They say time flies when you're having fun. That's never been
truer than during my year as the president of the Massachusetts Bar
Since I took the gavel in September, I have had the opportunity
to travel around the state and meet many of our members at various
MBA functions. We've shared many stories and more than a few
laughs. While it's been a busy year, it's moments like those that
have made this experience truly rewarding and unforgettable.
I was lucky enough to be able to enter into this profession by
attending New England Law | Boston nights while working days,
(thank you Larry and Dean O'Brien). I never envisioned myself as
the president of the MBA. So I began my term as a genuinely
humbled, small general practitioner out of Quincy. I was proud of
being the first Hispanic president of our organization, and I
wanted to emphasize the collegiality in our profession that has
helped make my own career in the law so enjoyable and satisfying.
Our success was made possible this year by the many amazing people
I got to work with along the way. I want to thank my fellow
officers - Jeff, Chris, Chris and John - for lending their ears,
their time and even their jokes to me during this journey. And
thank you to Marty Healy and the great staff of the MBA for making
sure I didn't mess this up (much). It has been one of the great
honors of my life to represent the MBA for the past year. I
couldn't have done it without all of you.
One of the things I take away from this past year is a renewed
respect and affection for the law as it is practiced in our state.
From Cape Cod to Cape Ann to Mount Greylock to Stockbridge and
Sturbridge and all points in between, our members represent the
highest ideals of the profession. Your erudition and earnestness
were clearly evident in my meetings with you at the various events.
From every interaction with you I learned so much about our
profession - and even some very practical tips that I will take
with me as I continue my own practice.
Access to justice is one of the main planks of a democracy.
Without it, all the other grand ideals are deflated. You are the
people who maintain this access and make it available to citizens
of all walks in our commonwealth. Every day in our courthouses and
legal offices, members of the MBA carry out what may seem to be
small tasks, but they are enormously important. It is not a stretch
to recognize you as unsung heroes, and I am grateful for the
opportunity this year has given me to meet more of you in
Obviously, the adversarial system in which we work can lead to
contentiousness. It has always been that way, and always will be.
But in my year as president, I have tried to emphasize the idea of
not dwelling on it. Instead, make stronger efforts to socialize,
enjoy one another's company and place more focus on the areas we
share in common. We're all busy. I understand. But take the
opportunities when they're there. And make opportunities even when
they're not there. We'll be a stronger profession for it.
For those of us working in the criminal arena, I have tried to
highlight some ways in which we can help society deal with one of
the greatest problems of our time: the opioid crisis. It is a
problem that cuts across all demographics. It plays no favorites.
It causes pain and kills indiscriminately. When we are working with
clients who are addicted, we must use all our talents - and wisdom
- to do what it is in our clients' best interests. Such situations
can be extremely complex, but I know of no one better suited to be
so closely involved than the members of the MBA. I am so proud of
the work done by the volunteers on our Section 35 program. Because
of you, the MBA has filled a void and brought hope to families
across the commonwealth.
Speaking of families, I would be nothing without mine. I cannot
wait to spend more time with them - and I hope the feeling is still
mutual! But seriously, despite the extra meetings and travel this
job brings, I am so grateful for my wife and kids, who were there
for me unconditionally. Thank you for putting up with me. You know,
I've learned a lot and received support from mentors, law partners,
my fellow officers and friends. But my family has always been the
greatest teacher and cheerleader, and I've never felt that love
more than this year. I am truly blessed. Especially with the
arrival of my new granddaughter Evie, I can't wait to be able to
enjoy her and fill her up with sugar before sending her home
(that's going to be fun to watch).
When my term in office ends on August 31, I will step down with
the fondest of memories - and, to be honest, what must be a world
record for most chickens eaten (who knew there could be so many
different recipes for conference-center chicken in one state? At
one point I think I coughed up a feather).
But most of all, I will take away the strong conviction that the
MBA is the greatest bar association on the planet and one whose
future looks very, very bright.
My respect for the Massachusetts Bar Association and its members
has never been greater. I urge each and every one of you to
participate in and contribute to the MBA's ability to do good so
either get a mentor or become a mentor. Thank you for an
unbelievable year, and keep up the great work!