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Voice of Experience

Voice of Experience: August 2023 | Where to Live

Highlights from SLD Annual Meeting

Emily C R Roy and Sophia Granger


  • SLD's 2023 Annual Meeting in Denver included Mary K. Ryan recieving the John H. Pickering Award for her outstanding pro bono work and Cathy S. Krendl receiving the Robert W. Meserve Award.
  • SLD also welcomed the incoming leadership with a champagne toast and passing of the gavel.
Highlights from SLD Annual Meeting

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The ABA Senior Lawyers Division’s August 2023 Annual Meeting in Denver had much to celebrate: the annual Pickering Award luncheon, a champagne toast to the incoming and outgoing SLD leaders, and Robert W. Meserve Award ceremony.

During the Council meetings, the SLD reviewed the accomplishments of the 2022-2023 bar year and discussed the new reorganization of the leadership structure as well as upcoming publications, programs, and projects for the 2022-2023 bar year for the 50,000 SLD members.  

Here’s a recap of a few of the events at the Annual Meeting.

Mary K. Ryan Receives the John H. Pickering Award of Achievement

The SLD organized the 17th annual John H. Pickering Award Luncheon held on August 5th at the Embassy Suites Denver Downtown. The Award is named in memory of John H. Pickering, the 1996-97 SLD Chair whose life and accomplishments demonstrated outstanding legal ability and dedication to the improvement of access to justice.

This year’s Award recipient is Mary K. Ryan, senior of counsel at Nutter McClennen & Fish in Boston. Unfortunately, due to health reasons Mary had to receive her award virtually from Boston and joined the luncheon live via Zoom. Mary’s career reflects a profound and longstanding commitment of dedicated service to the profession and to furthering access to justice for all. She has served in numerous leadership roles at the local, state, and national levels working for  systemic justice reforms through studies, reports, and advocacy on issues such as foreclosure, domestic violence, eviction, and immigration. She has worked  tirelessly to produce real solutions, taken on her own pro bono cases, and inspired other attorneys to do the same mentoring them along the way. 

Mary K. Ryan

Mary K. Ryan

Seth Waxman (Partner, WilmerHale; Solicitor General of the United States, 1997–2001) said a few words about his friend and former law partner, John Pickering, who founded Wilmer, Cutler and Pickering which is now known as Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr (WilmerHale) calling him a “genuine prince of a man” and “lion of the bar.”

“He really was somebody who, from the very outset of his career, was dedicated to a lawyer’s obligation to provide bono legal services to people and institutions that can’t afford to vindicate their rights in the legal system. He was a lifelong champion of equal rights and of the highest standards of ethics and professionalism in the service when I joined the law firm that still bears his name. He was 85 years old and still working every day for pro bono clients and on bar activities until the day before he died at age 89.” 

Seth said he knows John is beaming from on high knowing Mary’s this year’s recipient.

Seth Waxman (left) and Jim Schwartz (right) give their remarks at the 2023 Pickering Award Ceremony.

Seth Waxman (left) and Jim Schwartz (right) give their remarks at the 2023 Pickering Award Ceremony.

Mary Ryan was warmly introduced by colleague and friend Wendy S. Wayne (Director, Committee for Public Counsel Services Immigration Impact Unit; Past Chair, ABA Commission on Immigration) and presented the award by 2022-2023 SLD Chair James L. Schwartz. Wendy described how Mary inspired her.

“I first met Mary Ryan in 2007 when she was co-chair in the Boston Bar Association Civil Gideon Task Force. Mary inspired me then and continues to inspire me and encourage me to advocate relentlessly for increased access to justice, to fight for both the small changes and the larger systemic ones, and to never be deterred by doubters.”

Mary Ryan delivered an inspiring acceptance speech calling John Pickering the epitome of what some may call a citizen lawyer – someone who commits their time and talents to the public good, to the ideal of the rule of law, and to reforms that enhance the laws, efficiency, fairness, and accessibility. The ABA embodies these ideals and provides countless ways for members to serve both the legal community and the community at large. She thanked Bob Juceam, a past Pickering Award winner and who nominated her for this award, for inspiring her to do pro bono work with unaccompanied minors which changed her life for the better. In light of her health issues, not knowing if she’ll be able to continue the work she does, she urges everyone to empower others to follow in their footsteps and continue the good work.

The luncheon was generously sponsored by Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP, ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service, WilmerHale, Marvin S.C. Dang of the Law Offices of Marvin S.C. Dang, LLLC, Richard M. Leslie, James L. Schwartz, and Past and Present Members of the Massachusetts Delegation to the ABA House of Delegates (Lisa Arrowood, Frank J. Bailey, Donald Federico, Michael S. Greco, Kay H. Hodge, Renee M. Landers, Josephine McNeil, Wendy K. Mariner, Susan Barbieri Montgomery, Maureen O’Rourke, Alice Richmond, and Carol A. Starkey). The award was co-sponsored by the ABA Commission on Law and Aging, ABA Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice, ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service, and the ABA Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defense.

Read the press release here.

Toast to SLD leaders and volunteers during Champagne Reception

The SLD hosted a special Champagne Reception on Saturday, August 5th at the Embassy Suites Denver Downtown after the SLD Annual Business Meeting.  SLD members and other ABA members raised a toast to congratulate Cathy Stricklin Krendl for winning the Robert W. Meserve Award for outstanding service to the SLD, and to thank and congratulate James L. Schwartz for his exemplary year of service as outgoing 2022-2023 SLD Chair, Richard M. Leslie (incoming SLD Chair), Karren J. Pope-Onwukwe (incoming Chair-Elect), Anthony C. Musto (incoming Vice Chair), William Mock (outgoing Budget Officer), Robert L. Brown (incoming Budget Officer), Jeffrey M. Allen (outgoing Secretary), Richard C. Goodwin (incoming Secretary), and other Division leaders. 

Richard Leslie (Incoming SLD Chair - left) and Jim Schwartz (Outgoing SLD Chair - right) at SLD's Annual Business Meeting.

Richard Leslie (Incoming SLD Chair - left) and Jim Schwartz (Outgoing SLD Chair - right) at SLD's Annual Business Meeting.

Cathy Stricklin Krendl Receives the Robert W. Meserve Award

During the SLD’s Champagne Reception, Cathy Stricklin Krendl received the Robert W. Meserve Award for outstanding service to the SLD from 2022-23 SLD Chair James L. Schwartz.  (Robert Meserve was the first Chair of the SLD from 1985-1986.) Cathy is an SLD Council Member and Co-Vice Chair of the Voice of Experience Board. Cathy was recognized for emulating everything Robert Meserve did; for her commitment to work, her commitment to wanting to make SLD better, her able assistance, and her able friendship to the chair and to the division.

Cathy Krendl receives the 2023 Robert W. Meserve Award at the 2023 SLD Annual Business Meeting.

Cathy Krendl receives the 2023 Robert W. Meserve Award at the 2023 SLD Annual Business Meeting.