The Massachusetts Bar Association will honor five attorneys and
one law firm at the Access to Justice Awards Luncheon May 18 for
their efforts in providing exemplary legal services to the public.
Lt. Gov. Timothy P. Murray will deliver the keynote address and be
honored with an MBA Centennial Award. The noon event will be held
at the Boston Sheraton.
Murray will be presented with the MBA's Centennial Award, which
has been and will continue to be bestowed across the state
throughout the MBA's 100th anniversary commemoration.
As lieutenant governor, he works closely with Gov. Deval Patrick
on important issues facing the commonwealth, chairs 10
policy-related councils (and co-chairs an 11th) and is the
administrative liaison to cities and towns. Murray previously
served as mayor of Worcester for three terms and sat on the
Worcester City Council.
A Worcester native, Murray earned his bachelor's degree at Fordham
University, then put himself through law school attending classes
at night while working days as a substitute school teacher and an
advocate for homeless families. Murray earned his law degree from
the Western New England College School of Law in Springfield and
became a partner in the Worcester firm of Tattan, Leonard and
The MBA's Centennial Award is given to persons of extraordinary
achievement who materially advanced the rule of law, enhanced the
integrity of lawyers, judges or the legal profession, engaged in
important legal scholarship, or protected the democratic principles
upon which our country is founded.
MBA Access to Justice Section Chair Jayne Tyrrell and Vice Chair
Charles Vander Linden presented the report of the Access to Justice
Award nominees at the March meeting of the MBA's House of
Delegates, who unanimously approved the following roster of
attorneys to be recognized at the May 18 luncheon.
"These lawyers are a source of inspiration to all of us for their
tireless commitment to helping the commonwealth's most needy
individuals," said MBA President Denise Squillante. "We applaud and
congratulate their hard work on behalf of access to
Legal Services Award
Daniel S. Manning
Greater Boston Legal Services, Boston
Daniel S. Manning went to law school -- graduating from
Boston University Law School in 1973 -- to be a legal aid
"In that era, there was a lot of belief that you could fight
poverty and make a difference in people's lives," said Manning,
who's worked for Greater Boston Legal Services his entire career
and now oversees major projects as director of litigation.
In collaboration with other groups, for example, he helped settle
class action lawsuits with the Massachusetts Bay Transportation
Authority, in 2006, and two local hospitals, in 2009, to improve
access for people with disabilities.
"That's the promise of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and
we're trying to make that a reality. There's a great deal of
satisfaction in seeing something work that didn't work before," he
For 15 years, Manning has spent a couple of weeks a year away from
GBLS training and advising legal aid workers in countries with
fewer resources or government structure to assist them.
"I've learned a lot from it," he said. "Advocacy is needed on
behalf of poor people everywhere and I've been fortunate enough to
be involved in some of that. I've been really impressed by how
small legal aid organizations have made a big difference. Using
basic advocacy skills, they're able to make a difference, which is
very inspiring to see."
While there may be fewer obstacles for legal aid workers here,
funding shortfalls have hit hard.
"These are very difficult times for Greater Boston Legal Services
because of funding. That's a reality, that we've got more people
needing our help and fewer people to provide that help. We need all
the support we can get. These are vital times for legal services,
and difficult times."
Manning appreciates the award. "I've had so many colleagues who
deserve this kind of recognition as well. It's been a collaborative
effort throughout my career, and I appreciate the recognition for
my part of it."
Legal Services Award
Linda L. Landry
Disability Law Center, Boston
Disability Law Center Senior Attorney Linda J. Landry has always
worked for nonprofit organizations, but she finds helping the
disabled particularly rewarding. Even though she doesn't get to
handle as many cases as she'd like because of her administrative
duties, she appreciates that it's an area where she can see
results, whether it's changing policies or winning cases.
