Women’s Bar Association of Massachusetts
27 School Street, Suite 500, Boston, MA 02108
Ph: 617.973.6666 Fax: 617.973.6663 www.womensbar.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Michele Liu Baillie
WOMEN’S BAR ASSOCIATION ANNOUNCES 2017 LELIA J. ROBINSON AWARD RECIPIENTS
WBA to Recognize Contributions of Hon. Margot Botsford (ret.) and Hon. Geraldine Hines at Annual Gala
June 26, 2017 – The Women’s Bar Association of Massachusetts (WBA) proudly announces its 2017 Lelia J. Robinson Award recipients:
Hon. Margot Botsford (ret.) and Hon. Geraldine Hines
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 have made a difference in the community. This year, the WBA is proud to recognize Hon. Margot Botsford (ret.) and Hon. Geraldine Hines with this award: two women who have made immeasurable contributions to the advancement of women in the legal profession. Both women will be honored at the WBA’s annual gala on November 28, 2017 at the Boston Marriott Copley Place. The gala is the WBA’s largest event of the year and is attended by more than 500 attorneys, judges, legislators, and business professionals. WBA President Michele Liu Baillie remarked, “the WBA is honored to recognize Justice Botsford and Justice Hines with this award. Both Justice Botsford and Justice Hines are trailblazers who have helped to elevate the status of women in the legal profession. Their remarkable careers are an inspiration to women law students, attorneys, and judges, and our celebration of them will be the highlight of our gala.”
Hon. Margot Botsford (ret.)
Hon. Margot Botsford recently retired as an Associate Justice (March 15, 2017) of the Supreme Judicial Court (SJC), having served almost ten years in that position. At the time of her appointment on Sept. 4, 2007, Justice Botsford was only the fifth woman to sit on the SJC since it was established in 1692. Prior to this appointment, Justice Botsford served as an Associate Justice of the Superior Court for eighteen years. Prior to her appointment to the bench, Justice Botsford served as an assistant attorney general, assistant district attorney and also practiced law in the private sector. Justice Botsford received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Barnard College, graduating magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa in 1969. In 1973, she earned a Juris Doctor degree from Northeastern University School of Law, and in 2007, a Master's Degree in Public Administration from Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. After graduating from law school, she served as Law Clerk to Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Justice Francis J. Quirico.
The role of women in the law has been central to Justice Botsford’s focus throughout her legal career. Justice Botsford was one of the early members and champions of the WBA. She understood the importance of the organization’s mission to advance women’s status in the legal profession. Justice Botsford, along with Chief Judge Patti Saris and Barbara Berenson, conceptualized and edited Breaking Barriers: The Unfinished Story of Women Lawyers and Judges in Massachusetts, which was published in 2012. Breaking Barriers is an unprecedented and unique account of Massachusetts women's progress in the legal profession from 1882 to the present day.
In addition, Justice Botsford has supported and advanced opportunities for women to join the bench, both through mentoring new female judges and speaking out on the importance of women in judgeships. In this regard, Justice Botsford recently led a panel at Northeastern University School of Law’s Women in the Law conference on the critical role of women judges and the unique challenges they face.
Justice Botsford has also made numerous contributions to the greater legal community. She was one of the founders of the WBA’s Mary Moe program and put together the grant to educate attorneys on how to handle Mary Moe cases.
Hon. Geraldine Hines
Hon. Geraldine Hines has served as an Associate Justice on the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) since 2014, becoming the first African American woman justice in the Court’s 322 year history. Prior to her appointment to the SJC, Justice Hines served on the Massachusetts Appeals Court from 2013-2014 and on the Massachusetts Superior Court from 2001-2013. She graduated from Tougaloo College in 1968 and received her Juris Doctor degree from the University of Wisconsin Law School in 1971. After law school Justice Hines worked as a staff attorney at the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute, litigating prisoners' rights cases, and practiced criminal law at the Roxbury Defenders Committee. She also completed an MIT fellowship researching policy initiatives to address the issue of police misconduct in communities of color, and served as co-counsel in Commonwealth v. Willie Sanders, a highly publicized trial of a black man accused of raping eight women. From 1979-1982 she served as a staff attorney at the Harvard University Center for Law and Education before entering private practice in 1982. Justice Hines was a founding member of the first law firm founded by women of color in New England, Burnham, Hines and Dilday.
Justice Hines is admired by those who know her for her dedication to the fight for civil rights for all people and for advancing women and people of color. Born in Scott, Mississippi on Oct. 29, 1947, Justice Hines grew up in Mississippi under economic hardship during the time of Jim Crow and severe racism. She overcame substantial barriers as a woman of color, becoming a highly respected attorney doing groundbreaking civil rights work. Her passion, hard work, and dedication to justice is evidenced by her work with numerous civic and community organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Lawyers Guild, Massachusetts Citizens against the Death Penalty, and the National Conference of Black Lawyers. She is a current commissioner of the Access to Justice Commission. She is described as being extremely humble, quietly effective, dedicated to justice and the law, and committed to advancing the careers of numerous women attorneys throughout Massachusetts.
Justice Hines encourages women of color to apply for judgeships, makes opportunities for her law clerks, supports the Massachusetts Black Women Attorneys organization, and has been a mentor to most, if not all, of the black women judges in Massachusetts. Justice Hines is described as a connector. She has done an amazing job balancing empathy with a careful adherence to the law. Justice Hines is recognized for her intelligence, humility, commitment to legal work of the highest standards, passion for civil rights, and belief in the law as a tool for fighting for justice.
About the Women’s Bar Association of Massachusetts
Founded in 1978 by a group of activist women lawyers, the Women’s Bar Association boasts a vast membership of accomplished women lawyers, judges, and law students across Massachusetts. The WBA is committed to the full and equal participation of women in the legal profession and in a just society. The WBA works to achieve this mission through committees and taskforces and by developing and promoting a legislative agenda to address society’s most critical social and legal issues. Other WBA activities include drafting amicus briefs, studying employment issues affecting women, encouraging women to enter the judiciary, recognizing the achievement of women in the law, and providing pro bono services to women in need through supporting its charitable sister organization, the Women’s Bar Foundation. For more information, visit www.womensbar.org
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