MBA Public and Community Services Director Elizabeth O’Neil (left) and WCBA president-elect Geoffrey E. Spofford.
Massachusetts Bar Association Director of Public and Community Services Elizabeth O’Neil was honored with the 2020 Liberty Bell Award by the Worcester County Bar Association (WCBA) at its virtual Law Day Celebration on April 30. The WCBA’s Liberty Bell Award recognizes individuals who are not attorneys who promote understanding of the law, encourage a greater respect for the law and the courts, and stimulate a sense of civic responsibility among citizens.
A senior member of the staff who celebrated her 35th anniversary working at the MBA this year, O’Neil manages the department that oversees MBA programs, such as the award-winning Tiered Community Mentoring Program, Judicial Youth Corps, Mock Trial Program, Lawyer Referral Service, Elder Law Education Program and Dial-A-Lawyer.
In the letter announcing the award, WCBA Executive Director Sandra M. DiLuzio wrote that O’Neil was awarded for her "commitment in promoting understanding of the law to young citizens throughout Massachusetts through your outstanding efforts in administering the MBA Mock Trial Competition, the Judicial Youth Corps and the Tiered Mentoring Program."
MBA Chief Legal Counsel and Chief Operating Officer Martin W. Healy congratulated O’Neil on behalf of her colleagues at the bar: "For the past 35 years as a member of our MBA family, Beth has been an incredible ambassador for us, whether working with our attorney volunteers or other community partners. I am grateful for her leadership on some of our most important public and community service programs, and I am very pleased to see her hard work and dedication recognized by others. All of her colleagues here at the MBA are very proud of Beth, and we thank our friends at the Worcester County Bar Association for recognizing her with this well-deserved award."
O’Neil received her award this year after the WCBA’s 2020 Law Day Breakfast was postponed at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. To accept her award, she traveled to Worcester where she received a commemorative plaque from WCBA President-elect Geoffrey E. Spofford, who also serves as chair of the MBA’s Tiered Community Mentoring Program’s Worcester Committee.
"Geoff, thank you for presenting this prestigious award to me today. It means so much to have you as the one to present this to me since we have worked so closely together over these last few decades on so many community and public service initiatives," said O’Neil. "I also want to thank the current Worcester County Bar Association President Terry McLaughlin and Past President Robert White. Additionally, thank you to the 2020 Law Day Committee, Executive Director Sandra DiLuzio, and the many Worcester attorneys that I have come to know over these years."
She also thanked her MBA colleagues, including Healy and MBA President Denise Murphy and her fellow MBA officers, for their support, adding, "I would like to give special thanks to the LRS and Community Service Department staff because I have the honor of working with them each and every day. Without them, I would not be here today. They are truly the best team a person could work with."