(Boston, 10/13/15) New England Law | Boston: Robert W. Harnais ’89 has been elected president of the Massachusetts Bar Association (MBA) for its 2015–2016 year. A general practitioner with Mahoney & Harnais in Quincy, MA, Harnais is the MBA’s first Hispanic president.
“Since its earliest years, the Massachusetts Bar Association has been welcoming of lawyers from all backgrounds. I am proud and humbled to serve as president of the state bar and further advance the MBA’s historic commitment to diversity,” said Harnais. “We must always work to make sure that our profession remains an inclusive and accurate reflection of the community that our legal system serves. We have a system that represents and protects all people in this Commonwealth, and the MBA will continue to strive to assure this.”
“We congratulate Robert Harnais on his new position and commend the MBA for its excellent judgment in selecting him,” said Dean John F. O’Brien. “New England Law has a proud legacy of encouraging diversity in law school, and we strongly support inclusion within the broader legal community.”
Harnais has been an active New England Law alumni volunteer, serving as a Bridge to Success mentor and as a reunion class agent.
During his presidency, Harnais plans to promote a return to civility in the profession with a sense of camaraderie statewide, while also continuing the MBA’s advocacy for access to justice and criminal justice reform, including the elimination of mandatory minimum sentences for drug-related crimes. Harnais has volunteered his service to the MBA for many years, serving as an officer and as a member of the MBA’s Executive Management Board and House of Delegates. He has also served as co-chair of the MBA’s Crime Lab Task Force and chair of the MBA’s Diversity Task Force.
Harnais is a past president of the Massachusetts Association of Hispanic Attorneys (MAHA) and a past regional president of the Hispanic National Bar Association, and he remains highly involved with both organizations. In 2014, MAHA honored Harnais with its Leadership Award for his dedication to the Hispanic bar. That year he also received the Quincy Bar Association’s Alfred P. Malaney Award, commonly referred to as the “Man of the Year Award,” for distinguished legal services. Harnais is also a past recipient of the Norfolk County Bar Association Pro Bono Award (2011).