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Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Honors John Regan for Pro Bono Work for Veterans

November 17, 2015

Partner and Co-Chair of the firm's Pro Bono and Community Service Committee John Regan was recently honored with one of the most prestigious pro bono accolades in the country during the 2015 John Adams and John Quincy Adams Pro Bono Publico Awards Ceremony at the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. The Adams Pro Bono Publico Award recognizes law professionals who have a track record of distinguished service and commitment to providing pro bono legal services to those in need. With a career spanning 37 years, Regan has had an ongoing commitment to pro bono representation that has included more than 70 pro bono matters for indigent individuals and nonprofit organizations serving the disadvantaged.

According to the Supreme Judicial Court, Regan was selected "for his outstanding leadership and steadfast commitment to providing pro bono legal services for veterans and for his continuing dedication to the pursuit of social justice."

Those who have worked with Regan on veterans matters speak highly of his contributions: "Jack is a remarkable attorney and pro bono champion who has led the effort to address the unmet legal needs of indigent veterans in Massachusetts," said Daniel Nagin, Vice-Dean and Faculty Director of the Legal Services Center and Veterans Legal Clinic at Harvard Law School. "His long and distinguished record of pro bono commitment to the veterans' community is truly unique. No member of the private bar has done more—both at the individual client level and at the systems level—to increase access to justice for veterans."

A US Navy veteran himself, Regan was honored largely for his leadership in establishing a platform for delivery of pro bono legal services to veterans, National Guard, reserve and active duty service personnel, and their families, during his term as president of the Boston Bar Association (BBA), a time of stress on Massachusetts military personnel because of extended (often 15-month) deployments and multiple combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. Regan's initiative created a task force within the BBA that mobilized Boston's lawyers to provide presentations on how to obtain veteran benefits, and one-on-one counseling on how to navigate such legal issues as upgrading other than honorable discharges, combat-related special compensation claims, health care access at the US Department of Veterans Affairs, and re-employment rights after returning from overseas deployments and completing military service. To ensure the longevity of the program, Regan and his colleagues created at the BBA the Veterans, Military Personnel and Families Committee of the Delivery of Legal Services Section.

Regan has also worked with the Massachusetts Fallen Heroes organization to create the nation's first post 9/11 memorial for the 194 Massachusetts military and civilian service personnel lost in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Regan previously was awarded Veterans Legal Services' (VLS) Distinguished Service Award for his contributions in achieving VLS' mission of promoting self-sufficiency, financial security and stability of military veterans, including those who are homeless.

Regan and three other honorees were recognized during an awards event on October 28 before a full sitting of the Supreme Judicial Court in its main courtroom at the John Adams Courthouse in Boston. The presentation of Regan's Adams Award was made on behalf of the Court by Associate Justice Geraldine Hines.