SUPREME JUDICIAL COURT STANDING COMMITTEE
ON PRO BONO LEGAL SERVICES
PRESENTS THREE ADAMS PRO BONO PUBLICO AWARDS
In recognition of outstanding commitment to providing volunteer legal services for the poor and disadvantaged in Massachusetts, Supreme Judicial Court Justice Francis X. Spina, on behalf of the Supreme Judicial Court Standing Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services, presented the sixth annual Adams Pro Bono Publico Awards to three recipients at a special ceremony in the John Adams Courthouse on June 4.
The award recipients are Attorney Leigh-Ann Patterson Durant of Lexington, Associate General Counsel of Clinical Trials and Medical Affairs for EMD Serono, Inc. in Rockland, formerly of Nixon Peabody LLP; Attorney Holly Sanborn Dyar of Kingston, a solo practitioner in Plymouth; and the Boston office of the law firm of Dechert, LLP.
Justice Spina said, “As with past recipients of the Adams Awards, these awardees have demonstrated outstanding commitment to the attorney’s role of public citizen through their pro bono work. This year’s recipients have distinguished themselves and their profession by a dedication to the rule of law and to the value of every human life. Their unselfish service deserves public acknowledgement. We are grateful for their achievements.”
Committee also recognized the pro bono work of approximately
seventy attorneys, who volunteered “in the finest tradition
of the Massachusetts bar” to
represent persons who were detained or affected by the New
Bedford, Massachusetts, law enforcement action on March 6,
2007 (See attached
remarks, Chief Justice Margaret H. Marshall congratulated the
Adams Award winners and the attorneys who received special
recognition for their pro bono work at the afternoon event,
which was attended by families and colleagues of the recipients.
Durant is honored for her exemplary commitment to providing pro
bono services to underserved segments of the population, particularly
the elderly, the physically disabled, victims of domestic violence,
and low income clients. While at Nixon Peabody LLP, she
served as the Pro Bono Partner in charge of the firm’s pro bono
caseload. Working with numerous organizations, she held annual
pro bono events at the firm to help recruit lawyers to take clients
on a volunteer basis. Attorney Durant dedicated herself to pro
bono work early in her career. As president of the Women’s Bar
Association from 2000 to 2001, she strongly supported the organization’s
pro bono programs. Ms. Durant received a J. D. degree,
cum laude, from Suffolk University Law School and a B.A.
degree from Miami University of Ohio.
Dyar is recognized for the countless hours she has volunteered
to provide legal services to individuals with low income.
She has received referrals through the Legal Services of
Cape Cod and the Islands and The New Center for Legal Advocacy.
A member of the Plymouth District Bar Association, she regularly
volunteers in the lawyer-of-the-day program at the Plymouth
Probate and Family Court. She also created the “Teddy Bear
provides free stuffed animals for children adopted in the
Court. Attorney Dyar received her J.D. degree from the
New England School of Law. She holds a B.A. degree from
East Carolina University.
Boston office of Dechert LLP is recognized for its longstanding
and ongoing commitment to pro bono work. Among the firm’s
numerous pro bono cases are its efforts on behalf of immigrants
who were detained following the March 6, 2007 factory raid
in New Bedford, Massachusetts. Dechert, on its own initiative,
provided the detainees with pro bono legal assistance.
Other pro bono cases deserving special recognition include
a successful class action against the Massachusetts Bay
Transportation Authority on behalf of people with disabilities
and the representation of a prisoner in a civil rights
suit against Massachusetts prison guards.
Attorney Mary Ryan of Nutter,
McClennen & Fish, LLP chairs the Standing Committee on
Pro Bono Legal Services, and provided welcoming remarks
at the Adams Awards event.