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Photograph by Chuck Chaney
MBA Mock Trial Committee Chair Elliot Loew addresses the crowd at the Mock Trial finals.

Sharon High School’s “composure” brings Mock Trial championship

A composed and consistent strategy of impeaching the commonwealth's witnesses proved to be the difference as Sharon High School won the Massachusetts Bar Association's 22nd annual statewide High School Mock Trial competition held March 29. Salem High School was the runner-up in the finals, which were held in Boston's historic Faneuil Hall.

Sharon High School's team of mock defendant, attorneys and witnesses successfully defended their client from a pedestrian-auto accident that would later result in a fatality and eventual vehicular homicide charges. Acting as prosecutors, Salem High School's team of prosecutors, investigators and witnesses sought to portray the fictitious teenage defendant - who was driving home from a house party - as reckless and irresponsible.

"Your poise and confidence in the trial setting was truly spectacular," said the Hon. Barbara A. Dortch-Okara, presiding judge for the finals and associate justice for the Massachusetts Superior Court, addressing the two teams following the judging. "The techniques you employed are on a par with those of upper-level law students. And, both finalist teams demonstrated an extraordinary level of confidence and preparation."

The road to the 2007 Mock Trial finals began in January with more than 1,500 students competing and representing 118 schools across Massachusetts. There were 220 trials held at 57 trial venues. A total of 191 attorneys or judges presided over the trials. For the ninth consecutive year, the program was sponsored by Brown, Rudnick, Berlack & Israels LLP in Boston.

For more information about the MBA Mock Trial program, visit www.massbar.org, call (617) 338-0570 or e-mail [e-mail mocktrial].


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MBA offers online magazine "The Complete Lawyer"

The Massachusetts Bar Association is proud to present its members with the March/April issue of “The Complete Lawyer”—an online magazine that provides helpful insight and tools of the trade to help practitioners sharpen their practice. This issue’s theme is diversity. “The Complete Lawyer” examines diversity from the perspectives of psychology, biology and brain science. While research tells us we have a long way to go with our efforts to institute lasting diversity initiatives, the heartening news is that as humans we have a built-in bias towards empathy, cooperation and altruism—provided we develop the social intelligence to nurture these capacities in ourselves and others.

The Massachusetts Bar Association is pleased to provide you with an issue every other month as another tool that presents ideas and practical tips to improve your practice. With each issue, expect to read personalized articles that explore the very topics that most affect the majority of practicing attorneys—managing your practice, navigating your career, work/life balance and industry trends. Beginning with the May/June issue of “The Complete Lawyer,” look to find your colleagues from Massachusetts highlighted in several articles. 

To view the March/April issue, visit http://massachusetts.thecompletelawyer.com.


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Experience the value of the Lawyer Referral Service

As of Sunday, April 1, MBA members can join the Lawyer Referral Service and begin receiving referrals immediately.

Over the past few years, the LRS has expanded its marketing of the program throughout the commonwealth with radio campaigns and advertising in the Boston Yellow Book. The LRS is advertising in almost every Verizon Yellow Page book, allowing you to receive referrals within your community. This year, the LRS has expanded its marketing approach to include targeted mailings of brochures, flyers and posters to all public libraries, courts, senior centers, councils on aging, etc. 

In addition, members may have noticed the LRS's new, professional look that debuted in the middle of 2006. This new look has been used in all new advertising and will be introduced this spring when the LRS begins its marketing on the MBTA subway and commuter rail lines.

If you join now, your LRS membership will be valid until March 31, 2008. If you are interested in learning more about the LRS, please call (617) 338-0556 or e-mail [e-mail LRS]. You can also access the LRS 2007—2008 application via the MBA Web site.

Law Practice Management Section hosts discussion on disaster planning and recovery, April 10

Are you prepared for a disaster? Do you have a recovery plan in place? Are your clients and their confidentiality protected by the loss of your paper files or electronic documents?

The Law Practice Management Section Council will hold an open meeting for all Law Practice Management Section and Young Lawyers Division members on Tuesday, April 10 from 4-5:30 p.m. at the MBA’s Springfield office, 73 State St., Springfield

The panel for this meeting consists of Law Practice Management Section Chair Denise Guérin, a solo practitioner with the law firm of Denise M. Guérin PC; Terry Welsh, president, MBA Insurance Agency; and Steven Snyder of AmeriVault, a national data protection company. Panelists will discuss the following topics:

  • How to prepare your law practice and protect your clients and business in the event of a disaster;
  • The installation of response and backup plans for your online files, libraries and court docket;
  • Rapid recovery solutions; and
  • Risk management.

