Voices of the Bar 8/11/16: What is the Highlight of Having a Summer Jobs Student in the Office?

It’s hard to believe our Summer Jobs students are already most of the way through their summer employment experiences.

Next week, we will host a celebration to commemorate their contributions to the law offices and legal services organizations over the course of the summer. But in the meantime, we wanted to see what their employers think.

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

” What is the highlight of Having a Summer Jobs student in your office?”

J.D. Smeallie – Holland & Knight
“I would have to say his intellectual curiosity and initiative. Ben Tayag from Boston Latin attended a hearing with me on a major motion. At the conclusion of the hearing, the judge asked counsel to submit post-hearing briefs. The next morning, I got an email from Ben. Without any instruction or prompting, he had found a very recent case right on point on the key issue. Needless to say, we were all very impressed. An offer to return next summer as an equity partner is in the works!”

Sharon Armour – Massachusetts Law Reform Institute 
“It’s nice seeing the interest that the kids come in and have. I like being able to make connections between the work we are doing and the things that interest them.”


Sean Nehill – Boston Redevelopment Authority
It has been an absolute pleasure working with our Boston Bar Association Summer Jobs Program intern, Sherley Muscade.  The energy, diligence, and humor that she brings to the office every single day has been a highlight of the summer.  We have been lucky to have such a superstar in the Office of General Counsel, and we are excited to see what is next for her.

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

The Most Interesting Lawyer of the Week: Posternak’s Rosanna Sattler

Sattler_RosannaRosanna Sattler knew from the time that she was eight years old that she was passionately interested in outer space. But unlike other children her age, her dream was never to hop aboard a spacecraft.

“I never thought that I could be an astronaut,” she said. “Later in life, I decided that I wanted to try to merge my passion with my abilities as a lawyer. I wanted to see if I could move the needle a little bit on issues concerning the industry.”

That “industry” was in its infancy in 1997, when Sattler decided to apply her expertise in commercial litigation, insurance law and risk management to the final frontier. Commercial space flights were a dream just barely beginning to come to fruition, and Sattler was involved in lobbying efforts to ensure that NASA was not the primary entity involved in space travel.


“I was not really terribly interested in the mature industry of satellites or communications, I was more interested in what private entrepreneurs and companies were doing. Sometimes that involves working with NASA, but I was not necessarily interested in what the government itself was doing. To me, it has always been about recognizing that space is a place and not a government program,” she said.

And just like other places, there are laws that govern space. An outer space treaty signed by 88 nations, most of which have never launched a spacecraft, is the primary document that outlines what is or is not permissible once people and objects are launched into space from the Earth. It states that each nation is responsible for space activities and objects that originated there, regardless of whether a government or a private company initiated it.

But increasingly complex innovations give rise to new legal questions.

“I am very interested in space law policy. I have done a lot of work regarding property rights in space – not intellectual property, but actual property rights. If we land on the moon, or land on Mars, or lasso an asteroid to have it orbit the moon, how can we do that? What are the laws? These types of activities do not have to be dealt with here on Earth. However, most property rights on Earth are subject to a mature, legal regime, “she said.

At Posternak, Blankstein & Lund, where Sattler is a partner and Executive Committee Member, the Space Law Department also represents clients in cases more typically associated with business – insurance, employment matters and contract disputes, to name a few.


During Sattler’s career, she has represented companies working to improve the propulsion mechanisms for satellites and building spaceports (like an airport, she explains, but for space travel). She has counseled a spacesuit manufacturing company on liability and insurance issues.  She is the Chair of the Board of Directors for the CompTIA Space Enterprise Council in Washington, D.C. CompTIA is a non-profit trade association, the goal of which is to advance the interests of Information Technology professionals. The Space Enterprise Council was founded in 2000 to represent businesses with an interest in commercial, civil and national security space.

“We have gone from these conceptual ideas that traditional aerospace professionals never thought were going to happen, to an industry where SpaceX is flying a commercial vehicle in lieu of the space shuttle to the International Space Station,” she said. “What goes along with that are a lot of issues that have never been legally tested before because we have never had an occasion.”

