RICHARD D. LeBLANC, Edward J. Duggan Award for Outstanding Service-Public Defender. The Edward J. Duggan Award for Outstanding Service, Public Defender is given to a Public Defender and is named for Edward J. Duggan, who served continuously from 1940 to 1997 as a member of the Voluntary Defenders Committee, the Massachusetts Defenders Committee, and the Committee for Public Counsel Services. The award has been presented each year since 1988 to the public defender who best represents zealous advocacy — the central principle governing the representation of indigents in Massachusetts.
This year, Rick LeBlanc, a highly skilled and accomplished trial lawyer in the Public Defender Division Berkshire County Office will receive the Public Defender Edward J. Duggan Award for Outstanding Service.
Rick embodies the principles celebrated by the Duggan Award. He is a career public defender. He graduated from Boston University School of Law in 1980 and started with CPCS as a staff attorney in the Berkshire County office in 1983. He was the Attorney-in-Charge of the office for ten years, from 1990 until 2000. In January of this year, Rick began his 35th year in the office.
Rick is well-known in Berkshire County for the fearless and zealous defense of his clients. Berkshire County does not have a reputation as a defendant-friendly county. Yet, Rick has persisted. His nominators describe Rick as “highly regarded for the way he boldly marches into the battlefield of superior court in Berkshire County and tries difficult cases virtually every month.” Over his career, Rick has tried about 150 jury trials and he continues to try cases. This past January, Rick achieved a Not Guilty verdict for a client charged in a serious child endangerment case.
Aside from his prodigious trial skills, and perhaps, the cardinal reason for receiving the Duggan Award is Rick’s willingness to mentor and guide less experienced attorneys. Rick has acquired much knowledge and expertise over the course of his long career and the door to his office is always open to share what he has learned with less experienced lawyers in the office, and the county.