This is a wonderful time for the Massachusetts Bar Association -
we have a lot to cheer about. And now that our Annual Dinner is
upon us, that is exactly what we are going to do, loud and
In 2015, with the support of our judiciary and our Legislature,
Massachusetts finally embraced attorney-conducted voir
dire, and we recognize two individuals in particular - House
Speaker Robert A. DeLeo (President's Award) and Superior Court
Judge Dennis Curran (Chief Justice Edward F. Hennessey Award) - who
played significant roles in bringing this to fruition. Both have
been vocal supporters of justice and friends of the bar for many
years, and I am so pleased to present them with these well-deserved
And I am also particularly excited to have Mark Geragos, an
internationally acclaimed trial lawyer and civil rights advocate,
who has represented some of the most recognizable figures in
entertainment and politics, as our keynote speaker. On a personal
level, I am especially looking forward to meeting a fellow Armenian
who has done so much for the Armenian community and brought
important recognition to the Armenian genocide, which marks its
100th anniversary this year.
I cannot highlight the Annual Dinner as a celebration of our year
without recognizing our member-volunteers who made it possible.
Quite a lot happens in an MBA year, from CLEs to seminars to
community-based programs and everything in between. And while we
are fortunate to have an incredibly dedicated and hard-working
staff, equally important are the hundreds of members who volunteer
substantial time and effort to the association. The MBA will honor
several volunteers this summer at our Annual Volunteer Recognition
Dinner, and we are grateful for all the nominations we received
last month. We have many worthy award recipients, including those
unsung heroes whose important work behind the scenes often goes
We have extraordinarily dedicated members - members who not only
participate, but who give back to us every day. I want to take this
opportunity to thank you all, even if there isn't enough space in
this column to list each and every volunteer by name.
Thank you to everyone who has volunteered to be on an MBA
committee or task force. You not only make us better as an
association, you give heft to our role as the preeminent voice of
the legal profession.
Thank you to everyone who served as a faculty member or panelist
during one of our CLEs or seminars this year. As we repeat and
believe, "A Massachusetts Bar Association lawyer is an educated
lawyer." And we have you to thank for that.
Thank you to the nearly 150 lawyers and judges who volunteered as
team coaches or mock trial judges during our Mock Trial program. We
are grateful for your commitment to this program, especially this
year - Mock Trial's 30th - when the weather wreaked havoc on the
schedule. Your guidance and tutelage has enriched the lives of
hundreds of high school students.
Similarly, I want to thank all of the volunteer mentors who take
part in our Tiered Community Mentoring Program. You continue to
build on the program's national reputation for innovation and, most
importantly, positively affect the lives of students at all levels,
many of whom are destined for great careers in the law.
Thank you to everyone who brought MBA services to our community at
large. We had more than 60 lawyers literally "answer the call" as a
volunteer with one of our Dial-A-Lawyer programs, in Boston and in
Western Massachusetts. And more than 100 of you donated time and
expertise to our Elder Law program, including work on the Elder Law
Guide. Whether answering questions and giving pro bono legal advice
by phone or visiting a senior center in person, you have filled a
much needed service for some of the most vulnerable residents
throughout the commonwealth.
And I want to offer a special thank you to the volunteer leaders
of the bar; those of you who serve on our Executive Management
Board, our House of Delegates, or as a section or division chair or
vice chair, and to all of the Section Council and Division members.
Your active leadership and steady guidance makes the MBA better
year after year.
There is a particular set of volunteers I do need to mention by
name: my fellow officers. They, too, are volunteers who sacrifice
their personal and professional time to serve their fellow
Massachusetts lawyers through the MBA. The MBA is lucky to have
them, and they deserve a virtual standing ovation for all of the
time, energy and personal commitment that each one has given to our
association. Robert Harnais (president-elect), Christopher Sullivan
(secretary), John Morrissey (vice president), Christopher Kenney
(vice president) and Jeffrey Catalano (treasurer) - thank you from
the bottom of my heart for serving with me this year. Not only have
I learned a great deal from each of you, but your support and
friendship have made it a wonderful journey to success!
At the Annual Dinner on May 7, I will ceremonially pass the
president's gavel to the next MBA president, Bob Harnais, who will
take over on Sept. 1. But we still have a few more months left in
this association year for summer socials, free CLEs and more. So
for any MBA member reading this today, consider this a resounding
"Thank you!" for making this entire year so wonderful.