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Dwyer & Collora Launches Foundation

The Big Picture: A Causal Relationship.

Published:  Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, May 14, 2007

The establishment of a charitable foundation by a large law firm is hardly unusual, but the decision by Boston's Dwyer & Collora to do so in honor of the father of founding partner Thomas E. Dwyer Jr. and in support of a cause that was near to the elder Dwyer's heart just may be.

Dwyer launched the Dwyer & Collora Foundation at an April 25 ceremony in the John Adams Courthouse in Boston. Several well-known attorneys, including Joseph J. Balliro and R. Robert Popeo and former Superior Court Chief Justice Suzanne V. DelVecchio, spoke fondly of the senior Dwyer, a criminal defense attorney and Superior Court judge for 50 years, who died in 2002 at age 86.

In the former capacity, his son tells Lawyers Weekly that Dwyer Sr. took on the cause of prisoner reform, pressing for job training for inmates and for rehabilitation services after they are released from jail. His father's dedication to that effort, the son explains, was the inspiration for the Dwyer & Collora Foundation's first grant — $100,000 to Boston-based Community Resources for Justice to assist prisoners as they return to their communities and the workplace.

As is the custom for law firms that set up charitable foundations, Dwyer & Collora, its lead-name partner says, is assigning "X percent" of its gross income to keep the foundation funded.

"We hope our contribution can make a difference in the lives of thousands of men and women who seek to re-enter lawful society," Dwyer said in a press release announcing the contribution to CRJ.

"My father always had a great feeling for those people," says Dwyer, who remembers the mantelpiece in his childhood home being filled each Christmas with glasswork, wood pieces and other art objects made by prison inmates and sent as holiday gifts to his father.

Dwyer hopes that his firm's foundation grant to CRJ will help that agency serve as a model for non-profit organizations nationwide assisting ex-prisoners in their adjustment to freedom and the personal responsibilities it entails. He is planning a fall 2007 conference, national in scope but rooted in Boston, in furtherance of that goal.

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