Second Annual Bench-Bar Symposium tackles voir dire, jury instruction

Marshall lauds progress of court system in Annual Address

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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.

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Featured panelists at the Oct. 23 Sentencing Symposium.

Sentencing Symposium to feature elected officials, advocates and attorneys from across the state

John Henning, Scott Harshbarger, Robert Mulligan and Andrea Cabral to speak

Join local attorneys, advocates and representatives from across state government on Tuesday, Oct. 23, from 10 a.m. to noon at the Massachusetts Statehouse to discuss the crucial issue of sentencing reform. Moderated by former WBZ-TV senior correspondent John Henning, the panel discussions will examine the need for changes to increase treatment, education and training and opportunities for parole.

John Henning
Former WBZ-TV senior correspondent

Welcoming Remarks:
David W. White Jr., Esq.
MBA President

Panel I:

Andrea J. Cabral, Esq.
Sheriff, Suffolk County

James Alan Fox, Ph.D.
Lipman family professor of criminal justice, Northeastern University, Boston 

Rep. Roger Goodman
Vice chair, House Judiciary Committee, Wash.

Scott Harshbarger, Esq.
Senior counsel, Proskauer Rose LLP, Boston; former Massachusetts attorney general

John J. Larivee
Chief executive officer, Community Resources for Justice, Boston

Panel II:

Sen. Robert S. Creedon Jr.
Senate chairman, Joint Committee on the Judiciary

Mary Elizabeth Heffernan, Esq.
Undersecretary of criminal justice, Executive Office of Public Safety

William J. Leahy, Esq.,
Chief counsel, Committee for Public Counsel Service

Hon. Robert A. Mulligan
Chief Justice for Administration and Management, Mass. Trial Court

Rep. Eugene L. O’Flaherty
House chairman, Joint Committee on the Judiciary

Mary Price, Esq. (not pictured)
Vice president and general counsel, Families Against Mandatory Minimums, Wash. D.C.

To R.S.V.P., contact MBA Member Services via e-mail or by phone at (617) 338-0530.

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MBA Gala Dinner tables sold out; limited individual tickets still available

Dinner to feature author, former presidential advisor Clarke, MBA Legislator of the Year Costello

The MBA thanks the Gala Dinner Committee, along with the individuals, organizations and law firms that have purchased tables for the Annual Gala Dinner. As a result of our members' efforts and dedication, the tables at the dinner have been sold out. To view the full list of table sponsors, click here. 

Although the MBA is no longer offering full tables for purchase, a limited amount of individual tickets are still available. Contact MBA Member Services via phone at (617) 338-0530 or via e-mail to inquire about individual ticket sales.

If you are unable to join us on Nov. 1, the MBA urges you to attend the Access to Justice Awards Luncheon, which will be on March 6 at the JFK Library and Museum. At this annual event, the MBA will present several awards to recognize the public service contributions of Massachusetts attorneys and the pro bono efforts and achievements of MBA members.

The Access to Justice Section Council is currently accepting nominations for this year's awards. To ensure that award recipients truly reflect the best of the legal profession, the MBA encourages nominations from its members, from Massachusetts regional and minority bar associations and from local public service organizations. The five awards are:

  • Legal Services Award
  • Pro Bono Award for Law Firms
  • Pro Bono Publico Award
  • Defender Award
  • Prosecutor Award

Nominations must be submitted to Jean Stevens by Thursday, Nov. 1. For full descriptions of the awards, click here.

For more information, contact Ellen Zucker, chair of the Access to Justice Section Council, at (617) 345-3367.

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Sign up for MBA's complimentary e-mail service

  • Are you a small firm or solo practicioner without a Web site?
  • Do you want a personalized e-mail address that does not include your business name, but distinguishes you as a member of the Massachusetts legal community?

The MBA recently launched a free e-mail service for our members that provides a complimentary e-mail address from the domain MassEsq.com. The domain is equipped with a Web-based e-mail system, similar to other popular sites, such as Yahoo! or Gmail.

If you are interested in taking advantage of this new member benefit at no charge, [e-mail emailservice] with your request.

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From left: Chief Justice for Administration & Management Robert A. Mulligan; Gov. Deval Patrick; Lieutenant Gov. Timothy P. Murray; Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Margaret H. Marshall; and Representative Robert A. DeLeo, Chair, House Ways and Means Committee. Photo courtesy of Public Information Office, Supreme Judicial Court.

