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Law Day 2011 Award Recipients Announced

2011 archives


NEWTON, MA—Boston College Law School has announced its honorees for this year’s Law Day celebration, an annual tradition that celebrates BC Law alumni who have made significant contributions to the legal community and the legal profession. The annual Law Day celebration was held at the Seaport Hotel in Boston on April 26th at 5:30 pm.

This year’s St. Thomas More Award went to Mary Ryan (’07). Ryan is a partner at the Litigation Department and a member of the Land Use practice group at Nutter, McClennen & Fish LLP in Boston. A frequent lecturer and writer on environmental litigation issues, Ryan was named the Best Lawyers’ Boston Environmental Lawyer of the Year for 2011. She is also an active member of the American Bar Association, and currently serves on the ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono & Public Service.

The William J. Kenealy, SJ, Alumnus of the Year Award was awarded to John Bronzo (’74), in recognition of his contributions to BC Law, its students, and alumni. Bronzo is Senior Director, Commercial Development, in Pfizer Primary Care, Pfizer’s largest organization. Bronzo has been practicing law in New York since 1975. More recently, he was named General Counsel, Pfizer Animal Health, responsible for the worldwide legal affairs of Pfizer’s veterinary medicines group.

In recognition of their contributions to the public sector, the Hon. David S. Nelson Public Interest Law Award was given to ileta Joseph Sumner (’90), and Francis O’Boy (’64).

Originally a professional dancer in San Francisco, Sumner decided to embark on a second career as a lawyer. Specializing in the representation of victims of domestic violence, Sumner began working at Family Violence Prevention Services, Inc. in 1997, where she single-handedly created the first legal department in the organization’s history. Since then, Sumner has received eight local, state and national awards and has served as President of the San Antonio Black Lawyers Association and the Bexar County Women’s Bar Association.

With an emphasis on criminal and civil trial practice, O’Boy has been lead counsel in over 75 homicide cases. O’Boy has been committed to providing competent and committed representation of indigent defendants in murder and manslaughter cases. His work has earned him recognition as one of Boston Magazine’s top lawyers in New England for the past five years, and he has been recognized by Martindale-Hubbell with the mark of AV Preeminent in the trial field, the highest designation in legal ability and ethical conduct.

Created in 2004, this year’s Recent Graduate Award went to Michelle Limaj (’07). Limaj is a business associate at Foley Hoag LLP, where she specializes in a variety of areas from technology transfer and licensing to corporate governance. In addition to her corporate work, Limaj represents victims of domestic violence as well as asylum seekers and U Visa applicants in Massachusetts district and immigration courts. She is also the founder and director of the Rahman Limaj Scholarship Program, a public charity that supports high school education for girls in rural areas of former Yugoslavia.

Chapter Awards for this year went to Patricia K. Rocha (’82) of Rhode Island and Molly Agarwal (’06) and Judy Liao (’05) of Northern California. This award recognizes and alumna/us who has made, through vision and action, a significant contribution to the development of his or her regional alumni chapter.

Rocha currently serves as Chair of the Litigation Group at Adler Pollock & Sheehan P.C. in Providence, Rhode Island. Recognized as one of the Best Lawyers in America in the fields of Administrative Law, Commercial Litigation, Healthcare Law, White Collar Criminal Defense, and Labor and Employment Law, Rocha has also been named Chair of the Federal Board of Bar Admissions of the United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island.

Agarwal currently practices all aspects of employment law for large and small businesses at Miller Law Group in San Francisco. As alumni leader of her chapter, she has been responsible for responding to dozens of inquiries from BCLS students seeking employment in the Bay Area. In addition, Agarwal serves on the Board of Directors of GirlVentures, a Bay Area nonprofit, and recently served as President of the South Asian Bar Association of Northern California Foundation.

Liao is currently a mid-level associate at a general litigation defense firm in San Francisco, concentrating on civil defense litigation and the areas of employment law, commercial law, and tort defense. She continues to devote time strengthening the BCLS community in Northern California, and cites BCLS’s Alumni Network as a valuable resource for getting her foot in the door in the Bay Area’s competitive legal market. Liao is also admitted to the New York State Bar.

Established by presidential proclamation in 1958, Law Day is a long-standing tradition across the nation and at Boston College Law School. Its purpose is to celebrate the most important goals of the legal profession: to advance equality and justice, encourage observation and enforcement of the law, and to foster respect for law and an understanding of its essential place in the life of every citizen.

For complete bios of this year’s honorees, please visit our website at