Member Spotlight

Issue June 2006

Lisa M. Cukier, a partner at Burns & Levinson LLP, received the MBA’s Community Service Award at the Massachusetts Lesbian and Gay Bar Association’s Annual Dinner at the Royal Sonesta Hotel in Cambridge on May 5. MBA President Warren Fitzgerald presented Cukier the award.

“It is my distinct pleasure to be here this evening to honor a woman who has dedicated her time, talent and energy to representing those whose voices have not been heard and advancing the cause for those who have too long been denied the recognition and rights they deserve,” Fitzgerald told the gathering.

Cukier, who is co-chair of MLGBA, has “worked tirelessly” to promote legislative and administrative reforms to eliminate discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity and expression.

A frequent lecturer, Cukier mentors students and colleagues as a faculty member at Suffolk University Law School, at the Massachusetts Bar Institute and for Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education.

She also serves as president of the Massachusetts Family and Probate Inn of Court, on the board of directors of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and the board of editors of Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly.

She has also served as assistant general counsel for the Department of Mental Health and assistant general counsel for the Western Massachusetts Region of the Department of Mental Retardation.

“MBA’s Community Service Award is presented to attorneys who have made important public service contributions to their communities. It is an opportunity to shine a light on those in our fine profession who are caring, involved citizens, eager to use their legal skills to better society. Lisa Cukier exemplifies just that.”

Worcester-based Bowditch & Dewey LLP recently named Louis M. Ciavarra the firm’s managing partner. Ciavarra assumes responsibility for setting the firm’s strategic direction and shepherding its continued growth.

At 47 years old, Ciavarra is the youngest managing partner at the firm, which also has offices in Boston and Framingham. An intellectual property lawyer, Ciavarra has worked with national financial institutions and regional high technology companies.

As the firm’s longtime hiring partner and a member of its management committee, Ciavarra has worked to expand Bowditch & Dewey’s size and scope.

Upon becoming managing partner, Ciavarra announced the establishment of the Bowditch Institute for Women’s Success, a consulting subsidiary of Bowditch & Dewey that will collaborate with other professional services firms to provide coaching and alternatives to institutional support that will result in women staying in the profession and achieving greater success.

Ciavarra has served as president of the Federal Bar Association, District of Massachusetts and chairman of the Federal Court Committee, Worcester Bar Association and is a member of the U.S. Federal Court Advisory Committee.

Two MBA members, Halim Moris and Annapoorni Sankaran, were featured recently in Massachusetts Super Lawyers: Rising Stars 2006 edition.

Halim Moris, who was a staff attorney concentrating on immigration law at Greater Boston Legal Services in Boston before launching his own firm late last year, Moris & O’Shea.

“Anna” Sankaran, an attorney at Greenberg Traurig LLP in Boston, represents institutional and individual clients in the areas of business and commercial litigation, ERISA and employee benefits, bankruptcy and complex bankruptcy litigation, antitrust and consumer protection, intellectual property, unfair competition and trade practices and business torts.

Paul P. O’Connor, a partner in the Worcester law firm Milton, Laurence & Dixon, received the MBA Community Service Award on May 2 from MBA President Warren Fitzgerald.

In his remarks at the Worcester County Bar Association, Fitzgerald noted O’Connor’s extensive volunteer efforts with: the Boy Scouts of America; Chandler Elementary School; as a Mock Trial judge at South High School; teaching CCD at his local parish; and working on fundraising projects for the Dollars for Scholars program.

He also volunteers at the Nazareth Home for Boys, which provides residential and day special education services for children, and at the Genesis House in Worcester, which assists the mentally ill find employment, housing and friendships.

Professionally, O’Connor has served in the MBA’s House of Delegates and the Supreme Judicial Court’s Pro Bono Legal Services Committee, working to promote volunteer legal work in Massachusetts to help people of limited means in need of legal representation.

He has chaired the Worcester County Bar Association’s Lawyer Emergency Assistance Committee, providing aid, advice and emergency services to attorney members who have been disabled and are unable to continue to practice.

