News Releases
April 02, 2024

Public Service Award Renamed In Honor of Richard Soden

Press Release

The Boston Bar Foundation is proud to announce that its Public Service Award, given annually at the John & Abigail Adams Benefit to business or civic leaders who have shown exemplary leadership in community service and philanthropy, will henceforth be renamed the Richard A. Soden Public Service Award. 

Richard, a former BBA and BBF President who passed away on December 25, 2023, personified everything that the BBF stands for. He was committed to the highest standards of excellence in the legal profession and to ensuring that access to justice was a right enjoyed by all. He was a leader, role model, and mentor not only for his friends and colleagues, but for generations of lawyers throughout Greater Boston and beyond. 

“It’s most appropriate that an award recognizing exemplary leadership in community service be named after Richard Soden,” said Stephen P. Hall, President, Boston Bar Foundation. “Not only was Richard a champion for access to justice for the underserved, he was also deeply committed to the betterment of the profession as a whole. So many in our community looked to Richard as a mentor and a role model, and we hope that his spirit and his determination continue to live on for the next generation of attorneys as we remember him for years to come through the Richard A. Soden Public Service Award.” 

In 2018, the BBA honored Richard with the Lifetime Achievement Award, recognizing his profound contributions to the profession and community. He saw the BBA as the “people’s bar,” welcoming lawyers from all backgrounds and emphasizing the critical importance of incorporating diverse perspectives into our collective thinking. 

“To rename this award the Richard A. Soden Public Service Award is more than fitting and provides a guidepost in understanding the contributions and character of the awardee,” said Hannah L. Kilson, President, Boston Bar Association. “Richard was a shining example of a lawyer committed to service to the Bar and to the Boston community. He was a leader in, and a board member of, numerous legal and civic organizations throughout Boston committed to ensuring broad access to resources and opportunities for all residents of the City of Boston. He was a champion of civil rights, promoted diversity and fair treatment in all spheres, and worked to build bridges across our differences. He showed us all how to be of service to our communities and how to live with purpose. It is a privilege and a pleasure to be able to rename the Public Service Award in his honor.” 

“Richard emphasized and really burned into my consciousness the need to pay it forward,” said 2024 honoree Paul Lee. “That’s one of the reasons why I try to help and uplift those around me as much as I can; it’s really Richard’s example I’m following.” 

Though Richard can never be replaced, it is our hope that his memory and his spirit will continue to live on through this award. 

 “We do what we do because it makes us feel good to help other people. It feeds our souls and gives us a reason for living by putting the tools we use to do business to work toward the betterment of society.” 

-Richard Soden