Healy receives high honor from Juvenile Bar

Issue May 2015 By Jason Scally

The Massachusetts Juvenile Bar Association (MJBA) in March presented its Chief Justice Francis J. Poitrast Award to Massachusetts Bar Association Chief Legal Counsel and Chief Operating Officer Martin W. Healy during the MJBA's Annual Conference in Sturbridge.

Healy was honored for his advocacy on behalf of the juvenile justice system, including his efforts to increase compensation for attorneys who handle juvenile cases through the Committee for Public Counsel Services (CPCS). The MJBA created the award in 1993 in honor of Chief Justice Francis J. Poitrast, the Juvenile Court's first chief justice, who is considered the architect of the statewide Juvenile Court system.

"[Healy], like Judge Poitrast, can be described as an astute practitioner of law who is as comfortable in the halls of Beacon Hill as in the halls of justice," said Suffolk County Juvenile Court First Justice Terry Craven during her introduction of Healy at the awards luncheon. "He is the perfect example of an extraordinary individual who through his work has contributed to the advancement of child welfare and juvenile justice."

Healy, who has also handled delinquency cases pro bono for many years, said it was an honor to receive an award named for Chief Justice Poitrast, whom he called "a giant in every way." He thanked the MJBA, his MBA colleagues, his family and the several Juvenile Court judges and officials in the room, calling the award one of the highlights of his career.

In his acceptance remarks, Healy noted that both the House and Senate had approved raising the hourly cap from 1,650 hours for children in family law cases to 1,800 as part of a supplemental budget piece pending on Beacon Hill. Healy urged the roughly 130 MJBA members and judges in attendance to contact their legislators and join in the call for improved funding and lesser restrictions on private attorneys handling juvenile cases.

Also at the awards luncheon, Nancy Hathaway, an attorney with CPCS' Children and Family Law Division, was given the Judge Leo J. Lydon Award for her representation of Justina Pelletier during the teenager's highly publicized custody ordeal.