Posts Categorized: Voices of the Bar

Voices of the Bar 6/2/16: Who Is Your Favorite Supreme Court Justice?

One hundred years ago on June 1, Louis Brandeis was confirmed to the Supreme Court of the United States. As you may or may not already know,  the Boston law firm Nutter McClennen & Fish was co-founded by Brandeis and Samuel D. Warren in 1879 under the name Warren & Brandeis. We encourage you to read about what the anniversary means to Nutter today. And while we’re on the subject of Supreme Court justices, we wanted to find out who else has made an impact on those in Nutter’s office.

For this week’s “Voices of the Bar” column, we reached out to attorneys at Nutter to ask:

“Who is your favorite Supreme Court justice?

Phil Rosenblatt – Nutter McClennen & Fish
“In the context of remembering Justice Brandeis’s ascension to the U.S. Supreme Court, I would have to say that my favorite sitting Supreme Court Justice is Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Her principled tenacity in standing up for what she firmly believes our laws demand, most notably demonstrated in her work for gender equality and more recently in her insightful questioning at oral argument in Obergefell v. Hodges, does honor to Justice Brandeis’s principled dedication to individual rights, most notably in his judicial views on each individual’s right to economic opportunity and his views on the right to privacy.”

Eric Magnuson – Nutter McClennen & Fish
“Justice Alito has all the qualities that I admire in a judge, including judicial temperament, intelligence, courage, and integrity. His opinions demonstrate fealty to the Constitution and recognition of the profound importance of the rule of law.”


Sarah Kelly – Nutter McClennen & Fish
“My favorite Supreme Court Justice is Ruth Bader Ginsburg (the Notorious RBG). She’s brilliant and tough as nails, and her work to advance women’s rights is inspirational. I also think the way she has engaged with social media has made her a hero to young people, even those outside of the legal profession.” ”

Ken Berman – Nutter McClennen & Fish
“In 1963, when he wrote that that the “government must always be accountable to the judiciary for a man’s imprisonment,” Justice William Brennan earned my enduring admiration. Brennan was speaking about the critical importance of habeas corpus as an ultimate means of ensuring that criminal convictions pass constitutional muster. Today, the writ of habeas corpus often provides little relief due to Congressional action and Supreme Court rulings, but Brennan hewed closely to what the Framers understood was a vital ingredient of American criminal justice, echoing the values in Justice Louis Brandeis’ inspiring 1928 dissent in Olmstead v. United States.”

Robyn Maguire – Nutter McClennen & Fish
“I admire Ruth Bader Ginsburg, not only for her strong voice in matters of consensus on the Court, but also for her bravery in expressing the lone dissenting view when she believes the Constitution requires otherwise. Consensus is important, but the ability to eloquently disagree is also a virtue that deserves respect.”

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 5/26/16: What SCOTUS Case Means the Most to You?

It could be that the ruling has had a profound impact on society, or on one specific attorney’s practice or personal life. It could simply be that the facts of the case are incredibly interesting. Whatever the reason, everyone has a Supreme Court case they love to talk about

For attorneys, our question this week is an evergreen one, but an upcoming program on the U.S. Supreme Court prompts us to ask:

“What SCOTUS case means the most to you?

Carol Starkey – Conn Kavanaugh Rosenthal Peisch & Ford
“The case that had the greatest impact on me personally, and in my view, on the country as a whole, was Obergefell v. Hodges, 576 U.S.  (2015), the landmark Unites States Supreme Court case in which the Court held in a 5–4 decision that the fundamental right to marry is guaranteed to same-sex couples by both the Due process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.  Justice Kennedy pointed to the evolution of our understanding of injustice when he wrote, “The nature of injustice is that we may not always see it in our own times. The generations that wrote and ratified the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment did not presume to know the extent of freedom in all of its dimensions, and so they entrusted to future generations a charter protecting the right of all persons to enjoy liberty as we learn its meaning. When new insight reveals discord between the Constitution’s central protections and a received legal stricture, a claim to liberty must be addressed.” And so it was with the Obergefell decision.”