Worcester welcomes new and improved halls of justice

Community leaders, government officials and Worcester County citizens attend monumental event

The newly built Worcester courthouse attracted hundreds of well wishers in an opening celebration on Oct. 16. Speakers included:


Deval Patrick

Governor, Massachusetts


Timothy Murray

Lieutenant governor, Massachusetts


Hon. Margaret H. Marshall

Chief Justice, Supreme Judicial Court


Hon. Robert A. Mulligan

Chief Justice for Administration and Management


Salvatore DiMasi

Speaker of the House, Mass. House of Representatives


Harriet Chandler

State senator, Worcester


Edward Augustus Jr.

State senator, Worcester


The Worcester Trial Court, which opened for business in September, houses the Worcester District Court, Housing Court, Juvenile Court, Probate and Family Court, the Superior Court, and an office for the Worcester County District Attorney. It is the largest courthouse in the Commonwealth with 430,000 square feet. The modern, four-story judicial center contains 26 courtrooms, conference rooms for lawyers and clients, jury deliberation rooms, and a Grand Jury room.  

 “This comprehensive, regional courthouse is a tribute to the commitment of the leaders of all three branches of government to the building and renovation of courthouses across the Commonwealth, said Chief Justice Marshall. “It is evidence of our shared obligation to ensure that the command of the Massachusetts Constitution that an ‘impartial administration of justice is essential to the preservation of the rights of every individual’ find concrete expression in safe, clean, and accessible courthouses.”  

 “Throughout history, Massachusetts has advanced America’s pursuit of equality, opportunity and fair play to every citizen,” said Gov. Patrick. “Today we welcome this court to that legacy. Thanks to the hard work and commitment of our state and local officials and all members of the community, this courthouse – the largest in the Commonwealth – has become a reality.”


New information technology and digital audio recording systems, secure detention areas, handicapped accessibility, and a café are some of the courthouse features. A monumental staircase in the building’s front lobby serves as a focal point in the stately courthouse. The courtrooms are bathed in natural light from huge, pane-glass windows.


 “Today’s opening of the Worcester Trial Court marks the realization of years of hard work to replace court buildings dating to before the Civil War, said House of Representatives Speaker DiMasi. “The importance of this project cannot be overstated and was never lost on the members of the House of Representatives – in assisting with the administration of justice, in helping revitalize the downtown area and improving the quality of life for the region.”


Designed by Shepley, Bulfinch, Richardson and Abbott Architects, the courthouse was built by Gilbane Building Company. Construction began in July 2004, and the total project cost was $180 million with funding from the 1998 Courthouse Facilities Bond Bill.


Chief Justice Mulligan, who served as master of ceremonies, said, “Today we make history as the halls of justice in Worcester move into the 21st century. The beauty, functionality and solidity displayed here underscore our commitment that all who come to this courthouse will understand justice as the essential cornerstone of a free society.”


Other speakers at the event included:


Hon. Martha P. Grace

Chief Justice, Juvenile Court


David B. Perini

Commissioner, Division of Capital Asset Management


John J. Conte

Former Worcester County district attorney


Thomas J. Noonan

Clerk magistrate, Worcester District Court


James Gavin Reardon Jr.

President, Worcester County Bar Association


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Upcoming CLE seminars, roundtables and Casemaker sessions

Register for a class today

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.




Electronic Discovery: New Rules of Practice and Emerging Issues – What Litigators Should Know

Course #: CLD08

Introductory level

Thursday, Oct. 25, 4–7 p.m.

Sheraton Springfield Monarch Place, Springfield


This program will cover the practical, legal, procedural and evidentiary issues relating to electronic discovery and document management. Topics include:


  • The new Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the implications for litigators;
  • A litigator's perspective on the new rules and their application in both federal and state trial practice;
  • Document management and related technology (coding, OCR, software applications, Web-based hosting);
  • Electronic discovery, including computer forensics, retrieval of information from electronic systems, chain of custody issues, understanding and establishing audit trails in the use of electronic evidence, establishing electronic discovery protocols, spoliation, and other topics; and
  • A view from the bench.


Current Issues in Medicare and Medicaid
Course #: HLA08
Introductory level
Tuesday, Oct. 30, 4–7 p.m.

