Sections and Committees are the core of the Mass LGBTQ Bar. It is largely through our Sections and Committees that we liaise with other bar associations and community groups, engage in policy and legislative reform, and produce the informative, energizing and fabulous educational, networking and social events for which the Mass LGBTQ Bar is known.
The Committee on Transgender Inclusion ("CTI") works to make the Mass LGBTQ Bar, and the legal community at large, more inclusive of transgender attorneys and law students. The CTI creates social and networking opportunities for trans and genderqueer members of the legal community, conducts trainings about competent representation of transgender clients and substantive legal issues faced by transgender people, keeps the Mass LGBTQ Bar’s membership apprised of significant developments in transgender law, and supports the enactment of the Transgender Equal Rights Bill. The Committee is chaired by Liz Monnin-Browder (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Erika Rickard (email@example.com).
The Family Law Section is geared towards providing educational, networking and community service opportunities for Mass LGBTQ Bar members who are either family law practitioners or have an interest in family law topics. The section plans, hosts and sponsors CLEs and seminars covering a wide array of topics that are important to family law practitioners who are frequently encountering issues unique to non-traditional families. The section’s social events, which range from monthly lunches to meet-ups at the organization's happy hour, provide excellent networking opportunities for those who just joined the bar to those who are seasoned veterans. The section is also exploring drafting and commenting on legislation that will have a great impact on LGBTQ families in Massachusetts. Approximately 120 members of the association identify as a family law practitioner or interested in family law. The Family Law Section is chaired by Michael Xavier (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The In-House Counsel Section provides a networking and topical forum for Mass LGBTQ Bar members working outside the traditional law firm or governmental legal office. The section connects attorneys from a broad cross-section of businesses and organizations to provide each member with the opportunity to expand his or her knowledge base and professional resources. The section sponsors and facilitates quarterly meetings where members network with one another and present on current developments impacting the in-house lawyer’s practice. Conceived in Fall 2011, the In-House Counsel Section is the newest section of the Mass LGBTQ Bar and will be expanding its social and educational programming throughout 2012. The In-House Counsel Section is chaired by Chris Primiano (email@example.com), and if you are interested in joining and participating in the section, please contact Chris.
The Trusts & Estates Section of the Mass LGBTQ Bar is committed to supporting the development and education of members interested in estate planning, probate, elder law, trust administration, and related fields. Through educational events with affinity groups, networking inside and outside of the section, and other community based events, the section aims to increase awareness about issues related to Trusts & Estates facing the LGBTQ community as well as the broader legal community and our clients. The Trusts & Estates Section is chaired by Claire DeMarco (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The Judiciary & Amicus Committee is in charge of promoting diversity in the judiciary and evaluating the intersection of LGBTQ issues and the judiciary. In addition, the Committee seeks out opportunities for the Mass LGBTQ Bar to participate as an amicus, either on its own or as a partner with other organizations, and reviews requests made to the Association to join as an amicus. The committee also reviews requests from the SJC for comment on proposed rule changes and solicits input from Mass LGBTQ Bar members with pertinent experience to help frame the Association’s comments. The Judiciary & Amicus Committee is chaired by Jennifer Collins (email@example.com).
The Legislative Committee is in charge of the Mass LGBTQ Bar’s legislative outreach and advocacy. Passage of the Massachusetts Transgender Equal Rights Bill (H502/S76) is a priority for the Mass LGBTQ Bar this legislative session. As such, the Legislative Committee is focused on building support in the legal community for this bill. In addition, the Mass LGBTQ Bar is also strongly supportive of H1862 "An Act Providing Housing and Support Services for Unaccompanied Homeless Youth.” Studies show that LGBTQ youth are disproportionately homeless and it appears that LGBTQ youth are even more disproportionately represented among those who are both homeless and unaccompanied. Whether you want to try your hand at influencing legislation for the first time or you've been pushing legislation for years, the Legislative Committee welcomes you. If you like public speaking, learn to testify in front of a committee of legislators. If you like writing, craft fact sheets and other persuasive materials for voters and legislators alike. The Legislative Committee is chaired by Christine Williams (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The Events Committee plans the Mass LGBTQ Bar’s Annual Dinner, Boston-area and Western Massachusetts Law Student Receptions and Holiday Parties, monthly Boston-area happy hours, outreach events at law schools, and special events. The Boston Area Holiday Party is held in December, and the Annual Dinner is held in late spring. However, based on the sheer volume of events and planning involved, these events are handled by three specific sub-committees.
The Special Events Committee is in charge of any special event put forth by the Mass LGBTQ Bar. It is headed by Alex Coleman (email@example.com).
The Monthly Happy Hours & Holiday Part Committee is in charge of organizing the Mass LGBTQ Bar Monthly Happy Hours as well as the Holiday Party. Committee members are involved in selecting the venues, food and drink selections, and entertainment, as well as publicizing and selling tickets to the events. It is headed by Paul Wagoner (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The Annual Dinner Committee is in charge of the Mass LGBTQ Bar’s biggest event of the year. Not only are committee members in charge of planning the Annual Dinner, they are also involved in selecting a keynote speaker and any award recipients. The Annual Dinner Committee is co-chaired by Daniel Levin (Daniel.Levin@ropesgray.com) and Elizabeth Roberts (email@example.com).
