SUPREME JUDICIAL COURT STANDING COMMITTEE ON PRO BONO LEGAL SERVICES PRESENTS ADAMS PRO BONO PUBLICO AWARDS
Boston, MA ---In recognition of outstanding commitment in providing volunteer legal services for poor and disadvantaged people, Supreme Judicial Court Justice Francis X. Spina, on behalf of the SJC Standing Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services, today presented the fourth annual Adams Pro Bono Publico Awards to three recipients at a ceremony held in the John Adams Courthouse.
The recipients are Attorney Mark I. Berson of Greenfield, president of Levy, Winer & Berson, P.C; Retired Probate and Family Court Judge Edward M. Ginsburg of Newton, founder of Senior Partners for Justice; and the Boston law firm Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo P.C., with special recognition to Attorneys Susan J. Cohen of Belmont and Grant Sovern of Brookline for their work on behalf of the Political Asylum/Immigration Representation (PAIR) project.
“The number of lawyers who give substantial amounts of their time, pro bono, to meet the legal needs of a growing segment of our society is truly inspirational. The selection process was both difficult and humbling, and it made me proud to be a member of the legal profession. I commend all of the nominees for their dedicated efforts to promote access to justice,” said Justice Spina.
Richard McMahon, Awards Subcommittee Chair said, “Again this year, the Committee faced a challenging undertaking to select only three recipients from the array of deserving candidates across the Commonwealth. Our 2005 Adams Award recipients are compelling examples of the dedication of the Bar to meeting the needs of clients at risk and demonstrate the varied and concrete results that can derive from pro bono service.”
Mark Berson has provided pro bono legal advice for thirty-two years to Tapestry Health Systems, a non-profit health services organization serving residents of Western Massachusetts. President of the organization from its inception in 1973, and now president emeritus, Mr. Berson helped establish policies and programs, which have contributed to the well-being of many Massachusetts citizens, especially the disadvantaged. In 1992, Mr. Berson received the Pro Bono Publico Award of the Massachusetts Bar Association for Distinguished Service to the Profession. Active in legal and community affairs, Mr. Berson serves on the Board of Bar Overseers and is past chair and board member of the Clients’ Security Board. He also is a past president of the Massachusetts Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and the Franklin County Bar Association, Franklin County Bar Association Advocates, Inc., a former director of Franklin County Bar Advocates for Children and Franklin County Bar Advocates for Women, and a former board member of the Western Massachusetts Pro Bono Referral System. He holds an LL.M. degree from New York University Law School, an LL.B. degree from Suffolk University Law School, and a B.A. degree from the University of Vermont.
Judge Edward M. Ginsburg, who retired from the Probate and Family Court in 2002, is recognized for his tireless work recruiting attorneys and retired judges to represent poor and disadvantaged individuals through Senior Partners for Justice, an organization dedicated to providing free legal services to indigent litigants in family law matters. Through Judge Ginsburg’s efforts, more than 200 lawyers provide legal services through the Volunteer Lawyers Project. He also ensures that these pro bono lawyers have access to ongoing legal education programs and services. Appointed to the Probate and Family Court in 1977, Judge Ginsburg served on the bench with distinction for twenty-five years. An alumnus of Harvard Law School and Harvard College, Judge Ginsburg teaches at Suffolk University Law School and Boston College Law School.
Founded in 1933, Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo P.C. provides pro bono services in the areas of civil rights, human and public rights, poverty law, and to charitable and civic organizations lacking financial resources.
Susan Cohen, a partner in Mintz Levin, practices immigration law. Praised for her commitment to providing pro bono legal services to the poor seeking asylum and to other non-citizens, she was one of the original pro bono lawyers for the Political Asylum/Immigration Representation Project (PAIR). In 1992, she won the PAIR Pro Bono Attorney of the Year Award and, in 2004, PAIR awarded her its outstanding service award. Ms. Cohen encourages Mintz Levin attorneys to donate their pro bono services to PAIR clients. She established the Mintz Levin PAIR Fellowship, which provides for an attorney to work on PAIR issues part time while being paid by the firm. A member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and the American Bar Association, Ms. Cohen earned her J.D. degree, cum laude, from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law and her undergraduate degree, magna cum laude, from Brandeis University.
Grant Sovern, a partner in Mintz Levin’s Immigration Section, helps poor and disadvantaged individuals, especially asylum seekers, through PAIR, the Volunteer Lawyers Project, and the Family Advocacy Program at Boston Medical Center, and serves as mentor on the many asylum cases Mintz Levin attorneys take every year. In 1999, he was the recipient of the Mintz Levin Pro Bono Award and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights recognition award for pro bono work. Before joining Mintz Levin in 1997, he was an immigration attorney in the Law Offices of Richard M. Costa in Boston for a year. He is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and former Peace Corps Volunteer in Niger, West Africa. He received a J.D. degree from the University of Michigan Law School and a B.A. degree, magna cum laude, from Tufts University.
Established in 1999, the Supreme Judicial Court’s Standing Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services works to promote volunteer legal work in Massachusetts to help people of limited means in need of legal representation, in accordance with SJC Rule 6.1. The awards are named in honor of Attorneys John Adams and John Quincy Adams.