Mass. Bar Foundation Announces 2017 Officers and Trustees

(From left to right) Vice President Harvey Weiner, President Janet Aserkoff, Secretary Angela McConney Scheepers, Treasurer Richard Grahn

(From left to right) Vice President Harvey Weiner, President Janet Aserkoff, Secretary Angela McConney Scheepers, Treasurer Richard Grahn

On March 7, the Fellows of the Massachusetts Bar Foundation gathered for their Annual Meeting at the Social Law Library in the John Adams Courthouse.  Following the recommendations of the Nominating Committee chaired by Francis Ford and including Jerry Cohen and Robert Harnais, the MBF Fellows unanimously elected the following:

Officers

  • President Janet F. Aserkoff, Rappaport, Aserkoff & Gelles, Boston
  • Vice President Harvey Weiner, Peabody & Arnold, LLP, Rockport
  • Treasurer Richard J. Grahn, National Coast Guard Museum Association, Inc., Mattapoisett
  • Secretary Angela McConney Scheepers, Division of Administrative Law Appeals, Boston

 Trustees

  • Hon. Megan H. Christopher, Suffolk Probate and Family Court, Boston
  • Marguerite T. Grant, Norfolk County District Attorney’s Office, Canton
  • Melissa F. Langa, Bove & Langa PC, Boston
  • Dennis M. Lindgren*, Pierce & Mandell PC, Boston
  • Angela C. McConney Scheepers*, Division of Administrative Law Appeals, Boston

* Indicates second term

 

In addition to presenting the Great Friend of Justice Award to Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants at the meeting, the MBF inducted twenty-six new Life members into the MBF Society of Fellows, all of whom successfully completed generous pledges made to advance the MBF’s mission of increasing access to justice. 

MBF Honors Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants with Great Friend of Justice Award, Elects Officers and New Trustees

At the Massachusetts Bar Foundation’s recent Annual Meeting,the Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court was honored with the Great Friend of Justice Award. Over 150 MBF Fellows, grantees and friends attended the event, held on March 17, at the Social Law Library in the John Adams Courthouse in Boston.

The MBF’s Great Friend of Justice Award is presented annually to an individual who has demonstrated extraordinary commitment to justice, consistent with the MBF’s values and mission of increasing access to justice in the state.

Ralph D. Gants became the 37th Chief Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court in July 2014 when he was sworn in by Gov. Deval Patrick. Before joining the SJC, he served for more than eleven years as an Associate Justice of the Mass. Superior Court, and was Administrative Justice of the Superior Court’s Business Litigation Session in 2008. In addition to his distinguished judicial career, Chief Justice Gants has taught at Harvard Law School, New England Law | Boston, and Northeastern University School of Law. He received honorary Doctor of Law degrees from New England Law | Boston in 2015, and the University of Massachusetts School of Law - Dartmouth in 2016. He was chair of the SJC Indigency Committee, and from 2010–2015 and co-chaired the Mass. Access to Justice Commission. He currently chairs the SJC’s Standing Committee on Model Jury Instructions on Homicide. 

At the business meeting held that same evening, the MBF also elected the following officers and trustees:

Officers

  • President Janet F. Aserkoff, Rappaport, Aserkoff & Gelles, Boston
  • Vice President Harvey Weiner, Peabody & Arnold, LLP, Rockport
  • Treasurer Richard J. Grahn, National Coast Guard Museum Association, Inc., Mattapoisett
  • Secretary Angela McConney Scheepers, Division of Administrative Law Appeals, Boston

Trustees

  • Hon. Megan H. Christopher, Suffolk Probate and Family Court, Boston
  • Marguerite T. Grant, Norfolk County District Attorney’s Office, Canton
  • Melissa F. Langa, Bove & Langa PC, Boston
  • Dennis M. Lindgren*, Pierce & Mandell PC, Boston
  • Angela C. McConney Scheepers*, Division of Administrative Law Appeals, Boston

* Indicates second term

MBF presents grant to mock trial champs

The Massachusetts Bar Foundation proudly presented a check for $2,500 to the Winsor School’s Mock Trial Team on March 24, following their victory in the final round of the Massachusetts Bar Association’s 32nd Annual Statewide High School Mock Trial competition.  The funds will be used to help with the team’s expenses when they head to the National Mock Trial competition next month in Hartford, Connecticut.

MBF to honor Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants

The MBF Trustees are proud to announce that Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants will be honored with this year’s Great Friend of Justice Award. The award will be presented at the Foundation’s Annual Meeting on March 7, 2017, at the Social law Library in the John Adams Courthouse in Boston. Chief Justice Gants will also deliver the event’s keynote address.

The MBF’s Great Friend of Justice Award is presented annually to an individual who has demonstrated extraordinary passion for justice, consistent with the MBF’s values and mission of increasing access to justice throughout Massachusetts.

