Posts Categorized: Voices of the Bar

Voices of the Bar 1/19/17: Why do you Walk to the Hill?

One of the BBA’s core values is equal access to justice, and every January brings an opportunity to come together with fellow advocates for funding for civil legal aid.

The Equal Justice Coalition’s annual Walk to the Hill will give participants the opportunity to call on state lawmakers to adequately fund the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation (MLAC) line item in the Fiscal Year 2018 state budget. To illustrate the multifaceted reasons MLAC’s work is important, the EJC’s #IWalkForJustice social media campaign invites supporters to share the reasons why they Walk to the Hill.

For this week’s “Voices of the Bar” column, we’re reaching out to ask:

“Why do you Walk to the Hill?

Jayne Tyrrell – Massachusetts IOLTA Committee
“I walk to the hill to support the funding of legal aid to the poor. These  funds provide critically needed legal assistance in compelling matters, including evictions, foreclosures, domestic violence prevention, consumer protections, veteran benefits, employment discrimination and other issues impacting the health and well-being of individuals, families and communities.”

Catherine Rizos – Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation 
“I Walk to the Hill because I know that legal aid makes a profound difference in the lives of low-income people. Civil legal aid is, at its core, about fairness and justice for all, and that’s an ideal that will always be worth supporting and fighting for.”

Michael McDermott – Dain Torpy
“I walk to the Hill to ensure no one faces economic barriers to justice or the courts.”


If you would like to respond to a future Voices of the Bar, make sure you send a headshot, and contact Lauren DiTullio at

Voices of the Bar 1/12/17: What Part of Chief Justice Marshall’s Legacy Means the Most to You?

Boston Bar Foundation’s annual John & Abigail Adams Benefit is in less than two weeks, and the event will honor Chief Justice Margaret H. Marshall, whose work as a champion for equal justice cannot be summed up in one e-mail. As we prepare for Jan. 28, we have launched a #ThankYouJusticeMarshall Twitter campaign, and we wanted to hear from members regarding what they most admire about Chief Justice Marshall’s work.

For this week’s “Voices of the Bar” column, we’re reaching out to ask:

“What part of Chief Justice Margaret Marshall’s legacy has had the greatest impact on you?”

William Hannum – Schwartz Hannum
“The courage and wisdom of the Chief Justice’s Goodridge decision is an inspiring reminder of what the practice of law can be, and what it can mean to people, when we bring our best selves to the practice.”

Eric Gyllenborg – Rackemann Sawyer & Brewster
“Her extremely successful effort in 2002 to streamline the entire court system throughout Massachusetts.”


Diana Lloyd – Choate, Hall & Stewart
“The Chief has devoted much of her life to fighting for equal access to justice – from her days fighting apartheid in South Africa to her courageous and ground-breaking decision in Goodridge.

Anthony Froio, Boston Bar Foundation President – Robins Kaplan
“Chief Justice Marshall has had not only a groundbreaking career as a student anti-apartheid leader, attorney, jurist, and mentor, she also has had a profound impact on legal history through her 2003 opinion announcing the SJC’s decision on marriage equality in Massachusetts.We are enormously proud to honor her at the Adams Benefit.”

If you would like to respond to a future Voices of the Bar, make sure you send a headshot, and contact Lauren DiTullio at

Voices of the Bar 12/15/16: What Are You Most Looking Forward to in the New Year?

As 2016 winds down, we are looking ahead to the many programs and events we have planned in 2017 at the BBA. This week, we wanted to hear about the big plans that our members have, and what is most important to them as they head into the new year.

For this week’s “Voices of the Bar” column, we’re reaching out to ask:

What are you most looking forward to in the new year?

Melissa Sydney – Tarlow Breed Hart & Rodgers
“I hope that in 2017 we, as a nation, can put the ugliness of the election behind us and focus on uniting our country in order to address our nation’s most pressing issues.”


Thanda Fields Brassard – Fiduciary Trust Company
“I look forward to tackling new adventures and challenges personally and professionally in 2017.  I look forward to using my energy and creativity to help my clients address the important issues they face, and to ensure that their estate plans stay in line with any new laws (or changes) that may emerge next year.  Finally, I am committed to doing my part in 2017 to make the world a better place, particularly in my role as a trustee of Judge Bakers Children’s Center, which is committed to improving the lives of children with mental health and behavioral issues.  With a brand new year ahead of me, I feel that anything and everything is possible.”

