MBA honors Justice Cowin, SHNS at Excellence in the Law

Issue July 2011 By Jennifer Rosinski

The Massachusetts Bar Association and Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly honored retired Supreme Judicial Court Associate Justice Judith A. Cowin with the Daniel F. Toomey Judicial Excellence Award and the State House News Service editorial team with the Excellence in Legal Journalism Award at the annual Excellence in the Law celebration at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston June 2.

"She set the standard for judicial excellence and leaves a lasting legacy that jurists throughout the commonwealth can look to for inspiration," MBA President Denise Squillante said of Cowin, who retired from the SJC in April following nearly 12 years of service to the state's highest court. "Prior to her service on the state's highest court, Justice Cowin sent eight years as an associate justice of the Massachusetts Superior Court. There she served alongside Judge Toomey, so she has a true sense of the man to whom this award pays tribute."

Receiving an award named for her colleague and friend, Daniel Toomey, makes the honor even more of a treasure, Cowin said. "Dan's career and mine were parallel for 20 or more years," she said.

Cowin said she was grateful for and humbled by the honor. "It really means a lot to me to have such prestigious organizations bestow an award on me," she said.

Squillante praised State House News Service as "highly reputable." The independent, privately owned wire service has enjoyed, like the MBA, a rich 100-year history. SHNS began with one scribe documenting House and Senate sessions, and has grown into a full-service organization.

"It is trusted by its subscribers as the primary source of information on legislative issues," Squillante said of SHNS.

"The ideals of a good journalist are the same as a good jurist," SHNS General Manager Craig Sandler said. "It is really meaningful to the team for you to recognize these ideals: fairness, truth, thoughtfulness and a level head."

The evening also included the distribution of a wide variety of honors, including Diversity Heroes, Up and Coming Lawyers and the 2011 Lawscars.