chevron-down Created with Sketch Beta.
July 19, 2023

Boston lawyer Mary K. Ryan to receive ABA 2023 Pickering Award

WASHINGTON, July 19, 2023 — Mary K. Ryan, senior of counsel at Nutter McClennen & Fish in Boston, is the 2023 recipient of the John H. Pickering Award of Achievement, presented by the American Bar Association Senior Lawyers Division. Ryan will be recognized at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 5, at the Embassy Suites Denver Downtown as part of the ABA Annual Meeting, which will be held Aug. 2-8.

The award honors the life and accomplishments of John H. Pickering, co-founder of the Washington, D.C., law firm formerly known as Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering (now WilmerHale), who was involved in a variety of pro bono activities and law-related societal issues affecting older adults. It recognizes lawyers or judges who demonstrate outstanding legal ability and have compiled a distinguished record of service to the profession and their communities, resulting in significant contributions to improving access to justice for all.

Ryan is senior of counsel in Nutter’s litigation department and a member of the Development, Land Use and Permitting practice group. Her practice includes substantial trial and appellate cases in state and federal courts, particularly in environmental litigation, as well as administrative hearings and proceedings. She has handled environmental matters for companies such as ConocoPhillips, Whittaker Corp., Applied Power Inc., and the Resolution Trust Corporation, as well as for the City of Boston and the Boston Redevelopment Authority.

Among her numerous leadership positions in the bar, Ryan has served as president of the Boston Bar Association (1997-1998). She is a former clerk and board member of the Real Estate Bar Association of Massachusetts and was the founding co-chair of its environmental committee. She served as president of the Women’s Bar Association of Massachusetts (1984-1985) and chaired the Standing Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (1999-2011). She is currently a member of the SJC’s Access to Justice Commission. Ryan was also a director of the Environmental Business Council of New England for more than 25 years, serving as clerk for much of that time.

Ryan is a member of the American Bar Association Board of Governors and House of Delegates, and previously served on the ABA Commission on Immigration. From 2014 to 2019, she was co-chair of the ABA’s Working Group on Unaccompanied Minor Immigrants, a presidential initiative to provide more pro bono assistance to children in the immigration system without lawyers. She is a past chair of the ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono & Public Service and the ABA Standing Committee on Delivery of Legal Services, a past member of the ABA Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defendants and has been active with the ABA Litigation Section’s Environmental Litigation Committee.

Ryan is a fellow in the American College of Environmental Lawyers and is a frequent lecturer and writer on hazardous waste and environmental litigation issues. She has also been a faculty member for the Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education’s Annual Environmental and Land Use program, focusing on environmental permitting litigation.

Ryan received a B.A. from Tufts University and J.D. from Boston College Law School, where she is a member of the Order of the Coif. She served as law clerk and then chief law clerk to the justices of the Superior Court of Massachusetts and as law clerk to Ruth I. Abrams, former associate justice of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts.

Click here for a picture of Ryan.

The ABA is the largest voluntary association of lawyers 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.