Stephen Nolan – Nolan Sheehan Patten
“On the personal front, I am looking forward to interesting travels with my wife, including a trip to Macchu Pichu.  On the career front, I am looking forward to another year of engaging legal work dealing with the challenges of community development and affordable housing.  On the local front, I am looking forward to the commuter rail running on time.  On the national front, I am looking forward to (hoping against hope for), an awakening of the disengaged citizens in our country to the importance of becoming informed and participating actively in our political system.”

Stephanie Parker – O’Connor, Carnathan & Mack
“I am most looking forward to celebrating special milestones and moments with friends and family.  This spring, I will be traveling to New York to watch one of my closest friends graduate from medical school, and in the fall, I’ll be celebrating the big 3-0.”

If you would like to respond to a future Voices of the Bar, make sure you send a headshot, and contact Lauren DiTullio at

Voices of the Bar 12/8/2016: What Do You Love About the Adams Benefit?

The John & Abigail Adams Benefit is an extraordinary evening of art and music hosted by the Boston Bar Foundation at the Museum of Fine Arts. The annual event is the largest fundraiser of its kind in the Boston area, with 100% of the proceeds funding direct grants awarded to local organizations. Our grantees serve thousands of individuals and families struggling with critical issues such as homelessness, domestic violence, and various forms of injustice.

For a good cause, attorneys come together for a remarkable night. This year, the BBF will honor Chief Justice Margaret Marshall at the Benefit.

Needless to say, we’re very excited, and wanted to check in with our members to see what they are most looking forward to.

For this week’s “Voices of the Bar” column, we’re reaching out to ask:

“What do you love about the Adams Benefit?

Lisa Goodheart – Sugarman, Rogers, Barshak & Cohen
“I love that the Adams Benefit does a great job of supporting legal services for people who need it the most. In addition, it is so much fun to attend. It’s an annual ritual for Boston lawyers to dress up in something glittery or a tux (or both, if you like) and stroll through the galleries at the MFA on a cold winter’s night, chatting along the way. Once a year, for at least one enchanted evening, even the crankiest of opposing counsel are thereby transformed into gracious, witty, elegant and delightful people (they don’t do this in other cities, you know!).”

Megan Gates – Mintz Levin
“I love so many things about the Adams Benefit! The opportunity to get creatively dressed up and spend the evening in such a beautiful place, surrounded by amazing art, terrific food and colleagues from different firms, agencies and schools around the city – it’s one of the best events of the year. There’s also just something about being in the MFA at night that makes it incredibly special – and for a great cause to boot. Definitely a “can’t miss” event for me and many of us at Mintz Levin!”

Elizabeth Kayatta – Arrowood Peters
“I love the Adams Benefit because there’s nothing like getting dressed up to spend an evening in the company of Rembrandt, Monet, and Sargent.”


If you would like to respond to a future Voices of the Bar, make sure you send a headshot, and contact Lauren DiTullio at

Voices of the Bar 11/9/16: What Does Veterans Day Mean to You?

At the BBA, we are proud of our volunteer leaders who invest their time and energy into improving access to justice for active duty military personnel, veterans and their families. As Veterans Day nears, we want to give members the chance to tell us why the day is important to them.

For this week’s “Voices of the Bar” column, we’re reaching out to ask:

What does Veterans Day mean to you?”

Richard Harper – U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission
“To me, Veterans Day means thinking about the people who have undertaken the sworn oath to support and defend the Constitution from all enemies foreign and domestic, and to obey the orders of the President and the officers appointed over them.  As I have become a husband and a parent, their service has meant that much more to me.  All of these people are someone’s son or daughter.  If they make a career of military service, they are likely someone’s spouse, or dad, or mom.  Their devotion to duty, in the service of protecting our rights and freedoms, deserves our respect and gratitude every day, but especially on Veterans Day.”

Cynthia MacCausland – Attorney at Law
“Growing up in Canada Veterans Day was always associated with the sudden explosion of poppy pins on every lapel. Distributed in small blue and white boxes for a small donation to various veterans groups, everyone wore a poppy to remember those we had lost and to support those who continued to serve. Since moving to Boston to attend New England Law | Boston, I have lost track of this very simple but meaningful tradition, glimpsing poppies only in pictures of the royal family or the occasional Canadian news update. This year I revived my poppy pin tradition with a small and beautifully made pin I purchased online. Of course most around me don’t recognize or are not familiar with the significance of such a small burst of red on my lapel, but to me the symbol has become more meaningful and more potent following my involvement  with various volunteer efforts through the Boston Bar Association and throughout the broader community, including my involvement with the Military and Veterans Committee and attendance at several Yellow Ribbon Events. Publicly observing and displaying my thanks and appreciation for our service members and their families is special for those of us who try to understand the great sacrifice and, hopefully most of all, to those who served.”

