In recognition of outstanding commitment to providing volunteer legal services for the poor and disadvantaged in Massachusetts, the Supreme Judicial Court Standing Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services presented the eighth annual Adams Pro Bono Publico Awards to Attorneys Andrew P. Cornell of Arlington, Justin Dion of Longmeadow, and Margaret M. Pinkham of Woburn. Supreme Judicial Court Justice Francis X. Spina presented the awards to the three recipients in front of their colleagues and family members at a ceremony today in the John Adams Courthouse.
“This year’s pro bono award recipients have realized the role of public citizen idealized by the rules of professional conduct in its call to arms for equal justice under law. Their hard work, enormous sacrifice, and ingenuity have brought hope to many who are burdened by poverty or near poverty. Their dedication is an inspiration and a challenge to all who are able and committed to provide harbor for those among us made vulnerable by the deep reach of the economic downturn,” stated Justice Spina.
Attorney Andrew P. Cornell, a solo practitioner in Cambridge, was recognized for his selfless commitment to provide access to justice for the disadvantaged and for his recruitment and mentorship of other attorneys in their volunteer pro bono legal work.
Attorney Justin H. Dion, of the Springfield office of Bacon Wilson, P.C., was awarded for his efforts to assist the poor in western Massachusetts during the current economic downturn. He is honored for his pro bono and leadership contributions to the Alliance Providers of Legal Services to Individuals Facing Foreclosure, among others.
Attorney Margaret M. Pinkham, a former partner in the Boston firm of Brown Rudnick Berlack Israels L.L.P., was recognized for her outstanding commitment and dedication to helping poor and disadvantaged individuals in need of legal services and for serving as a role model to other lawyers.
Since 1994, Mr. Cornell has been a pro bono attorney with Community Legal Services and Counseling Center where he has represented many indigent clients in family law cases. He has also taken family law cases on a pro bono basis through Senior Partners for Justice and has served as a pro bono Guardian Ad Litem in a joint project of the Probate and Family Court and Senior Partners designed to serve elderly people in need of guardians. A member of the Board of Directors for Transition House, a domestic violence shelter and service provider in Cambridge, he has provided pro bono representation to many Transition House program participants in their domestic violence cases. He has also been a volunteer mentor with the Women’s Bar Foundation Family Law Project for several years, and has provided guidance to new attorneys in handling domestic violence cases. Mr. Cornell is an adjunct professor of family law at New England Law/Boston.
A member of the Boston Bar Association and the Massachusetts Bar Association, Mr. Cornell holds a J.D. degree from New England Law /Boston (formerly New England School of Law) and a B.A. from Hampshire College.
Mr. Dion has provided leadership and pro bono services to the Alliance Providers of Legal Services to Individuals Facing Foreclosure. The Massachusetts Justice Project, the Hampden County Bar Association, the Massachusetts Fair Housing Center, and the Housing Assistance Project were instrumental in forming the Alliance two years ago. Through Mr. Dion’s efforts, the Hampden County Bar Association joined the Alliance as a formal partner. He has worked tirelessly to recruit, train and mentor attorneys working on the pro bono foreclosure panel, the Volunteer Lawyers Service of the Massachusetts Justice Project, the Dial-A-Lawyer foreclosure evenings and the attorney training programs sponsored by the Alliance. He has participated in all Dial-A-Lawyer events and serves as an advisor to Housing Assistance Project foreclosure prevention counselors. Mr. Dion also helped to establish the Hampden County Bar Bankruptcy Section. He is an adjunct professor at Western New England College of Law and associate professor of legal studies at Bay Path College. He also handles bankruptcy cases for the Volunteer Lawyer Services and leads Pro Se Bankruptcy Clinics for the Bankruptcy Court.
Mr. Dion is a member of the Hampden County Bar Association, the Massachusetts Bar Association, the Hartford County Bar Association, the Connecticut Bar Association, and the American Bar Association. He received a J.D. degree, magna cum laude, from Western New England College of Law, and M.A. and B.S. degrees from Southern Connecticut State University.
Ms. Pinkham practiced law at the law firm of Brown, Rudnick from 1993 -2009, and donated approximately 1,000 hours to pro bono legal representation. Among her pro bono clients are the Wrentham Association, 850 mentally retarded persons and their guardians whom she represents in a federal class action case, Ricci v. Okin. She has represented Rosie’s Place for fifteen years in a variety of matters. In 2005, she supervised summer law associates to the Boston Bar Association’s Lawyer of the Day program in Boston Housing Court, and in 2007 she helped develop the Trial Attorney program at the Housing Court in which attorneys represent clients through a summary process trial. A member of the Boston Bar Association, she served as the co-chair of that organization’s Litigation Section Pro Bono Committee from 2004 to 2007. She is also a member of the Connecticut, New Hampshire and New York Bar Associations.
Attorney Pinkham graduated with a J.D. degree, cum laude, from Suffolk University Law School and with a B.A. degree, cum laude, from Harvard College.