2007 Michelle J. Lespasio

On behalf of the Massachusetts Association of Women Lawyers (MAWL), I would like to congratulate all our new board members and officers. I look forward to working with them this year to further the mission and goals of our coveted association.

MAWL was established in 1905 – and is the first and oldest women’s bar association in the United States. It was founded at a time when women did not have the right to vote. The Massachusetts Association of Women Lawyers started with dinner meetings that were held several times a year by a few women attorneys who practiced in Boston. When MAWL was established, there were nineteen practicing women attorneys in Boston. Today, of course, there are many more, as law school statistics show admissions to law school of at least 50% female or more. The BBO statistics indicate 50,998 actively practicing attorneys in Massachusetts but do not break it down by gender.

Over the years, MAWL’s mission has remained constant. Specifically, our mission is to support members of the organization, to provide educational programs for members of the legal community and to provide networking opportunities for our members. In addition, we honor distinguished and deserving members of our local legal community at our annual HOLIDAY TOAST, held at the College Club every December. The scholarship foundation honors a deserving law student in memory of Attorney Carol DiMaiti. At our annual banquet, in June, we honor a distinguished jurist. This year, by unanimous approval of our Board, we selected the Honorable Susan D. Ricci.

The MAWL Scholarship Foundation was established in 1973. The scholarship foundation, chaired by the Honorable Mary Muse, Barbara Senecal and Maria Luise, awards scholarships to accomplished second and third year female law students at our annual banquet. This year, Elizabeth L. Cannon, Suffolk University Law School Class of 2009 and Nicole L. Rimar, Northeastern University Law School Class of 2008, received the MAWL Scholarship Foundation Award and Sheila E. McGovern Scholarship Award, respectively.

Several years ago, MAWL established the UNSUNG HERO AWARD. The purpose of this award is to recognize a nonboard member for his or her significant contributions to the organization. This year Attorney James McCusker received the UNSUNG HERO AWARD for all of his generosity and contributions to MAWL.

For the upcoming year 2007-2008, MAWL has scheduled a number of events. These events include social functions and educational programs. In October we will host a reception in honor of the Honorable Ferdnande Duffly as incoming President of the National Association of Women Judges (NAWJ). In December, we will host the Holiday Toast at the College Club to honor distinguished members of the legal community and award the Carol DiMaiti Scholarship Award. We invite you to attend our events (please check our website) and look forward to a productive and beneficial year.

Michelle J. Lespasio