Frank Moran, Attorney at Law – Colonel, USAF, Retired
“Veterans Day is a time for all of us to recognize the sacrifices our military service personnel have made for our country.  I am proud of the volunteer work of our BBA Military & Veterans Committee that provides much-needed legal aid to our veterans.”


Donald R. Lassman – Attorney at Law
“Veterans day is a time to honor those who have served our country, remember the sacrifices that have been made, to reflect upon how we have been able to provide assistance for our veterans in the year just past and to think about renewing our commitment to helping the men and women of the military in the coming year.”

David Soutter – Ropes & Gray
“Growing up, Veterans Day meant parades featuring American flags, hearing Taps at a cemetery and paying respects to my community’s mostly elderly Veterans. While serving in the Army, Veterans Day became finally understanding and greatly appreciating the sacrifices of those who came before me and later a day to honor my fellow Soldiers who returned from overseas broken or who did not return at all. Today, November 11 not only is a day to remember the millions who have served, but as a lawyer, it is a reminder that, on a small scale, I can help my fellow Veterans overcome some of the legal challenges many of them face.”

Jack Regan – WilmerHale
“When I think of Veterans Day, I think of the sacrifice and service of my father.  He was from Lawrence and enlisted in the Army, with many others, a month after Pearl Harbor.    After training, he was assigned to a Sherman tank in Company D, 10th Tank Battalion of the Fifth Armored Division, part of the Third Army under the command of General George Patton.  My father’s unit figured prominently in the breakout from the Normandy Peninsula and  the liberation of Paris and Luxembourg.   He was wounded in the Compiegne Forest outside of Paris.    After three months on convalescence in England, he was returned to the front just before the Battle of the Bulge began.  His war ended, with a Purple Heart and Bronze Star, when his unit was halted and met the advancing Russian Army only 45 miles from Berlin.  He rarely spoke about any of the horror he witnessed.  His memories were always focused on  the men he served with, those like him lucky enough to return home and those who lie fallen in Europe.   The 1919 poem “In Flanders Fields”, by John McCrae,  also comes to mind:

If you would like to respond to a future Voices of the Bar, make sure you send a headshot, and contact Lauren DiTullio at

Voices of the Bar 11/3/16: Life Sciences Conference Preview

With burgeoning industries come new legal issues, and for the first time, the BBA will host a conference that is all about life sciences. Home to a vast array of big-pharma companies, biotech startups, top research institutions, and venture capital firms and funds, Boston is on the cutting edge of the industry. The goal of this conference is to provide a unique educational opportunity for all life sciences practitioners to exchange ideas and learn about new perspectives.

For this week’s “Voices of the Bar” column, we’re reaching out to ask:

“What can attorneys and life sciences practitioners expect to get out of the BBA Life Sciences Conference?

Cynthia Mazareas – WilmerHale
“The role of legal practitioners in advising life sciences companies is critical given the complex and high stakes challenges that these companies face. From preparing to bring a product to market to protecting it once there, success for these companies requires a broad range of expertise from financing and strategic collaborations to IP and regulatory guidance: all topics to be covered at the conference.”

Mark Gaffney – Ironwood Pharmaceuticals 
“The biotech industry is premised on highly collaborative environments with the goal of advancing treatments for patients in need.  This conference creates an opportunity for lawyers and business leaders to participate in that collaborative environment – by sharing our collective wisdom, we enable our industry to better and more efficiently achieve its goal.”

Joanna Wu – ConforMIS
“Patent attorneys play an important role in the life sciences industry because it is driven by innovation.  Patent rights provide an incentive in long term investment in innovation, and the process of patenting facilitates publication and transfer of knowledge. ”

Jen Sieczkiewicz – Biogen
“Each “side” of practice, whether an attorney is an in-house practitioner and or a private practice attorney in the life sciences sector,  has something to offer the other side. It’s really our synergy that gives the best advice to the life sciences sector, and understanding each other’s perspectives and needs fosters that synergy.”

Thomas Barker – Foley Hoag
“As former Harvard President Larry Summers noted in last Tuesday’s Boston Globe, ‘within a five mile radius of Harvard Square, there is more biomedical research talent than any city in the world.’  This BBA program recognizes the importance of the life sciences industry in Boston to the health care bar.  The program panels will address the multiple facets of counseling clients in the life sciences space.  As attorneys practicing in this field, we are fortunate to be practicing in this area, in this city, at this time.”