Joseph Molina Flynn – Molina Flynn Law Offices
“My favorite SCOTUS case is Padilla v. Kentucky, 559 U.S. 356 (2010), because it is the most impactful to my practice. The Court in Padilla held that criminal attorneys must advise their clients regarding the potential immigration consequences of their pleas prior to accepting a plea agreement. In Massachusetts, this case has been applied retroactively. Padilla’s holding helps immigration practitioners advocate for the vacating of plea agreements entered into prior to 2010 which can sometimes be our clients’ only avenue to fight deportation.”

Christopher Saccardi – The Law Office of Christopher T. Saccardi
“My favorite SCOTUS case is Callins v. Collins, 510 U.S. 1141 (1994). In an otherwise relatively routine case, Justice Blackmun chose, in a surprising dissent, to renounce twenty years of support for the death penalty, writing that because he had little confidence it could ever be administered fairly, ‘From this day forward, I no longer shall tinker with the machinery of death.’ I have always been impressed by the courage it took to for Justice Blackmun to so publicly change his position and that he did so with such eloquence.”

Elizabeth Surette – Overclocked Legal
Cohen v. California: Free speech protection is the whole reason I went to law school. That case is the one which reminds us of the importance of protecting speech we disapprove of or even hate, as the right to free speech is the one on which all others are predicated. ‘One man’s vulgarity is another’s lyric.'”

Robert Crabtree – Kotin, Crabtree & Strong
“For its eventual effects on my practice as a special education attorney and in shaping my vision of what our national community can accomplish when circumstances fall into place, there has been no more impactful Supreme Court decision than Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483 (1954), issued when I was nine years old.   Though its pronouncements may have proven more aspirational than actual in the short term, and though fear and bigotry continues to spawn resistance against its meaning and implementation for the disenfranchised of all kinds through the decades, its ringing emphasis on the centrality of education for the effective functioning of our social and political lives and the clarity with which the Court dismissed the disingenuous fiction  of “separate but equal” stand secure.  Said the Court: “it is doubtful that any child may reasonably be expected to succeed in life if he is denied the opportunity of an education.”  Amen to that.  The Court was unanimous in Brown.  One might look to the work done by its members to achieve that unanimity for the good of our body politic, in spite of deep political and philosophical differences among them, as a model for our own time.   One might also take the Court’s achievement in that case as a reminder of the critical importance of selecting persons of good will, strong intelligence and compassion to fill its seats as we approach election time in these, our own bitter and divided times.”

Mina Makarious – Anderson & Kreiger
“Is there a more aptly named case than Loving v. Virginia? For me, that case is an emphatic reminder of how courts can ameliorate hate and spark positive change.  I am Egyptian-American.  My wife is of French-Canadian/Irish heritage.  While I don’t know exactly how Virginia courts would have viewed our marriage before Loving, I know I’m blessed to have been born in a generation where two folks that look like we do don’t have to think about that issue, or worry about the state’s approval.  I hope that in a generation Goodridge and Obergefell are viewed the same way.”

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 5/19/16: What Does Law Day Mean to You?

Each year, we mark Law Day by recognizing those who we believe have demonstrated excellence in the profession. Last week, our honorees and key note speaker stood out for their dedication to increasing access to justice and the quality of the judicial system.

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

“What does Law Day mean to you?

Michael Fee – Pierce & Mandell
“Our responsibilities as lawyers extend well beyond the duties we owe our clients. Supporting the judiciary, enhancing access to justice, and ensuring that all lawyers practice with professionalism are just some of the goals we should all be pursuing every day. Law Day is a way to celebrate those judges, lawyers and educators who are doing it the best.”

Deborah Manus – Nutter McClennen & Fish
“Law Day is a time to remember and celebrate that we are privileged to live in a democratic society that ensures its citizens certain basic rights and protections. It is also a time to reflect on the fact that we, as lawyers, have the ability to play a special role in both the legislative and judicial systems on which our democracy depends. That’s what makes law a profession and not just a job.”

