2018

Voice of Change Award
E. Macey Russell, Choate

Macey Russell is a partner in Choate’s Litigation Department and sits on the firm’s Diversity Committee. He is also a member of the advisory board of the Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession, and a past member of the executive committee of the Massachusetts Black Lawyers Association. Russell has served as co-chair of the BBA’s Diversity & Inclusion Section and as co-chair of a subcommittee of the Section on the diversity pipeline. In 2009, Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly named him a “Diversity Hero.”

The Voice of Change Award recognizes a luminary leader in the legal community who has forged a new path and played an extensive role in advancing diversity and inclusion within the profession.

Corporate Champion Award
Vertex Pharmaceuticals

Vertex is a global biotechnology company that has made diversity and inclusion an ongoing focus of its company culture and hiring practices. Employee Resource Networks are available to support and form connections between diverse employees, and leadership consults these networks when making decisions on policy related to diversity and inclusion. In 2017, Vertex celebrated its first Diversity Week, during which Employee Resource Networks collaborated with the company’s leadership to present workshops and activities.

The Corporate Champion Award recognizes an in-house legal department that has been a leader in internal and/or external projects and practices that promote a more diverse and inclusive legal profession.

Empowerment Award
Yes on 3: Freedom for All Massachusetts

The Freedom for All Massachusetts coalition was convened to defend public accommodations protections for transgender people, after the 2016 law extending such protections was put at risk due to a ballot question. The coalition, which grew to include over 1,500 organizations and community leaders, launched a far-reaching public education campaign to inform voters about the facts of the issue. In November 2018, the non-discrimination protections were upheld with close to 70% of the vote, making Massachusetts the first state in the nation to uphold protections for transgender people at the ballot box.

The Empowerment Award recognizes a powerful advocate who works to create systemic change in the wider community, advancing civil rights, access to justice, and/or diversity and inclusion, and amplifying the voices of underrepresented groups.


2017

In November 2017, the BBA introduced a revamped Beacon Award celebration at the Cambridge Multicultural Arts Center, with awards presented in three categories:

Voice of Change Award
Brent Henry, Mintz, former Vice President and General Counsel at Partners HealthCare

Brent Henry has written and spoken extensively about recruiting and retaining diverse legal talent. Among other significant contributions, he is a former co-chair of the BBA’s Diversity Leadership Task Force, which was formed in 2006 and ultimately led to the creation of the BBA’s Diversity & Inclusion Section. In 2012, he co-chaired a new trustee committee charged with increasing diversity among the faculty, student body and senior administration of his alma mater, Princeton University.

This Voice of Change Award recognizes a luminary leader in the legal community who has forged a new path and has played an extensive role in advancing diversity and inclusion within the profession.

Corporate Champion Award
Biogen

The legal department at Biogen has long demonstrated its commitment to increasing diversity within its own staff and in the greater legal community. Biogen has developed a system of diversity metrics which the legal team uses when choosing outside counsel. In 2016, Biogen was named the Top Biotech Company in the Calvert Diversity Report. General Counsel Susan Alexander, who accepted the award on behalf of Biogen, signed onto ABA Resolution 113 to Help Promote Diversity in the Legal Profession on behalf of her corporate department.

The Corporate Champion Award recognizes an in-house legal department that has been a leader in internal and/or external projects and practices that promote a more diverse and inclusive legal profession.

Empowerment Award
Iván Espinoza-Madrigal, Executive Director, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice

In a decade as a public interest lawyer, Iván Espinoza-Madrigal has worked on a wide range of civil rights issues, including racial justice, immigrant rights, and LGBT/HIV equality. He was named one of Boston’s “100 Most Influential People of Color” by the Boston Globe in 2016. He speaks and writes extensively on civil rights issues, focusing on the legal needs of people who identify across intersecting lines of race, sexual orientation, gender identity, and immigration status.

The Empowerment Award recognizes a powerful advocate who works to create systemic change in the wider community, advancing civil rights, access to justice, and/or diversity and inclusion, and amplifying the voices of underrepresented groups.