If you would like to throw a fantastic soiree and promote the Mass LGBTQ Bar at the same time, these are the Committees for you.
Law Students and Mentorship Committees
The Mass LGBTQ Bar takes its responsibility to foster future LGBTQ lawyers very seriously. As such, the Mass LGBTQ Bar has a number of committees that deal exclusively with law students.
The Law Student Committee coordinates Mass LGBTQ Bar’s formal outreach to law students and law schools. In addition, each year, the Mass LGBTQ Bar awards the Alexander Gray Scholarship to a law student who demonstrates a commitment to and involvement in the LGBTQ community, leadership, maturity and responsibility. The Law Student Committee publicizes the Scholarship to law schools and law students, reviews applications for the Scholarship and recommends a recipient to the Board of Directors, and raises money to endow the Scholarship to ensure that the Mass LGBTQ Bar can reward hard-working law students for many years to come. The Law Student Committee is chaired by MJ Edwards (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Each year, the Mass LGBTQ Bar holds an annual Law Student Reception which is customarily hosted by a Boston law firm. The Law Student Reception attracts new and returning law students as well as attorneys and judges from all over the state. It is one of Mass LGBTQ Bar’s most attended and most popular events. The Law Student Reception Committee does all the planning for this event. It is headed by Daniel Levin (email@example.com).
In addition, the Law Student Committee is also responsible for organizing follow-up “fireside chat” events after the Law Student Reception. At these events, members of the Mass LGBTQ Bar travel to area law schools to meet with students on a smaller-scale basis than at the Law Student Reception. Each school is free to set up the event to fit their needs and interests and events have ranged from speaker panels to group discussions to cocktail receptions. The sub-committee works with the Mentoring Committee to ensure that law students get the benefit of the bar association’s mentoring-focused law student outreach, too. It is for these purposes that the Mass LGBTQ Bar has a designated Board Member to interact with each of the Massachusetts law schools. These Board Members are:
• Boston College Law School – Paul Wagoner
• Boston University School of Law – Daniel Levin
• Harvard University Law School – MJ Edwards
• Massachusetts School of Law at Andover – Omar Gonzalez-Pagan
• New England School of Law – Rolando Medina
• Northeastern University School of Law – Alex Coleman
• Suffolk Law School – Matthew Duffy
• University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth School of Law – Richard Moore
• Western New England University School of Law – Bernadette Harrigan
The Mentorship Committee builds creative programming to meet the needs of LGBTQ law students and lawyers at all stages in their careers, and administers the Mass LGBTQ Bar’s Mentoring Program. The Committee is comprised of law students, new lawyers, and experienced lawyers. The Mentorship Committee is co-chaired by M. Barusch (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The Communications Committee leads the Mass LGBTQ Bar’s internal and external communications efforts. The Committee maintains the Mass LGBTQ Bar’s website, and drafts our email updates and newsletters for members, press releases, and letters to the editor. In addition, the Committee seeks to bolster the Mass LGBTQ Bar’s social media presence. The Communications Committee is co-chaired by Omar Gonzalez-Pagan (email@example.com) and Tim Lynch (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The Membership Committee promotes the many benefits of Mass LGBTQ Bar membership to current and potential members through membership and renewal drives, and identifies ways to continually improve the association’s value to its members. We partner with other bar associations and community organizations to showcase the Mass LGBTQ Bar and increase the number and diversity of our members. The Membership Committee is chaired by Matt Duffy (email@example.com).
The Bar Relations Committee seeks to strengthen the Mass LGBTQ Bar’s relationships with its sister organizations, including, but not limited, the Massachusetts Bar Association, Boston Bar Association, and other diversity bar associations. The Committee is headed by Rolando Medina (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The “Western Mass” Committee provides our LGBTQ Bar members residing and/or practicing in Massachusetts’s four Western Counties with access to an open and inclusive community of LGBTQ professionals in our region. We offer opportunities to network, exchange ideas and experiences, and plan and participate in local and statewide LGBTQ Bar programming. Our committee creates a bridge between the organization as a whole and the practitioners in our area, and gives a voice to the particular professional needs of the members in our geographical location. Our members range from very experienced attorneys and judges, to law students. We include diverse practice areas and work environments ranging from in-house counsel, solo practitioners, and government/public servants, to associates and partners in both small and large local firms. The Western Mass Committee is chaired by Bernadette Harrigan (email@example.com).
The Nominating Committee vets potential candidates and makes nominations and recommendations for bar association appointments and judicial seats. The Committee also develops and vets candidates for the Mass LGBTQ Bar Board of Directors and coordinates election logistics, including preparing the call for nominations. The Nominating Committee is chaired by Jennifer Collins (firstname.lastname@example.org) and M. Barusch (email@example.com).
The Audit Committee is charged with oversight of financial reporting and disclosure, as well as internal operations of the Mass LGBTQ Bar. It is headed by Christine Williams (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The Section Coordinator is charged with overseeing the operations of the Mass LGBTQ Bar’s Sections as well as serving as a liaison to the Board for the Sections. Elizabeth Roberts (email@example.com) serves as the Board’s Section Coordinator.