MBF honors Mone, elects new officers at annual meeting

Issue February 2014 By Mike Vigneux

The Massachusetts Bar Foundation, the philanthropic partner of the Massachusetts Bar Association, honored a "great friend" and elected new officers at its 2014 Annual Meeting. Held on Jan. 23 at the Social Law Library in the John Adams Courthouse, the meeting marked the beginning of the foundation's 50th anniversary year.

Attorney Michael E. Mone of Esdaile, Barrett, Jacobs and Mone was honored with the 2014 Great Friend of Justice Award. Mone, a nationally recognized civil trial lawyer and a pioneer in the field of tort litigation, has been extraordinarily committed to giving back to the legal profession and the community throughout his career.

He has served as past president of the American College of Trial Lawyers, the Massachusetts Academy of Trial Attorneys and the Massachusetts Bar Association. Mone is also widely known for his significant pro bono efforts on behalf of people in need, including Guantanamo Bay prisoners, which he represented together with his son and fellow attorney Michael E. Mone Jr.

"The work of the Mass. Bar Foundation is something that every lawyer in the state can be proud of," said Mone. "In Massachusetts, when you stand up for an unpopular cause, you're fulfilling a tradition that goes back to colonial times. I accept this award not on behalf of myself, but on behalf of every lawyer who does this kind of work every day."

The meeting also featured remarks from grantee speaker Gail S. Packer, the executive director of the Community Dispute Settlement Center in Cambridge, who reflected upon the strong relationship her organization has enjoyed with the foundation for more than 25 years. CDSC is a private, nonprofit mediation and training center committed to providing an alternative and affordable forum for resolving conflict. The foundation has proudly supported CDSC's court-based mediation services for nearly two decades. CDSC has 70 volunteer mediators and offers a parent mediation program and mediation training.

New officers Robert J. Ambrogi, Vice President Janet F. Aserkoff, Treasurer Harvey Weiner, Secretary Richard J. Gahn, and Past President Jerry Cohen were each elected for one-year terms ending in 2015. Trustees were also elected for terms ending in 2017, including Aserkoff; Lewis C. Eisenberg, Lawrence F. Farber, Hon. Robert G. Fields; and Weiner.
In remarks following his election, Ambrogi said that this anniversary year should be one in which the foundation continues to build on its 50 years of supporting access to justice. But acknowledging the harsh economic realities facing civil legal aid programs, he also hopes to see it take a leading role in helping grantee organizations innovate the use technology to deliver legal services.

"As we continue to have to do more with less, it is incumbent on us to explore all available alternatives," he said. "Increasingly, technology is a critical component of this."

The foundation also recognized Fellows who completed their pledges in 2013 to become Life Fellows of the foundation. They included Oliver Wendell Holmes Life Fellows John J. Carroll Jr., Daniel J. Gleason, and Alice E. Richmond; Louis D. Brandeis Life Fellows J.W. Carney Jr., Michelle Keith, Alfred J. Geoffrion Jr., Catherine E. Reuben, Wendy Sibbison, James E. Tashjian, Mindee E. Wasserman and Harvey Weiner; and Foundation Life Fellows Mary Lu Bilek, Maureen E. Curran, Kevin G. Diamond, Chris S. Dodig, Hon. Brian J. Dunn, Diane J. Levin, Dennis M. Lindgren, Barbara H. Mitchell, Angela McConney Scheepers and Stephen K. Sugarman.

Founded in 1964, the foundation celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2014. Through its grantmaking and charitable activities, the foundation works to increase access to justice for all in Massachusetts. The foundation will host its 50th Anniversary Gala Dinner on Oct. 23 at the Colonnade Hotel in Boston.