Advocacy Work is Lawyer’s Passion
“Being a lawyer is a tool,” says Anthony Barsamian ’86 (legal studies), managing partner of Hutchings, Barsamian, Mandelcorn & Zeytoonian, LLP in Wellesley Hills, Massachusetts. “It needs to be applied to something relevant. Using that tool to advocate for others—both individuals and the community—is what brought me to where I am today.”
Where Barsamian stands today includes making sure all clients of his firm are properly served by attorneys and staff. He advises family-owned businesses in areas of business wealth transfer and generational business planning as well as asset protection and tax planning strategies. He also advises on family estate and trust planning, representing many successful businesses and families in the region. Barsamian strategizes with litigation counsel on issues that affect individuals and businesses, and is known to bring in specialists to the firm when the need arises. He also has been a sought-after speaker on the topic of online dispute resolution across the country. Barsamian’s membership in Euro Link, a network of attorneys throughout the world, makes Hutchings, Barsamian the sole law firm in New England to be represented in that group.
Several national nonprofit organizations have benefited from Barsamian’s experience. He has just completed a term on the board of the National Council of Churches, and currently serves on the board of the Armenian Assembly of America, for which he chairs the public affairs committee. As such he works on state, federal and international issues concerning U.S./Armenian relations and matters like genocide awareness, recognition and advocacy. He also speaks on issues such as genocide affirmation and prevention. This month, for example, after traveling to Armenia to Commemorate the Armenian Genocide in Yerevan, he was invited to tell of those experiences at the Westchester Synagogue’s Holocaust Remembrance Day events, in Westchester, New York. “It is a tremendous honor to do so,” Barsamian says.
Standing up for humankind is part and parcel of Barsamian’s nature. He relates closely to his Armenian heritage that endured the inhumane slaughter of 1.5 million men, women and children in the early 1900s. He understands that those who survive genocide live with complexities related to survival while moving forward with strength and determination to rebuild lives. “We have an obligation to recognize man’s inhumanity to man,” Barsamian says, pointing as well to the Holocaust, Darfur and, sadly, to too many other regions that have endured such atrocities. “We have an obligation to live by the words ‘never again’ and to remind the world when those ominous words are back in play. The history of genocide must remain inviolable and periodically affirmed regardless of political discomfort or cost so that we may learn its lessons.”
The son of a machinist and a homemaker, Barsamian grew up in West Boylston, Massachusetts. “My parents raised three children on modest salaries,” he recalls. “We all paid our own way through school. UMass Amherst gave me the best opportunity to advance myself, and set me on a path of discovery. I experienced issues of which I had little knowledge, and the school instilled in me a strong ethic to assist others. I thank my professors and instructors for guiding me in that direction.”
After graduation, Barsamian went to Washington, D.C. where he interned for a semester in the U.S. Congress while working as a director of youth ministry for his church. “My UMass Amherst experience, my faith community and world issues brought together for me the components of the advocacy work that is my passion today,” Barsamian says. My education gave me an excellent foundation to blend practical, legal training with social justice issues. UMass Amherst offers so much and enables students to go to places they never imagined.”
April 30, 2008