Issue April 2013

Legislator of the Year Award to be presented to Rep. Dempsey at May 9 Annual Dinner

One of the highlights of the Massachusetts Bar Association's Annual Dinner will be the presentation of the Legislator of the Year Award to State Rep. Brian S. Dempsey (D-Haverhill), Chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means.

The MBA's Legislator of the Year Award is presented annually to a state or federal legislator who has distinguished him/herself in public service through outstanding contributions to the legal profession, courts and administration of justice

Meaningful group endeavors

Never having wanted to work for anyone, I have spent my entire legal career in private practice in a relatively small firm setting. Doing so has allowed me some freedom to answer mostly to myself and my clients, hastening to observe that I have to answer to my colleagues at my firm as well. But law firms of whatever size are still group endeavors and, to work well, have to have some glue other than economics to hold the individuals in the firm together.

The late, delightful and insightful author, Kurt Vonnegut, published the novel Cat's Cradle in 1963 when I was finishing high school. Having read the novel when it first was available and having revisited it a few times since, I remain struck by its instructive window into human behavior. Vonnegut coined the terms "karass" and "granfalloon" in that novel. To paraphrase Vonnegut, his fictional karass is a group of people collectively doing good things, carrying out specific, common tasks. A granfalloon, on the other hand, is a false karass - a group of people gathered together based upon a fabricated premise.

Midsized firms attracting big-firm talent

Boston attorney Maria Krokidas (pictured) always strived to be the best attorney she could be. She also wanted to have a life outside of the office. She is able to achieve both at Boston's Krokidas & Bluestein LLP, a 20-attorney, woman-owned firm that specializes in public and non-profit law.

Krokidas is not alone in her decision to straddle professional success with personal fulfillment as the trend indicates. Midsized firms say that a strong organizational culture is a primary factor in recruiting new lawyers - and the fastest growing among them indicate the least interest in merging with a larger firm when the opportunity arose.

"You want fully-formed human beings working with you. Self-fulfillment makes you a better lawyer," Krokidas said.

According to a Georgetown University Law Center-led nationwide survey, 68 midsized law firms, with a median attorney headcount of 40, revealed their assertion that culture helps them hire. Seventy percent of those surveyed said strong culture is among the top two factors in recruiting new lawyers; second was the overall quality of the firm. Law firm referral network TAGLaw and the Center for the Study of the Legal Profession at Georgetown University Law Center published the 2012 survey.

MBA to honor Judge Sandra Lynch and WBUR with excellence awards

The Massachusetts Bar Association will honor the Hon. Sandra Lynch, chief judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, and WBUR-FM's News Department at a May 2 event co-presented by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly. The judicial and media honors will be two among several bestowed at the annual Excellence in the Law event taking place at the Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel beginning at 5:30 p.m.

Lynch has been selected to receive the Daniel F. Toomey Excellence in the Judiciary Award and WBUR-FM has been chosen to receive the association's Excellence in Legal Journalism Award.

Lynch is the first woman to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, and in 2008, became its first female chief judge. Lynch is the ninth chief judge of the First Circuit Appeals since Congress created the position in 1948.