe in his voice as he retold the story of their
partnership from his seat in a wing-back chair inside his
Statehouse office adorned with ornate wood paneling.
DeLeo admitted that the Legislature and the judiciary have a
history of not getting along. "Usually we're at each other's
throats," he said. Not this time. DeLeo, himself an attorney, said
he approached Ireland about court management: "How about you and I
work on a bill together?" The chief justice took him up on the
It is for that ability to join two groups often on opposing sides,
and a long history of working to advance MBA-supported legislation,
that DeLeo will be honored with the 2012 Legislator of the Year
Award at the MBA's May 31 Annual Dinner at the Westin Boston
Waterfront. This is DeLeo's second time receiving the honor; the
first came in 1998 for his support of guardianship legislation.