Mirick O'Connell: A century of client and community service

Issue December 2015 By Mike Vigneux

Founded in Worcester in 1916, Mirick O'Connell has served clients in Central Massachusetts, MetroWest and Boston for nearly a century. In June 2016 the firm will celebrate its 100th anniversary.

Mirick O'Connell is a member of the MBA Honor Roll, which is open to all law firms with five or more Massachusetts lawyers, and which enroll 100 percent of their attorneys in the Massachusetts Bar Association within an association year. The Honor Roll acknowledges the strong commitment that many firms have made to full MBA membership.

"The Honor Roll is a formal recognition of the firm's support and dedication to the MBA," said Christopher P. Sullivan, MBA treasurer and partner at MBA Honor Roll firm Robins Kaplan LLP. "It's a win-win situation for the firm and the MBA, because the MBA appreciates the support and the firm has great opportunities to provide speakers for CLEs and leadership opportunities for lawyers within the firm."

Based in Worcester with offices in Westborough and Boston, Mirick O'Connell began as a business law firm but has since grown strong litigation, labor and employment, trusts and estates, tax law, corporate finance and domestic relations practices. The firm is made up of more than 60 attorneys, 32 of whom are partners. David E. Surprenant is the managing partner of the firm, which also features a four-person management committee.

Richard C. Van Nostrand, firm partner and MBA past president, described the firm as a "big fish in a somewhat smaller pond" and added that they could be described as a "sophisticated Boston practice with a Worcester location."

The firm is also known for its high level of mentoring in which experienced lawyers serve as role models to help younger attorneys with their professional development.

"For me, one of the greatest attributes of the firm is the attitude toward mentoring," said Van Nostrand. "The firm and our attorneys have always had an appreciation and enjoyment for the mentoring function here."

MBA partnership

Mirick O'Connell's storied history includes a track record of strong involvement at the MBA.

Van Nostrand, who has been with the firm for more than 30 years, served as MBA president during the 2003-04 association year and was the recipient of an MBA Community Service Award in 2011. Firm founding partner Laurence H. Lougee also served as MBA president in 1962-63.

"Active participation in the MBA provides us with the opportunity to participate in and hopefully have a positive impact on issues affecting the profession, particularly including the administration of justice," said Van Nostrand. "The MBA provides an opportunity for our firm to collectively and collaboratively address issues at the intersection of law and society, and allows us to interact at the highest levels with the leadership of the state's judiciary, executive and legislative branches."

Membership in the MBA provides attorneys at Mirick O'Connell with a sense of professionalism and an opportunity to serve the administration of justice through participating in legal services activities and various committees as a way of giving back to the profession. The firm also highly values membership in the MBA because it's a great opportunity to associate and share ideas with other attorneys outside of the courtroom in a social environment.

"We have always valued the importance of bar associations, whether it be the MBA, the Worcester County Bar Association (WCBA) or the American Bar Association (ABA)," said Van Nostrand. "Activity in bar associations really provides an outlet to serve the community and the firm has always been very supportive of our attorneys being actively engaged."

A community staple

A hallmark of the firm has always been its high level of involvement within the Central Massachusetts community. A staple of the firm's community service is participation in the United Way's annual workplace campaign and Day of Caring. For the most recent Day of Caring, the firm's attorneys volunteered with Habitat for Humanity to build playhouses for disadvantaged children. Mirick O'Connell has been a frequent pace-setting organization in terms of financial contributions made by its attorneys to the annual campaign.

The firm is currently involved in a recently announced unique medical-legal partnership with Worcester-based Community Legal Aid and UMass Memorial Health Care, one of the firm's largest clients. Through a Legal Services Corporation pro bono Innovation Fund grant, Community Legal Aid will partner with UMass Memorial Health Care to develop a clinic-based program to address legal needs that negatively impact the health of low-income and minority communities. Several Mirick O'Connell attorneys will be involved in the project by providing pro bono legal services.