Currently, she said, companies are conducting medical and scientific research on the space station which is an international laboratory.  Other private ventures have launched objects in space to search for water on asteroids, in hopes that they could convert them into hydrogen fuel stations. If vessels could refuel in space, she explains, they could travel much farther out. Another company is working on developing an inflatable structure that could eventually be inhabited by people.

“I think we need to explore farther out into the solar system and beyond. I guess it is manifest destiny,” she said.


Voices of the Bar 7/14/16: How Has the Public Interest Leadership Program Impacted You?

June was a big month for the Boston Bar Association’s Public Interest Leadership Program (PILP).  on Tuesday, June 28th, the PILP 2015-16 (PILP 12) Class hosted The Boston Bar Association’s Juvenile Restorative Justice Symposium.

Earlier in the month, on Wednesday, June 22nd, an orientation was held for the newest PILP Class (PILP 13).  Spearheaded by the PILP 12 Class, a gathering of many of the 153 program alumni took place immediately following the orientation.

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

“How has PILP impacted you?”

Christopher Saccardi – The Law Office of Christopher T. Saccardi
“I found my participation in PILP to be very rewarding, both personally and professionally. I enjoyed working closely with a diverse group of attorneys whom I would likely not otherwise have gotten to know. I am still in touch with many members of my former PILP class and find them to be good friends, helpful for discussing legal questions, and a value source of referrals. I also learned a lot about the BBA as a PILPer and have found its resources and staff to be very helpful to me in my own practice. Finally, I very much enjoyed the sessions we had with leaders of the Boston legal community, such as Chief Justice Gants and Attorney General Healey.”

Katherine Fick – IBM
“Being connected with a group of young lawyers who shared an interest in public service in the early days of my career was pivotal, as was learning from the more established lawyers we met with. It encouraged a broader perspective on what’s possible, and that has led to unexpected places. (By way of example, I [participated in] a training exercise in a remote part of Texas . . . in connection with ShelterBox, a disaster relief nonprofit I volunteer with. Heading to, e.g., Africa and South America to help with flood relief was not something I would have predicted ten years ago, but PILP helped encourage the unpredictable.)”

David McGowan – Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office 
“I appreciated forming lasting relationships with other attorneys who were committed to their fields of expertise, but also committed  to serving the broader community in ways both large and small.”

Katherine Schulte – Casa Myrna
“PILP has been all about making connections. It was my first real inroad into the BBA community, which has led to many rewarding opportunities. But I’m also really grateful for the relationships I made with my PILP 10 classmates. They are bright, compassionate, ambitious, and really fun people who I continue to see in both professional and personal circles. I am fortunate to have made those connections through PILP.”

Julia Devanthéry – Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School
“I continue to work on the Community Reentry Readiness education program that my PILP class established with the District Court of Massachusetts. The program provides know-your-rights civil legal trainings to individuals leaving incarceration to support their community reentry. The program is now in its third year and has provided empowering information and resources to hundreds of people facing many difficult challenges in finding housing, obtaining subsistence income, seeking employment, restoring their driver’s license, managing child support obligations and debt. Participating in this program has been so fulfilling for me. It has allowed me to stay in touch with some of my PILP classmates, and connect with other BBA members who are interested in criminal justice reform movements.”

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

Voices of the Bar 6/30/16: What Are Your Fourth of July Plans?

The 4th of July is a big deal in Boston, with the Pops concert, fireworks display, and rich history of the city. But for all those who flock here to partake in Boston’s traditions, there are many traveling to Cape Cod, Rhode Island and other, far-flung locations this long weekend to celebrate our nation’s independence.

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

What are your plans for the 4th of July?”

Jonathan Elder – Hinckley Allen
“I still work in Boston, but my family and I left the city 5 years ago for the serenity (and square footage) of the North Shore.  We’re looking forward to celebrating this 4th like we did the last:  with friends on Crane’s Beach.  Our town, Ipswich, also has a great parade, which our kids love.  Ipswich is the “Birthplace of Independence” (and fried clams), so I’m sure the Founders would approve.”

