e-Journal

6/21

Image for Shakes in law
Photograph by Andy Brilliant
Boston attorney and MBA Past President Wayne Budd performing as the Duke at last Tuesday's performance of Shakespeare's legal-themed play, "Measure for Measure."

Judges and attorneys shine at Shakespeare in the Law event

About 475 people packed the lower level of the Shubert Theatre for the seventh annual Shakespeare in the Law event: a discussion and debate on the art and practice of judging, framed by a one-hour staged reading of Shakespeare's “Measure for Measure.”

The event was co-sponsored by the Massachusetts Bar Association, McCarter & English LLP, the Boston Lawyers Chapter of the Federalist Society and the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company.

Mark L. Wolf, chief judge for the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, filled in as host of the event for Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, who was not able to attend. Wolf described Shakespeare’s “Measure for Measure” as a play full of “layers of moral contradiction.” Twenty years ago, he told the audience, he and his peers spent several hours discussing the play at a judges conference.

The impressive cast of judges and attorneys, coupled with the play’s rich content, made for an entertaining hour-long reading. “All lawyers are performers at heart,” event organizer and Boston attorney Daniel J. Kelly observed. His words proved true, as each of the participants shined in the Shubert’s spotlights: MBA Past President Wayne A. Budd donned a black hood to portray the Duke and his frequent disguise of a friar, and Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, with a goofy cowboy hat and some rope-handcuffs, skillfully played the dimwitted Constable Elbow.

The play’s powerful themes also made for an engaging post-play discussion. Author and attorney Daniel Kornstein opened the discussion by pointing out that “Measure for Measure” has “more legal themes than any other Shakespeare play,” including the enforcement of morals, respect for the law, capital punishment and the art of judging. In a broad sense, Kornstein noted, the play asks, “What makes a good judge?”

The judges and attorneys spent the next hour discussing the qualities of a good judge, especially focusing on the modern-day issue of sentencing guidelines. Judge Nancy Gertner of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts identified an important theme of the play as having general rules for complex social situations. “Issues are never black and white,” she said, “Judges take many things into account [in sentencing].”

Judge Patti B. Saris, also of the U.S. District Court, agreed: “When issues about morality arise, mandatory minimums become more complicated.”

Look for more details about the event and the participants’ discussion in the July/August issue of Lawyers Journal.

 

 

Image for SC Dinner
Photograph by Jeff Thiebauth
The 2007-08 section council chairs celebrated the end of the year with a dinner at the John Adams Courthouse in Boston on June 13. From left to right: Front row: MBA President Mark D Mason, Rosemary Pye (Labor & Employment), Fern L. Frolin (Family Law) and Peter D. McDermott (Business Law). Second row: Edward Notis-McConarty (Probate Law), Denise M. Guérin (Law Practice Management) and Kevin G. Powers (Individual Rights & Responsibilities). Third row: Patricia Ann Metzer (Taxation Law), Robert L. Quinan Jr. (Public Law) and Lee J. Gartenberg (Criminal Justice). Back row: Jeffrey Catalano (Civil Litigation), Michele E. Randazzo (Public Law) and Susan Anderson (Health Law).

Section Council chairs celebrate a productive year

On Wednesday, June 13, the contributions and leadership of the 18 chairs of the MBA, section councils were recognized at a dinner held in the Great Hall of the John Adams Courthouse. MBA President Mark D Mason congratulated the chairs and the members of each council for their many accomplishments since last September.

“As you know, the sections are the heart and soul of the MBA, and my fellow officers and I are honored to have such a dynamic team of colleagues leading them,” said Mason.

The “2006-07 Year in Review: The Year in Section Council, Committees and Task Force Developments” was distributed at the event. The publication will also be available on massbar.org in the coming weeks.

Headline of the week: Can attorneys trust evidence produced by the Medical Examiner’s Office or the State Police Crime Lab?

We would like to hear from our members on the following story. What are your thoughts? E-mail headlines with your ideas, and look for member feedback in upcoming e-Journals.  

This week the legal community witnessed the involuntary manslaughter conviction of twin brothers accused of beating a 19-year-old to death after a July Fourth celebration. Prosecutors had initially pursued manslaughter charges but upgraded them to murder when the medical examiner told them in 2005 that the victim died of a brain injury he suffered as a result of the beating. But last month, after the examiner, Dr. William M. Zane, said he made a mistake in his ruling, prosecutors reduced the murder charges against the brothers to manslaughter.

The state medical examiner's office is under scrutiny by the Patrick administration and an outside consultant after numerous problems were discovered in its operation, including: misplacing the body of a Cape Cod man who was mistakenly buried in another man's grave and had to be dug up; sending the wrong set of eyes for testing during an autopsy; and the misidentification of a fire victim's body, which was later cremated.

Also under review is the State Police Crime Lab, which mishandled DNA test results in about two-dozen unsolved sexual assault cases, failing to report positive DNA matches before the statute of limitations ran out. In another eight cases, the statute expired because the lab took too long to load profiles of crime scene DNA into the database.

Furthermore, Robert Pino, the administrator of the DNA database, allegedly prepared four reports about near-matches between DNA profiles of convicted felons and crime scene DNA, apparently to alert law enforcement officials that a relative of a convict might have committed the crime. He allegedly reported two of those near matches incorrectly as perfect matches to law enforcement officials, although no one was wrongly arrested.

