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:  http://www.arlingtoncemetery.net/flanders.htm

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

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 lditullio@bostonbar.org.

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 lditullio@bostonbar.org.

The Most Interesting (Pro Bono) Lawyer of the Week: Peter Haley of Nelson Mullins on Representing Boston Marathon Bombing Victim in Case Against Glenn Beck

haley_peterPeter Haley and his colleagues at Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, like everyone else in the city of Boston, were deeply affected by the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013. When the Boston Bar Association established the Marathon Assistance Project, they were eager to help in any way they could.

That was how Haley met Abdul Alharbi, and began to build a defamation case that would garner significant attention in the media and in the legal profession. In Haley’s words:

“Abdul was a spectator at the marathon, was injured and was brought to the hospital after the attacks for treatment.  While there, he was questioned by law enforcement and agreed to allow the FBI to conduct a search of his apartment.  The search was highly public. But within a day or so, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security concluded he had no involvement and most commentary ceased, with one notable exception.

As set forth in the complaint, Glenn Beck, through his radio and television broadcasts continued to insist that Abdul was involved and ultimately asserted that he was the “money man” who funded the attacks.”

The BBA Marathon Assistance project referred Alharbi to Haley a few months after the attack. Between then and their ultimate decision to file a complaint in March of 2014, Haley’s team at Nelson Mullins prepared Alharbi for the many legal and personal challenges the case could bring. Defamation claims are hard to prosecute, damages are difficult to prove, and bringing the claims in the first place could add to Alharbi’s personal embarrassment and prolong his time in the spotlight due to Beck’s allegations.

For Haley’s part, he was wary of influencing the public discussion surrounding the case.

“I think cases against well-known defendants can sometimes be perilous in that, if you want it, they can provide a forum for counsel to insert himself or herself into the public debate about the case.  For the most part, I find that to be a mistake,” he said.  “People call you because your client has entrusted you with handling the matter on their behalf. It’s about the client; it’s not about you.”

He added, “A civil action, in most instances, is a means to a monetary end, it is not a forum for personal or moral judgment.”

The terms of the settlement are confidential. According to a statement released by both sides when they reached the settlement last month, neither side had to admit wrongdoing, and Beck and several companies associated with him “agreed to settlement of the pending action in furtherance of fundamental principles of journalistic integrity by preserving the confidentiality of their sources consistent with their rights and privileges under the First Amendment.”

Haley said he found it to be a great privilege to appear before Judge Saris and her staff, and commended the attorneys he argued against for a job well done.

Haley also praised his colleagues and the management of Nelson Mullins for allowing him to spend a significant amount of his time and energy on Alharbi’s case.

“It was an unusually large commitment and prevented me from carrying my share of the work and revenue burden that fairly belongs to me.  No one ever mentioned it, other than to offer encouragement.  This matter brought home to me how much I like and respect each and every one of those partners and how grateful I should be for their support,” he said.

Most of all, he said, he valued the chance to meet and assist Alharbi. For Haley, working on the case underscored the gap between affordable legal help and those who need it.

“One thing the case brought home to me is how ruinously expensive litigation is for most people, and how horribly underserved most Americans are by the judicial system as it exists,” he said. “This was a case that needed to be brought. I now know how much that cost, and I know that a free lawyer was the only way it would have been brought. That is something we should correct.”

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 lditullio@bostonbar.org.

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 lditullio@bostonbar.org.

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 lditullio@bostonbar.org.

Voices of the Bar 9/29/16: Choate Colleagues Help Us Get to Know Chief Justice Marshall

The Boston Bar Association is very pleased to announce that Hon. Margaret H. Marshall, former Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, will be honored at the Boston Bar Foundation 2017 John & Abigail Adams Benefit.

A quick internet search or conversation with someone who has been practicing in the legal field in Massachusetts for long enough will provide a laundry list of her many accomplishments. Chief Justice Marshall was the first female Chief Justice of the Massachusetts SJC, and during her 11 years in the position, she gained a national reputation for both her landmark decisions and her reforms of the Massachusetts court system.

Chief Justice Marshall rejoined Choate, Hall & Stewart in 2012 after her retirement from the bench. For this week’s Voices of the Bar, we asked some of her colleagues at Choate to share a little bit about their personal experiences with her.

“How has working with Chief Justice Marshall impacted you personally or professionally?”

