2012 Access to Justice Award winners honored at May 31 Annual Dinner

Issue July 2012 By Kelsey Sadoff and Jennifer Rosinski

Four attorneys and one law firm were honored with the Massachusetts Bar Association's Access to Justice Awards for their exemplary delivery of legal services at the May 31 Annual Dinner. MBA President Richard P. Campbell and MBA President-elect Robert L. Holloway Jr. presented the awards at the Westin Boston Waterfront.

Victoria Reggie Kennedy, who provided the Annual Dinner keynote address, said she was inspired by the honorees. "I congratulate them for receiving Access to Justice Awards this evening, but most of all, I congratulate and thank them for the work they all do make sure that all people in our community have access to justice," Kennedy said.


Brody Hardoon
Perkins & Kesten LLP, Boston

The 13-member firm was recognized for its work as one of only six law firms involved in a unique pro bono collaboration with the Middlesex District Attorney's Office representing high-risk, complex domestic violence cases.

Partner Laurence Hardoon describes the collaboration as a win-win. Says associate Greg Pagnini "to know that my client's life is immediately changed for the better because of our counsel has been the most rewarding."

Since signing on as a vital piece of this much needed collaboration in 2009, Brody Hardoon's track record has been described as impressive by the Middlesex District Attorney's Office. In addition to Hardoon and Pagnini, founding partners Rick Brody, Lenny Kesten and Sam Perkins, Partner Jeremy Silverfine and associates Tom Donaghue, Kristen Harris and Peter Montgomery have all been vital to the firm's success with the program.


Thomas Mela
Massachusetts Advocates  for Children, Boston

Thomas Mela's longstanding career in public service is highlighted by his work with the under-represented. As the Massachusetts Advocates for Children managing attorney and senior project director, Tom facilitates and leads three coalitions of legal aid and public interest lawyers-the Children's Law Support Program Advisory Committee, the Education Law Task Force and the School Discipline Work Group.

His nomination stated, "Tom works far beyond his hours, deeply committed to making change at the systemic level and obtaining the best, sometimes life-changing, results for individual, low-income clients." In addition to his exemplary service to clients, Tom passes along his experience and example through his mentorship to less seasoned colleagues and law students.


Linda C. Hickman
Neighborhood Legal Services, Lynn

A long-time volunteer with the service's Elder Law Program, Linda Hickman has donated her services with many complex cases and has been instrumental in providing services to those who might not otherwise have access. According to her nomination, "Linda's contributions were stunning and made the difference between winning a successful outcome or losing the case."


Dulcinea (Duci) Goncalves
Quincy Youth Advocacy Department, Committee for Public Counsel Services

Dulcinea "Duci" Goncalves is the attorney in charge of the Quincy Youth Advocacy Department of the Committee for Public Counsel Services. There, she supervises three attorneys and support staff and carries 15 to 20 cases at a time.

Said those who nominated "Duci," "those who have worked closely with her all comment on her exceptional ability to work with her clients and their families, advocating to obtain the best short-term and long-term outcomes possible and going the extra mile to make a difference in their lives."


Michael L. Fabbri
Middlesex District Attorney's Office

Michael Fabbri is currently the chief trial counsel for the Middlesex District Attorney's Office. The 26-year prosecutor says, "even on a bad day, it's a great profession."

According to his nomination, Fabbri has earned the respect of his colleagues through his legendary work ethic, his integrity, his commitment to serving victims and his effort to mentor his colleagues. In addition to all the work that makes him deserving of the honor, Fabbri is also the MBA's current chair of the Criminal Justice Section.