Phelps Turner – Sugarman, Rogers, Barshak & Cohen
“For me, Law Day is a celebration of the role of law and the rule of law in the United States. As the President noted in his 2016 Law Day Proclamation, this year we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the landmark decision in Miranda v. Arizona, which affirmed that all Americans will be treated equally and afforded due process under the law. This year and every year, Law Day is an excellent way to remind ourselves of the significance of the legal system in the lives of all Americans.”

David Koha – Casner & Edwards
“Having just attended my first Law Day, it seems to me that Law Day is a time to consider the past, present and future of the law and the legal profession.  It’s about the past: looking back at the accomplishments and service of people who have applied their legal training for the good of others.  It’s about the present: considering where we stand as a profession, including challenges and opportunities.  And it’s about the future: how to chart a course forward in light of those challenges and opportunities.”

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 5/12/16: Should people have the right to an attorney before a breathalyzer test?

The issue of whether a motorist asked to take a breathalyzer test has the right to an attorney has recently made headlines, with the Supreme Judicial Court expected to rule in the next month on a recent case. Timothea Neary-French was arrested in Lenox in 2012 on a charge of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, and her attorney is arguing that Neary-French should have been able to call a lawyer first.

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

“Should people have the right to consult a lawyer before taking a breathalyzer test?

Daryl Abbas – Abbas & Durrigan Attorneys at Law
“Yes. Article 12 of the Massachusetts Constitution considers a person’s refusal to participate in a field sobriety test or submit to a breathalyzer information that cannot be presented to the jury for consideration because a person’s refusal is protected by a their right against self-incrimination. Therefore, an officer requesting someone to take a breathalyzer or filed sobriety test is requesting a person to make potentially self-incriminating statements which should invoke their right to counsel. ”

Joseph Simons – Attorney at Law
“The right to an attorney consultation prior to a breath test will never happen.  While it would be ideal, given the far-reaching consequences of such a decision, it is impractical.  The breath test is time sensitive and would require reaching an attorney willing to dispense legal advice on the spot, quickly, every time.  The consultations would need to be private, since an attorney would necessarily inquire about the client’s alcohol intake in order to render advice.  Finally, arrestees with credit cards in their pocket may be more likely to get willing attorneys to dispense advice in the middle of the night, leaving the poor and wallet-less without a meaningful opportunity to get legal advice before making a decision.”

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 5/5/16: What is the most memorable experience you have had volunteering for Law Day in the Schools?

Law Day in the Schools is in full swing for the next few weeks, placing volunteer attorneys in classrooms in Boston public schools to teach more than 1,400 students about Miranda rights. We are thrilled that in its 30th year, this program has drawn so much interest from a wonderful team of volunteer attorneys.

The topic of the lessons this year is Miranda rights. For younger students, the curriculum was framed around “The True Story of the Three Little Pigs, by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith. The picture books tells the infamous story from the wolf’s perspective. Some classes participated in a mock trial. For high school students, attorneys have focused on discussing the history and Constitutional basis of Miranda rights.

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

“What is the most memorable experience you have had volunteering for Law Day in the Schools?

Rachel Hershfang – U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission 
“This year for Law Day, my partner and I visited a K2 (pre-K) class at the Nathan Hale School.  As interpreted for the younger set, the curriculum included reading an alternate version of the three little pigs, told from the perspective of the wolf.  As recommended in the instructions, we stopped every few pages to ask questions to ensure that the kids were following.  The first time we stopped, it was to confirm that the kids understood that the story was being told from a different perspective.  “So, who is telling the story?”  I asked.  “You!” answered a number of the kids.  Lesson learned:  don’t ask dumb questions to a kindergartner.”

Meghan Cosgrove – Donoghue Barrett & Singal
“The ability to take time out from our busy “lawyer” schedule and remember that our profession has a duty to mentor and engage with the younger generation.  Their energy, enthusiasm and inquisitive nature was motivating and refreshing and made me remember why I do what I do!”

Paula Bagger – Cooke Clancy & Gruenthal
“So, the wolf was acquitted of his crimes against the three little pigs. The way the lesson was written, the prosecution never stood a chance.  But I was most impressed with the way our eight-year old jury listened to the witness examinations, weighed the evidence, and later explained their rationale to the group. Some great jurors coming up (not to mention the lawyers and judge).”