Diana LLoyd – Choate, Hall & Stewart
“I met Chief Justice Marshall when she interviewed me for a lateral associate position at Choate, Hall in 1992.  I was immediately taken with the Chief’s warmth, obvious brilliance and impressive success as a litigation partner at a major law firm.  At the time, few women had achieved that type of success.  In my first months at Choate, I came to learn about the Chief’s background fighting apartheid in South Africa, and her remarkable achievements in this country.  I also marveled, though, at the Chief’s focus on the personal side of those she met.  She learned and cared about the details of people’s lives – their spouses, their children, their concerns.  Many people now link the Chief, first and foremost, to her courageous and ground-breaking decision on same-sex marriage in Goodridge.  However, if you ask the Chief whether she views Goodridge as her most important decision, she will tell you that is not the way to look at it – that for all litigants who come to a court seeking justice, their own case is most important to them and deserves equal attention and consideration.  To me, that sentiment encapsulates the Chief  – a person who cares for the people in our system as well as the principles and a lifelong crusader for justice for all.”

Melissa Bayer Tearney – Choate, Hall & Stewart
“As President of the Board of Directors of Greater Boston Legal Services, I know I speak for the entire organization in expressing our gratitude to Chief Justice Marshall. She has been an avid supporter of social justice throughout her life, and she has made extraordinary efforts to help ensure that legal representation is available to all, regardless of an ability to pay. Her commitment is unwavering, and she is a true leader in this effort.”

John Nadas – Choate, Hall & Stewart
“It’s hard to know where to begin, as Chief Justice Marshall has influenced so many of us in so many ways, both professionally and personally, over the span of her extraordinary career. I want to emphasize one of her unusual personal qualities. Every day she demonstrates to us the importance of trying to make day-to-day connections with people, including strangers. When you walk with the Chief you’re well advised to set aside extra time to get to your destination because she often  stops to talk with people, whether she knows them or not. It’s not superficial. She does so out of genuine interest in, and caring for, people. To an unusual degree, she wants to see, connect, and get to know everyone. It is a reflection of her warmth, kindness and curiosity which, given her stature in the community, has a particularly profound and meaningful impact on others. ”

Jack Cinquegrana – Choate, Hall & Stewart
“When I learned that I would have the opportunity to serve as the Boston Bar Association’s President, the first person I called was Chief Justice Marshall.  She took most of a morning out of her busy schedule to meet with me, over breakfast on a rainy day in Harvard Square.  I recall our meeting quite well, because the more she spoke about the BBA, the greater my ambition for what the organization could accomplish.  I am sure The Chief has been an inspiration to every BBA President through her example of leadership, and I want to express my personal thanks for the wise counsel she has given me over the years, beginning on that rainy morning.”

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

The Most Interesting Lawyer of the Week: Robinson+Cole’s Matt Lawlor

It all lawlorstarted with a coffee table book.

Not many attorneys can attribute their professional life to a photography book displayed in his or her childhood home, but Matt Lawlor is one who can. Lawlor, a partner at Robinson+Cole and a member of the firm’s Real Estate + Development Group, focuses his practice on matters involving transit-oriented, affordable, and mixed-use development, a subject that appealed to him early on.

“I grew up in Brooklyn, and in my house we had a book called Lost New York that has pictures of all kinds of buildings and places in New York that are no longer there,” said Lawlor. “One of the most important and tragic was the original Penn Station – the beaux arts masterpiece that was demolished in the early 1960s. That, to me, represented how the city had done things to itself that just didn’t make sense.”

It didn’t make sense to Lawlor until he came across another book, The Power Broker by Robert Caro. As Lawlor read the biography of New York City master builder Robert Moses, the pieces began to fall into place.

“Moses was a guy who was a little like Ed Logue in Boston, though Moses was around longer and did more to the city,” Lawlor explained. “He’s the guy who started in the late 20s by building Jones Beach, a big public beach on the south side of Long Island. He then went into New York City and built literally dozens of highways, bridges, tunnels, roads, and parkways over several decades. But he built them in a way that made the city worse off than he had found it.”robert-moses

As Lawlor read about the building of many urban freeways, most notoriously the Cross Bronx Expressway, and the damage that was done to neighborhoods, especially poorer neighborhoods and neighborhoods of color, in their making, he began to see his home city in a new light.

“That kind of scenario happened over and over in New York during this time period. And so it all made sense to me, now I knew why the city looks this way; we spent a lot of money on things that ultimately made our city less livable and made it a less desirable place to be. And at the same time we spent next to nothing on things like better transit that would have made the city more livable. So I was mad. I was mad at my city, that it had done this to itself and its people. I wanted to go into a profession that would help restore the damage that had been done.”

After earning his B.A. at Amherst College, Lawlor headed to UNC Chapel Hill for a masters degree in regional planning. (Not coincidentally, this is where Lawlor met his wife, who is also an urban planner.) Upon graduation, he landed a job at a consulting firm in Washington, DC, but was too far-removed from the action to feel that he was having an impact on how communities looked and operated. That’s where Robinson+Cole comes in.