Mirick O'Connell has received numerous awards and accolades, including being named one of the Worcester Business Journals 2014 Top Workplaces and receiving a Special Recognition Award from Attorney General Martha Coakley in 2012 for the firm's participation in the third annual "Legal Food Frenzy" of Massachusetts. The firm was recognized for "Most Actual Food Collected by a Large Firm" and "Most Raised Overall by a Large Firm in Worcester County."

Is your firm an Honor Roll Firm? Send us your news and updates. We'll be featuring more Honor Roll Firms in future issues of Lawyers Journal and eJournal. Not in the Honor Roll? Find out how to join by contacting MBA Member Services at (617) 338-0530, or email [e-mail memberservices].

The MBA - your firm's partner

MBA Honor Roll firms have five or more Massachusetts lawyers and enroll 100 percent of their attorneys in the MBA within an association year. Take advantage of the many ways the MBA can work for your firm:

FREE legal research: MBA members get free, unlimited access to Fastcase, one of the nation's most popular legal research services.

FREE continuing legal education: The MBA helps your attorneys enhance their practices and stay on top of the through our free CLE programs, many of which are also offered via MBA On Demand.

Referral opportunities: MBA members have access to the MBA's Lawyer Referral Service (LRS), one of the largest lawyer referral services in the country. Through its website,, LRS is able to offer instant referrals to potential clients, 24/7.

Unmatched insurance: MBA members have immediate access to exclusive insurance programs designed and negotiated annually by the MBA's own insurance committee, which builds coverage specifically tailored for lawyers who practice in Massachusetts.

Networking opportunities: Whether in person at an MBA event or via My Bar Access, the MBA's vibrant online community, members of your firm can connect and interact with other like-minded legal professionals across the commonwealth.

Leadership opportunities: Whether you're looking to be an officer, Section Council leader, program chair or a panelist on a CLE, the MBA offers many opportunities to get involved and enhance your leadership skills.

Thank you 2015-16 MBA Honor Roll Firms!

  • Arrowood Peters LLP
  • Brown & Brown PC
  • Brick & Sugarman LLP
  • Bulkley, Richardson & Gelinas LLP
  • Conn Kavanaugh Rosenthal Peisch & Ford LLP
  • Consigli and Brucato PC
  • Coogan, Smith, McGahan, Lorincz, Jacobi & Shanley LLP
  • Deutsch, Williams, Brooks, DeRensis & Holland PC
  • Doherty, Wallace, Pillsbury & Murphy PC
  • Esdaile, Barrett, Jacobs & Mone
  • Franco & Greeley
  • Finneran & Nicholson PC
  • Hackett Feinberg PC
  • Hinckley, Allen & Snyder LLP
  • Hirsch Roberts Weinstein LLP
  • Jones Kelleher LLP
  • Kopelman and Paige PC
  • Laredo & Smith LLP
  • Lee & Rivers LLP
  • MacLean, Holloway, Doherty, Ardiff & Morse PC
  • Marien and Hodge PC
  • McGrath and Kane
  • Meehan, Boyle, Black & Bogdanow PC
  • Mirick, O'Connell, DeMallie & Lougee LLP
  • Mountain, Dearborn & Whiting LLP
  • Mullen & McGourty
  • Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane LLP
  • Nolan Sheehan Patten LLP
  • Peabody & Arnold LLP
  • Phillips, Gerstein & Channen LLP
  • Pojani Hurley & Ritter LLP
  • Pyle Rome Ehrenberg PC
  • Rich May PC
  • Robins Kaplan LLP
  • Robinson Donovan PC
  • Seder & Chandler LLP
  • Shilepsky, Hartley, Robb, Casey, Michon LLP
  • Skoler, Abbott & Presser PC
  • Sloane and Walsh LLP
  • Social Security Law Group
  • Stoneman Chandler & Miller LLP
  • Sugarman and Sugarman PC
  • Swartz & Swartz PC
  • Thornton Law Firm LLP
  • Todd & Weld LLP
  • Tommasino & Tommasino
  • Vacovec, Mayotte & Singer LLP
  • Witmer, Karp, Warner & Ryan LLP

Join the MBA Honor Roll today. Contact MBA Member Services at (617) 338-0530.