Grace V.B Garcia is ceremonially sworn in as MBA president by Trial Court Chief Justice Jeffrey A. Locke at a reception following the HOD meeting.
A traditional “passing of the gavel” from Immediate Past Massachusetts Bar Association President Thomas M. Bond to current MBA President Grace V.B. Garcia kicked off the first meeting of the MBA’s 2022-23 House of Delegates (HOD) on Thursday, Sept. 29. The hybrid meeting, which was webcast from the MBA’s Boston office, featured a preview of the MBA’s agenda this year and reports from the American Bar Association’s Massachusetts delegate and the MBA Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee.
Giving her inaugural HOD President’s Report, Garcia presented Bond with an MBA-embossed chair and thanked her predecessor, an admiralty lawyer, for “captaining” the MBA last year, highlighting his efforts to improve diversity, equity and inclusion (“DEI”) in MBA programs, among other accomplishments.
Rather than change the MBA’s focus this year, Garcia said she would continue to build on Bond’s momentum and other successful MBA efforts, looking at “how we can continue to make measurable progress in the issues of DEI, well-being and upholding the rule of law.” She said the MBA will tackle the agenda from a different perspective, focusing on three areas of improvement, which she labeled the “Three Cs: communication, collaboration and community.”
Communication, Garcia explained, means looking at how the MBA communicates information to its members, to the public and to each other, including how to have better and more productive discussions on DEI issues. The focus on collaboration entails encouraging collaboration between section councils and with affinity bar associations, she added. The third “C,” community, is meant in the broadest sense of the word, Garcia said, noting that MBA will continue to focus on programs that support lawyer well-being as well as those that help people in our community at large.
Garcia concluded her report by announcing that the MBA has accepted a new class of the MBA’s Leadership Academy. She also encouraged people to take advantage of the MBA’s new Career Center and take part in volunteer opportunities, such as the monthly Dial-A-Lawyer program.
Next, MBA President-elect Damian J. Turco gave his report, noting that he and Garcia have already been holding meetings with section council leaders and affinity bar associations. He promoted the MBA’s Oct. 13 virtual tour of the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, which has been supported by many of those other associations and organizations, he said. Turco also said he would be attending the upcoming meeting of the New England Bar Association, where there will be a discussion of technology after the pandemic.
Following approval of the minutes from the May 2022 HOD meeting, which were introduced by new MBA Secretary Samuel A. Segal, MBA Chief Legal Counsel and Chief Operating Officer Martin W. Healy offered a recap on the passage of the IT Bond Bill for the courts, which had been an MBA priority. He also mentioned the regular, ongoing meetings of the Joint Bar Committee and thanked committee members for their efforts, including current Chair Garrett Lee from the Boston Bar Association.
Looking ahead, Healy announced that this year’s State of the Judiciary Address would be webcast on Nov. 15, and feature a panel of court officials including Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Kimberly S. Budd. There will be an opportunity for lawyers to submit questions for the panel in advance, he added.
Lisa Arrowood, the new ABA state delegate for Massachusetts, then gave her first report to HOD members, explaining how the MBA and other bar associations can submit resolutions to be voted on by the ABA’s House of Delegates. She praised the past work of the late Kevin Curtin, a former ABA delegate and MBA member who was instrumental in the passage of several criminal justice resolutions at the ABA. Arrowood later shared a Report on the ABA Annual Meeting from the Select Committee of the ABA House of Delegates, which is available here for people to read.
The MBA’s DEI Committee (DEIC) wrapped up the meeting with a report from DEIC Co-chair Shayla Mombeleur, who thanked Turco for setting up the Oct. 13 program with the National Civil Rights Museum and noted that the DEIC is co-sponsoring the Oct. 19 CLE about the state’s Peace Officers Standards and Training (POST) Commission. Mombeleur said the DEIC is looking forward to increasing its presence on the MBA’s website this year and also hoping to collaborate with other organizations on an event related to next year’s Juneteenth celebration.
Following the HOD meeting, a reception was held at the Boston Harbor Hotel where Garcia was ceremonially sworn in as MBA president by Trial Court Chief Justice Jeffrey A. Locke following an introduction by MBA Past President Christopher A. Kenney.