MBA Vice President Valerie A. Yarashus was honored by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly Sept. 20 when she was inducted into its "Up & Coming Lawyers" Hall of Fame.
The event, which was held at the Omni Parker House in Boston, attracted more than 200 people. The Massachusetts Bar Association was a gold sponsor of the event.
Yarashus, a partner at Sugarman and Sugarman PC in Boston, was named an Up & Coming Lawyer in 1997. Her practice concentrates on plaintiff's trial practice, including medical malpractice, product liability, construction site liability, motor vehicle liability and general liability cases.
"Our congratulations to Valerie Yarashus," said MBA President Mark D Mason. "Valerie is no longer a rising star in the MBA. She has become one of our foremost leaders. Her dedication and commitment to the bar are exemplary. Her ability to balance her professional and personal activities serves as a reminder as to the importance of maintaining such balance in our lives."
Lawyers Weekly Publisher and Editor-in-Chief David L. Yas praised Yarashus as "one of the most genuine lawyers you'll meet" and noted that those who work with her quickly consider her a friend.
"She's one of the good ones," he said. "If young lawyers are looking for a role model, Valerie is the quintessential example of a lawyer with integrity. She's just a good person."
Speaking about the importance of balancing an active personal life with a legal career, Yarashus described some of the interesting personal lives led by this year's class of 15 Up & Coming Lawyers, such as Leiha Macauley, an associate at Day, Berry & Howard, who has run marathons in places as far away as Budapest. The winners were chosen from nominees in practice 10 years or less.
"All 15 of you are clearly well on your way to being some of the most accomplished lawyers in Massachusetts, and so my thought is that you don't need more advice on how to succeed in your career," Yarashus said.
The MBA members chosen as Up & Coming Lawyers are: Elayne N. Alanis, Boston; Robert D. Dimler, Plymouth; Jessica A. Foster, Boston; Daniel C. Hill, Cambridge; Leiha Macauley, Boston; Mala M. Rafik, Boston; Barbara A. Robb, Boston; Julie A. Rougeau, Franklin; and Rheba Rutkowski, Boston.
"I deeply believe that the best lawyers tend to also be the people with the most interesting lives outside of the office," she said. "It is not only important for our own sense of well-being and enjoyment of life, but I do really think that it will make us better lawyers as well."
Yarashus explained that she balances her busy professional life by involving her family as much as possible and bringing her children with her whenever she can.
"It changes what I do in a really wonderful way," she said. "It is crucially important to me that my children - who are ages 11, 7 and 11 months - know I love my job and that I'm going to work every day so that I can help people who need help. This allows it to be a family project in the sense that they can be supportive and encouraging and understanding when I do need to work long hours."
Yarashus urged the 15 inductees to be involved in their bar associations, saying, "If you really care about shaping the future of the legal profession, it's essential that you get involved with one or more bar associations.
In addition to the MBA, Yarashus has been heavily involved with the Massachusetts Academy of Trial Attorneys, including serving as its president in 2002-03. In 2005, Yarashus was recognized by Boston magazine, in conjunction with Law and Politics, as one of the top 50 female attorneys in Massachusetts and as a "Super Lawyer" in the area of personal injury. Yarashus has been listed in the 2004-05 and 2005-06 editions of Best Lawyers in America and is the editor of MCLE's Massachusetts Personal Injury Sourcebook.
She earned her bachelor's degree from George Washington University in 1987 and her law degree from Harvard Law School in 1990.