Thursday, Apr. 19, 2012
From top to bottom: Pro Bono Law Firm Award -- Brody, Hardoon, Perkins & Kesten LLP, Boston; Legal Services Award -- Thomas Mela, Massachusetts Advocates for Children, Boston; Legal Services Award --
Linda C. Hickman, Neighborhood Legal Services, Lynn; Defender Award -- Dulcinea (Duci) Goncalves, Quincy Youth Advocacy Department, Committee of Public Counsel Services; Prosecutor Award -- Michael A. Fabbri, Middlesex District Attorney’s Office.
Access to Justice Awardees to be honored May 31
Attend MBA Annual Dinner to support honorees
The Massachusetts Bar Association's Access to Justice Awards
will honor four attorneys and one law firm for their exemplary
delivery of legal services at its May 31 Annual Dinner at the
Westin Boston Waterfront.
The event will also feature keynote speaker Victoria Reggie
Kennedy and the presentation of the Legislator of the Year Award to
House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo. Click
here to register for the MBA's 2012 Annual Dinner.
Pro Bono Award for Law Firms
Brody, Hardoon, Perkins & Kesten LLP, Boston
One of only six law firms involved in a unique pro bono
collaboration with the Middlesex District Attorney's Office,
the 13-attorney firm of Brody, Hardoon, Perkins & Kesten
LLP in Boston will be honored with the 2012 MBA Pro Bono Award for
Law Firms for its representation of high-risk and complex domestic
The pro bono working relationship between Brody, Hardoon and the
DA's office is due -- in large part -- to firm partner Larry
Hardoon, who previously served for more than 14 years in the
Middlesex DA's office and began the Middlesex Child Abuse Unit
Hardoon describes the pro bono efforts of the firm to be a
"win-win." "First and foremost, we are helping people in very
vulnerable situation," Hardoon said.
Legal Services Award
Thomas Mela, Massachusetts Advocates for Children,
After more than 40 years in the profession, Massachusetts
Advocates for Children Managing Attorney and Senior Project
Director Thomas Mela is still passionate. His longstanding career
in public services is highlighted by his work serving the
At Massachusetts Advocates for Children, Mela facilitates the
interests and efforts of legal services and public interest
attorneys from around the state who wish to promote the rights of
This past year, Mela advocated for House Bill 178, legislation
that would reform school discipline laws in the state. He expressed
appreciation to those who have supported the bill.
Pro Bono Publico Award
Linda C. Hickman, Neighborhood Legal Services,
Linda Hickman grew up with a strong sense of fairness and decided
to attend law school after realizing the potential a lawyer has to
In 2005, Hickman contacted Neighborhood Legal Services and
interviewed with Director John Ford. She began volunteering with
the Elder Law Project, one of four units at the organization.
Although Hickman originally signed on for a six-month commitment,
she continued to volunteer at Neighborhood Legal Services.
Over the years, Hickman has worked in the Elder Law Unit on many
complex cases and has been instrumental in providing legal services
to those who might not otherwise have access.
Dulcinea (Duci) Goncalves, Quincy Youth Advocacy Department,
Committee of Public Counsel Services
As soon as Dulcinea (Duci) Goncalves could practice, she went
straight to where she needed to be: representing indigent juveniles
in the criminal justice system. Now, turning 32 this month, she's
the attorney in charge of the Quincy Youth Advocacy Department
(YAD) of the Committee of Public Counsel Services (CPCS).
At the Quincy YAD, she supervises three attorneys and support
staff and carries 15 to 20 cases at a time. She also helps newer
attorneys with their cases, including offering advice and support
during their first court appearances.
In one case, she helped one former client get probation instead of
prison. "Sometimes it's hard to see where we've been successful,
but had she gone to state prison for five years … Now she's got a
job and is pursuing higher education."
Michael L. Fabbri, Middlesex District Attorney's
The gratifying work is what has kept Michael L. Fabbri a
prosecutor for the past 26 years. Despite the challenges and stress
that come with a job responsible for proving a defendant's criminal
guilt, Fabbri finds immense joy in his work.
Fabbri has spent 24 of his 26 years as a prosecutor with the
Middlesex District Attorney's Office, where he is currently chief
trial counsel. He has also held the positions of chief of homicide,
chief of the Special Investigations Unit, deputy chief of the
Appeals and Training Bureau and Framingham regional supervisor. He
spent two years in the Attorney General's Office, working in the
Special Investigations Unit and as deputy chief of the Medicaid
Fabbri decided to join the legal profession while working as an
Air Force electromechanical technician on Minuteman missiles in
Missouri. He earned degrees from Framingham State College and
Northeastern University School of Law.
For complete Access to
Justice Award recipient profiles, look in the May Lawyers