Laurie Bishop – Hirsch Roberts Weinstein
“My wife and I will be in Deerfield, MA with our two dogs and two horses, visiting my best friend from law school. My friend and I are both expecting and looking forward to the new additions very soon. Fingers crossed for no surprise July 4 arrivals. ”

Andrew Glass – K & L Gates
“My family and I always have fun at the July 4th festivities in Lincoln, Massachusetts.  Lincoln’s festivities help celebrate the spirit of community along with our nation’s independence and include a parade––where the members of the volunteer town government poke (gentle) fun at themselves––followed by a town cookout with live music and fireworks.  It’s a day for remembering that we can achieve great ends when we all pull together and that a sense of humor is a good thing!”


Adam Eckart – Ropes & Gray
“My family and I will be celebrating the 4th of July on Cape Cod. We love the Cape because we enjoy the beaches, seeing family and friends, and relaxing away from the city. My kids, twins who are just over 1 year old, will be enjoying the sand and the water, and will be working on their sand castle sculpting with the help of their uncles and grandparents. We hope everyone has a fun, happy and safe 4th of July!”

Eugene Ho – Verrill Dana
“I’ll be spending the 4th with my family and friends, indulging in as many hot dogs and hamburgers as my stomach can handle.  I’ll probably grab a few pies from my favorite bakery to “share”.”

Michael Vhay – Ferriter Scobbo & Rodophele
“I’m heading to Maine, which separated from Massachusetts in 1820.  Mainers voted several times to leave Massachusetts before we agreed to let Maine go – there was no “Brexit” for the Pine Tree State.   But I’m happy to be going to a place that can celebrate two Independence Days.”

Christopher Liedl – Ropes & Gray
“Headed home to northern Minnesota for a few days on Whitefish Lake with my family. Looking forward to some butterburgers, frozen custard, small-town parades, and beach volleyball while spending time with my adorable niece and nephew!”


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

The Most Interesting Lawyer of the Week: Pierce Atwood’s Will Worden

How a former stable hand ended up at Pierce Atwood…and at the forefront of transactional law and animal cloning

Worden_Will_largeSay the name “Dolly” and most people will think of the country singer or the child’s toy. Twenty years ago, however, the name immediately brought to mind Scotland’s most famous sheep.

July 5th marks the 20th anniversary of the birth of Dolly the sheep, the first animal to be cloned from an adult cell, using the technique of somatic cell nuclear transfer. That event – called the “breakthrough of the year” by Science Magazine – set into motion a new phase of research, and a new area of transactional law. At the forefront was Will Worden, Partner-in-Charge at Pierce Atwood’s Boston office and one of the pioneering attorneys on transactions involving animal cloning technologies.

But how does a then-Portland based attorney find himself on the cutting edge of animal science? One could say it started with the Vietnam War.

“I grew up in a big family in Ware, Mass,” said Worden. “When I got out of high school, I went to Bridgewater State College for a year. It was during the Vietnam War, and all the turmoil that was going on. By the end of that year, I was a hippie and I dropped out. I ended up in a farm management apprentice program in Virginia.”

Not just any farm management program, but one that attracted 3,000 applicants a year for just 12 spots, and one that had earned a reputation for placing program participants into management positions at world class farms.

“I served an apprenticeship on a farm that was breeding Morgan horses and cattle, and growing thousands of acres of alfalfa hay, corn and soybeans. I learned everything about the farm’s ‘seasons’: breeding, foaling, calving, planting, and harvesting. I also learned about genetics. I was involved in cutting edge technology; we were breeding animals via embryo transfer, and I learned from people who were the best.”


After working his way up from stable hand to management positions at various farming operations, Worden was ultimately appointed general manager of Dearborn Farm in Lexington, Kentucky, one of the big thoroughbred breeding farms at the time. In an industry where management positions are often passed down from father to son, Worden’s new role was a significant achievement.

“When I got to Kentucky, I realized that I had achieved part of my goal, but I really wanted to have a college education. So I left and went to UMass Amherst and did an undergraduate degree in animal science in two years. I took a job as the general manager of a big farm in Virginia for two years, and then had the bug to further my education.”

After returning to UMass for a master’s degree in agriculture and resource economics, Worden was recruited by Drake University Law School, one of just two schools at the time with a program in agricultural law.  While Worden intended to take that degree back to Virginia or Kentucky and the farms, he ended up on a different path.