“My brief remarks this morning can’t possibly capture the full impact of Paul’s service to his community,” Fitzgerald said. “Quite simply, his selfless offering of his time and talents is an inspiration.”

The Supreme Judicial Court recently announced the reappointment of Essex County Juvenile Court Judge Michael F. Edgerton to the Advisory Committee on Ethical Opinions for Clerks of the Courts. His term will expire on May 1, 2011.

The justices also reappointed attorney Richard C. Van Nostrand of Northborough to the board of directors of the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation (MLAC). His term will expire on April 1, 2011.

Created in 1990, the Advisory Committee on Ethical Opinions for Clerks of the Courts renders opinions to clerks, registers and their assistants and individuals nominated to be clerks who seek advice regarding the Code of Professional Responsibility for Clerks of the Courts.

Prior to his appointment to the bench in 1996, Edgerton served in the Administrative Office of the Trial Court for 17 years, first as legal counsel, then as general counsel and director of the legal department. He was also special assistant attorney general from 1994 to 1996. From 1976 to 1978, he was executive secretary to the chief justice of the Probate and Family Court.

He served as a member of the board of directors of the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation from 1983 to 1996, and was treasurer, vice-chairman and chairman of the board. He has served on numerous court committees and has participated in a variety of trial practice and educational programs. Edgerton teaches on the adjunct faculty of the Massachusetts School of Law. He received a J.D degree and an L.L.M. degree from Suffolk University Law School and a B.A. from St. Michael’s College.

Van Nostrand, who was reappointed to a seat designated for unpaid directors of qualified legal services programs, is a partner in Worcester’s Mirick, O’Connell, DeMallie & Lougee LLP.

Established in 1983, the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation provides financial support to legal assistance programs for persons involved in civil legal matters who cannot afford representation.

Van Nostrand is a Massachusetts delegate to the House of Delegates of the American Bar Association and a fellow of the Massachusetts Bar Foundation. He is a member and former president of the Worcester County Bar Foundation, the Worcester County Bar Association, the Massachusetts Bar Association and the New England Bar Association.

He formerly served as a trustee of Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education. Van Nostrand has been active in the United Way of Central Massachusetts, having served on the board of directors for eight years, and the Legal Assistance Corporation of Central Massachusetts, where he was on the board of directors for five years. He holds a B.A. from Binghamton University and a J.D. degree from Duke University School of Law.

The Supreme Judicial Court recently appointed two new members, attorneys Margaret R. Guzman of Worcester and Arnold R. Rosenfeld of Acton, to the Committee for Public Counsel Services for three-year terms that expire March 1, 2009.

The Committee for Public Counsel Services, composed of 15 members appointed by the SJC, plans, coordinates and oversees the delivery of legal services to indigent clients in criminal and certain non-criminal matters.

In private practice since 2005, Guzman first served as a trial attorney for 13 years in the Public Defender Division of the Committee for Public Counsel Services in Worcester. She is a member of the Massachusetts Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and was on the board of directors in 2001. She is also a former member of the Massachusetts Association of Hispanic Attorneys. Guzman earned a B.A. degree, magna cum laude, from Clark University, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa. She received a J.D. degree from Boston University School of Law.

Rosenfeld is Of Counsel to Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Nicholson Graham LLP in Boston. Prior to joining the firm in 1999, he served for eight years as chief bar counsel for the Board of Bar Overseers of the Supreme Judicial Court. He also served as chief counsel of the Committee for Public Counsel Services, deputy chief counsel for the Massachusetts Defenders Committee, and executive director of the Committee on Criminal Justice. A former member of the Supreme Judicial Court Advisory Committee on Criminal Rules, he currently serves on the Court’s Standing Committee on the Rules of Professional Conduct.

From 1991 to 1999, he was a member of the National Organization of Bar Counsel, and he served as chair of the Massachusetts Criminal History Systems Board from 1972 to 1975. Rosenfeld is a visiting professor at Boston University Law School and an adjunct professor at Northeastern University Law School. He graduated with a J.D. degree from Boston College Law School and an A.B., cum laude, from Bowdoin College.