Thursday, Oct. 18, 2007
Second Annual Bench-Bar Symposium tackles voir dire, jury instruction
Marshall lauds progress of court system in Annual Address
by Bill Archambeault
Tackling issues like conducting individual voir dire, jury instructions and reforming rules limiting lawyers’ post-trial contact with jurors, the Massachusetts Bar Association’s Second Annual Bench-Bar Symposium attracted 150 people to the John Adams Courthouse on Oct. 11.
Divided into panels on pre-trial and post-trial jury issues, MBA President David W. White Jr. moderated the panels, which included four judges and four attorneys, including one law school professor.
White thanked the panelists for helping to strengthen the bench-bar relationship.
“We do not rest on ceremonies, but confront the difficult issues that face the bench and the bar,” he said during his opening remarks.
The profession is witnessing a change in the culture of the courts and lawyering, White said, thanks to reforms such as firm and fair trial scheduling.
“There will be bumps along the way,” he said. “But working together, as we have, we will continue to improve the court system.”
During her address, Marshall touted the “significant progress” being made in court management. She noted that a well-managed judiciary is “wedded to the rule of law.” She said, “The essential role of government in fostering entrepreneurship is most effective when written guarantees of personal freedom and property rights are neutrally enforced by independent judges.”
Marshall announced that the progress made with the rollout of its computer-based management system, MassCourts, “is significant,” but only part of the technological and operating improvements being made in the Massachusetts court system.
“This has been a year of much progress on the road to excellence,” she said.
For complete coverage of the Bench-Bar Symposium and Marshall’s address, see the November issue of Lawyers Journal.