In addition, the State Police collected DNA profiles of 12 people convicted of misdemeanors, even though state law limits the database to convicted felons.

What does this portend for criminal prosecutions in Massachusetts? Can prosecutors or defense attorneys present their cases confident that the evidence produced by either of these entities is solid? Will appellate courts be flooded with appeals based on potentially faulty lab or medical examiner results?

MBA seeks volunteers for upcoming Dial-A-Lawyer program

Have two-and-a-half hours to spare on July 11, Aug. 1 or Sept. 5?

The MBA's Public and Community Services Department is seeking more volunteers for its summer Dial-A-Lawyer programs, which take place on the first Wednesday of each month at the MBA's Boston office, between 5:30 and 7:30 p.m.*

* NOTE: Due to the holiday, July's Dial-A-Lawyer program will take place on the second Wednesday of the month, July 11.

The MBA needs lawyers in all areas of practice who are willing to spend up to two-and-a-half hours of their time answering questions from the public, on topics that cover a wide range of legal topics. Past participants speak very positively of their experience helping others and we have many return volunteers. We welcome your participation.

To volunteer for an upcoming Dial-A-Lawyer program, fill out this form. If you have additional questions, call LRS at (866) 627-7577 or (617) 654-0400 or [e-mail lrs].

MBA and MATA announce job fair and reception

Join the MBA and MATA next Thursday, June 28 from 4 to 7 p.m. at Boston's Suffolk University Law School for a job fair and affiliated bar reception. At the job fair, attendees will meet attorneys from small to mid-sized firms and learn about current career opportunities in the legal profession. Additionally, the reception will offer attendees a chance to meet and mingle with representatives from numerous affiliated bars in Massachusetts and discuss the benefits of membership in these associations.

There will also be a reception from 6 to 7 p.m. with refreshments and appetizers. If you are interested in attending this free program, [e-mail jobfair0628].

Affiliated bars:

  • Asian American Lawyers Association of Massachusetts
  • Massachusetts Academy of Trial Attorneys
  • Massachusetts Association of Hispanic Attorneys
  • Massachusetts Association of Women Lawyers
  • Massachusetts Bar Association
  • Massachusetts Black Lawyers Association
  • Massachusetts Black Women Attorneys
  • Massachusetts Lesbian & Gay Bar Association
  • Women's Bar Association

Labor & Employment seminar to highlight union elections on June 26

For more information, or to sign up for the following programs, call Member Services at (617) 338-0530, download the latest CLE brochure as a PDF file or visit the CLE Web page.

Union Organizing: Neutrality, Card Checks and Proposed Legislation
Course #: LEK07
Tuesday, June 26, 4–6:30 p.m.
Suffolk University Law School, Boston

Neutrality and card check agreements have become a goal of unions in “corporate campaigns” and small units alike. The Federal Employee Free Choice Act, which has been passed by the House of Representatives, would legislate the right to “card check” certification by the NLRB and impose other sweeping changes to the union election process. Join us for a thorough discussion of the current legal landscape in this area, and an overview of the changes that the Employee Free Choice Act could bring.

 

Bankruptcy and Divorce
Course #: BLJ07
Thursday, June 28, noon–1:30 p.m.
MBA Western Mass. office, 73 State St., Springfield

The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 made many significant changes with respect to “domestic support obligations.” This program provides the perspectives of a bankruptcy trustee and an attorney that practices both bankruptcy and domestic relations. Learn what a domestic support obligation is and how it is treated in a bankruptcy case. Learn what a bankruptcy trustee looks for in a divorce separation agreement to determine whether transfers of marital property could be considered a fraudulent transfer under the Bankruptcy Code. Finally, domestic relations practitioners will learn what should be considered when counseling a divorcing couple that is considering filing for bankruptcy either individually or jointly.

 

Casemaker Training: Southern New England School of Law, North Dartmouth
Course #: CASES07
Thursday, July 12, 10:30-11:45 a.m.

Course #: CASER07
Thursday, July 12, 9-10:15 a.m.

Casemaker has had many new features added, including: CaseCheck, an enhanced case law search results function, database availability for all 50 states, nationwide collections of combined Supreme Court and ethics opinions and more. This training session will be held in a computer lab setting that will provide participants with the use of a computer and online access to Casemaker.

NOTE: Because space at Casemaker trainings is limited, online enrollment is not available. To register for a Casemaker training session, call Member Services at (617) 338-0530 or toll-free at (877) 676-6500.

Image for Celts ad

Purchase tickets for TD Banknorth Garden concerts and shows

The Boston Celtics have a special offer for MBA members and law firms. For a limited time, you will have the opportunity to purchase individual suite tickets at a discounted rate for upcoming concerts and shows at the TD Banknorth Garden. All shows are subject to availability, and available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Tickets are available for the following shows at $200 each:

Cirque du Soleil DELIRIUM
Saturday, June 30 and Sunday, July 1

Tim McGraw and Faith Hill
Thursday, July 5 and Friday, July 6

Roger Waters
Monday, July 9

John Mayer
Tuesday, July 17

Suite tickets give you access to the following:

  • Entrance to the Garden two hours before show time;
  • In-suite wait service and access to Premium Level restaurants; and
  • Free admission on the day of the event to The Sports Museum.

For more information on Celtics luxury suite packages, contact Boston Celtics Account Executive Brian Burnard at (617) 854-8061 or via e-mail.

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