John McBrine and Rory Pheiffer – Nutter McClennen & Fish
“A couple years ago, we volunteered in a first grade classroom in East Boston.  We were both amazed at the depth of the students’ curiosity and awareness of the world around them.  One first grader asked a question about her hero, Justice Sotomayor.  Wow!  When we were in first grade, our heroes were Voltron and He-Man.”

Joseph Molina Flynn – Molina Flynn Law Offices
“I had the pleasure of reading “The True Story of the Three Little Pigs” to a group of first graders in East Boston. At the end of the story, the wolf claims he was framed and he is not truly a big bad wolf. This revelation spurred a very insistent line of questioning from one of the first graders who used the word “framed” with shocking facility. The conversation taught me the importance of perspective. Prior to this encounter with the first grader, I did not think that they would be so well-versed in the perceived pitfalls of the criminal justice system. At the end, this first grader taught me that not all communities are created equally and that, unfortunately, the criminal justice system often carries collateral consequences we are, at times, too ready to ignore.”

Michelle O’Brien – Pierce Atwood
“My one experience participating in Law Day in the Schools was terrific! Although my undergraduate degree is in Education I had not been in front of a classroom for many years and I was a little nervous. I was quickly put at ease because the fifth graders were so welcoming and engaged in the discussion. I was impressed by how attentive and thoughtful they were, and it was interesting to see how different groups of students approached the same task in different ways. It was a good reminder to know your audience and be adaptive.”

Wadner Oge – Massachusetts Board of Bar Examiners
“Every time I have a chance to participate in the Boston Bar Association’s Law Day in schools I experience something that is remarkable and memorable. I was previously asked by a second grader if all lawyers make a lot money. I took this opportunity to explain to his classroom how lawyers occupy different roles in our society, and our salary depends on whether we work for a firm or for the government. On May 4, 2016, I experienced something that is remarkable different as I was making my way to the school’s main entrance for the Law Day presentation. One of the fifth graders, who was going to participate in the Law Day program, came up to and asked me, are you the lawyer who is going to speak to my class? I was shocked and said yes and smiled. It was my time going to his school and he did not know who I was. I took a brief moment to reflect on why he thought that I was a lawyer. I realize that it was simply because I was wearing a suit with a shirt and tie, and that he already has an expectation what a lawyer must look like in our society. This remarkable lesson I draw from the fifth grader clearly exemplifies that our appearance is matter, and that it is having a greater positive impact on our school children than many of us have actually thought.”

Bruce Falby – DLA Piper
“My partner Mike McGurk and I oversaw a trial of the big bad wolf in a fourth grade classroom at Samuel Adams School in East Boston.  I’ll remember two things.  First, the jury was out all of 2 minutes before coming back with a verdict finding the wolf guilty of deliberating blowing down houses and eating pigs, yet when we polled the witnesses, both prosecution and defense, they would have acquitted.  Second, the defense attorney departed from the script by making an extemporaneous  argument for reconsideration after the jury came back.  Procedurally irregular, but we admired his passion.”

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 4/28/16: What Musician, Living or Dead, Would You Most Like to See Live?

This year has been a somber year for music. The passing of legendary trailblazers Prince and David Bowie spurred moving tributes and reflections on what popular music means to society. As people from different places, generations and backgrounds have mourned, they have come together in appreciation for these two men and their work.

Of course, neither of these cases represent the first time that fans have created a moving display while saying goodbye to an icon. With countless musical greats to thank for many years of incredible songs, we wanted to know:

“If you could see any artist (living or dead) play a show, who would you choose?

