The MBA celebrated the start of the 2017-18 association year at president Christopher P. Sullivan's reception on Sept. 13. Pictured from top: 2017-18 MBA leadership with SJC Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants; Justice Gants administers the oath of office to MBA President Christopher P. Sullivan; Sullivan and colleagues from Robins Kaplan LLP; and Sullivan and his family. Photos by Jeff Thiebauth.
Kicking off its 106th year, the Massachusetts Bar
Association welcomed Christopher P. Sullivan as its newest
president in an official ceremony and reception atop Boston's
Prudential Tower on Wednesday, Sept. 13.
Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants administered
the presidential oath of office to Sullivan, following introductory
remarks from MBA Chief Legal Counsel and Chief Operating Officer
Martin W. Healy, who praised Gants and Sullivan for their
leadership and celebrated the strong bond between bench and
With the entirety of the city directly below and sightlines
extending far beyond Boston's borders, the panoramic views from the
reception suggested a sense of interconnectedness that presaged the
theme of Sullivan's keynote remarks.
"Here in Massachusetts, we still refer to our state as the
'commonwealth,'" the new MBA president said. "The very name speaks
to the common good, our shared common interest and everything that
unites us. Today, however, we live in a time of division. We are
told that we should see the 'other' as different from us and
perhaps inferior to us."
Sullivan recalled Massachusetts' own John Adams and the fact
that Adams represented the British soldiers accused of perpetrating
the Boston Massacre in 1770. "We as attorneys serve our clients,
our judicial system and our profession," he elaborated. "We do not
serve ourselves. We are called upon to represent "others," even
when they are unpopular or even hated by the public at large."
Following this emphasis on the importance of lawyers being "men
and women for others" -- a motto of the Jesuit ethos that so
thoroughly informs his character -- Sullivan also laid the keystone
for his upcoming year at the helm of the MBA: the return to the
rule of law. "This concept is the foundation of our government. We
must embrace our historic bedrock legal principles: due process,
equality under the law and equal access to justice for all."
His remarks throughout the evening drew many knowing,
appreciative nods as he set his goals for the year, and this sense
of purpose-driven solidarity extended long after his speech had
concluded. When asked about his excitement for the upcoming year
under Sullivan's leadership, President-elect Christopher A. Kenney
had this to say: "Chris Sullivan is a sage. I don't say that only
because he's a senior member of the bar with 40-plus years of
practice, but he's got outstanding judgment. He's someone I look to
for advice, both personally and professionally. He is wise, he's
experienced, he's smart, he's practical … he's going to do great
things for the Mass. Bar."
- By Mike Flaim
Click here to view event photos.