MBA President David W. White Jr. testified before the Joint Committee on the Judiciary earlier this week.
MBA president testifies at Statehouse hearing
David W. White Jr. asks for sentencing reforms before the Joint Committee on the Judiciary
Massachusetts Bar Association President David W. White Jr. asked for the repeal of mandatory minimums for non-violent drug crimes and an increase in both parole opportunities and treatment programs when he testified before the Joint Committee on the Judiciary at the Statehouse on Nov. 13.
“Massachusetts is a leader in so many ways; it should be a leader in the field of corrections,” White said. “Crime rates have not been reduced, the number of men and women behind bars continues to rise, we are desperately over capacity, and we are spending a fortune on this failed system.”
White was joined by Boston Bar Association President Tony Doniger and Massachusetts Correctional Legal Services Executive Director Leslie Walker. The Joint Committee on the Judiciary heard testimony regarding bills asking for reform of the state’s sentencing system.
Current sentencing practices have resulted in a budget approaching $1 billion, more than 25,000 incarcerated residents and less money for programs that include drug treatment and work training, White said during his testimony.
In addition to advocating for education and training programs, White asked for amending or abolishing the school zone statute that results in harsher punishments for drug arrests close to schools.
More than 100 attorneys and supporters gathered outside the Statehouse on Tuesday to support the restoration of civil liberties in Pakistan.
MBA takes a stand for Pakistani colleagues
On Tuesday, MBA President David W. White Jr. was a featured speaker at an afternoon demonstration on the main steps of the Massachusetts Statehouse—an event held in support of legal colleagues in Pakistan.
The rally, attended by 100 or so supporters, was coordinated by the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild and included representation and speaking remarks from the NLG, MBA, Amnesty International USA, the Massachusetts Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union and the South Asian Bar Association. In addition to the Boston demonstration, NLG orchestrated simultaneous rallies in New York City, Washington D.C., Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles, to display solidarity with lawyers in Pakistan who have been beaten and jailed for opposing the suspension of constitutional rights in their country.
Following introductory remarks from Judy Somberg, executive vice president of the National Lawyers Guild, White cited the Pakistani Constitution and described the actions of Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf as having violated its tenants with his Nov. 3 emergency declaration that suspended the country’s constitution and deprived the Pakistani citizens of their basic rights and liberties.
“And look who is standing up to the dictator—thousands of lawyers, and so many of the brave judges, who understand the need to protect those fundamental rights. They are now being held in detention, with their rights of due process being violated,” said White, whose comments were met with applause from the lively crowd assembled on Beacon Street.
In addition to NLG’s call for action on Tuesday, the American Bar Association organized a rally on Wednesday at the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington D.C. Bar associations across the country have participated in and supported these rallies.
MBA Director of Membership and Programs Lisa Ferrara, Esq.
MBA to focus on outreach to members
Lisa Ferrara, Esq., recently named MBA Director of Membership and Programs, will lead the MBA's membership outreach and programming initiatives, including strategic planning, member recruitment and retention and member benefits. She will continue to provide oversight to continuing legal education and sections administration.
The MBA values your input, so please e-mail Lisa on ways we can enhance the value of your MBA membership. Be sure to include "membership feedback" in the subject line of your e-mail.
Barnstable Probate and Family Court Judge Robert A. Scandurra responds to a question during the Probate and Family Court Judicial Panel at the Nov. 8 conference.
General Practice, Solo & Small Firm Conference features judicial advice
The General Practice, Solo & Small Firm Conference attracted more than 60 attendees to receive advice from judges, learn about technology and hear trial basics at the Holiday Inn in Taunton on Nov. 8.
Luncheon speaker Rodney S. Dowell, director of the recently opened Law Office Management Assistance Program (www.masslomap.org), explained that LOMAP’s free and confidential service is focused on helping lawyers manage the business side of their law practice.
“We help attorneys clean up their practice so they feel like they’re in control again,” Dowell said.