Patrick Clendenen – Sally & Fitch
“I was fortunate to grow up in New Haven, Connecticut in the 70’s-80’s and then raise a family in Massachusetts in the 90’s to today.  My friends and family always had eclectic tastes in music, from folk, blue grass, Motown, classical, opera, jazz, rock, hard rock, rap, hip hop, pop, country.  An amazing growth in music over these years.  I was able to attend concerts at the Yale Bowl or New Haven Coliseum for Parliament, Kiss, Crosby Stills & Nash, the Eagles, Outlaws, the Grateful Dead, Yes, J. Geils Band as a young adult.  And I still remember the Sugar Hill Gang hitting the then Vinyl record stores.  But, if I had to choose,  I’d have to go with Led Zeppelin and Prince.  Big acts that will be tough to follow. ”

Kerry Crisley – Boston Bar Association
“I would LOVE to see a live episode of SNL in the 1970s, with John Belushi, Gilda Radner, Bill Murray, Dan Aykryod, Laraine Newman, Garrett Morris and Jane Curtin…and hosted by Steve Martin.”

Tricia Hennessy – Hennessy Consulting Group
“Having just seen the movie Born to Be Blue, I would choose the jazz musician Chet Baker.  Given the work I do in the diversity and inclusion world and in light of conversations in our world today regarding race, I would put myself in the audience when he performed with Charlie Parker at the Trade Winds Club in Los Angeles in 1952.”

Nicole Roth – Boston Bar Association
“I’ve always wanted to see the Beatles perform at the height of Beatlemania. Aside from being an amazing band, the amount and dedication of their fans would just be so exciting to see in real life. I wish I could have been there for their performance on the Ed Sullivan show in 1964!”

Rachna M. Manrai – Ernst & Young
“I would absolutely hands down want to see Michael Jackson perform. Growing up, his ‘out of the box’ dance moves and beats were an inspiration not only for me but have paved the way for so many pop performers today. His style has also influenced so many cultures/countries, including Bollywood! To this day, “The Way You Make Me Feel” brings a smile to my face and laugh of Vincent Prince at the end of “Thriller” scares me! I wish I had seen him perform live- I’ve heard his singing and dancing skills were amazing in concert too!”

Sarah Babineau – Compass Metrics
“I want to see a band that comprises: John Bonham (Led Zeppelin) on drums,  John Entwhistle (The Who) on bass. Prince on guitar, vocals and piano, Jimi Hendrix on guitar, Freddie Mercury (Queen) on vocals and piano and Amy Winehouse on vocals.”

Melissa Nott Davis – McDermott Will & Emery
“It’s tempting to say Prince given how recent he passed and the genius we’ve lost. Michael Jackson when he was touring for Thriller is also a strong contender both for musicality and nostalgia for my childhood. But to be in the presence of unparalleled genius I have to go with Beethoven.”

Daniel Gaviani – Boston Bar Association
“Marvin Gaye!”

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 4/21/16: Tell Us About a Time You Were Proud to Be a Lawyer

This week, as we look ahead to our Law Day events, we are reflecting on the many contributions that lawyers make to their communities. At Law Day in the Schools, volunteer attorneys take time to acquaint students with important legal concepts. Throughout the year, we see attorneys engage in pro bono work and many different types of outreach and community service initiatives. And all of that is besides the billable hours that lawyers spend helping people.

For this week’s “Voices of the Bar” column, we’re in search of stories.

“Tell us about a time you were proud to be a lawyer.

Kate Carter – Dain, Torpy, Le Ray, Wiest & Garner
“Recently my colleague and I won political asylum for a Ugandan man who had fled his home, family, and career in Uganda because of persecution on account of his sexual orientation as a gay man. Although I’ve represented applicants for political asylum before, this was the first case my colleague handled as lead counsel. I was not only proud to be a part of our client’s story, and to have helped him remain in the United States so that he could live safely and love whomever he wants, but I was also so proud of my colleague, and of the small role I played in mentoring him to be the great advocate, who won our client freedom. ”

Hon. Robert B. Foster – Land Court Department of the Massachusetts Trial Court
“Early in my career, I represented a client pro bono before the MCAD. She had been kicked out of a tanning salon after disclosing that she was HIV-positive. All I did at the MCAD conciliation was have her tell her story, but it resulted in a settlement and apology. Later that year, at the holidays, she left me a voicemail thanking me, a voicemail I have saved to this day. It is the best gift I ever received, and my proudest moment as a lawyer.”