If you would like to respond to a future Voices of the Bar, make sure you send a headshot, and contact Lauren DiTullio at

Voices of the Bar 10/27/16: What Has Been Your Favorite Halloween Costume?

Through Voices of the Bar, we like to highlight something about our members that you might not know if you encountered them during a typical day at the office. What better time than Halloween?

For this week’s “Voices of the Bar” column, we’re reaching out to ask:

“What has been your favorite Halloween costume?

Jason Curtin – Krokidas & Bluestein
“My daughter dressed as a lion!”


Stacey Friends – Ruberto, Israel & Weiner
“I am a huge Lord of the Rings geek, so my favorite costume was Arwen.”


Natalie Feigenbaum – Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom
“As a kid, my favorite Halloween costume was a witch because I got to have all that green makeup on my face.”



If you would like to respond to a future Voices of the Bar, make sure you send a headshot, and contact Lauren DiTullio at

Voices of the Bar 10/20/16: What was the highlight of working with the BBA Amicus Committee?

Congratulations to those who have served on the BBA Amicus Committee or authored an Amicus Brief on the BBA’s behalf on their well-deserved honor at today’s Annual Meeting Luncheon. In honor of the occasion, we wanted to hear more about the experiences our volunteers have had authoring briefs on the BBA’s behalf or serving on the BBA Amicus Committee.

For this week’s “Voices of the Bar” column, we’re reaching out to ask:

“What has been the highlight of working with the BBA Amicus Committee?

Jeffrey Pyle – Prince Lobel Tye
“One of the main highlights of working on the Committee is seeing the impact our briefs seem to have on case outcomes.  In one case, the BBA’s brief persuaded the First Circuit that a bar association could not be subjected to liability and an award of attorneys’ fees simply for bringing a non-frivolous claim in state court.  In another, the SJC adopted (almost to the letter) an approach we proposed to reconcile a criminal defendant’s right to a speedy trial and the defendant’s right to discovery.  But the chief highlight of serving as Chair was the opportunity to work with the exceptionally talented and dedicated lawyers who serve on the Committee, and the outstanding brief-writers we somehow manage to recruit.”

J.W. Carney – Carney  & Associates
“I was the only criminal law practitioner on the Amicus Committee during my term, but I never felt out-of-place when we discussed other issues. Most of the briefs addressed policy considerations that were implicated by proposed changes in a law or practice, and we often were deciding if this were the direction we would want society to go. It was fascinating and provocative. I encourage my colleagues to give it a try.”

Julia Huston – Foley Hoag
“My favorite part of serving on the Amicus Committee was working with attorneys who specialize in areas of the law that are unfamiliar to me.  The depth and breadth of talent on the Amicus Committee is amazing, and allows the BBA to weigh in on a wide variety of important legal issues intelligently and with confidence.”

Mark Fleming – WilmerHale
“The BBA’s level of discourse surrounding amicus briefs never failed to impress me.  The Amicus Committee, the Executive Committee, the Council, and Sections and Committees considering an amicus position all took a real interest in making sure that the BBA’s position was sound and well-expressed.  I remember Council meetings where we spent over an hour discussing a draft brief.  The result was really thoughtful advocacy that, in my experience, was very helpful to the courts.”

Michael Fee – Pierce & Mandell
“I am constantly blown away by the amount of energy, time and dedication our chairpersons, Liz  Ritvo and Tony Scibelli, bring to the committee. The issues are always complex, and they synthesize information and guide our discussions masterfully. Truly impressive!”



If you would like to respond to a future Voices of the Bar, make sure you send a headshot, and contact Lauren DiTullio at

Voices of the Bar 10/13/16: What is your favorite thing about fall?

The fall is the BBA’s busiest time, and the same is likely true at many of the law firms, offices and organizations where our members are employed. We thought it would be fun to hear this week about some plans for leisure time from now until the leaves are all down.

For this week’s “Voices of the Bar” column, we’re reaching out to ask:

“What is your favorite thing about fall?

Michael Sugar – Bosley Till Neue & Talerico
“My favorite things about fall are the butternut squash soups and pumpkin pies.”


James McGrath – Seyfarth Shaw
“My favorite thing about the fall is the return of the New England Patriots.  My longtime law partner, John Skelton, hosts a tailgate at the “Touchdown Lounge” —  a 36 foot Patriots emblazoned RV — where friends, family, colleagues and clients gather outside Gillette Stadium before and after each Patriots game for food, drinks and revelry.   We’ve celebrated many great victories together as loyal members of Patriot Nation!”

