Pride, unity emphasized at 2016 Annual Dinner

Thursday, May. 5, 2016
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Camaraderie was the word at last week's Massachusetts Bar Association Annual Dinner, when more than 1,000 members of the law community from across the commonwealth convened in Boston to celebrate their profession among peers and friends.

MBA President Robert W. Harnais in his opening remarks reminded his colleagues that their profession, driven by the love of justice, needs to be protected.

"My first goal this year was to steer our profession back toward civility and camaraderie. We need to return to a profession rather than a business," he said. "Now MBA members are leading by example. Not only are we making a difference with each other, we're increasing the respect of our profession. And that's what it deserves."

Harnais eagerly ushered in the event's award ceremony, during which a litany of MBA members and allies, both established and up-and-coming, were recognized for their outstanding achievements. These included:

  • Legislator of the Year, Senate President Stanley C. Rosenberg
  • President's Award recipients Daniel J. Hogan and George G. Hardiman
  • Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. Scholarship recipient Lauren N. Schaal
  • Lifetime Achievement Award winner T. Richard McIntosh (1948-2015)
  • Defender Award winner Benjamin H. Keehn
  • Pro Bono Publico Award winners Charles R. Casartello Jr. and Ingrid Martin, and the Pro Bono Award for Law Firms winner Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP
  • Legal Services Award winner Valerie Fisk
  • Prosecutor Award winner Ellen Berger
  • Rising Star Margaretta Homsey Kroeger

The night was punctuated by a keynote address from celebrated Bostonian novelist and screenwriter Dennis Lehane, who described Boston's influence on his development as a storyteller, and gave his encouragement to those faithfully serving the profession of law.

"I love what you're doing," he said. "I love the outreach, I love the civic pride. I love that you care a little bit more about the bottom line.

"We stand on the rule of law," Lehane said after his address, noting the importance of law in his books. "There's a reason for law, whether you like it or not. We need the law -- it's what makes us civilized."