A worthwhile invitation

Issue March 2006 By Warren Fitzgerald

I’ll tell you frankly that I didn’t fully comprehend the honor of being president of the Massachusetts Bar Association until I got here. For many years, I knew that being a member of one of the true professions meant more than going to work every day. I saw that the bar associations played important roles in providing access to justice and supporting the profession. I was aware of and participated in many MBA programs, committees and projects. And I aspired to this prestigious position. But I really didn’t realize until this year the magnitude of the contribution which the members of the MBA make to the public, our justice system and our profession. To view it in its totality is awe-inspiring.

The role which the MBA plays both within the profession and the public, is of course, defined by the contribution of each of its members. By that measure, the breadth and depth of the MBA’s undertakings are remarkably impressive. This year’s Annual Conference theme, “Shaping the Future of the Legal Profession,” is not a promotional catch phrase for a three-day event. Rather, it is a simple but fully accurate description of what the MBA is doing every day.

We serve the public, those who would be our clients as well as those who may never be. Our work in preserving access to justice, protecting the rights and liberties of individuals and giving a voice to the silent is necessarily at the core of our mission. We work with our courts and Legislature to protect and improve the ability of people to obtain justice. We assist with the representation of the defenseless. We take our message into the community and into the schools so that the importance of basic freedoms will be better understood and remembered.

We seek continually to improve the provision of justice by our judiciary. We educate as to the importance of the independence of the judiciary and are quick to defend this vital element of our democracy when necessary. We foster an appreciation for the high quality of our judges and invite evaluation of them so that the public’s interaction with our courts is and appears as fair and just as it can be. We work with our jurists to improve the manner in which the system dispenses justice to make it more readily available to all.

The freedoms of our citizens and the justice provided by our courts would not continue without a qualified, educated, trustworthy legal profession. We provide education to the youngest as well as the most experienced members of the bar. We equip lawyers with the tools needed to effectively practice and enjoy this profession. We work to effectively and fairly regulate our profession. We strive to include within the profession lawyers who will help us best represent the diverse public which we all serve. We explore new avenues by which the practice of law can be undertaken in an ever-changing world.

The MBA does these things and much, much more. Join me at the Annual Conference and see what the most dedicated volunteers in the legal profession and the most committed and professional association staff in the country are doing. You too will be inspired.