Boston Lawyer Michael S. Greco Voted ABA President-Elect
ATLANTA, Aug. 10, 2004 – The American Bar Association House of Delegates has voted Boston lawyer Michael S. Greco ABA president-elect. He will become the association’s 129th president in August 2005, at the close of the ABA Annual Meeting.
Greco has long championed the legal needs of children and the poor in America, and has also devoted his professional career to protecting constitutional rights. Since the terrorism attacks on September 11, 2001, he has addressed issues relating to the appropriate balance between ensuring national security and preserving the civil liberties of Americans during the war on terror.
“The blood being shed by young American men and women fighting the war on terrorism can only be justified if it is shed to protect our freedoms, and not just our borders,” said Greco. “As lawyers, we have a responsibility to address the issues that define us as a nation, even as we face unprecedented national security challenges. Lawyers are guardians of the Bill of Rights, and it is of vital importance to all people everywhere that we protect the values expressed in that document as we move forward.”
Greco also said, “The ABA will continue to do everything possible to ensure that our government’s conduct of the war on terror, and the treatment of those detained or imprisoned relating to the war, meet the standards of fundamental fairness, due process and human decency that define our country, and that have earned the respect of freedom-loving nations throughout the world. If America is to succeed in advancing the rule of law globally we must set the example for the world by adhering to it ourselves.”
Greco, a partner in the Boston office of Kirkpatrick & Lockhart, LLP, has been a trial lawyer, mediator and arbitrator in complex business and other disputes for 32 years, throughout New England and nationally. He joined Kirkpatrick & Lockhart in 2003, after 30 years as a partner with the former Boston firm of Hill & Barlow.
As ABA president, Greco intends as one of his major initiatives to commit the ABA and its more than 400,000 members to embark on a “renaissance of idealism” in the legal profession, to reinvigorate and nourish the spirit of public service and the desire to contribute to the common good that he believes have defined lawyers from the founding of our country, and that continue to attract the best and brightest young college graduates to the legal profession.
“In this time of increased economic and other pressures on the profession and on lawyers, I want the ABA to help the leaders of our law offices across the land develop ways that will provide lawyers with more time and more opportunities to fulfill their desire of serving the public good and improving the justice system,” said Greco.
“Every day, in every community in America, thousands of lawyers help those in need,” Greco said, “whether representing a poor person who goes to a legal aid clinic for help with a child custody or support question, or helping a senior citizen obtain benefits to which he is entitled from a government agency, or helping an immigrant who may not know her rights. As a profession we must continue to expand our commitment to public service so that everyone’s legal needs are met, and justice is available to all, regardless of economic status.”
Greco has served in the ABA House of Delegates since 1985 and has chaired the Association’s Section of Individual Rights & Responsibilities, Standing Committee on Federal Judiciary, and other committees. After the terrorist attacks on September 11 he served on the ABA Task Force on Terrorism and the Law, which analyzed the legislation that became the USA Patriot Act, and he helped to develop ABA policy regarding the government’s treatment of detained and imprisoned persons, and the President’s Executive Order on the use of military tribunals to try suspected terrorists. He also served on the Standing Committee on Law and National Security and Commission on Women in the Profession.
Greco chaired the first-in-the-nation Massachusetts Legal Needs for the Poor Assessment and Plan for Action, which documented that annually only 20 percent of the legal needs of the poor are met. With the state bar presidents of New Hampshire and Texas, he co-founded Bar Leaders for Preservation of Legal Services for the Poor, a national bar leader grassroots organization that helped preserve the Legal Services Corporation during the 1980s.
“In this great country, more than 80 percent of the legal needs of the poor go unmet each year,” said Greco. “This is simply unacceptable in a democracy. As lawyers, we have an obligation to help meet those needs, and to help make access to justice available to all. We are committed to redoubling our efforts to ensure that adequate funding for legal services is made available,” he said, “and that other necessary resources are devoted to serving those who cannot protect themselves. To ensure that rights guaranteed by the Constitution are protected, we cannot afford to do less.”
As president of the Massachusetts Bar Association in 1985, Greco and the governor of Massachusetts jointly appointed a blue-ribbon Commission on the Unmet Legal Needs of Children. The commission’s report and recommendations led to enactment of new statutes protecting the legal rights of children in the state. By appointment of the justices of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, Greco also chaired the court’s Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services.
Greco is a graduate of Princeton University and Boston College Law School, where he was editor in chief of the Law Review and class president. Born in Italy, he emigrated to the United States with his family at the age of seven and was raised in Hinsdale, Ill., near his mother’s birthplace. He and his family have resided in Wellesley Hills, Mass., for the past 31 years.
With more than 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is the largest voluntary professional membership organization in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law in a democratic society.