Court and Community News

Thursday, June 6, 2019
Nominations open for 2019 Adams Pro Bono Publico Awards; Bostwick selected for U.S. Bankruptcy Court


Nominations open for 2019 Adams Pro Bono Publico Awards

The Supreme Judicial Court’s Standing Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services is seeking nominations for the 2019 Adams Pro Bono Publico Awards, which recognize those in the legal community who have shown outstanding and exceptional commitment to providing unpaid legal services to those in need. The deadline for nominations is July 31.

The awards are presented annually to honor Massachusetts lawyers, law students, small and large law firms, government attorney offices, corporate law departments, law schools or other institutions in the legal profession that have improved the lives of clients in need by committing an extraordinary amount of their time and energies to provide volunteer legal services.

The committee will select awardees from among those who have excelled in providing volunteer services in one or more of the following ways:

  • Creating or participating in an activity or pro bono program that expands legal services to underserved segments of the population or fills a previously unmet need;
  • Successfully litigating pro bono cases that favorably affected the provision of other services to those in need; and/or
  • Successfully achieving legislation that contributed substantially to legal services for the disadvantaged. 

Click here to learn more about the award criteria and nomination guidelines. Submit nominations and all supporting materials by email to, referencing the 2019 Adams Awards in the subject line, or by mail to Chip Phinney, Deputy Legal Counsel, Supreme Judicial Court, John Adams Courthouse, Suite 2500, One Pemberton Square, Boston, MA 02108. The awards will be presented in a ceremony at the John Adams Courthouse on Oct. 24.

In addition to the awards program, the committee also administers the Pro Bono Honor Roll, a voluntary program that recognizes those law firms, solo practitioners, in-house corporate counsel offices, government attorney offices, non-profit organizations, law school faculties, and law students which certify that, in the relevant time period, they have performed a certain number of hours of pro bono legal work. Certifications are now being accepted for pro bono work performed in calendar year 2018. Learn more about the Adams Pro Bono Publico Awards and the Pro Bono Honor Roll on the court system's website.


Bostwick selected for U.S. Bankruptcy Court 

Chief Judge Jeffrey R. Howard of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit announced on June 5 that MBA member Janet E. Bostwick has been selected to fill the vacancy in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Massachusetts in Boston, created by Judge Joan N. Feeney's retirement. Bostwick will be appointed to the bankruptcy bench upon FBI clearance.

Bostwick has practiced bankruptcy law in Boston for more than 37 years. She received a Bachelor of Arts, in mathematics and economics, summa cum laude, from the University at Albany, State University of New York, and, in 1980, graduated from Cornell Law School with a juris doctor. Currently president and principal at her solo practice, Janet E. Bostwick, P.C., Bostwick focuses her practice on financially distressed businesses.

Bostwick is chair of the Pro Bono Committee of the American College of Bankruptcy Foundation and is a director of the Foundation, which has distributed more than $2 million in grants and other pro bono funding over the last five years. From 2005 to 2016, Bostwick served as co-chair of the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program, a collaboration between the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Massachusetts and the Boston Bar Association, through which attorneys and bankruptcy judges teach financial literacy to high school students. Bostwick is the 2016 recipient of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Massachusetts' Pro Bono Award.