40 Under 40 The Class of 2017

Daniel Morrissey

Associate Attorney, Bacon Wilson; Age 36

Daniel Morrissey

Daniel Morrissey

As a child growing up in Springfield, Daniel Morrissey was influenced in countless ways by a Norman Rockwell illustration, a copy of which hung in the family’s kitchen.

This was the iconic “Golden Rule,” which depicts a large group of people representing different ages, faiths, and races coming together, with the words ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’

“That picture represents how I try to conduct my personal and professional life,” said Morrissey, an attorney with the Springfield-based firm Bacon Wilson specializing in immigration law but also litigation, personal injury, and other work. Because his mother certainly wasn’t about to part with her copy of “Golden Rule,” he bought one for his office, so it would be there for him to see every day in that setting, and plans on getting another for his kitchen, so that his four young children might become similarly inspired.

Fluent in Spanish after studying it at Cathedral High School, UMass Amherst, and then abroad in Oviedo, Spain, Morrissey said he was encouraged to pursue a career in law by his parents. While a full-time teacher, he studied at Western New England University School of Law at night, spending his summers at Middlebury College and in Guadalajara, Mexico, obtaining a master’s degree in Spanish. Often asked to help people with issues related to immigration law, he said he wanted to assist them, and relished the day when he had his J.D. and could really make a difference.

That explains why he loves going to work every day — because this kind of work is often life-changing.

“We help people get their citizenship; we help people bring their families over for permanent residency or a visit,” he said of immigration law. “There’s also tons of work on the employment side of things, and we also help people who are persecuted in their home countries and are coming here for asylum.

“It’s extremely rewarding work because the same people who were asking me questions when I was in law school and I didn’t know what answers to give them … now I can help those people,” said Morrissey, who is also active in the community, as incoming president of the Springfield Kiwanis Club, a member of the Forest Park Civic Assoc., and chairman of the Springfield Zoning Board of Appeals. He has continued to ply his love of teaching as an adjunct professor of Spanish and immigration law at Elms College.

Summing up what he has done with his 36 years, one could say it’s a textbook case of life imitating art.

—George O’Brien