MBA to honor Holtz, Cramer for "excellence"

Issue April 2015 By Kelsey Sadoff

The Massachusetts Bar Association will honor the Hon. Nancy Holtz (ret.) and Boston Globe crime and legal reporter Maria Cramer at the May 14 Excellence in the Law event, co-presented by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly. Holtz has been selected to receive the Daniel F. Toomey Excellence in the Judiciary Award and Cramer will be presented with the MBA's Excellence in Legal Journalism Award.

The annual Excellence in the Law event, which will be held at the Marriott Long Wharf Hotel, will also feature award presentations in the following areas: Up & Coming Lawyers, Excellence in Pro Bono, Paralegal, Marketing and Firm Administration.

Holtz, a former Superior Court judge with more than 30 years of legal experience, is now a "go-to" mediator and arbitrator for high-stakes and complex matters for JAMS. Holtz began her career as a trial attorney, as assistant ?corporation counsel for the city of Boston's Law Department, and then became partner at Merrick and Louison, where she tried complex civil and criminal jury trials in U.S. District Court and Massachusetts Superior Court. Holtz went on to serve as commissioner of the Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission, before becoming secretary and general counsel of the Executive Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation, where she gained broad experience in the banking, insurance and telecommunications sectors and excelled at fostering communities of interest between business, regulatory and public stakeholders. Holtz was appointed to the Superior Court bench in 1996 where, for 15 years, she presided over civil and criminal cases, including significant multimillion-dollar business litigation, construction litigation, first degree murder, kidnapping and home invasion.

Holtz, who is chair of the MBA's Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee, is also a member of the American Bar Association Forum on Construction Law, Section on Dispute Resolution Mediation, Section of Litigation Committee, the Women's Construction Alliance and the Boston Bar Association's Litigation: Construction Subcommittee. She has served as a panelist for numerous programs, including the 2011 MBA Centennial Conference and the 2013 ABA's section on Dispute Resolution Spring Conference. In 2012, Holtz served as a Fulbright specialist for the U.S. Department of State for Ulaan Bator, Mongolia, which she was awarded for development and creation of a mediation training program for the National University Law School.

"We are proud to honor Judge Holtz with the Toomey award for Judicial Excellence," said MBA President Marsha V. Kazarosian. "From her impressive career on the Superior Court bench to her work today as a sought-after ADR professional and chair of the MBA's Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee, Judge Holtz has established an impeccable reputation in the legal community for her intellect, fairness and ability to handle even the most complex high-stakes cases."

Cramer, the recipient of the Excellence in Journalism Award, began her career in New Jersey covering municipal government at the Trenton Times. In December 2003, she was hired to work for Globe South, the suburban zones section of the Boston Globe, and was quickly promoted to metro staff as a general assignment reporter in 2005. Cramer was assigned to cover Boston Police, a beat that sparked her love for trial coverage and broke news on some of the biggest stories in the city.

Cramer has led the news pack on cases like Philip Markoff, otherwise known as the Craigslist Killer, Clark Rockefeller, and the Woolson Street murders, the killings of three adults and a two-year-old boy on a Mattapan street. The Globe has sent her to Guatemala, Costa Rica, London and Germany to follow not only crime stories but political news. One example is the successful search for undocumented workers hired by Mitt Romney at the same time he was condemning illegal immigration during his presidential run.

In 2013, she was part of the team that won the Pulitzer for coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings and in 2014, she was assigned to cover the state's court system full-time and has broken stories on the Aaron Hernandez case and the Parole Board.

"Maria Cramer is a diligent crime and legal reporter whose thoughtful, yet unbiased articles continue to speak loudly from the pages of the Boston Globe, whether she is covering high-profile trials or uncovering behind-the-scenes developments," said MBA Chief Legal Counsel and Chief Operating Officer Martin W. Healy. "Her recent breaking-news story about alleged improper lawyer searches in state prisons is just one example of how her thorough reporting has brought much-needed transparency to our criminal justice system."