Vikas Dhar – Dhar Law
“I’m proud to be a lawyer every day! Confronting a variety of challenging issues on a daily basis is thrilling, and nothing beats seeing a happy client. Plus, I work with a rockstar team that is smart, fast, witty and totally embraces our philosophy on socially conscious professional practices. We share a belief that we can do well by doing good!”

Ilir Kavaja – Kavaja Law
“Just two weeks ago I represented an individual in a case that culminated in a jury trial. It was a hard fought trial, and the jury ultimately rendered a verdict for my client. At the time the jury announced its verdict my client burst into tears and gave me a big hug. At that particular moment it felt great to be an attorney and to be in a position where I can help others vindicate their rights under the law.”

Anant Saraswat – WilmerHale
“I was in an immigration law clinic in law school, and in my first case my 1L year, we represented a Haitian lawful permanent resident facing deportation over a minor drug possession conviction.  He had been held in jail for over fifteen months without a bond hearing while fighting his removal.  We filed a federal habeas petition and got him out of prison, and he later succeeded in cancelling his removal order.  I was there when he met his family, including his new baby daughter, for the first time after his release, and it was very moving.  I was extremely proud of the work my colleagues and I had done on our client’s behalf, and that experience has motivated me to continue doing pro bono work throughout my career.”

Rebecca Cazabon – Foley Hoag
“Many years ago, I helped a young immigrant woman who was brutally controlled and abused by her husband.  Her life was in turmoil when we met, and she was terrified that without immigration papers, she would be deported, or far worse, that her husband would kill her.  I helped this client obtain protection from abuse, legal immigration status, work authorization, and eventually her green card.  I found out recently that she was awarded a scholarship to go to college, and is now working as a case manager for disabled adults. She told me that receiving the help that she so desperately needed, changed her life, which has enabled her to change the lives of others.”

Eleni Kalmoukos – Victim Rights Law Center
“Working at the Victim Rights Law Center in Boston currently, and having worked at a legal services office prior to that, I can say that I am proud to be a lawyer every day. Providing legal advice and representation to the most vulnerable individuals who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford an attorney is an honor and a privilege and makes me proud to practice law every day. Making a difference in someone’s life is the reason I was interested in becoming a lawyer, and I am fortunate enough to be able to do just that in a very real way through my work, whether it is helping a client obtain a protective order to protect her from abuse or assisting a client with obtaining the disability benefits that he is entitled to.  ”

Brendan T. St. Amant – Donnelly, Conroy & Gelhaar
“I am proud to be a lawyer when I am assisting probationers with the civil legal issues they face as they transition back into the community.”


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 4/14/16: What Does One Boston Day Mean to You?

As you have likely heard, Mayor Martin Walsh recently signed a proclamation permanently naming April 15th One Boston Day. This year, on the third anniversary of the tragic events of the Boston Marathon bombing, the city will collect items for those in Flint, Michigan currently experiencing a water crisis. There will also be a moment of silence at 2:49 p.m. as the city’s churches ring their bells.

This week, we contacted attorneys who participated in our Marathon Assistance Project as well as members who run the Boston Marathon, seeking their unique perspective on Mayor Walsh’s proclamation.

We reached out and asked:

“What does One Boston Day mean to you?

Emily Hodge – Choate Hall & Stewart
“One Boston Day symbolizes the strength that this city has demonstrated in the wake of the Marathon bombings.  We have heard so many incredible stories of bravery, selflessness, and kindness come out of that day, and One Boston Day provides an opportunity to celebrate those qualities.  One Boston Day ensures that we remember that day, and what defines that day becomes not the acts of cruelty but the acts of kindness.  One Boston Day represents the city’s resilience and the characteristics that make so many of us proud to run the Marathon each year, and proud to be Bostonians.”

Kathleen Porter – Robinson & Cole
“It is the best of what and who we are – unsung heroes going about their work, preparing for the unthinkable and unexpected; everyday people reaching out to help each other and strangers. It is a Day when everyone is a Bostonian.”