“I did a summer associate program at Pierce Atwood, and then returned there after clerking for a federal trial judge for a couple of years,” explained Worden. “One morning I came into work, and there was a private placement memorandum on my desk with a note from one of the senior corporate partners. A big, world class poultry genetics farm had purchased a startup company out of UMass Amherst called Advanced Cell Technology (ACT), and the core technology of ACT was somatic cell nuclear transfer.

“The note read ‘Do you know any of the terminology or technology that’s talked about in this memo?’ I opened it up and I saw the names of professors whom I knew and had studied with at UMass, and that’s when I started working with animal cloning.”

This was in the late 1990s, when the world was talking about the birth of Dolly. Meanwhile, Worden was working with ACT, whose scientists – including James Robl, Steve Stice, and Jose Cibelli – famously cloned the Holstein calves George and Charlie.


“I actually met George and Charlie; they were created by UMass/ACT scientists, and were born in Texas. Shortly after they were born, George and Charlie came back to live in Amherst. What’s really interesting for me is that ACT improved the technology that was used to clone Dolly. After that, cloning actually became a business. Working with Dr. Mike West at ACT, I created a cloning services contract that was the first widely used commercial cloning services agreement. It was a brave new world.”

Worden’s role working with Advanced Cell Technology allowed him a close up view of how the technology was being used to improve lives.

“Scientists were looking at this technology as a way to improve the quality of meat and milk. The thing that was really interesting was that you could clone, say a Holstein, so that she would produce milk with a certain protein that could be extracted and used as a human therapeutic. It was the early years of regenerative medicine.”

Today, Worden remains on the cutting edge, working with clients, including with Dr. Mike West (now at BioTime, Inc.) in the commercialization of regenerative medicine technologies, including stem cell technologies. It’s an area that wouldn’t have developed without the science that led to Dolly, George and Charlie.

“I always thought the legal work that I was doing was laying a foundation for human medicine. It was groundbreaking work that I think contributed quite a bit. Now, here we are in 2016 and I think we’re within a short window of seeing real therapeutics hit the market from all this work, it’s pretty fascinating. I’m very proud to have worked on this.”

Voices of the Bar 6/23/16: What is Your Favorite Vacation Spot in the Summer?

It’s summer time and the livin’ is easy. After a chilly spring that made winter seem even longer, we are all more than ready to break the beach chairs out of the basement and soak up some rays.

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

“What is your favorite summer vacation spot?”

Chesley Davis – Peabody & Arnold
“I have two: Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina – for swimming and paddle boarding in warm ocean waters and go-karting with my family, which has been going there for more than 40 years. The other is Tenants Harbor, Maine – for the peace and quiet and eating lots of lobster, of course!”

Dana Zakarian – Nystrom Beckman & Paris
“Old Silver Beach in Falmouth, Massachusetts.”


Richard Jones – Sullivan & Worcester
“Our family loves Nantucket. We ditch the car entirely for the week and bike to a different, beautiful beach each day from a mid-island rental (which will have reliable Internet access for work connectivity, sadly a prerequisite).  When not at the beach we frequent the seaside restaurants, Bartlett’s Farm, and the Cisco Brewery.  Despite Nantucket’s popularity, it is still easy to find stretches of empty beach where you can watch the seals pop up from the waves to watch you.”

Stacey Friends – Ruberto, Israel & Weiner
“My own town, Manchester-by-the-Sea.”


Claudia Centomini – Prince Lobel
“I spend my weekends during the summer in Vermont.  We have a farm near Woodstock, Vermont where I can horseback ride and go hiking.”


Hon. Margaret Marshall (Ret.) – Former Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice; Choate, Hall & Stewart
“Anywhere in the triangle of Sienna, Urbino and Orvieto in Italy.  Every year that I was on the Supreme Judicial Court, my husband and I spent three weeks in August somewhere in that magical region.  It was personally and professionally restorative, year after year.  It still is.”

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

Voices of the Bar 6/16/16: What Was the Highlight of Serving as a Section Co-chair?

As an exceedingly productive program year comes to a close, we always look for opportunities to thank and acknowledge the volunteers that are responsible for organizing our CLE programs, brown bags, pro bono training sessions and many other aspects of the diverse catalog of activities we are proud to offer our members.

With some of the co-chairs of our 24 sections wrapping up their terms, we wanted to give them a chance to tell us what they most enjoyed about the time they dedicated to the BBA over the past two years.

