Message from the President

Six years ago, former Chapter President Susan Weise asked me if I would be willing to serve on the Board of Directors for the Massachusetts Chapter of the Federal Bar Association. I had only joined the Federal Bar Association a few years earlier and only because no other member of my fifty-five lawyer law firm had ever joined. As head of our litigation department, I thought that someone from my firm should be a member. Little did I know that the Massachusetts Chapter is one of the best kept secrets in the Massachusetts legal community. It has a variety of programming and activities that I had not known existed. Moreover, I have interacted with and got to know federal lawyers, court staff, and judges on both a social and a professional level.

The Federal Bar Association represents the federal legal profession. It consists of more than 19,000 federal lawyers, including 1,500 federal judges, who work together to promote the sound administration of justice and integrity, quality and independence of judiciary. The Federal Bar Association is the major organization that advocates for the federal judiciary and the court system before the legislative branch.

The Massachusetts Chapter has grown in leaps and bounds in recent years and has received many recent National awards, including, most recently, the Presidential Excellence Award and the award for its quarterly newsletter. Its growth to one of the larger chapters in existence has been the work of many people. I have been an officer under four presidents, each of whom has contributed enormously to the increased excellence of the Chapter. I congratulate Michelle Schaffer, Lisa Tittemore, Matthew Baltay and Scott Lopez for their efforts.

I particularly want to thank my immediate predecessor, Scott Lopez, not only for his efforts and accomplishments over the past year as Chapter president, but also for the mentoring and educating of his successor.

One of the many jewels in the crown of our Chapter is the nationally recognized Breakfast with the Bench series, which takes place usually six times a year. The National FBA Executive Director has this year singled out this program as a “brilliant idea” to be copied by other chapters. This would not have happened without the extraordinary cooperation of the federal judiciary, particularly Chief Judge Patti Saris. We expanded the program to Worcester last year, and it is hoped under the new leadership of President-elect Jonathan Handler, to have a breakfast in Springfield. Several of our committees have programs and speakers at least once a year.

Of special note is the past and future contributions of Judge Timothy Hillman, who has been the Judicial Member on the Chapter Board for many years. The efforts and dedication of Clerk of Court Robert Farrell and of Court Operations Manager Craig J. Nicewicz cannot be overemphasized.

Along with several other chapters we are implementing, a National program called “Wills for Veterans,” to take place in Boston the Thursday before Veterans Day. This is being organized by Chapter member Jim Downey. We are increasing our already strong membership of the local judiciary in the Chapter. Perhaps we can approach 100%. We expect to maintain the Chapter excellence that already exists and can only continue to exist with the cooperation and hard work of the Chapter Officers, Board and members. Come help! Like any other volunteer activity, you will get more out of it than you will put in.

Harvey Weiner
Federal Bar Association Massachusetts Chapter