Catalano asks bar to 'dream big' at reception

Issue November/December 2016 By Joe Kourieh

The new president of the Massachusetts Bar Association, Jeffery N. Catalano, received the ceremonial oath of office on Wednesday, Sept. 14, at a reception attended by prominent judges, MBA leadership and members, and the friends and families of all. After being sworn in by Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants, Catalano told the audience, "Dream big, join us in leadership and thank you for being here to begin this journey with me."

Catalano was introduced by MBA Past President Leo V. Boyle, who eschewed a survey of Catalano's resume in favor of an illustration of his character - a hard worker worthy of his hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania, and a genuine collaborator worthy of his Jesuit upbringing.

"This is a special guy," Boyle said. "He needs to speak for all of us. … We need to be represented. And as far as I'm concerned, there's no one better to do that than Jeff Catalano."

Catalano, a partner at Todd & Weld LLP in Boston, called himself "a humble servant of this great profession," referring to the practice of law which he swore to "honor and respect" in his oath. Though Catalano conceded that the MBA cannot single-handedly solve society's problems, he assured his peers that it can make important strides toward alleviating those problems in coming generations, while standing up for those cannot stand up for themselves.

"This work depends on the contributions of creative leaders like you," Catalano said, specifically citing the Leadership Academy, which he aims to develop into an incubator for skilled young legal professionals and students, armed with the knowledge and firsthand experience it takes to make a significant difference in communities across the commonwealth.

"The lofty goal is to make Massachusetts the place where future great leaders are created," he said. "We can develop leaders of the bar who can work toward solutions for our problems - who can navigate the complexities of our society by building coalitions and forging hybrid solutions."

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