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Why I’m Honored to be MATA’s New President

Posted May 19, 2017

By Jonathan A. Karon

Last Tuesday, I had the honor of being elected the next President of the Massachusetts Academy of Trial Attorneys (MATA). My one year term officially begins on July 1. I’m honored to be assuming this position not just because of the incredible trial lawyers who preceded me in this office but more importantly because MATA’s members fight every day to make our world safer, fairer and more humane.

MATA is an organization of almost 1000 trial lawyers throughout the Commonwealth. Although most members represent plaintiffs in personal injury cases or in workers compensation matters, we also have members who practice in the areas of employment discrimination, civil rights, criminal law and family law. The common thread that unites us is the belief that the pursuit of profit shouldn’t trump other important values like making safer products, treating your customers fairly, having a safe workplace where employees are treated with dignity and taking care of the helpless and vulnerable.

Now I am well aware of the stereotype of a plaintiff’s personal injury lawyer. I hear it when I go to social gatherings and I see it in the expressions of jurors when I first introduce myself at trial. I know there are members of my profession who re-enforce that stereotype in the way they behave and the ways in which they promote their practice. But that is not how the overwhelming majority of my MATA colleagues practice law. I don’t expect you to take my word for it if you haven’t been represented by one of us or been on one of our juries. But the MATA members I know get up everyday, go their offices and fight for their clients.

MATA has always been dedicated to preserving an effective civil justice system-making sure that the Courthouse doors are open for everyone, not just the wealthy and powerful. It conducts professional education so that our members can do an effective and professional job of representing our clients. It provides mentoring to new attorneys and promotes community safety through educational programs to end distracted driving. It is an organization of attorneys who are practicing law for the right reasons and promoting the values that inspired us to attend law school in the first place. Its website also has lots of useful information about our civil justice system.

Fortunately, MATA has a first class staff, which will allow me to continue practicing law during my Presidency. But I will also be spending some significant time working with and on behalf of colleagues I respect to promote the values of safety, fair play and humanity. That’s why I’m honored to be MATA’s new President.

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