Please [e-mail jstevens] indicating whether you are interested in attending this meeting. Reservations will be made on a first-come, first-serve basis, as seating is limited.

Thank you.

Jean Stevens
Section Administrator/Ethics
(617) 338-0641
[e-mail jstevens]



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Dial-A-Lawyer program needs volunteers

Are you looking for an opportunity to volunteer and assist people who are in need? Are you having a problem finding the time to volunteer because of your busy schedule and other commitments? The Dial-A-Lawyer program may be the best volunteer program for your schedule and interests.

The MBA is seeking attorney volunteers to staff the phones for our monthly Dial-A-Lawyer program on the first Wednesday of every month, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. This is just a two-hour commitment, once a month, answering basic legal questions from the public on the telephone.

To volunteer, call (617) 338-0556 or e-mail [e-mail lrs].

Employment Law Practice Group welcomes new Director of Department of Labor George Noel, April 10

Employment Law Practice Group meeting
TOPIC: Newly appointed Massachusetts Director of Department of Labor George Noel
Tuesday, April 10, 4:30-6 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston

Recently, Gov. Deval Patrick’s newly appointed Director of the Department of Labor George Noel met with the MBA’s Labor Relations and Collective Bargaining Practice Group, where he stressed his interest in good communications with the public in a candid discussion that got this objective off to a good start. You now have the opportunity to hear him speak about workers compensation, unemployment compensation and other parts of the Department of Labor of particular interest to employment lawyers. The small group setting permits a real dialogue.

Arbitrator/Mediator Elizabeth Neumeier, neutral co-chair
Patrick Bannon, management co-chair
Christina Montgomery, plaintiffs’ co-chair

Space is limited. To R.S.V.P. for this meeting, e-mail MBA Sections Administrator Marc D'Antonio.

Three upcoming CLEs in Western Mass., one in Boston

To sign up for the following program, call Member Services at (617) 338-0530 or click here to view all CLE listings online.

Will Preparation and Provisions
Course #: PLF07
Wednesday, April 11, noon-1:30 p.m.
MBA Western Mass. office, 73 State St., Springfield

This luncheon roundtable will assist practitioners in the preparation of wills with basic and irregular clauses, and will particularly focus on what to include or exclude in a will. Participants are encouraged to send questions or a draft of a will in advance to the MBA’s Springfield office at [e-mail cbaronas].

It’s Confidential – Privilege Law in Massachusetts
Course #: CLO07
Thursday, April 12, 4-6:30 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston

Privilege issues arise in an array of situations in both civil and criminal cases: at trial, in a deposition, responding to a discovery request or when planning strategy. In order to preserve a privilege, a proactive approach is often necessary. This seminar will focus on a variety of privileges, including the attorney-client, spousal, parent-child, peer review, doctor-patient, common interest and joint defense privileges. Our experienced panel will explain the concept of each privilege and provide practical tips for successfully asserting and defeating privilege claims.

Current Issues in Zoning Enforcement and Licensing
Course #: PRE07
Thursday, April 12, 4-7 p.m.
Springfield Marriott, 2 Boland Way, Springfield

This seminar will provide practical advice and insight about the areas of zoning, sanitary, health and fire code and municipal licensing. Panelists will contrast enforcement actions in each area with a brief background of the legal structure of municipal zoning, licensing powers in Massachusetts and other codes. Case studies also will be utilized and include state sanitary and building codes with regard to apartments, adult entertainment businesses, junkyards, restaurants, bars and other establishments licensed to sell alcoholic beverages.

Law Practice Management Basics
Course #: LPE07
Monday, April 23, 1-2 p.m.
MBA Western Mass. office, 73 State St., Springfield

Designed for both new attorneys and attorneys opening their own firms, this luncheon roundtable will discuss the nuts and bolts of law practice management. The program will cover a variety of issues and challenges, with specific topics to include: office space; office sharing; location; equipment; software programs; hiring assistance; and getting the phone to finally ring.

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Special offer: 50 percent off Celtics vs. Detroit for MBA members

Don’t miss seeing Chauncey Billups, Rasheed Wallace and the Pistons take on the Boston Celtics at the Garden on Wednesday, April 18, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are 50 percent off! Choose from $55, $47.50, $37.50 or $30 (reg. $110, $95, $75 or $60) seats in the lower level. The ticket also includes admission to a special post-game concert with chart-topping band Augustana. To order, e-mail [e-mail massbardiscounts].

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