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Takeaways From Paul Lee's Beacon Award Speech

On Thursday, November 14th, more than 200 members of the Boston Legal Community displayed their commitment to diversity & inclusion by attending the 4th Annual Beacon Award honoring Paul Lee. Guests were treated to some powerful words from Paul about the progress Boston has made in his time here as well as the importance of continuing to strive for a diverse and inclusive legal profession.

Paul reminded us all that there are simple steps we can take to help advance this mission. Here are Paul’s four considerations to keep in mind and three challenges to embrace:

Four Considerations:

1) Leading from the Top. It’s not enough for an organization to just have diversity friendly policies -Leaders have to lead proactively on diversity.  They have to talk about it within their organizations seriously and continuously, make it a core part of their leadership of the organization, and demand accountability.  Each of us should ask ourselves whether the leader of our organization is doing enough, and we need to hold our leaders accountable and we need to work with our leaders.

2) Critical Mass. We need to do better in terms of achieving a diverse critical mass, especially in the senior and leadership positions.  There are clearly not enough partners of color at law firms.  One or two partners of color at a firm do not equal critical mass.

3) Work Environment. How do we ease the discomfort of lawyers of color in the workplace? I know many lawyers of color who believe they have to be twice as good to succeed.  We need to better understand why the workplace environment is giving rise to this perception.

4) How to Give Feedback. Giving feedback is an uncomfortable conversation in the best of circumstances, even for two persons of the same culture.  We all need to learn to give feedback in a way that empowers a lawyer of color to feel like he or she belongs.  Only then can the feedback be received in a less-threatening way that focuses on understanding the things he or she is doing well and areas in need improvement.  

Three Challenges:

1) Lead more proactively on diversity 

2) Take the time to learn from people of other cultures 

3) Mentor more lawyers of color 


To read Paul’s full speech, click here.


Environmental Law Committees

  • Air Quality and Climate Change Committee
    This committee reviews federal and local air pollution control, including source permitting, air quality planning, transportation planning, compliance monitoring, hazardous air pollutants and indoor air pollution.

    Contact Information

    Aladdine Joroff

    Harvard Law School

    Marilyn Levenson

    Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection

  • Energy and Telecommunications Law Committee
    This committee addresses regulatory and related issues affecting the natural gas, electric and telecommunications industries in Massachusetts — on the federal level and in other jurisdictions. Members typically practice before the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities, Massachusetts Department of Telecommunications and Cable, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Federal Communications Commission, and state and federal courts.

    Contact Information

    James M. Avery

    Brown Rudnick LLP

    Rebecca Tepper

    Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities

    (617) 305-3500

  • Environmental Law Public Policy Committee
    The BBA is very active in legislative and regulatory changes. Environmental attorneys are asked to lend their expertise.

    Contact Information

    Elisabeth M. DeLisle

    Law Offices of Jeffrey L. Roelofs, P.C.

    Lea J Tyhach

    Free Flow Power Corporation

    (978) 283-2822

  • Environmental Law Public Service Committee
    This committee has a number of annual service events including planting trees for Earth Day and volunteering with the Food Project. The committee also focuses on practice-specific pro bono projects and brown bag programming.

    Contact Information

    Mina S. Makarious

    Anderson & Kreiger LLP

    (617) 621-6525

    Staci Rubin

    Alternatives for Community & Environment

    (617) 442-3343

  • Environmental Litigation Committee
    This committee focuses on Chapter 21E, CERCLA, insurance, clean air and clean water litigation.

    Contact Information

    Seth Schofield

    Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General

    (617) 727-2200

    Peter F. Durning

    Mackie Shea O'Brien, PC

    (617) 266-5700

  • Hazardous and Solid Waste Committee
    This committee informs members about issues relating to federal and Massachusetts laws governing oil, hazardous materials and hazardous waste, including CERCLA and Chapter 21E.

    Contact Information

    Jennifer Sulla

    Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo P.C.

    (617) 542-6000

    John D. Beling

    Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General

    (617) 963-2432

  • International Environmental Law Committee
    This committee is for members interested in international environmental issues and the laws of foreign countries.

    Contact Information

    Cicely Ott Parseghian

    Foley Hoag LLP

    (617) 832-3038

    Stuart L. Canton

    (781) 652-0135

  • Steering Committee
    The leadership committee of the Section organizes programs and discusses policy. To inquire about opportunities, please contact the Section Co-Chairs.
  • Wetlands, Waterways and Water Quality Committee
    This committee keeps members abreast of changes in local, state and federal statutes, regulations and by-laws relating to discharges to surface water, groundwater and wastewater treatment plants.

    Contact Information

    Margaret M. Callanan

    Executive Office of Environmental Affairs

    (617) 626-1146

    Luke Legere

    McGregor & Associates

    (617) 338-6464