Top: The Access to Justice Award winners with MBA President-elect Grace V.B. Garcia and Access to Justice Section Council Chair Elizabeth A. Soulé. Front row, from left: Harvey Weiner of Pro Bono Award for Law Firms winner Peabody & Arnold; Garcia; Soulé; Defender Award winner Adrian Angus; and Lifetime Achievement Award winner Jayne Tyrrell. Back row, from left: Legal Services Award winner Sarah Levy; Race, Equity and Inclusion Award winners Debbie Freitas and Cristina Freitas of Freitas & Freitas LLP; Legal Services Award winner Stephen Matthews; and Pro Bono Publico Award winner Martin R. Rosenthal.
Bottom: Former Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy III delivers the keynote address.
The Massachusetts Bar Association honored eight attorneys and two law firms with Access to Justice Awards during an event keynoted by former Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy III at the Sheraton Framingham on June 15.
Following a virtual ceremony in 2021, this year’s in-person program featured opening remarks by MBA President-elect Grace V.B. Garcia and Elizabeth A. Soulé, chair of the Access to Justice Section Council, which evaluates and selects candidates for the awards. Soulé joined fellow section council members in announcing the winners before introducing Kennedy, who is now the managing director of Citizens Energy.
A Harvard Law School graduate and one-time Massachusetts assistant district attorney, Kennedy praised the honorees for their efforts to ensure equal justice for all and said that he strived to achieve the same goal while serving in Congress.
“We salute your commitment to our commonwealth and our country. Your work in and out of the courtroom on behalf of those whose voices are often left unheard, who struggle to find their way in legal mazes that can be designed by minotaurs of injustice, has made our nation a better place,” Kennedy said.
Relating his own experience to that of the award recipients, Kennedy said the most valuable lessons he learned in law school stemmed from his involvement in the Harvard Legal Aid Clinic, where he worked with tenants facing eviction. Amid a growing foreclosure crisis that left many families at risk of losing their homes, Kennedy cited the availability of legal representation as the great equalizer in housing court proceedings.
“What separated those who came through that system with a better outcome than those who didn’t was very simple: the presence of a lawyer,” Kennedy said.
Prior to and following the speaking portion of the program, attendees enjoyed a networking reception with cocktails and hors d'oeuvres.
Congratulations to the 2022 Access to Justice Award winners:
Click here to view event images by Jeff Thiebauth.
- Legal Services Award: Sarah Levy, Greater Boston Legal Services, Boston
- Legal Services Award: Stephen Matthews, MetroWest Legal Services, Framingham
- Rising Star Award: Hannah Tanabe, Greater Boston Legal Services, Boston
- Pro Bono Publico Award: Martin R. Rosenthal, Law Offices of Martin R. Rosenthal, Boston
- Pro Bono Award for Law Firms: Peabody & Arnold, Boston
- Prosecutor Award: Becky Michaels, Northwestern District Attorney’s Office, Northampton
- Defender Award: Adrian Angus, Committee for Public Counsel Services, Worcester
- Race, Equity and Inclusion Award: Freitas & Freitas LLP, Cristina Freitas and Debbie Freitas, Lowell
- Lifetime Achievement Award: Jayne Tyrrell, Massachusetts IOLTA Committee (ret.), Boston
- Lifetime Achievement Award: Christopher Kauders (posthumous)