Rush O’Mara — from MBF Fellow to hands-on mentor — exudes generosity

Issue April 2010

by Evin Luongo

For nearly 20 years, Martha Rush O'Mara has been a solo-practitioner in the area of children's law in the Boston Juvenile Court and the Probate and Family Court. In 2003, when Rush O'Mara was serving as the president of the Massachusetts Association of Women Lawyers, she sat on the Massachusetts Bar Association's House of Delegates and was impressed by the networking and professional development opportunities the HOD offered.

Today, Rush O'Mara is the co-chair of the MBA's Juvenile & Child Welfare Law Section and an avid volunteer in the Massachusetts legal community.

In the midst of a busy work schedule, Rush O'Mara has made it a priority to dedicate her services to those individuals who are in need. Her history of public service began several years ago, when she became an MBA designee on the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation's Board of Directors - an organization that seeks to ensure that low-income people have adequate access to legal resources. Rush O'Mara has served on the MLAC board since 2005 and is the current chair.

Elizabeth Lynch, executive director of the Massachusetts Bar Foundation, the MBA's philanthropic partner, says Rush O'Mara shows "extraordinary dedication to helping the many people in our communities who need access to justice to obtain it."

Rush O'Mara has been a fellow with the MBF since 2005, and has been a welcome and effective advocate of the MBF's mission, Lynch said: "Martha contributes generously to the MBF, and she is among the first to volunteer to participate in the work we do, including the annual IOLTA grant review. She has truly played an integral part in strengthening the delivery of legal services throughout the state of Massachusetts."

Rush O'Mara's pro bono involvement has been extensive and diverse, ranging from her work with children at the Children's Law Center to law school graduates. Shireen Madan-Patton is one graduate who has benefited from Rush O'Mara's generosity and philanthropy.

When Madan-Patton came to a Juvenile & Child Welfare Section Council meeting for new lawyers, Rush O'Mara offered to help her transition from pediatrician to lawyer. Rush O'Mara took Madan-Patton to the Edward W. Brooke Courthouse in Boston to meet a few judges, introduced her to other attorneys and gave her advice about starting her own firm.

Equipped with the knowledge that Rush O'Mara had provided her, Madan-Patton soon became appointed guardian ad litem just a few months after being admitted to the Massachusetts Bar.

"What Martha did for me was extraordinary. I met Martha by chance at the MBA meeting, and her generosity with her time and knowledge has gotten me this guardian ad litem appointment," said Madan-Patton, who praises Rush O'Mara not only for her qualities as a mentor, but also as a friend. "I have been so lucky; with Martha's friendship, I now have someone to go to for advice and knowledge."