Top: 2017 Annual Dinner Keynote Speaker: CNN senior analyst and best-selling author Jeffrey Toobin.
Second from top: 2017 MBA Leadership (from left): MBA Treasurer Christopher A. Kenney; President-elect Christopher P. Sullivan; MBA Chief Legal Counsel and Chief Operating Officer Martin W. Healy; Jeffrey Toobin; MBA Secretary Denise I. Murphy; MBA President Jeffrey N. Catalano; and MBA Vice President John J. Morrissey.
Middle (from left): MBA's 2017 Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. Scholarship Honoree Shayla Mombeleur; MBA 2017 President's Award Honoree David W. White Jr.; 2017 MBA Gold Medal Awardee Robert J. Muldoon Jr.; and 2017 Legislator of the Year Award Honoree Senate Ways and Means Chair Karen E. Spilka (D-Second Middlesex and Norfolk).
Bottom: 2017 Access to Justice Award Honorees.
By Malea Ritz
More than 1,000 members of the legal community gathered at the
Massachusetts Bar Association's 2017 Annual Dinner on May 4, to
celebrate a slate of honorees and hear the fascinating insights
into the U.S. Supreme Court from CNN senior analyst and
best-selling author Jeffrey Toobin, who gave the keynote
At the beginning of the evening, MBA President Jeffrey N.
Catalano addressed the sold-out crowd at the Westin Boston
Waterfront by acknowledging the numerous civic engagement efforts
that members of the MBA have assisted with over the past year,
including its Leadership Academy; programs like the Judicial Youth
Corps, Tiered Community Mentoring and Mock Trial; and the MBA's
MassBar Beat podcast, launched during his year.
"There are many fingerprints all over the great work we do. So
many of you have put the interest of others before yourself. And I
deeply appreciate that," Catalano said. "One thing that I've
learned is that Massachusetts lawyers, legislators and judges never
stop proving what we're capable of."
During the awards portion of the evening, the first presentation
went to Shayla Mombeleur, a third-year student at the University of
Massachusetts School of Law in Dartmouth, who was chosen to receive
the $10,000 Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. Scholarship. The President's
Award came next, presented to MBA Past President David W. White Jr.
of Breakstone, White & Gluck. Robert J. Muldoon Jr. of Sherin
and Lodgen LLP received the MBA Gold Medal Award, and Senate Ways
and Means Chair Karen E. Spilka received the Legislator of the Year
Following dinner, Access to Justice Awards were presented to
seven lawyers and one firm, including:
- The Defender Award: Rebecca Jacobstein, the Committee for
Public Counsel Services
- The Prosecutor Award: Kevin J. Curtin, Middlesex District
- The Pro Bono Publico Award: Andrew Troop, Pillsbury Winthrop
Shaw Pittman; and Christopher Mirick, Harvest Power Inc.
- The Legal Services Award: Brian Flynn, Greater Boston Legal
- The Pro Bono Award for Law Firms: K&L Gates, Boston
- The Rising Star Awards: Weayonnah Nelson-Davies, Community
Legal Aid; and Claire Valentin, the Children's Law Center of
During his ensuing keynote speech, Toobin's observations about
the history and influence of the U.S. Supreme Court showed why he
is considered one of the country's most esteemed experts on
politics, media and the law.
"It is often believed, and sometimes hoped, that the Supreme
Court represents a refuge from the political battles that we are so
familiar with. Well, I'm here to tell you, for better or for worse,
it's not true," he said.
Catalano wrapped up the night by thanking attendees, adding: "So
to repeat what I said at the beginning of this year, join us in
leadership. Because the MBA is the sum of the amazing people who
MBA Director of Media and Communications Jason Scally
contributed to this report.
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photos from the Annual Dinner.