"I always liked doing the disability benefit work because you can
win real money for people," she said. "I love working with the
disability community, it's very collegial and we do some
After graduating from Northeastern University School of Law in
1981, she went to work for the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute,
then joined Neighborhood Legal Services in Lynn, where she
represented individuals with cases involving Social Security,
Supplemental Security Income, Medicare and Medicaid, unemployment
compensation and housing issues.
Landry is in her 20th year at the Disability Law
Center, a resource center for policy work, technical assistance to
legal services lawyers, community advocates and others assisting
the poor. The center provides local training, writes articles and
contributes amicus briefs, along with generally helping organize
and advise those handling disability cases.
"It's the bringing together of people who do the work, to answer
their questions, and raise questions, do trainings."
Related to her duties at the center is the SSI Coalition, an
association of legal services and private attorneys working for
disabled and indigent citizens that was founded in 1983.
Landry, who also provides training for consumer groups and legal
and social services agencies, has received the National
Organization of Social Security Claimants Representatives
Distinguished Service Award.
"It's quite an honor," she said of the MBA's Legal Services Award.
"I don't think I do flashy work, and I wouldn't have expected to
get this. I'm humbled."
Pro bono publico award
Eleanor J. Newhoff
Newhoff Law, Cambridge
As an art history major in college, Eleanor J. Newhoff did
volunteer work in St. Louis, where she saw firsthand that people
needed professional legal help. So she went to law school to help
"I had volunteered in the community and saw the need," she said.
"I realized that advocacy was something I really liked and made a
difference in people's lives."
Focusing on immigration law, Newhoff joined the Immigration and
Human Rights Unit of Greater Boston Legal Services while
maintaining a private practice in Cambridge. She focused
exclusively on private practice in 2000, but with an unusual
devotion to those in need.
"I don't turn people away if I see that they have nowhere else to
go," said Newhoff, who maintains around 20 pro bono cases at a
time. Some are complex family cases involving women subjected to
violence, but even the simpler ones can have a significant impact,
"Some of these cases are a huge investment of time, and some I
might put in 10 hours of time, but it will change their
Newhoff said she was surprised to receive the MBA award.
"You do something for so many years … it was a wonderful thing. I
feel wonderful about it, but I can't say understand it."
Newhoff added that she's glad the awards are given, since it draws
attention to the need for pro bono work. It's great when a lawyer
handles a single pro bono case a year, she said, but "why not
five?" She said she'd love to see lawyers take on more pro bono
cases, participate in lawyer-for-a-day programs or find other ways
to help people of limited means.
"I think there should be awards of this kind," she said. "People
should be encouraged to do pro bono."
Committee for Public Counsel Services
Radha Natarajan knew she wanted to pursue public interest law
before she was admitted to New York University School of Law. It
was her work with a federal judge in New York that guided her to
begin a career in criminal justice.
"I wanted to make a difference. It came from my ethos, my parents,
my upbringing," said Natarajan.
While reviewing federal trial transcripts associated with
habeas corpus petitions as part of an internship, she was
struck with a feeling of injustice. "From there I chose to pursue
criminal work at the trial level. This is where the basic rights
and liberties are determined," said Natarajan, who currently serves
as the vice chair of the MBA's Criminal Justice Section.
Through her current work as a public defender in the Somerville
Superior Court office for the Committee for Public Counsel
Services, Natarajan represents indigent persons charged with felony
offenses in Cambridge, Somerville, Malden, Woburn and Middlesex
Natarajan considers her last jury trial one of her most meaningful
cases to date. The jury rendered a not guilty verdict for her
client -- a homeless, African-American veteran accused of attempted
"The case was really a story about race … how people see our
clients," she said. "This victory was such a vindication of his
right to be free. My client earned that right to walk into the
bank, he even fought for that right."