Thomas Elkind – Foley & Lardner
“One Boston Day is a reminder to me that, as an attorney, I have an obligation to give something back to my community. I am pleased that Mayor Walsh has committed Boston to help other cities in need as well.”

Kate Sullivan –  Rosenfeld Rafik & Sullivan, P.C
“One Boston Day is a day to stop, for even just a second, to remember that life is a gift and those around us are part of that gift.  It is a reminder that we live in an amazing city surrounded by talented, wonderful and heroic people and we should not need a tragedy to prompt our showing kindness to one another.  We can make the decision each day to show compassion, understanding and kindness to those we encounter along our way.”

Peter Durning – Mackie Shea
“One Boston Day is a great time to reflect and remember what makes this community a great place to live and work.  Rather than focus on tragedy, commemorating One Boston emphasizes the response to adversity and helps forge our identity as a community that cares for one another.

I was working that Patriots’ Day at our office on Boylston Street and heard both bombs go off, but what stays with me today is the stories of people who welcomed stranded out-of-towners into their homes, the outpouring of support for the One Boston Fund, and the resolve to continue hosting the world for this great event.  As the Back Bay starts to buzz with pre-race excitement and new faces are getting in their final tapers along the Esplanade, it is important to remember that just as Boston had its hour of need in 2013, other communities, like Flint, need critical resources to get through hard times.  I applaud Mayor Walsh for extending the One Boston initiative in this constructive way.”

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 4/7/16: As a Child, What Did You Want to Be When You Grew Up?

We are gearing up for our annual Law Day in the Schools program, where Boston Public School students get to hear annually from our volunteer attorneys. This year, attorneys will introduce them to the important topic of Miranda rights.

The idea is to provide and interactive day of civic education for these students, but we also hope that the program might ignite an interest in practicing law in one or two. That is, if they’re not already dedicated to becoming a rock star, an astronaut or a professional athlete.

So we wanted to know: what about our members?

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

“When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

David Kluft – Foley Hoag
“I wanted to be Ambassador to Nicaragua until I learned that the movie Protocol, with Goldie Hawn, was not entirely accurate.”


Ian Roffman – Nutter McClennen & Fish
“As a child growing up in New Jersey, I wanted to play third base for the New York Yankees. I still do. ”


Carolyn Jacoby Gabbay – Nixon Peabody
“Growing up I always wanted to be a lawyer. My father was my role model. He was an attorney who loved the law and he was greatly respected and admired by his colleagues and clients. And he had some very cool clients — including Charlie Chaplin and the Eugene O’Neill family, for example.  As a child I wanted to be like him. I attended college at Boston University and planned on law school from day one as a freshman. I stayed in Boston attending Boston University School of Law and after graduating joined private practice just like my father. Years later, I am happy to still be doing what I aspired to do professionally from the time I was a young girl.”

Jennifer Sunderland – Manion Gaynor & Manning
“As an eight year old, nothing seemed more glamorous to me than becoming a secretary.  My sisters and I would play “Office” and I would readily volunteer my services in a support role to my twin sister’s job as “Boss.” I envisioned my future job as enabling me to wear a suit and high heels every day while having access to my own word-processing machine and an infinite number of office supplies.  The reality of my chosen career path has turned out better than ever I could have imagined – there are so many office supplies.”

Laura Stephens Khoshbin – Partners Healthcare
“This question took me back to age 7, to second grade in Louisville, Kentucky, in the height of Spring. Our class was asked to make a crayon drawing of a spring landscape.  I chose the deepest colors from the crayon box and sketched out a pastoral scene beneath a narrow strip of very blue sky.  After pausing at my desk for a moment, my teacher asked me to accompany her outdoors.  Just beyond the back door of the school was the scene I had in mind.  I can still remember the wet lilacs, new grass, and fragrant air, heavy with humidity.  My teacher gently took me by the hand and showed me how the sky goes all the way to the ground.  I remember the rush of revelation; it was a turning point in my arts education to be sure.  More importantly, in that moment she also inspired a life-long love of teaching.  I will never forget her.”

