Five members honored at Volunteer Recognition Dinner

Issue July/August 2016 By Mike Vigneux

Five Massachusetts Bar Association members were honored for their outstanding service at the MBA Volunteer Recognition Dinner at Lombardo's in Randolph on July 13.

Scott D. Burke, Jennifer Clapp, John G. Dugan and Samuel A. Segal were each presented with the Volunteer Recognition Award, which salutes members who volunteer substantial time and effort to the mission, program and/or publications of the MBA, or otherwise enhance the organization in a significant way.

Maureen E. Curran received the Public Service Award, which is bestowed by the MBA's president upon individuals who have made significant contributions to the work of the MBA, including judges and members of the public, for their contribution to their community, and for furthering the public understanding and respect for the law and showing extraordinary leadership and dedication to improving the administration of justice in the commonwealth.

MBA officers voted to approve the 2016 honorees based on recommendations from the MBA's Volunteer Recognition Committee, which solicited the nominations. The awards were presented by MBA President Robert W. Harnais, President-elect Jeffrey N. Catalano and Volunteer Recognition Committee Chair Grace Garcia.

Volunteer Recognition Award:

Scott D. Burke, Morrison Mahoney LLP

Scott D. Burke is a partner at Morrison Mahoney LLP in Boston, where he was recently elected the firm's managing partner. For 18 years he chaired the firm's non-medical professional liability group.

Burke has been an active member of the MBA's Ethics Committee for the past eight years, a group that addresses ethical issues faced by members on both an intellectual and practical level. He was also a past member of the MBA's Education Committee and served on the Attorney Financial Responsibility Disclosure Task Force.

In addition to presenting at CLE seminars held throughout the commonwealth, Burke has given highly rated presentations on ethical issues, professionalism and risk management at the MBA's Practicing with Professionalism course for new attorneys.

"He is truly a volunteer that makes a difference for MBA members and does so willingly, with great enthusiasm and projects a professional image that shines the best light on the MBA," read one nomination for Burke.

"It's amazing to be grouped with the people that I have seen receive this award in the past," said Burke. "I have always been impressed by the dedication of so many of my colleagues with whom I have worked on MBA projects, and feel so honored by both those who nominated me and the committee."

Volunteer Recognition Award:

Jennifer Clapp, Grindle Robinson LLP

An attorney with Grindle Robinson LLP since 2005, Jennifer Clapp focuses her practice on all aspects of family law.

She has been a highly respected member of the MBA's Family Law Section Council for the past seven years, during which she has served as chair, vice chair and member-at-large. Clapp is most proud of the work the section council recently undertook this past year to revise the shared custody bill, as well as the council's progress on alimony reform.

"I loved being involved with the Family Law Section Council. Serving as chair was an opportunity to work with my peers and a group of lawyers and judges that I have respected since I started practicing," said Clapp.

A past member of the Young Lawyers Division, she also served on the MBA's House of Delegates and volunteered for the monthly Dial-A-Lawyer program.

Volunteer Recognition Award:

John G. Dugan, Doherty, Ciechanowski, Dugan & Cannon PC

A former MBA vice president and secretary, John G. Dugan has been practicing law in Massachusetts for more than 40 years. He concentrates in the areas of trusts and estates, probate and family law.

Dugan has served the MBA in many volunteer capacities during his career. A former member of both the Executive Management Board and House of Delegates, he was honored with the MBA's Community Service Award in 2009. Dugan is also a past member of the Education Committee and has served as a faculty member for several CLE programs.

He has recently been highly involved with the Probate Law Section Council, where he has worked with Jan Nigro in planning, organizing and growing the annual Probate Law Conference. Dugan has always appreciated working within the MBA's section councils with fellow attorneys in the same practice areas.

"It gives you a little bit better feel for how you should be practicing law if you're going to practice in that field," remarked Dugan.

Additionally, Dugan has served as a member of the Budget and Finance Committee, the Family Law Section Council, the Bylaws Committee, the Child Support Guidelines Committee, the Community Service Committee, Gala Dinner Committee and the Judicial Evaluation Committee. He has also been involved with the Elder Law Education Program and has served as a judge for the MBA's High School Mock Trial Program.

Volunteer Recognition Award:

Samuel A. Segal, Law Offices of Samuel A. Segal

The owner and principal of his own solo practice in Boston, Samuel A. Segal focuses on complex personal injury and wrongful death claims and litigation. A 2010 graduate of Northeastern University Law School, Segal has been a constant and dedicated volunteer for many MBA programs. Segal has been very involved within the Young Lawyers Division (YLD), in particular, serving as director at large and treasurer. He is the incoming chair-elect of the YLD for 2016-17.

Segal has participated in the monthly Dial-A-Lawyer program for the past four years, a role that has been especially meaningful to him given its direct connection to those seeking legal advice and assistance.

"A lot of people have problems and they don't know where to turn," noted Segal speaking about his experience as a Dial-A-Lawyer volunteer. "Callers want help and assistance, and I think that easing their burden just by answering some common questions is pretty gratifying."

In addition to Dial-A-Lawyer, Segal has been a member of the Lawyer Referral Service Committee for the past four years, Segal has also served as both a coach and judge in the MBA's High School Mock Trial Program.

Public Service Award:

Maureen E. Curran, Law Office of Maureen Curran LLC

Maureen E. Curran operates her own practice in Boston, which focuses on probate litigation, trust litigation, contested wills, guardianship and fiduciary law.

A longtime member of the Probate Law Section Council, Curran helped spearhead the Fiduciary Law Probate Session Working Group, a collective body that has worked diligently to make reforms within the Probate Court. The group drafted a proposal in 2015, which called for the establishment of a separate session for contested trust and estate litigation matters within the Probate Court. A pilot program for the trust and estate litigation cases is expected to begin this coming fall at Norfolk Probate and Family Court.

"Maureen's insight, drive and ability to work to bring a consensus to this diverse group of practitioners is both amazing and helpful to the courts and our clients who were being denied access to justice," read one of her nominations.

In addition to her work with the Probate Law Section Council, Curran has also been a member of the MBA's Civil Litigation Section and that section's ADR, Appellate, Federal Practice and Probate Litigation practice groups.