Boston Bar Association: What inspired you to become a lawyer, and to specifically focus on litigation?
Madison Bader: I grew up in a family where I knew it was important to help others. My father is a doctor, my mother is a teacher, my sister is a therapist, and my brother is a police officer. When it came to choosing law as my profession, it felt natural, because I’ve always wanted to fight for what is right. Now I get to make a career of it. I love being an attorney because I feel like I can make a difference in people’s lives. Litigation was a natural path for me because I enjoy being in Court advocating for my clients.
I knew that being a lawyer was the right path for me when representing children as a law student through Emory Law’s Juvenile Defender clinic. I represented minors in criminal matters from the moment of arrest through the trial. I would take the time to get to know my clients by visiting them at home with their families, or, if they were being held, I would bring their favorite food whenever I would visit them in lockup. I still try to add this personal aspect to each one of my cases, so that my clients know that when I’m on their case they have my individualized attention and that I genuinely care about them.
BBA: What advice would you give to new lawyers entering the profession?
Madison: As a litigator, sometimes you are up against opposing lawyers who may treat you in a way that, while it probably wasn’t meant to feel personal, definitely does. It seems simple, but be sure to treat others the way you want to be treated. Whether it is opposing counsel, a guard at the courthouse, the judge, or your colleagues, you should always lead with kindness and compassion. While our profession involves adversarial conflict, it doesn’t mean that you have to act that way. You can have differences of opinion and still be respectful and professional in relaying your perspective.
Also, remember that you will always be learning – so be open to feedback when others are willing to take the time to teach you.
BBA: What accomplishments are you most proud of?
Madison: In addition to the favorable outcomes obtained for my clients, I’ve been fortunate to have earned a ranking in Super Lawyers as a Rising Star. This year, I have been appointed as a Co-Chair of the New Lawyers Forum for the Boston Bar Association and have the privilege of being in the current BBA Public Interest Leadership Program class, which has taught me so much. I also hold a national position as Chair of the Criminal Law Section for the Federal Bar Association, which has given me the opportunity to meet and learn from practitioners all around the country.
BBA: What do you enjoy most about your job?
Madison: There are so many things I love about my job – I value working directly with clients and making a positive impact on their lives. I especially enjoy tenaciously advocating on their behalf and giving them hope when they are at some of their lowest points. Obtaining favorable results for my clients, whether it be a week-long case or one that takes years, always brings me joy. It is important to me to bring closure to those that trust me with their legal matters.
At Todd & Weld, my practice is a mix of civil litigation and criminal defense, but in the end my goal is always the same; to help people in their time of need. That’s why I especially value my firm’s support of my practice, because Todd & Weld embraces a personalized approach to solving clients’ legal issues. The individualized attention that we give to our clients in their time of need is important to me personally.
BBA: Are you involved in any volunteer or community organizations? If so, what drew you to them and why is it important to you?
Madison: I am Vice President of the Board for Camp JORI, a Jewish overnight camp in Wakefield, RI. JORI opened in 1909 as the Jewish Orphanage of Rhode Island. When the Orphanage closed, the camp as we know it today was established. JORI is now a premiere overnight camp with the mission of giving all children the ability to experience summer camp, regardless of their ability to pay. JORI is important to me because of its history and mission. I also attended JORI every summer starting at nine years old as a camper, and later moved into counselor and other leadership positions. I’m proud to still be an active part of the JORI family.
BBA: Why is it important to you to be involved in the broader legal community, like the BBA and FBA? How has this helped you in your career?
Madison: I really value the learning opportunities that are available to me through the different people I meet. For example, in the BBA’s PILP program, other class members are all in different practice areas. I’ve gotten to learn from each of them about their fields. I utilize the broader legal community to help educate myself in my current practice areas, as I’ve found that most experienced attorneys are happy to pass along their wealth of knowledge. Outside of the educational component, I’ve made a lot of friends through these amazing organizations and built a referral network. I get to help more people through the connections I’ve made, and I am grateful for that.
BBA: What’s your most memorable moment as a lawyer so far?
Madison: My most memorable moment was successfully representing a young client who was accused of serious crimes that he most definitely did not commit. When we got the news that he was officially cleared, he and his family were so grateful – watching their tears of joy, it was hard not to well up myself. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten a hug so tight! This is exactly why I got into the legal profession – I want to change people’s lives for the better, and I’m fortunate to work at a place where I’m able to do so.
BBA: What is your approach when it comes to clients?
Madison: When people come to me, they’re usually at their lowest moment – so I take a compassionate, hand-holding approach to my work where I explain every step of the way. I also try to go beyond just my legal work by making sure that my clients feel informed and comfortable with each aspect of the case. I take the time to listen to them and their concerns and be sure that they are aware of each decision that we are making throughout the process. I pride myself in going the extra mile for those who trust me to take their cases, and I always put 100% of myself into everything that I do.
BBA: Is there anything else we should know about you?
Madison: I grew up in Sharon, MA and went to college in Southern California at Chapman University. After graduating from Emory Law, I started my career as a prosecutor as an Assistant District Attorney in Middlesex County, Massachusetts before moving into private practice on the Criminal Defense side of things. Outside of my professional life, I spend a lot of time with my family. Our family dog, Bella, is an English Bulldog who never runs out of energy. I also get dinner with my grandparents every Tuesday and have been planning my wedding with my fiancé since we got engaged at the end of May. This is a really exciting time in my life both personally and professionally, and I feel so fortunate to have the support of the Boston Bar Association through it all.