Janette A. Ekanem – Kotin Crabtree & Strong
“Believe it or not, I decided that I wanted to become a lawyer when I was a child.  My mother worked as paralegal in the Housing Unit at Greater Boston Legal Services and as a result, I had the opportunity to witness firsthand the power of using law as a tool for advocacy.  I also had a burning desire to be the next Michelle Kwan, but I abandoned that dream when I realized that my jumps and spins would never quite compare to hers.”

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 3/31/16: Tell Us a Story About Practicing in Front of a Judge

We have a variety of programs coming up featuring judicial leaders that are designed to help lawyers see their responsibilities from the perspective of someone on the bench.  So, we were hoping for the same from you – we want to know what it’s like to practice in front of a judge from the perspective of a lawyer.

We contacted members in search of stories about attorney flubs, wise words from judges, and anything else they found noteworthy from their years in practice.

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

“What has been your most memorable moment practicing in front of a judge?

J.W. Carney – Carney & Associates
“I will never forget the day that a District Attorney moved to dismiss three criminal convictions against Dennis Maher after he was exonerated by DNA testing. He had served 19 years in prison, and I had been his prosecutor.”

Lauren J. Weitzen – Lawson & Weitzen
“Following a bench trial in which my young client was facing a mandatory minimum sentence of incarceration for possessing a loaded firearm, the judge issued a Not Guilty verdict. My client, through tears, thanked the judge, told her his wife just had a baby a few days ago, and promised that his life was moving forward in a positive direction. The judge responded, seemingly emotional as well, that she made her decision based on the performance of his excellent attorney and that his whole life was now ahead of him, in his hands only, and wished him the best of luck.”

Brian Bixby – Burns & Levinson
“I was handling a will contest, and one of the parties removed the case to the U.S. District Court on the basis that there was a bequest to a charity that is technically a federal agency.  The case was assigned to Judge Tauro, who had scheduled a status conference requiring all the attorneys to appear.  He looked down at us, and particularly to the attorney who had removed the case to Federal Court and said, ‘I have been on the bench for about half a century.  I have never tried a will contest and don’t plan to start now.  Just because you can remove a case from the Probate Court does not mean that you should.  I will schedule another hearing in 30 days, and I don’t expect any of you to be here.’  We weren’t.”

Carol E. Nesson – Law Office of Carol E. Nesson
“The defendant,  represented by counsel, testified that she was innocent of a crime and   “just shared with her friends.”  “Oh, and did you share with your friends [on the night of the alleged offense]”, I asked.  “Oh, yes”, she answered. I then started to ask another question.  The judge, barely able to keep from cracking up, then advised me to know when I had won and stop!”

David Cherny – Atwood Cherny
“While trying a divorce case before Judge Haskell “Hutchie” Freedman in Lawrence many years ago, an expert witness acknowledged under cross-exam that he had never testified or qualified as a witness before that trial. Judge Freedman leaned over to the witness, looked him right in the eye and said “Son, EVERYBODY has to have a first time.”

Luke T. Cadigan – K & L Gates
“When I was a mid-level associate, a judge asked me at the outset of an argument whether I was ‘3:03 certified.’ In other words, was I still in law school?  It is the most unnerving question I have ever received from the bench.”

Brandon Scruggs – Sunstein Kann Murphy & Timbers
“When I was doing a stint as an Assistant District Attorney, I prosecuted a case where the Commonwealth accused a woman of attacking her ex-boyfriend with what appeared to be a portable stripper pole.  Just before the trial, I found myself arguing two interesting motions in limine.  Defense counsel moved to bar anyone from referring to the pole as a “stripper pole” and also wanted to have the labelling on the pole removed because if a juror read it, they would probably figure out what the device was.  I agreed not to refer to the pole as a stripper pole because I didn’t have a witness that could confirm that without speculation (and I didn’t need to call it a stripper pole to prove my case).  On the labelling, the judge sensibly ruled that the pole should remain unaltered so that the evidence would be in the condition it was in at the time of the alleged crime (or as close to it as possible).  At trial, I got to admit the stripper pole into evidence.  I even got to take a simulated swing with it at closing argument.  And the jury eventually convicted the defendant.”

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