Appeals Court Chief Justice Rapoza receives Presidentís Award at NEBA

Issue December 2011

The Massachusetts Bar Association presented Massachusetts Appeals Court Chief Justice Phillip Rapoza with the MBA President's Award at the New England Bar Association's 41st Annual Meeting luncheon Oct. 21.

The MBA hosted the event at the Cranwell Resort, Spa and Golf Club in Lenox. Panelists from each of the six New England states participated in programs, and the conference included the passing of the gavel from MBA immediate Past President and 2011 NEBA President Denise Squillante to the Hon. Thomas A. Zonay, NEBA's 2012 president.

MBA President-elect Robert L. Holloway presented the President's Award, which honors local attorneys' service to the profession and their community.

"Chief Justice Rapoza is an outstanding jurist well respected in Massachusetts for his intellect, fairness and history of striving for ethnic and religious tolerance worldwide," Holloway said. "The MBA celebrates his contributions to both the legal community and the state of Massachusetts."

The President's Award is given to individuals who have made a significant contribution to the work of the MBA, to the preservation of MBA values, to the success of MBA initiatives and to the promotion of MBA leadership role within the legal community in Massachusetts.

Rapoza was appointed to the bench in 1998, and was appointed chief justice of the Appeals Court in 2006. He is a member of the Executive Committee of the U.S. Council of Chief Judges of the State Courts of Appeals and is also a life fellow of the Massachusetts Bar Foundation.

Prior to being appointed chief justice, Rapoza worked for the United Nations in East Timor as chief international judge on the Special Panels for Serious Crimes, a tribunal whose primary purpose is prosecuting crimes against humanity committed during Timor's fight for independence.

In 2002, the Portuguese government awarded him the rank of commander in the Order of Prince Henry the Navigator for his international work, and in 2007, he received the Municipal Medal of Merit from the town of Lagoa in the Azores, as well as the Brazilian Medal of International Merit. In 2009, Rapoza received the Alexander George Teitz Memorial Award