“The senior land use partner here at R+C, Dwight Merriam, graduated from my planning school before he went to law school,” said Lawlor. “When I was in grad school, he actually came to the campus at Chapel Hill and gave a talk about Lucas v. South Carolina Coastal Council, a groundbreaking regulatory takings case in the Supreme Court case that had just been handed down. I remembered that connection, so when I was thinking about law school I spoke to him. And when a position in the land use section opened up here I spoke to him again.”

In the years since graduating from Boston College Law School, Lawlor has found himself considerably closer – in both professional and pro bono capacities – to the action of shaping our communities. One such site is the Hamilton Canal District in Lowell, which was the first place in Massachusetts to use a form-based code, a zoning approach that fosters high-quality public spac02_hamiltoncanaldistrictmasterplanes by focusing on a building’s physical form rather than its intended use; a significant departure from use-based conventional zoning.

Lawlor also worked on Waterfront Square, a mixed use development project along a half mile stretch of Revere Beach adjacent to Wonderland station.

“We were the development counsel from the very beginning, and it was a great, exciting, and complicated project that we worked on for a long time with a multidisciplinary team of lawyers, planning consultants, engineers, traffic engineers, architects, the whole range,” said Lawlor. “I learned a lot about how the state and a city can work together and how various permitting regimes fit together.”

So what does a planner and lawyer who credits Lost New York (there’s a Lost Boston, too!) with launching his career aspirations think of the Boston’s current development boom?

“Boston was like New York in lots of ways,” said Lawlor. “During the post-war period Boston did things that weren’t in the city’s best interest, the elevated Central Artery being an example, as well as the widespread use of urban renewal and eminent domain, most notoriously in the complete demolition of the West End. All of this tore at the urban fabric of Boston, and it’s taken a long time to find the development boom that could finally repair all of the damage that’s been done.”

This one, thinks Lawlor, looks like it might be the one. It’s not just a reshuffling of the deck, but a substantial new wave of people coming to Boston for the first time.

“There is a huge opportunity right now to build buildings that make our city better. I think we’re a lot smarter about how to do that in a way that makes sense and fits in with the city, so I’m glad this particular boom is happening today as opposed to years ago. The Walsh administration has been very good not only in realizing that this population increase is coming (it’s already here), but also in realizing that it is going to require a very substantial number of new residential units, and then being clear that these units are not just going to be downtown, but also in neighborhoods – like Washington Village in South Boston and Fairmount in Hyde Park, where I’ve been involved in a 27-unit transit-oriented development that is scheduled to break ground this spring.”

When asked how this growth relates to growing concerns over neighborhood gentrification, Lawlor points out that, at one level, the reality is actually different from public perception.

“People often perceive that because new construction is going on, that’s what gentrification is. But if you don’t build new units, you gentrify faster,” explained Lawlor. “Like it or not, Boston is in high demand. If we don’t build more supply, the prices will rise faster. It’s not so much the new units but the fact that more people now want to live in this city, in every neighborhood. The administration has been open about their intent in boosting housing production, and there’s been some data released recently that shows that the increase in residential rents has started to level off. I think that’s got to be, at least to some extent, a result of the increase in housing.”

“The administration has also been good on building new units in the affordable range, like Parcel 1B in the Bulfinch Triangle downtown. For that project, they did a lot of work in terms of tax treatment so that the residential component is entirely workforce affordable. The city appears to want to replicate that as much as possible.”

But as Boston moves in a positive direction on the housing front, Lawlor is giving his time and skills as both a volunteer and pro bono counsel to make sure that the city’s public spaces and walking, cycling, and transit infrastructure aren’t left behind.

“One area that hasn’t been moved forward as much has been the public realm parts of Boston – how our streets are configured, whethewest-endr they promote livability and safety or whether they are working against those priorities,” said Lawlor. “I think generally speaking there is still way too much space given over to cars. If you’re increasing housing and population in Boston, we really ought to be thinking about getting people around the city in different ways than just by car, and urgently improve our infrastructure for walking and biking and, yes, the T.”

To that end, Robinson+Cole has acted as pro bono counsel for The Congress for the New Urbanism’s New England Chapter (CNU), a non-profit that promotes walkable cities, towns, and neighborhoods where people have options for how they live, work, shop, and get around.

“New Urbanism is a philosophy around city building that is very much about restoring walkability to cities and new development,” said Lawlor. “In the post-war period, by and large, the U.S. decided that we weren’t going to be getting around in any way other than by car. So we didn’t invest in transit or walking, and we certainly didn’t invest in biking. That had huge consequences for the way we designed and built things and the way we have lived and continue to live now. That kind of auto-oriented development in our cities has had a lot of negative consequences.”

He points to the auto-oriented pattern of locating large parking lots in front of buildings rather than behind them, separating the building from the sidewalk and street.  “So, part of what CNU strives to do is bring the building close to the street. That creates a public realm that people want to be and walk around in.”