The judicial panels gave attorneys practical advice that ranged from telling compelling, but succinct, stories in their pre-trial memos.
“I’m looking for something that gives me the theory of the case,” said Barnstable Probate and Family Court Judge Robert A. Scandurra in talking about divorce cases. “If you’re looking for 60 percent of the (couple’s) assets, give me a paragraph and tell me why.”
Upcoming CLE conference and seminar schedule
To register for any of the following programs, call MBA Member Services at (617) 338-0530, [e-mail membership] or visit the CLE Web site.
Fifth Annual In-House Counsel Conference
Course #: BLD08
Tuesday, Dec. 11, 9 a.m.–1 p.m.
Newton Marriott, 2345 Commonwealth Ave., Newton
The theme of this year’s conference relates to the fundamentals of in-house counsel practice. This fifth annual conference will address a variety of matters that arise on a day-to-day basis for in-house counsel. The topics for discussion at this year’s conference include:
Litigation and risk management;
Intellectual property management;
Labor and personnel issues; and
Robert J. Kerwin, Esq., program co-chair
Tarlow, Breed, Hart & Rodgers PC, Boston
David A. Parke, Esq., program co-chair
Bulkley, Richardson & Gelinas LLP, Springfield
For more information, or for a complete list of faculty, visit the MBA Calendar.
Seminars and Luncheon Roundtables
To register for any of these seminars, call MBA Member Services at (617) 338-0530, [e-mail membership] or visit the CLE Web site.
Landlord/Tenant Law Basics
Course #: PRC08
Tuesday, Nov. 27, 4–7 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston
Landlord/tenant law is more complicated than many people believe. Knowing the proper procedures to follow and strategies to pursue before court and in court can greatly improve your chances of achieving a favorable result for your client, and help you avoid many common pitfalls. At this seminar, attendees will learn about the recent developments in this area of law. If you are a lawyer with little experience with landlord/tenant law, or just need a refresher, you won’t want to miss this seminar. Specific topics will include:
Eviction procedures from notice to quit to execution (with forms);
The tenant’s perspective in eviction cases;
How to handle security deposits and lead paint;
Fair housing and reasonable accommodations; and
Recent developments in landlord/tenant law.
For more seminar information, or to register, visit the MBA Calendar.
Employees with Mental Disabilities: Rights and Challenges in the Workplace Luncheon Roundtable (lunch provided)
Course #: LEC08
Wednesday, Nov. 28, noon–2 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston
Our knowledgeable faculty will discuss the rapidly changing law and latest trends of employees with mental disabilities in the workplace. Discussions will focus on:
The current landscape of mental disability law;
Reasonable accommodations in the context of mental disabilities;
Tips for lawyers for dealing with clients on accommodation issues; and
A hypothetical that will address frequent issues raised in the workplace.
For more roundtable information, or to register, visit the MBA Calendar.
Casemaker Training Sessions
Due to overwhelming member requests, the MBA will be holding Fall Casemaker trainings. Three training locations and times are currently offered to accomodate schedule conflicts.
Course #: CASEJ08
Tuesday, Nov. 27, 4:30–5:45 p.m.
Elms College, Chicopee
For directions click here.
Course #: CASEK08
Tuesday, Nov. 27, 10–11:15 a.m.
Southern New England School of Law, North Dartmouth
For directions click here.
These training sessions will be held in a computer lab setting that will provide participants with the use of a computer and online access to Casemaker. Casemaker has had many new features added, including:
- CaseCheck: an enhanced case law search results function;
- Database availability for all 50 states; and
- Nationwide collections of combined Supreme Court and ethics opinions
Additionally, Casemaker Version 2.0 has been released, in testing phase. This new software will eventually replace the current system. MBA members can access Version 2.0 to get a feel for the system, before it becomes the default searching option.
NOTE: Because space at Casemaker trainings is limited, online enrollment is not available. To register for a training session, call MBA Member Services at (617) 338-0530 or toll-free at (877) 676-6500.