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

What was the highlight of your time as a BBA Section Co-Chair?

Ian Roffman – Nutter, McClennen & Fish
“The highlights of my time as co-chair of the BBA’s Financial Services Section have been the opportunities to get together regularly with a great group of experienced attorneys from private practice (plaintiff and defense), in-house, and government.  At our section meetings, programming, and social events, this group, who are often professional adversaries, have been able to talk and to know each other in a more relaxed and collegial environment. ”

Adam Ruttenberg – Posternak Blankstein & Lund
“The highlight of my two years as Bankruptcy Section co-chair was May 14, 2015, when I presided over the 25th annual Bankruptcy Bench Meets Bar Conference.  In addition to the usual gathering of essentially the entire eastern Massachusetts bankruptcy bar to be educated by all of the bankruptcy judges in Massachusetts, we were honored by the presence of retired bankruptcy judge James F. Queenan Jr., who was on the bench from 1986 to 2000, and we were able to honor the soon to be retired judge William C. Hillman with the Charles Normandin Lifetime Achievement Award.  We were also able to distribute a commemorative book for the occasion, 65 pages of photos and reminiscences, the product of months of work with the bench, bar, and BBA.  I still enjoy taking that book off my shelf and thumbing down memory lane.”

Mary Chaffin – Accion
“Two highlights for me, if I may. The first was the opportunity to attend the annual BBA leadership conference in Chatham, where I was able to get to know so many interesting members of the organization and the wonderful BBA staff.  The second is the chance to learn, through the programs of the International Section, about the many activities that touch upon an international practice that lawyers in Boston engage in.”

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

Voices of the Bar 6/9/2016: What Was Your First Summer Job?

Soon, we will kick off the BBA’s Summer Jobs Program, an important initiative that we very much look forward to each year. In our program, teenagers have the opportunity to learn professional skills that will benefit them in their career later on.

No matter the job, a summer job can be a crucial part of a teenager’s life. During their summer employment, students learn responsibility and build professional skills, while making some money to help support themselves and their families.

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

“What was your first summer job?

Kanasha Herbert – Mintz Levin
“I grew up in the U.S. Virgin Islands and tourism is the main industry there. My first summer job involved me playing in a steelpan group for tourists. We were set up in the back of a large truck and would go to the various tourist locales to play our music which ranged from soca and jazz to classical music. On our way back from playing at the tourist spots we would also drive into various community housing areas and play music for the residents.  Most memorable were the kids who would run out from their homes to follow us in an impromptu jam session as we made our way through their neighborhoods. The group was a subset of a larger steel band that I was a part of called The Rising Stars Youth Steel Orchestra which was created by the then Presiding Judge of the Superior Court of the Virgin Islands, Judge Verne A. Hodge,  in an effort to keep kids culturally engaged and enrolled in secondary school in order to reduce the incidence of juvenile delinquency in the territory.  The program is a large part of why I became interested in practicing law.”

Christopher Strang – Strang, Scott, Giroux & Young
“My first summer job was making ice cream sundaes at Friendly’s. It’s one of the few jobs where making mistakes could be quite rewarding. No reason to let those errant brownie sundaes go to waste!”


Jonathan Schreiber – Boston Bar Association
“I was an art apprentice at Neighborhood Studios in Hartford, Connecticut when I was 15.  It was an amazing and memorable summer.  I had the opportunity to learn from local artists and meet a diverse group of students from the city and surrounding suburbs.  I was most proud to have worked on a mural celebrating the arts that is still on display in a park downtown.”

Kerry Crisley – Boston Bar Association
“My very first summer job was waitressing at a Friendly’s Restaurant. One night, two of my customers were lamenting all the calories they were about to consume in ice cream. I told them that we had a special machine in the back that vacuumed all the calories out, and one of them actually said “Really?!?”

Nicole Roth – Boston Bar Association
“My first summer job was working at a swim club as a receptionist. I made minimum wage and often got assigned tasks that were unrelated to my job. One day my boss handed me a can of bear spray and told me it was my job to keep away all the wildlife. I was supposed to get close to the bear and spray its eyes. You don’t find excitement like that very often in an office.”

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

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 [email protected].

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 [email protected].