Inna Dahlin – Mintz Levin
“My favorite thing about Fall is to observe and feel it.  I love the crisp freshness of the air in the morning. The coolness of the air pleasantly emphasizes the smell of freshly brewed morning coffee.  I like seeing changing colors in everything, and although there is always something melancholic about the fall with its busier mornings and shorter days, I see in it the future awakening of the spring.”

Brandon Scruggs – Sunstein Kann Murphy & Timbers
“My favorite things about fall are the crisp, cool weather, the beautiful fall foliage, apple picking, football, and my 7-year-old twin daughters’ interesting choice of Halloween costumes.  This year they have chosen the grim reaper and the devil in a red dress, much to their mother’s chagrin and my amusement.”

Jason McGraw – Hirsch Roberts Weinstein
“An autumn in New England wouldn’t be the same without a hike around the beautiful trails of the Blue Hills Reservation.  The views are scenic, the foliage is fantastic, and the trails provide plenty of opportunity to get off the grid and get lost in nature.  So, as a wise person once told me, ‘take a hike.'”

Michael Bogdanow  – Meehan, Boyle, Black & Bogdanow
Having grown up in Houston, I had never seen fall foliage until I moved here. The smorgasbord of colors continues to knock me out year after year. And I love our annual pilgrimage to apple orchards to pick numerous varieties of fresh apples. The picking is as much fun as the eating!

If you would like to respond to a future Voices of the Bar, make sure you send a headshot, and contact Lauren DiTullio at

Voices of the Bar 10/6/16: Members Share Meaningful Public Service Experiences

As you may already know, October is officially Pro Bono Month! At the Boston Bar Association and Boston Bar Foundation, public service is a huge part of what we do all year round. We are proud to host experts from legal services organizations to lead pro bono training session on a variety of topics. We also know that many of our members are active in various volunteer projects and pro bono activities, through the BBA and elsewhere. 

In recognition of Pro Bono Month, we’re reaching out to ask:

“What has been a meaningful public service experience for you?

Michael Denham – Lawyers for Affordable Justice
“As a law student, I helped work with Election Protection, a non-partisan election observation organization that aims to protect the right to vote. We observed polls in Boston and worked a hotline to help voters facing problems in their states. If we don’t have fair, functioning elections where every citizen has the right to be heard, then we don’t have the rule of law.”

Rebecca Cazabon – Foley Hoag
“I was staffing the Pro Bono Civil Appeals Clinic at the Appeals Court and a woman came in needing help with her housing case. She said that she was being evicted from her home, and in between sobs, told me that she and her children would be homeless, as they had nowhere else to live. She was certain that her landlord was evicting her because of the color of her skin — she is Haitian — and because she is poor. She said that her landlord had tried to evict her three times before. She felt completely defeated and didn’t think she had the strength to fight it. To make matters worse, the move-out date was scheduled for the next day! Amazingly, and thanks to quick collaboration with the Volunteer Lawyers Project, we were able to find her a lawyer to represent her. ”

Jane Tyrrell – Massachusetts IOLTA
“One project close to my heart  is the national movement to Expand the Right to Counsel in civil cases.  It has been 53 years since the passage of Gideon v. Wainwright,  establishing the right to counsel in criminal cases.   Fifty three  years after Gideon,  a woman caught shop lifting is entitled to an attorney but a woman with children who is being evicted from her home is not.”

Katherine Schulte – Casa Myrna
“I’m fortunate enough that I do public service every day in my job at Casa Myrna, a domestic violence advocacy organization. Helping survivors navigate the legal system and witnessing their courage and resilience on a daily basis is very rewarding.”


Daniel Heffernan – Kotin Crabtree & Strong
“I have had a number of meaningful public service experiences, including working as a legal services attorney in Central Massachusetts.  However, serving on the boards of directors, with long stints as board presidents, of Community Legal Services and Counselling Center and the Federation for Children with Special Needs has been have been deeply meaningful.  As a career litigator, it was great to work in a non-adversarial arena, helping to guide the work of two amazing organizations in challenging times. ”

Julia Huston – Foley Hoag
“Serving on the board of directors of Greater Boston Legal Services for 10 years was an amazing experience.  I have nothing but respect for the legal aid attorneys who work in the trenches every day, and it was an honor and a privilege to support their work.”


If you would like to respond to a future Voices of the Bar, make sure you send a headshot, and contact Lauren DiTullio at