Access to Justice Section Council nominates award recipients

Issue December 2003

The MBA will honor with this year's Access to Justice Section Council awards several attorneys who dedicate their careers to helping others and enhancing the legal profession. The House of Delegates at its Nov. 13 meeting approved the nominations of attorneys and one law firm, who will receive the awards during the Access to Justice Section Council Luncheon on Friday, Jan. 23, 2004, during Annual Conference 2004.

Award recipients are Lynn Whitney, Pro Bono Publico Award; Daniel E. Callahan, Defender Award; John E. Willshire-Carrera, Legal Services Award; Mary E. Sawicki, Prosecutor Award; and Lian, Zarrow, Eynon & Shea, Pro Bono Law Firm Award.

Lynn Whitney, Pro Bono Publico Award

Formerly a staff attorney with Southeastern Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corp., Whitney of New Bedford has worked as a solo practitioner since 1985 with a general practice focusing on civil, criminal and probate matters. For 20 years Lynn has performed significant pro bono services in a number of difficult family law matters through SMLAC from 1983-96 and then through New Center for Legal Advocacy.

A ready participant in training seminars and an active recruiter of other volunteers, Whitney has donated hundreds of hours of free services that have enabled victims of domestic violence and their families to be free of fear of abuse. She also has obtained and maintained orders of child support, is president of the Bristol County Bar and a member of the MBA House of Delegates.

Daniel E. Callahan, Defender Award

Callahan, the attorney in charge of the Lowell office of the Committee for Public Counsel Services, is receiving the Defender Award for his significant contributions to clients and other attorneys. He has worked for CPCS since 1978, many of those years as lead attorney for the Lowell office, and is very active in the Greater Lowell Bar Association.

Callahan does not take credit for the many things he does so well. He has given advice to hundreds of lawyers over the years, often just sitting through a new lawyer's trial to give the attorney pointers after the fact. Extremely active in continuing legal education, Callahan is well respected throughout the Greater Lowell area.

John E. Willshire-Carrera,
Legal Services Award

Willshire-Carrera of Boston, a senior attorney in the immigration unit at Greater Boston Legal Services, is receiving the Legal Services Award for his work for decades on human rights and immigration issues at Greater Boston Legal Services, Cambridge & Somerville Legal Services and in the community. Recognized both in Massachusetts and nationally as an outstanding immigration lawyer, Willshire-Carrera receives the highest praise from his legal service colleagues, private practitioners and the staff at both the National Lawyer's Guild Immigration Project and the American Immigration Lawyer's Association.

The Access to Justice Section Council is recognizing Willshire-Carrera for his work on the national stage and his selfless work on behalf of large numbers of individuals. He is known for going anywhere at anytime for community outreach and education on immigration issues. His combination of dedication and expert advocacy has provided a model of service for hundreds of students at the Harvard Immigration Law Clinic.

Mary E. Sawicki, Prosecutor Award

Sawicki of Worcester, this year's recipient of the Prosecutor Award, worked initially as staff counsel in the office of the District Attorney for the Middle District, but has been chief of the Worcester District Attorney's Child Abuse and Sexual Assault Unit for more than 10 years. Responsible for prosecuting crimes against children, Sawicki also organizes and presents numerous educational programs to area school and community groups.

Sawicki participates in the Disabled Persons Protection Unit, the Child Fatality Review Team and the Child Protection Team at UMASS Memorial Medical Center. Sawicki also teaches criminal justice at Assumption College. A former member of the Judicial Nominating Committee for Central Massachusetts, Sawicki is very active in the Worcester County Bar's Community Service Programs involving the poor and homeless and the Thomas More Society. She recently was elected to the Worcester County Bar Association's Executive Committee.

Lian, Zarrow, Eynon & Shea,
Pro Bono Law Firm Award

Lian, Zarrow, Eynon & Shea, this year's recipient of the Pro Bono Law Firm Award,

is a nine-member firm whose members serve on at least one of the three active pro bono panels in the Worcester area. Many of its members serve on all three panels and each carries a regular pro bono caseload of at least half a dozen.

In addition to individual referrals, many of the firm members also participate in the Worcester Probate Court's Lawyer for a Day as well as the Harry Zarrow Homelessness Project, a project named after one of the firms founding members. Lian, Zarrow is the "go to" firm for the local Volunteer Lawyer's Project. The firm has demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to the development and support of pro bono programs, and to the provision of pro bono legal services.

The annual Access to Justice Awards Luncheon is co-sponsored by the Massachusetts Bar Foundation. Tickets to the luncheon are included in the Annual Conference 2004 full-conference and Friday registration fees. Single tickets may be purchased for $75 each, of which $20 is a tax-deductible contribution to the Massachusetts Bar Foundation. Conference attendees may make a contribution to the Foundation at the luncheon. For more details on the event, please see the Annual Conference 2004 special section in this issue.

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