2016

The 7th Annual Beacon Award for Diversity & Inclusion was presented to Past ABA President Paulette Brown in March 2017, in recognition of her work to drive the legal profession—both nationally and here in Massachusetts—to renew its focus on taking concrete steps to increase diversity. Brown convened the Diversity and Inclusion 360 Commission, which gathered thought leaders across the country to focus on a comprehensive plan for diversity. One result of the Commission’s work was the passage of ABA Resolution 113, which urges all legal services providers to expand and create opportunities at all levels of responsibility for diverse attorneys, and urges clients to direct a greater percentage of the legal services they purchase to diverse attorneys.


2015

The Boston Bar Association presented the 6th Annual Beacon Award for Diversity & Inclusion to six Massachusetts Affinity Bar Associations: the Asian American Lawyers Association of Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Association of Hispanic Attorneys, the Massachusetts Black Lawyers Association, the Massachusetts Black Women Attorneys, the Massachusetts LGBTQ Bar Association, and the South Asian Bar Association of Greater Boston.

The award recognized the Affinity Bar Associations’ collaborative spirit and practice, and the impressive impact that each of these volunteer-led organizations has made on Boston’s legal community and the community at large by bringing together attorneys committed to the values of professional excellence, service, and diversity. The Affinity Bars not only foster camaraderie through networking and mentorship, but also serve as a valuable source for members’ professional development.


2014

Deval Patrick
The Boston Bar Association was delighted to honor Governor Deval Patrick with its fifth annual Beacon Award for Diversity & Inclusion, in celebration of his groundbreaking work in creating a more diverse judiciary in the state of Massachusetts. 

Governor Patrick appointed the first African American Chief Justice, African American female Justice, Asian American Justice, and openly gay Justice on the Supreme Judicial Court; the first Native American District Court Judge; and the first South Asian Superior Court Justice. To date, the Governor has filled 164 judicial openings during his two terms in office, which represents 40% of the judiciary. Nearly half of those judges were female, and one fifth represented a minority group.  

He has been a leader in the state and in the nation in creating a judiciary that better reflects the diversity in our Commonwealth.


2013

Paul Lee
The Boston Bar Association presented the 4th Annual Beacon Award for Diversity & Inclusion to Paul Lee for over 30 years of community leadership and for making Boston a city in which Asian American lawyers and all diverse lawyers feel more welcome. Paul Lee is founding President of the Asian American Lawyers Association of Massachusetts (AALAM), a Corporate and Securities Partner at Goodwin Procter, and a leader whose efforts have helped boost the supply of affordable housing in Boston’s Chinatown. See the video honoring Paul.

See the video honoring Paul.


Macey Russell (Choate Hall & Stewart) with Beacon Award winner Paul Lee.

2012 

GLAD and the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office

The Boston Bar Association honored GLAD (Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders) and the Attorney General's Office of Massachusetts for their work as lawyers in advancing same sex marriage and for effectively expanding the meaning of Diversity and Inclusion through their effort to challenge the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a statute that discriminates against legally married same-sex couples.
See the video

BBA Past President Renee Landers (Suffolk Law School) presented GLAD Civil Rights Project Director Mary Bonauto and Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley


2011

Northeastern University School of Law

The BBA honored Northeastern University School of Law with the 2011 Beacon Award for their exceptional leadership on diversity strategies that will have a lasting impact on the legal profession in Greater Boston.  "The fact that Northeastern University School of Law fosters a culture of diversity and inclusion is itself impressive, as documented by the numbers," said Wendell Taylor, Co-Chair of the 2011 Beacon Award Committee. "Even more impressive is the number of Northeastern University School of Law alums making a serious commitment to replicating that culture within their own professional venues."

+Read More

+See Dean Emily Spieler's Acceptance Remarks

Northeastern School of Law Dean Emily Spieler with Roberto Braceras (Goodwin Procter)

2010

MassMutual

The BBA honored MassMutual with its first ever Beacon Award in 2010. According to Renee Landers, co-chair of the Diversity & Inclusion Section and member of the nominating Committee, "MassMutual stood apart because it has programs that successfully implement a range of diversity strategies including focus on the pipeline of young professionals and hiring practices of both inside and outside counsel. We wanted this award to help the Section teach and inspire. The breath and depth of MassMutual should be celebrated and will likely spark some ideas for in-house law departments, law firms and law schools."

+See the Video

 
Brent Henry (Partners Healthcare) with Executive VP and General Counsel Mark Roellig (MassMutual)