Natarajan's position with CPCS allows her to pair her commitment
to clients with her interest in mentoring and community
involvement. She is responsible for hiring and supervising law
student interns and has trained peer attorneys at CPCS. She has
also dedicated a portion of her time away from the office to mentor
local high school students as part of a tutoring program for South
Prior to her time in CPCS' Somerville office, she worked in CPCS'
Roxbury Defenders Unit. Through her work in the Roxbury community,
she became involved in neighborhood-based ex-offender re-entry and
"I take this Defender Award honor as a promise of what I need to
do and want to do in the future," said Natarajan, who is only in
her eighth year of practice. Ironically, she is officemates with
last year's Defender Award honoree, Beth Eisenberg, who serves as a
mentor to Natarajan.
"Unlike when Beth received the honor, I don't see this as a
testament to what I've done so far in my career. Instead, it serves
as an inspiration to what I hope to achieve in the future, both for
my clients and my community."
Pro Bono award for law firms
Law Offices of Howard Friedman
Receiving an honor for the work of his firm surprised Howard
Friedman. The firm's clients typically have criminal records or are
facing charges. "You don't see people being honored for this kind
The firm, which also includes attorney David Milton and paralegal
Carmen Guhn-Knight, focuses its practice in the area of civil
rights and has successfully represented minorities and prisoners,
as well as victims of various forms of police misconduct, including
illegal strip searches.
"What we're doing is really reinforcing the Constitution. Without
a lawsuit, it's just a piece of paper," Friedman said. "It's
important to set guidelines and let people know that people
enforcing the law are not above the law. They have to abide by the
While the work can be hard, it's also very rewarding, Friedman
said. Among his greatest achievements is a case he worked on with
Merrimack Valley Legal Services that accused the Lawrence Police
Department of violating the Fourth Amendment of Lawrence
Boston's Federal Court in 1992 ruled it was unconstitutional for
Lawrence police officers to enforce an order by then-Mayor Kevin
Sullivan to seize the welfare cards of anyone who came in contact
with police. "That was a great victory," said Friedman, who enjoyed
collaborating with legal aid because he had previously worked in
One of Friedman's most widely known cases is Mack v. Suffolk
County, which resulted in sweeping changes that included the
Boston Police Department building a lockup for female detainees and
an increase in police and agency training across the sate to ensure
legal strip search policies. The firm won a $10 million settlement
on behalf of 5,400 women who were illegally strip searched as part
of admissions at the Suffolk County Jail.
"The great thing about this work is if you have a victory, it does
have a ripple effect," Friedman said. "That's the best part of the
Katharine B. Folger
Middlesex District Attorney's Office, Woburn
Working with children was a natural fit for Katharine Folger. The
oldest of six, Folger spent much of her youth babysitting. She also
taught junior league tennis in college and studied child
occupational therapy before she earned her law degree and joined
the Middlesex District Attorney's office Child Abuse Unit, of which
she is chief.
"I meet just amazing children that still find joy in life and
survive what they've been through," said Folger, who has been told
by many young children that the trial process is the hardest part
of their experience. "It's long. It's drawn out. It's not
Folger manages her own caseload while also supervising 20 in the
department, which reviews more than 1,000 investigations each year
into child sexual and physical abuse, deaths and child pornography.
"It sounds kind of silly, but trying to make the world a better
place" is one of the goals of Folger's career, and why she finds it
Convincing jurors that child abuse really happens is among the
most challenging parts of Folger's job, requiring her to frame her
cases carefully. "The world is a prettier place without child abuse
in it," she said. "[Jurors] say, 'I don't need to listen to this
kid because this stuff doesn't happen.'"
While Folger said she is proud of accomplishments related to
specific cases -- including making sure children are handled
appropriately legally and emotionally when interviewed -- she
considers her most significant professional achievement to be last
April's launch of the state's first online training for those
mandated to report child abuse. The project now has more than
10,000 registrants who have been trained to recognize and report on
child abuse and neglect.
"Reporting of abuse is so critical, and it's always something that
was underreported … Obviously, this helps bring to the forefront
our mandated reporting laws," Folger said. "I feel like that's
making a huge difference."