2020-21 MBA President Denise I. Murphy
Attorney Denise I. Murphy has been elected president of the Massachusetts Bar Association for the 2020-21 association year, which begins on Sept. 1. In her year as president, Murphy will emphasize the MBA’s role as an ally to lawyers from diverse backgrounds, with a focus on welcoming and giving voice to those who have felt disenfranchised during their time in the profession. Murphy will also build on her work as co-chair of the Supreme Judicial Court Standing Committee on Lawyer Well-Being by developing the MBA into a wellness resource for all Massachusetts attorneys.
"This is a year of great challenge and even greater opportunity for our profession," Murphy said. "Working together with open minds, I believe that we can open lines of communication and create bridges among the multiple voices of our profession."
Murphy is a partner at the law firm of Rubin and Rudman LLP in Boston and co-chair of its Labor and Employment Department. In her practice, she counsels regional and national businesses on a broad variety of employment law-related issues; litigates sexual harassment, discrimination and wage and hour claims; conducts independent investigations into workplace discrimination and harassment claims; and drafts a multitude of employment contracts, severance agreements, handbooks and policy statements.
In addition to serving as MBA president, Murphy is also member of the MBA’s Executive Management Board and Budget & Finance Committee. As a member of the MBA’s COVID Response Task Force, created in response to the unprecedented global pandemic, Murphy led the Law Practice Management & Employment Issues Working Group’s efforts to address employment issues related to the COVID crisis for small- and medium-sized firms.
In 2019, Murphy served as the MBA representative on the Supreme Judicial Court’s Steering Committee on Lawyer Well-Being, which released a report detailing recommendations impacting the state of lawyer well-being in the commonwealth. In 2020, Murphy was named co-chair of the SJC’s Standing Committee on Lawyer Well-Being, which coordinates efforts to address the steering committee’s recommendations to improve the working life of lawyers. These efforts are geared toward attorneys practicing in all areas of the law throughout the commonwealth to address the unique influences of the legal profession that contribute to attorney anxiety, stress, isolation, mental health challenges and substance use disorders.
From 2015-16, Murphy was the chair of the Joint Bar Committee on Judicial Appointments and she continues to serve as an active member of the JBC. She previously served as the chair of the MBA’s Labor & Employment Section and participated in the MBA Task Force on Employment Opportunities, Task Force on the Court System’s Anniversary Fee Assessment, and the September 11th Committee’s Conversations on Law and Liberty Program.
In addition to her work with the MBA, Murphy is a mentoring circle leader for the Women’s Bar Association; a former member of the board of directors of the Massachusetts Defense Lawyers Association, where she remains an active member; a former member of the Massachusetts Bar Foundation’s IOLTA Grant Review Committee; and a group leader for Christmas in the City. Murphy was recently a co-chair of the two-year-long Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers' Chief Counsel Search Committee.
Murphy was inducted into Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly's Top Women of Law Circle of Excellence in November 2019, one of five women in the commonwealth chosen that year for this honor. In 2015, she was honored as one of the Top Women of Law by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, and as one of Boston’s Top Rated Lawyers by The Boston Globe. In 2011, Murphy was awarded the MBA’s Centennial Award, celebrating her service to the profession and her community. She has been listed as one of Boston Magazine’s Top 50 Women Attorneys and as a Super Lawyer by Super Lawyers since 2008.
Murphy graduated from the University of Massachusetts Boston in 1980. She received her J.D. from Suffolk University Law School in 1988, where she served as editor of the Suffolk University Law Review. Murphy lives in Westwood with her husband, David W. White, who also served as president of the MBA from 2007-08. They are the first married couple to serve as president in MBA history.
Alongside Murphy, the other 2020-21 MBA officers include President-elect Thomas M. Bond, Vice President Grace V.B. Garcia, Treasurer Damian J. Turco and Secretary Victoria Santoro Mair. Martin W. Healy is the MBA’s chief legal counsel and chief operating officer.
Click here to read the press release announcing Murphy’s presidency.
Click here to learn more about the 2020-21 officers.