At the Massachusetts Bar Foundation’s recent Annual Meeting, Attorney Lonnie A. Powers, long-time executive director of the Mass. Legal Assistance Corporation (MLAC), was honored with the Great Friend of Justice Award. Over 60 MBF Fellows, grantees and friends braved the coming nor’easter to attend the event, held on March 7, at the Federal Reserve Building 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. Lonnie Powers’ commitment and dedication to access to justice exemplifies the spirit of this award.
Powers has devoted the majority of his distinguished career establishing, building, sustaining, and revitalizing legal aid organizations. Powers recently announced his plans to retire from the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation, where he has served as executive director since its inception in 1983. In this role, he worked tirelessly to strengthen civil legal assistance programs for the poor throughout the Commonwealth. Under his leadership, MLAC developed partnerships with the private bar, judiciary, legislature, and the public to maximize resources for these critical legal aid programs statewide. Today, MLAC is the largest single funder of civil legal programs in the state, having awarded $24 million in grants in 2017.
Powers is also active in numerous community and public service efforts, including serving on the Mass. Supreme Judicial Court Committee on Pro Bono, as well as with the American, Mass., and Boston Bar Associations. He is an MBF Fellow and is a past president of the National Legal Aid and Defender Association.
At the business meeting held that same evening, the MBF also elected the following officers and trustees:
- President Harvey Weiner, Peabody & Arnold, LLP, Boston
- Vice President Richard J. Grahn, Law Office of Richard J. Grahn, Mattapoisett
- Treasurer Angela McConney Scheepers, Division of Administrative Law Appeals, Boston
- Secretary David C. Henderson, Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP, Boston
- Past President Janet F. Aserkoff, Rappaport, Aserkoff & Gelles, Boston
- Robert J. Ambrogi, Law Office of Robert J. Ambrogi, Gloucester
- Valerie C. Caldwell, Boston Municipal Court-Dorchester Division, Boston
- Edward F. Dombroski, Jr., Travers | Dombroski PC, Boston
- Hon. Robert G. Fields, Western Mass. Housing Court, Springfield
- James F. Martin, Robinson Donovan, PC, Springfield