Chief Justice Gants became the 37th Chief Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court in July 2014 when he was sworn in by Gov. Deval Patrick. Before joining the SJC, he served for more than eleven years as an Associate Justice of the Mass. Superior Court, and was Administrative Justice of the Superior Court’s Business Litigation Session in 2008.

In addition to his distinguished judicial career, Chief Justice Gants has taught at Harvard Law School, New England Law | Boston, and Northeastern University School of Law. He has received honorary Doctor of Law degrees from New England Law | Boston in 2015, and the University of Massachusetts School of Law - Dartmouth in 2016. He was chair of the SJC Indigency Committee, and from 2010 – 2015, he co-chaired the Mass. Access to Justice Commission.  He is currently chairing the SJC’s Standing Committee on Model Jury Instructions on Homicide.

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Massachusetts Bar Foundation Celebrates Grant Recipients and Presents President’s Awards

The Massachusetts Bar Foundation (MBF) recently presented President’s Awards to Fitchburg attorney James T. Van Buren, Esq., and Robert S. Molloy, Esq., of Destination XL Group, Inc, in Canton.  Given annually at the MBF’s Grantee Receptions, held in Worcester at Bowditch and Dewey, LLP, and in Boston at the Massachusetts Bar Association, the President’s Award recognizes exceptional MBF supporters for their commitment to increasing access to justice for the most vulnerable in Massachusetts.

Robert E. Longden of Bowditch and Dewey, LLP, MBF President Janet F. Aserkoff, MBF Grantee Speaker Dayanna J. Moreno of Ascentria Community Services, and MBF President's Award Recipient James T. Van Buren

Robert E. Longden of Bowditch and Dewey, LLP, MBF President Janet F. Aserkoff, MBF Grantee Speaker Dayanna J. Moreno of Ascentria Community Services, and MBF President's Award Recipient James T. Van Buren

Mr. Van Buren was honored for both his dedication to the MBF and his advocacy for access to justice and civil legal services. Van Buren’s involvement with the MBF began in 1991, when he joined the MBF Society of Fellows. He has served as a Grant Advisory Committee member annually, reviewing programs across the state to ensure that MBF funds are being used as effectively as possible. In addition to his work with the MBF, Van Buren has been involved with a number of other legal services organizations, including Community Legal Aid of Worcester, the Mass. Access to Justice Commission, and the Worcester County Bar Foundation, to name a few.

“Jim is a champion of the MBF and our mission,” said MBF President Janet F. Aserkoff of Boston’s Rappaport Aserkoff & Gelles, “his vast knowledge of the needs of low-income communities, as well as of the state’s legal services landscape, makes him a wonderful resource to the MBF.  It is our great privilege to honor his outstanding support of legal services and the Massachusetts Bar Foundation in this way.”

MBF Executive Director Elizabeth M. Lynch, MBF President's Award Recipient Robert S. Molloy, and MBF President Janet F. Aserkoff

MBF Executive Director Elizabeth M. Lynch, MBF President's Award Recipient Robert S. Molloy, and MBF President Janet F. Aserkoff

A devoted volunteer and generous donor since joining the MBF Society of Fellows in 2008, Bob Molloy has volunteered annually for the MBF’s grant review process, helping to ensure the availability of civil legal services for those in need. Molloy has volunteered with other justice organizations as well, including MetroWest Legal Services, from whom he received the Nancy King Award in 2011 in recognition of his service as co-chair of the MWLS Fundraising Committee, a post he has held since 1999. He is the Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of Destination XL Group.

“Bob truly represents the very best of the legal profession. His strong commitment to working to increase access to justice, and his generosity towards the Massachusetts Bar Foundation, has not gone unnoticed. We are proud to honor him, both in recognition and with gratitude, for all that he does,” said Aserkoff.

The receptions were also an opportunity for the MBF to celebrate its current grant recipients and their work, which includes providing civil legal services to people who otherwise could not afford them and improving the administration of justice in the Commonwealth. These programs help thousands of individuals and families in Massachusetts who have legal issues relating to domestic violence, housing, access to special education services, healthcare, discrimination, and many more. Dayanna Moreno, Esq., program manager of Ascentria Community Services’ Immigration Legal Assistance Program, in Worcester and Boston University law student James van Wagtendonk, a 2016 recipient of the MBF’s Legal Intern Fellowship and former intern at Greater Boston Legal Services in Boston were this years’ grantee speakers.

This year, the MBF awarded over $2.6 million in grants through its annual Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts (IOLTA) Grants Program. These grants will fund 92 programs conducted by 60 nonprofit organizations throughout Massachusetts. Representatives from many of these organizations were in attendance.