Last week I chaired my final Council meeting as President of the Boston Bar Association. It is hard for me to believe that the year is already up. When I look back on the past twelve months, however, I am equally surprised by just how much has happened.
It has been an honor to represent the BBA this year. One of the most rewarding aspects of serving a term as president is the opportunity to stand on the shoulders of the people who came before me and advance their hard work. And it is especially satisfying when the work is something that I am truly passionate about, like civil legal aid.
Early in my presidency, the BBA released Investing in Justice: A Roadmap to Cost Effective Funding for Civil Legal Aid in Massachusetts. Past BBA Presidents J.D. Smeallie and Paul Dacier devoted much of their respective terms to making sure that the report’s research was thorough, compelling and accurate. It was exciting for me to take the BBA helm as the report was wrapping up. After many (many!) meetings – with media, with legislators, with fellow attorneys at Walk to the Hill – using the report as the cornerstone of our position, I am proud to have played a role in securing an additional $2 million for the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation, particularly in a year when level funding or funding cuts were the norm.
Similarly, when the Boston Marathon trial began, I was able to use the report from the 2013 BBA Death Penalty Working Group to convey a position against capital punishment that was rooted in data and focused on the fair administration of justice. Being the voice of the BBA during this intense and highly emotional trial was a challenge, and I’m extremely proud to have contributed to the civil and thoughtful discussions on this important issue.
I’ve had so many great experiences in my role as BBA President – from sitting in on a session of the Boston Municipal Drug Court in Dorchester, to serving as Principal for a Day at Mary Lyon Pilot High School in Brighton, to attending individual and highly informative meetings with the leadership of our judiciary – there simply isn’t space to list them all.
At the end of the day, I think the best part of my year has been working with such a strong team of volunteer leaders and staff. There is excellence at every level of the BBA. As I hand the baton to my successor, Lisa Arrowood of Arrowood Peters, I look forward to future experiences at 16 Beacon Street. I hope to see you there with me.