Women’s Bar Association of Massachusetts
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Women's Bar Association Announces Lelia J. Robinson Award Recipients and Emerging Women Leaders in the Law Honorees


The Women’s Bar Association of Massachusetts (WBA) proudly announces its 2022 Lelia J. Robinson Award recipients and its Emerging Women Leaders in the Law Honorees.

Patricia Garin and Hauwa Ibrahim

The Lelia J. Robinson Award honors women attorneys who have captured the spirit of Lelia J. Robinson, the first woman admitted to practice in Massachusetts. The award recognizes women who, like Robinson, are pioneers in the legal profession and who have made a difference in the community. In 2022, the WBA is proud to recognize two women who have both excelled in their fields and committed their careers to serving the public: Patricia Garin and Hauwa Ibrahim. Attorneys Garin and Ibrahim will be honored at the WBA’s annual Gala on October 24, 2022 at Artists For Humanity in Boston. The Gala, the WBA’s largest event of the year, is attended by hundreds of attorneys, judges, legislators, and business professionals. 

“We are thrilled to honor Attorneys Garin and Ibrahim as this year’s Leila J. Robinson award winners,” said WBA President Kristy Lavigne. “Both exemplify the spirit of this award and its namesake – they are skilled trailblazers and dedicated public servants who have worked tirelessly to make people’s lives better.  Each is an amazing role model for women seeking to join and participate in the legal profession. I am in awe of their accomplishments and look forward to publicly honoring them for their tremendous work.”


Patricia Garin is a national leader in complex criminal defense and civil rights litigation, renowned for representing clients in parole, clemency, and sentencing proceedings. For over 35 years, Attorney Garin has successfully taken on civil rights cases, prisoner rights cases and death penalty cases. She represents individuals with mental disabilities in civil and criminal matters, and individuals in student disciplinary tribunals. 

She has demonstrated excellence as a law firm partner in a male-dominated criminal defense practice, as well as through her teaching. Since 1994, she has served as an Adjunct Professor and Co-Director of the Prisoners’ Rights Clinic at Northeastern University School of Law, where she supervises law students representing inmates at Parole Board hearings and prison disciplinary hearings. She has encouraged women and helped them advance in their legal careers, providing mentoring and growth opportunities. She is currently Of Counsel at Shapiro & Teitelbaum LLP.

Ms. Garin is President of the Board of Directors of Prisoners’ Legal Services, and a longtime board member. She served as a member of the Boston Bar Association Task Force on Parole and Community Reintegration and the Special Commission on Criminal Justice created by the Legislature, and is a member of the Massachusetts Bar Association Clemency Task Force. She advised the Women’s Bar Foundation (WBF) as it launched its Clemency Project, which assists incarcerated women in filing or supplementing petitions for commutation of their sentence. Ms. Garin generously offered her time and expertise to help establish the WBF’s volunteer attorney training program, conduct some of the trainings, and develop relevant training materials. Her many awards include the Committee For Public Counsel Services’ prestigious Thurgood Marshall Award for outstanding and extensive representation of indigent persons in civil and criminal cases.


Hauwa Ibrahim is an internationally known human rights lawyer. Since 2018, Attorney Ibrahim has been a Visiting Scholar at Wellesley Centers for Women where her research has focused on the root causes of terrorism, including the radicalization of youth and building bridges of cooperation between religious and non-religious communities. Attorney Ibrahim is one of the top defenders of women’s rights in Nigeria. Prior to joining Harvard Divinity School as a Visiting Lecturer, she was a jointly appointed Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study and at the Harvard Law School Human Rights Program. A lawyer and author, she has been a visiting professor in several countries.

Since 1999, Attorney Ibrahim has served as defense counsel in a significant number of cases involving Sharia law, many of which have involved women accused of adultery and subject to death by stoning. She handles these pro bono cases at tremendous personal risk. Attorney Ibrahim was called upon by the President of Nigeria who appointed her a member of the fact-finding commission and to assist in the return of 219 girls kidnapped by Boko Haram. She successfully strategized to have the mothers of some then-arrested members of Boko Haram re-establish a bond with the terrorists that later assisted in the return of 82 girls. She has demonstrated excellence in Sharia law for the benefit of marginalized women, and in international negotiation and diplomacy. 

Attorney Ibrahim is President of the Board of Directors of the Peace Institute, and runs Mothers Without Borders from Sudbury, Massachusetts.

Emerging Women Leaders in the Law Honorees

The WBA’s Emerging Women Leaders in the Law Award honors women attorneys who have demonstrated professional excellence or had a significant professional achievement in approximately their first 12 years in the legal profession, and either promote the status of women in the legal profession or contribute meaningfully to the equal participation of women in a just society. The 2022 awardees will be celebrated and honored at the WBA’s annual Gala on October 24, 2022.  They are:

  • Kate Barry, Greater Boston Legal Services
  • Laurie Bishop, Hirsch Roberts Weinstein LLP
  • Amy Sennett, OpenText
  • Emily Sy, Takeda Pharmaceuticals

“This year’s group of Emerging Women Leaders is an exceptional group of women attorneys whose talent and accomplishments are commendable thus far in their careers. I look forward to their continued good work and celebrating their contributions to the legal profession.” said President Lavigne.

Kristy Lavigne
Women’s Bar Association of Massachusetts

Margaret Talmers
Executive Director
Women’s Bar Association of Massachusetts
(617) 973-6666 | mtalmers@womensbar.org