The MBA honored its 50-year members with service plaques at the July 19 Volunteer Recognition Dinner.
Photo by Jeff Thiebauth.
Five Massachusetts Bar Association members were recognized for
their outstanding service at the MBA Volunteer Recognition Dinner
on July 19 at Lombardo's in Randolph. Hon. Paul A.
Chernoff (ret.), Hon. Edward M. Ginsburg
(ret.), Rick Eurich and Donald
Gibson were each presented with a Volunteer Recognition
Award, which salutes members who volunteer substantial time and
effort to the mission, program and/or publications of the MBA or
otherwise enhance the organization in a significant way.
Ventura Dennis received the Outstanding Young
Lawyer Award, which is given to a young lawyer who has demonstrated
outstanding character, leadership and legal achievement, and has
contributed service to the community. The recipient of the award
must be a member of the MBA who has been in practice for fewer than
10 years and who has made a significant contribution to the legal
In addition to the five
volunteer awards, the MBA also recognized its 50-year members in
attendance at the event: Kevin B. Callanan,
Bradley R. Cook, Martin S.
Cosgrove, David A. Ladizki, Nancy
S. Nemon, Howard Newell, Norman
C. Ross, Gerald C. Rovner and Roy
Click here to view event photos.
Hon. Edward M. Ginsburg (ret.) and Hon. Paul A. Chernoff
Countless new attorneys
have been inspired by the team of Judges Edward M. Ginsburg (ret.)
and Paul A. Chernoff (ret.). The Massachusetts Bar Association has
benefitted, as well, from this pair of well respected judges, who
have shown a remarkable dedication to the MBA through their work on
professionalism-based CLEs aimed at young practitioners.
Ginsburg and Chernoff created a training program about five years
ago to teach young attorneys the keys they consider vital to a
lawyer's success -- most notably, the importance of professionalism
and professional behavior. "If you practice with professionalism,
that's the way to success, and … our aim is to show that," says
Twice a year, Ginsburg and Chernoff drive to the College of the
Holy Cross to teach "Ethics for the Practicing Lawyer" and "Your
Reputation is Everything: How Lawyers Should Act." Chernoff notes
how he and Ginsburg will play off one another to make the training
courses humorous, as well as informative. "Judge Ginsburg and I, we
like to say that we don't agree on very much," says Chernoff. "But
I think we do agree that the key to the program … is to make it
non-academic and to make it interesting and entertaining, yet very
informative. And that's really hard to do."
Ginsburg and Chernoff take time during the end of their
presentations to ensure that they answer any of the young
attorneys' questions. By spreading their knowledge and helping
young attorneys, they're only paying forward the experience that
helped them when they were new to the bar.
"I think that it's up to older lawyers to help mentor younger
lawyers, because that's what helped me," says Ginsburg. "Older
lawyers helped mentor me, and I think it's a way of giving back.
And it's fun. It's fun!"
Rick Eurich, although
retired from his firm, has selflessly contributed his time and
efforts to the MBA for more than 20 years. He has volunteered at
the MBA in several roles, most notably as a member of the MBA's
Insurance Committee, a group whose role he sees as providing
"insurance, expertise, knowledge, and ability to the MBA and
through the MBA to its various members."
The numerous hours that Eurich has spent meticulously
investigating, editing and negotiating the MBA's insurance issues
has been vital in reforming the MBA's malpractice insurance policy.
According to one colleague, "Without his expertise, knowledge and
commitment, the MBA's program would not have risen to the largest
lawyer's malpractice program in Massachusetts."
For his part, Eurich is equally proud of the benefits the
Insurance Committee has helped provide to MBA members. "What is
really satisfying to me is that we have been able -- not
surreptitiously, but certainly invisibly -- to provide them with
better insurance and at a better rate than they otherwise would be
able to get, and, to that extent, have benefited them and committed
them to continue in their practice," he says.
In addition to his irreplaceable efforts within the Insurance
Committee, Eurich also found the time and energy to volunteer as a
judge with the MBA's Mock Trial Program for several years, where he
was able to apply and share the knowledge that he has learned as a
lawyer. Eurich believes that "the most rewarding part is seeing how
much time and effort the high school students put into this program
… and see[ing] how they perform after they have invested all that
Over the past 17 years, Donald
Gibson's involvement with the MBA's High School Mock Trial Program
has included stints as an attorney coach, judge and committee
member, among other roles. Most recently he served as chair of the
Mock Trial Committee. At each step of the way he's made a lasting
mark on the program and its students.
Gibson has been a vital leader for the program, whether helping to
create the cases that are presented to the students or serving as a
coach and providing students with positive feedback and
constructive observations. He believes strongly that the students
are getting a real-world benefit from participating in the program,
and he has always been gratified by the way they are "like sponges"
and soak it all in.
The MBA's Mock Trial Program, which has grown to feature more than
130 high schools in the commonwealth, allows high school students
the opportunity to further their interests in the area of law
through "applied learning," he explains. He tells them: "It's
something in the real world; this is what I do. … This is going to
affect you in the future. You have an investment in this."
He believes the most important benefit of the program for the
students is their enhanced esteem and self confidence. In turn, he
says he feels better about the future of the profession. "When you
see these kids and you work with these students, and you see how
bright they are, how intelligent they are, and how, if they are
challenged properly, how they respond and how they improve, it just
gives me a lot of self confidence and affirmation that, hey, we are
going to be alright," Gibson says.
While this is Gibson's last year in the Mock Trial program, he
hopes his efforts have helped shape these future lawyers and that
the Mock Trial Program will continue to grow.
"I would like to think that I have done something to make that
future a little brighter -- that somewhere down the line there is a
little bit of me that's carried on through them and that's going to
make a major difference someday," he says.
Outstanding Young Lawyer
In a short period of time
Ventura Dennis has done some remarkable things at Greater Boston
Legal Services (GBLS). A 2013 Boston University School of Law
graduate, Dennis began her time at GBLS as a law student intern.
She then pursued a fellowship in the CORI and Re-entry Project of
GBLS, which led to a full-time position there, where she still
works as an attorney.
Through her work at GBLS Dennis has been able to get criminal
records sealed for hundreds of individuals, increasing their
opportunities to obtain a job, earn an education, and acquire
housing. Many of these individuals were able to escape poverty due
to her hard work and dedication. She also developed a criminal
record sealing clinic in the Bromley Heath public housing
development in Boston, which furthered her passion for helping
"I feel very fortunate that I'm able to advocate and be on the
front lines for these poor communities in Massachusetts," Dennis
says. "And because I'm from them myself and I have family and
friends who are still in these communities, I feel like I'm able to
have a direct effect on people's lives, and that is what motivates
me to keep going, even though it can be very stressful and
Dennis has also proven to be an effective mentor to her peers. At
GBLS she developed a lunch group for attorneys who are on
fellowships to come together as one and further their interests and
skills related to legal services. Dennis believes that this group
"is a great way for us to connect and problem solve." While keeping
busy with all of her projects, Dennis has also taken on a
leadership role by serving as a member of the legal services'
attorney of color coalition.
Dennis' impressive skills, as well as her strong passion to
empower others, have led to many successes already. And she's not
done yet. Her newest project is to explore the massive firings of
Uber drivers, as this issue appears to pertain to the new CORI