Excellence in the Law salutes finest in the profession

Issue June 2012 By Tricia M. Oliver

MBA honors Hon. Mark Wolf, Globe columnist Kevin Cullen

Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly and the Massachusetts Bar Association honored the best of the legal profession at "Excellence in the Law" on the evening of May 10 at the Fairmont Copley Plaza in Boston.

Following welcome remarks and a group champagne toast led by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly Publisher Susan Bocamazo, MBA President-elect Robert L. Holloway Jr. presented the Daniel F. Toomey Excellence in the Judiciary Award to the Hon. Mark Wolf, chief judge of the U.S. District Court; and the Excellence in Legal Journalism Award to Pulitzer-prize winning Boston Globe columnist Kevin Cullen.

Wolf was appointed to the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts in 1985 and became its chief judge in 2006. He is also a member of the Judicial Conference of the United States, having previously served on its committees on Criminal Law, the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, and Codes of Conduct.

Wolf delivered acceptance remarks that highlighted his great appreciation of America's judicial system following his speaking engagements and other interactions with judicial colleagues around the globe. Wolf -- due to leave for Russia the next day to conference with judicial colleagues there -- shared that although he has "had to make some decisions I dreaded making," he was free and safe to make those as an American judge without the risk of harmful consequences.

Wolf has been invited to speak on American democracy and human rights issues in Egypt, Cyprus, Turkey, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and China. Wolf is a graduate of Yale College and Harvard Law School.

Cullen has written for The Boston Globe since 1985, and served as a local, national and foreign correspondent before becoming a columnist in 2007. His columns highlighting the suicide of a 15-year-old girl who had been bullied by schoolmates helped win the top award from the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma at Columbia University in 2011.

Cullen has had several stints on the Globe's Spotlight Team, including the 1988 team that exposed the mobster James "Whitey" Bulger as an FBI informant and the team that won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service in 2003 for exposing the cover-up of sexual abuse of minors by Roman Catholic priests.

"We in our business can only push and point at the truth, but what all of you do can change culture," said Cullen after receiving his honor.

The event also saluted the 2012 Up & Coming Lawyers, as well as the recipients of this year's other Excellence in the Law awards for diversity, pro bono, marketing, firm administration and operations.