Lawyers Weekly, MBA honor lawyers, judges, media for “Excellence”

Issue March 2006 By Bill Archambeault

A dozen lawyers, judges and journalists were honored Feb. 16 at a celebration of “Excellence in the Law,” which was jointly sponsored by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly and the Massachusetts Bar Association.

Photo by David Spink
Probate & Family Court Judge Paula M. Carey talked about the need for judicial independence during her acceptance speech for the Daniel F. Toomey Excellence in the Judiciary Award as MBA President Warren Fitzgerald listens on.
Photo by David Spink
Gloria C. Larson, of counsel at Foley Hoag in Boston and a Lawyer of the Year recipient, talks with WCVB-TV midday anchor Susan Wornick and “Greater Boston” host Emily Rooney, the Excellence in Legal Journalism awardee.
Photo by David Spink
Catherine and Tim Bohn accept the commemorative award in honor of their late father Judge Robert H. Bohn Jr. following a special tribute delivered by Judge John Cratsley.
Held at the State Room, located at the top of 60 State St. with 20-foot-high windows overlooking Boston, the dinner celebration was hosted by Lawyers Weekly Publisher David L. Yas with a comedic touch.

But Yas turned serious when he told the audience, “We think lawyers receive enough criticism and it’s time to shine the light on the excellence of the profession.”

MBA President Warren Fitzgerald, in his introduction, said: “We honor the leaders who continue to set the highest standards of excellence in the profession.”

The event began with a special tribute to Superior Court Judge Robert H. Bohn Jr., who died in November after a 13-year struggle with cancer. Bohn served as an associate justice on the Superior Court since 1989. Superior Court Associate Justice John C. Cratsley presented the tribute, acknowledging Bohn’s family at the head table.

“How do we measure the life of Judge Robert Bohn?” Cratsley said. “Not by reading the appellate decisions, and not by searching for accolades from the bar… and hardly at all by scrutinizing his press coverage. A judge like Judge Bohn never shied away from difficult cases. What he did, day by day, was what was truly important to him.”

Cratsley recalled how his colleague had insisted on decorum and civility in the courtroom no matter how controversial the case, how he maintained a full schedule despite going for cancer treatments almost every Friday and how he devoted his time to students in Lawrence one day a week.

“Judge Bohn set a fine example for all of us for community service,” which, Cratsley said, helped define Bohn’s legacy.

“We say it so often in court, but it means so much tonight,” he said, “Thank you, judge. Thank you.”

Next, Fitzgerald introduced Emily Rooney, host and executive editor of WGBH-TV’s award-winning “Greater Boston” show, noting, “Emily Rooney’s journalistic expertise shines through on ‘Greater Boston.’”

In accepting the award, Rooney said, “In truth, many of the stories that we touch involve the expertise that you all have. It’s meaningful, not only to me as a journalist, but to the audience we serve. Without the impact of all of you, ‘Greater Boston’ wouldn’t be the in-depth program that it is.”

Fitzgerald also introduced Probate & Family Court Judge Paula M. Carey, recipient of the 2006 Daniel F. Toomey Excellence in the Judiciary Award.

“She is universally respected and appreciated,” Fitzgerald said, adding that Chief Justice for Administration and Management Robert A. Mulligan had told him that “there is certainly no jurist more deserving of this award than Judge Carey.”

In her remarks, Carey told the audience, “I can think of no greater honor than to be here tonight and to share recognition with lawyers who work hard every day representing clients, all toward achieving justice in our courts. I am truly humbled by the experience.”

Carey spoke about the importance of maintaining judicial independence.

“Judges are accountable to explain their decisions and make those explanations available to the litigants, the public, and yes, even the media. In providing those explanations, we are constrained by our Judicial Code of Conduct and are often limited to our written decisions and our oral rulings in the courtroom. I would like to thank the MBA for its new committee (on judicial independence), chaired by Ed Ryan, who have mobilized to help some of my colleagues where we cannot help ourselves. We appreciate that you are there to respond when we can’t.”

Yas concluded the evening by presenting Lawyers Weekly’s 2005 Lawyers of the Year to: Howard M. Cooper, Rosemary J. Cooper, Paul T. Dacier, Robert A. George, Christine M. Griffin, Patrick T. Jones, Gloria C. Larson, Barry S. Pollack, Michael C. Wilcox and John P. Zanini.

Excellence in Legal Journalism Award
Emily Rooney Host and executive editor, “Greater Boston”
WGBH-TV’s “Greater Boston” was launched in 1997 with Emily Rooney as host and executive editor. She has won a number of awards for her in-depth analysis of the issues, including the National Press Club’s Arthur Rowse Award for Press Criticism, a series of New England Emmy Awards and Associated Press recognition for best news/talk show for “Beat the Press” and “Greater Boston.”

In the last year, Rooney said “Greater Boston” has covered a host of legal issues, including three libel cases, that puts her in close contact with the legal profession.

“Our program is one of the only ones with the time and the opportunity to look at the issues,” Rooney said before accepting her award. “I’m not a lawyer, but I have the privilege of talking to lawyers all the time. I feel especially privileged that so many lawyers have agreed to come on the program. They’re the ones who educate our audience.”

Prior to launching “Greater Boston,” Rooney was director of political coverage and special events at the Fox network in New York from 1994 to 1997. Before that, she was the executive producer of “ABC World News Tonight” with Peter Jennings. From 1979 to 1993, Rooney worked at WCVB-TV in Boston, including three years as news director.

Daniel F. Toomey Excellence in the Judiciary Award
Judge Paula M. Carey Probate & Family Court
Before the Hon. Paula M. Carey was appointed to the bench in January 2001, she was a partner in Carey & Mooney PC, where she specialized in domestic relations matters. She is a magna cum laude graduate of New England School of Law.

In 2004, Carey received the Massachusetts Judges Conference’s “Probate & Family Court Department Judge of the Year” award.

“I can think of no greater place to be than in a family and probate court,” she said. “I’m proud to be a member of the Massachusetts judiciary.”

Carey is a frequent lecturer and author for continuing education programs run by the MBA, the Boston Bar Association and MCLE.

She belongs to the MBA (serving on the Family Law Section Council), the Boston Bar Association, the American Bar Association, the Massachusetts Family and Probate Inn of Court and the Women’s Bar Association.

“I think the world of the Massachusetts Bar,” Carey said. “It’s very humbling for me. I’m just a trial court judge that does my work every day without really knowing the effect I have.”