From judges to top lawmakers, a who's who of the legal and
political worlds turned out for the Massachusetts Bar Association's
Annual Dinner on May 15 to applaud an array of distinguished
recipients for their dedication to the law and community
Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC's "Hardball," offered a sweeping
keynote address to a packed ballroom at the Westin Boston
Waterfront, reminiscing about his years as an aide to House Speaker
Thomas P. "Tip" O'Neill and lamenting the hyper-partisanship of
Matthews, a Holy Cross graduate, also had a confession to make
in keeping with the theme of the evening -- a celebration of
dedication to the rule of law and service to the larger
"I salute you for being what I wanted to be for the last 40 or
50 years -- a lawyer," said Matthews, adding he admired "your skill
set of being able to know the law, but also being able to spot the
key conflicts and areas of common ground." "At least from what I saw on 'The Good Wife,'" he quipped.
Rep. Garrett J. Bradley (D-Hingham) was honored with the MBA's
Legislator of the Year Award. Bradley was cited for his work
fighting for funds to spur economic development projects in his
district, as well as his work with the MBA on medical malpractice
Bradley also helped forge legislation in 2012 to control health
care costs and has risen to a leadership position that "puts him in
a direct path of every piece of legislation passed in the House,"
said MBA Vice President Christopher P. Sullivan.
Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh received the MBA's 2014 President's
Award. Walsh, a Boston native, was cited for his years of work with
the organization on workplace safety issues as well as his long
record as a legislator and now mayor promoting economic
development, civil rights and marriage equality, among other
Walsh brought his decades-long commitment to workplace safety
when he was appointed to the MBA's Workplace Safety Task Force.
"I can't think of any other profession that has made service
such a central part of its mission," Walsh noted.
MBA president Douglas K. Sheff reflected on his time in office,
which he said was shaped by the aftermath of the Boston Marathon
Sheff noted the Massachusetts legal community rose to the
occasion, with 87 lawyers "tirelessly" putting in countless
pro-bono hours representing victims and their families through the
"[After the] two blasts that changed our lives, the MBA, as
always, was there providing representation to victims and their
families," said Sheff.
"We made this the year of the worker," he said. "The MBA took
pride in in the representation of the underrepresented."
Sheff, in turn, won praise from Marsha V. Kazarosian, the MBA's
president-elect. "You are a tough act to follow," she said.
A range of top local elected officials and judges attended the
Annual Dinner, including Chief Justice Roderick L. Ireland of the
Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court and House Speaker Robert A.
DeLeo, among others.
Five lawyers and one law firm were recognized with Access to
Justice Awards for their dedication to working with the
underrepresented and underprivileged:
Gerald D. Wall won the Legal Services Award for his decades of
work providing legal help to immigrants at Greater Boston Legal
Stephen J. Phillips won the Pro Publico Bono Award for his
dedicated representation of more than 130 hospice patients at
Baystate Visiting Nurse & Hospice.
The law firm of Klein Hornig LLP received the Pro Bono Award for
Law Firms for many hours spent helping with local food banks and
representing low-income tenants fighting eviction or
James B. Krasnoo, who won the Defender Award, began his career
in the Attorney General's Office but decided to become a bar
advocate after seeing firsthand the plight of defendants without
adequate legal representation.
Lisa F. Edmonds won the Prosecutor Award for her work with
juvenile offenders and domestic violence at the District Attorney's
Office for the Cape and Islands.
Jessica Berry received the Rising Star Award for her work above
and beyond the call of duty at the Children's Law Center.