Lawlor also volunteers on the board of Walk Boston, where he works to make streets safer through traffic-calming design measures and increasing opportunities for walking and other active transportation modes.

“I become more involved  with WalkBoston and at the community level with the transition from the Menino to the Walsh administration, because I thought the opportunity was there for change. It’s an exciting period for Boston, and I think to get the most out of what we’re seeing, there needs to be a more fundamental change in how we’re managing our streets.lost_new_york_cover

One prime example of that fundamental change is Mayor Walsh’s adoption of Vision Zero in 2015, which is a policy and plan to reduce the number of traffic deaths of all kinds in Boston to zero by 2030. Pioneered in Stockholm in 1997, the Vision Zero concept is widely credited with a significant reduction in fatal and serious crashes on Sweden’s roads.

“It’s all about vehicle speed,” explained Lawlor. “If you get hit by a car going 20 miles per hour, your chances of surviving that crash are much, much better than if the car was going 30mph or faster.  You might walk away 85% of the time at a speed of twenty, but just 50% of the time at thirty, and just 15% of the time at forty. The default or background speed limit in Boston has been 30 mph forever, and we built the vast majority of our streets in a way that’s designed to let cars go even faster.

“As part of Vision Zero, Boston will very soon lower that default limit to 25 miles, and that’s a good start. But you also have to alter the streets to make them safer, because people won’t slow down just because the sign says so. This is an area that has been especially frustrating for advocates in this space because there’s so much to do and, so far, not enough resources dedicated to doing it. This is not to say that the agencies responsible for Vision Zero aren’t doing the best they can and are working extremely hard, or that Boston is not already a great place to live – all of that is true. Boston is a very walkable city with great people working in our government, but the last 10-15% – where our streets are just failing us – is what we’re missing, and we’re not going to get there by 2030 at the rate we’re going. We’ve got to pick up the pace.”

Picking up the pace on that last 15% is why Lawlor devotes time both in and out of the office to the subject that first drew him in from the pages of Lost New York.

“It’s both what I do for work and what I do outside of work as something I’m deeply interested in,” he said. “The two definitely go together.”

Voices of the Bar 9/22/16: What Is the Most Unique Way a New Client Has Heard About You?

In the coming weeks, the BBA will host several programs where experts will discuss marketing strategies and resources for attorneys. In the 21st century, it’s increasingly within reach for lawyers to build their own brand. However, there is always the old adage that word of mouth represents the best form of advertising  – and we think there’s something to be said for that, too.

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

“What is the most unique way a new client has heard about your practice?

Jacquelyn Redmond – J. Redmond Law PC
“I represent clients in their home purchase and sales. I had a client who owned his own hair salon. He was chatting with one of his customers while cutting their hair. The topic turned to home buying. My client told his customer about me and recommended me. I ended up helping my client’s customer buy his first home the next month. It is so rewarding to be referred by past clients and fun when the connection comes about in unexpected ways.”

Gayle Stone-Turesky – Stone, Stone & Creem
“My mother, Ida Stone, graduated law school in the 30’s when there were five women in her class.  She started our practice with my father, Jacob.  Our firm concentrates in family law and my mother would often network at the supermarket and the bakery.  It was not unusual for a client to call for a consultation and tell us that they met a woman lawyer at the bakery who recommended our firm.   I don’t believe that my mother realized it at the time but she was developing the “old girls” network.”

Jamy Buchanan Madeja – Buchanan & Associates
“Twenty years ago, diving for abalone in the Pacific Ocean, I nearly drowned and, incongruously, discussed my environmental law practice back in Massachusetts with my rescuer on the flailing swim back.  Still a client and close friend.”

Kristen Scammon – Torres, Scammon, Hincks & Day
“The vast majority of my new clients are referred to me by other attorneys, many of whom I have known since law school (20 years ago).  While this is a fairly traditional path to obtaining clients, I can safely say that my law school classmates who refer clients to me are definitely unique and interesting!”

Ellen Kief – Law Office of Ellen S. Kief
“I was on a bicycle trip crossing with a team of riders round-trip from US to Canada. Some folks had questions about passports and entry. Speaking French to the officer at the crossing, no one understood what was going on, and we had a fun time of it. Folks soon realized I practice U.S. immigration law and asked for my contact information. Thankfully, no immigration work was necessary at that time, but I did get some referrals!”

Zoe Zhang-Louie – Zhang-Louie Immigration Counsel
“The most interesting way that I made a connection was through LinkedIn. I have in my short introduction under my profile picture that I am a Business Immigration Attorney. I was going through adding almost everyone that came up as suggested connections. Recently, an international business owner, with whom I connected through this method, actually sent a message to me. Though this has not yet resulted in paying clients, I am optimistic that it will in the future.”

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