Issue February 2008

2008 Access to Justice Awards on March 6 named in honor of legal services champion Nancy King

This year’s MBA Access to Justice Awards are being dedicated to legal services luminary Nancy King, the executive director of the South Middlesex Legal Services in Framingham, who lost a 20-year battle with breast cancer on Dec. 18 at the age of 59.

State Rep. Byron Rushing, D-Boston, will give the keynote speech at the luncheon, which is being held March 6 at the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum in Boston. The event will honor King posthumously with the 2008 MBA Access to Justice Lifetime Achievement Award.

Rushing, who was first elected in 1982, is second assistant majority leader of the Massachusetts House of Representatives. His legislative priorities include human and civil rights, the advancement of democracy, economic and housing development and providing housing and health care for all.
Rushing was an original sponsor of the gay rights bill and the chief sponsor of the law to end discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in public schools. He is a spokesman against the restoration of the death penalty in Massachusetts. He successfully sponsored legislation to create a commission to develop a comprehensive plan to end homelessness in the commonwealth.

Former servicewoman focuses legal service practice on meeting veterans’ legal needs

Lisa LaFera majored in psychology and criminal justice at Middle Tennessee State University, taking classes part time while she served in the U.S. Air Force. During college, LaFera once asked one of her professors — a former public defender — about the best way to start a career as a paralegal.
“He said to me, ‘Lisa, why be a paralegal? Have you thought about going to law school?’ And the thought had never occurred to me,” LaFera recalled.

A few years later, she moved to Nashua, N.H., where she lived and worked while attending New England School of Law. After graduating from law school, she wasn’t sure exactly what she wanted to do. “I knew that I wanted to help and wanted to make more of a difference, but I wasn’t sure how,” she said.