Mass. Bar Foundation honors Judge Nancy Gertner at 2006 Annual Meeting

Issue March 2006

Over 150 Foundation Fellows, grantees and colleagues joined in the celebration at the Massachusetts Bar Foundation’s 2006 Annual Meeting, held Jan. 26 at the Social Law Library at the John Adams Courthouse in Boston. Speeches were given by U.S. District Court Judge Nancy Gertner and by the Irish Immigration Center’s executive director, Sister Lena Deevy. Special guest Massachusetts Chief Justice Margaret Marshall urged all to encourage a new generation of lawyers to be actively involved in bar activities.

U.S. District Court Judge Nancy Gertner is congratulated on her 2006 Great Friend of Justice Award by MBF President Francis A. Ford.
The MBF 2006 Executive Committee of Larry Johnson, Pamela Marsh, Carol Witt and Francis Ford, with Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Margaret H. Marshall, at the MBF Annual Meeting in January.
Gertner was presented the 2006 Great Friend of Justice Award. As MBF President Francis A. Ford of Worcester noted, “Judge Gertner’s extensive career in public service, lifelong commitment to equal justice and commitment to improving the administration of justice exemplify the mission of the MBF and the spirit of this award.”

Gertner also delivered the evening’s keynote address. She emphasized the importance of an independent judiciary and encouraged all members of the legal community to participate in the debates surrounding and protecting this necessary component of our society and government. “We have to begin to talk to the public…we have to work at being valued,” she said.

The grantee address by Deevy provided a firsthand view of the myriad of ways in which MBF funding helps individuals across the state every day. In 2005, the Irish Immigration Center assisted over 7,000 immigrations from all over the world. Said Deevy, “We remain committed to advocating strongly for immigrants’ rights and providing a safe haven for people to get help and find their own voice.”

The meeting also featured the recognition of over 80 new life members of the MBF Society of Fellows, a review of the year’s grant making activities and elections of new officers and trustees. The 2006 officers are: Francis A. Ford, Esq., president; Carol A. Witt, Esq., vice president; Lawrence M. Johnson, Esq., treasurer; and Pamela B. Marsh, Esq., secretary. The 2006 trustees are: Francis A. Ford, Esq.; Hon. Anne Geoffrion; Keyburn P. Hollister, Esq.; Wendy Sibbison, Esq.; and Anthony K. Stankiewicz, Esq.

MBA President Warren Fitzgerald introduced Marilyn Wellington, the MBA’s executive director and longtime MBF Fellow. Fitzgerald offered gratitude in his remarks when he said, “Thank you, Judge Gertner, for making the Constitution what it was meant to be. Thank you, Sister Deevy, for making America what it was meant to be. And to my fellow Fellows, thank you for making the legal profession what it was meant to be.”

Looking to the year ahead, Ford said, “I am honored to serve another term as president of the Massachusetts Bar Foundation. Working together, I know we will have another productive year as we ensure equal access to the legal system for our most vulnerable citizens and as we continue to support the hardworking men and women of the judiciary through our efforts to advance the administration of justice.”

Following the meeting, guests enjoyed a reception sponsored by US Trust. Robert Brink, executive director of the Social Law Library, provided private tours of the newly renovated courthouse.

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