Western New England College School of Law, Springfield 


With the phasing in of new regulations to interpret the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, the area of elder law has changed. This program will assist the practitioner in understanding the new laws and regulations. Attendees will learn how the regulations affect transfers, gifts, care agreements and other techniques of planning for protection of assets.



What’s Fair?: Valuations after Bernier v. Bernier

Course #: FLB08

Intermediate level

Thursday, Nov. 15, 4–7 p.m.

MBA, 20 West St., Boston


On Sept.14, 2007 the SJC decided the case of Bernier v. Bernier, which represents a dramatic change in the way that valuations of closely held businesses in the divorce context must be undertaken, seemingly substituting the “fair value” standard for the long accepted “fair market value” standard. Attendees will learn:


  • Definitions of basic terms and closely-held corporations;
  • Taxation of C corporations vs. S corporations;
  • Distinction between “fair market value” and “fair value”;              
  • Applicability of “key-man discount” and “marketability discount;”
  • The status of the “minority discount”;
  • Which standard is applicable to partnerships;
  • Evidence needed to prove your case;
  • Expert testimony; and
  • How to reach consensus with opposing counsel and experts regarding the standard to be applied.



Casemaker Trainings

Due to overwhelming member requests, the MBA will be holding Fall Casemaker trainings.  Two training locations and times are currently offered to accomodate schedule conflicts. 


Course #: CASEF08

Introductory Level

Thursday, Nov. 15, 4–5:15 p.m.

College of the Holy Cross, Worcester

For directions click here.


Course #: CASEI08

Introductory level

Thursday, Oct. 24, 4:30–5:45 p.m.

Elms College, Chicopee

For directions click here.


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. 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.

"How to Start and Run" and GPSSF Conference highlight fall CLE schedule

CLE Heading

How to Start and Run a Successful Solo or Small-Firm Practice

Course #: LPA08
Thursday, Oct. 25, 9 a.m.–5 p.m.
Sheraton Needham Hotel, 100 Cabot St., Needham

Join us for a comprehensive, one-day seminar that features practical advice on what you need to become a successful lawyer-entrepreneur.

  • Do you dream of starting your own practice or “hanging your shingle”?
  • Have the recent law firm mergers and shifts affected you?
  • Are you re-evaluating your career and thinking about striking out on your own?
  • Are you a law student with a plan to go straight into your own practice?

Our faculty of experienced lawyers will provide guidance and insight on every aspect of starting a law firm while sharing practice pointers on growing their own firms.  Faculty includes:


  • Barbara Bowe, LICSW, Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers, Boston
  • Marc L. Breakstone, Esq., program co-chair, Breakstone, White & Gluck PC, Boston
  • Alan J. Klevan, Esq., Klevan & Klevan LLP, Wellesley
  • Denise I. Murphy, Esq., Rubin and Rudman LLP, Boston
  • David W. White Jr., program co-chair, Breakstone, White & Gluck PC, Boston

This lively program, which has been one of the most popular and valuable MBA seminars to date, includes a working, networking lunch for a chance to meet with colleagues who can help get you started.


For more information and for a complete list of faculty, click here.



General Practice, Solo & Small Firm Conference

Course #: GPA08
Thursday, Nov. 8, 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Holiday Inn, Taunton

The MBA’s General Practice, Solo & Small Firm Section is excited to announce the General Practice, Solo & Small Firm Conference, to take place on Nov. 8 at the Holiday Inn in Taunton. This popular conference will feature a networking opportunities, prize giveaways and exciting new panels organized in collaboration with many other MBA section councils. Panel discussions include:


Employment Law for Lawyers (8:359:45 a.m.)

Come test your knowledge at this highly interactive, practical seminar where panelists will provide both the employer-side and employee-side perspective on the most common employment law mistakes made by lawyers – and how best to avoid them.

Trial Practice Breakout Sessions (9:5010:50 a.m.)
This session is designed to cover either evidence issues in civil trial practice,OR the top 10 criminal cases you need to know. The panel will provide practitioners with a survey on how to deal effectively with the myriad of commonly recurring evidentiary problems in both domestic relation cases and highlight new developments and changes in criminal law in Massachusetts.

Technology Challenge:  What I Can Do for Your Law Office (11 a.m.noon)
This will be a unique opportunity to see some of the most popular legal case management software presented side by side and determine what may be the best fit for you and/or your firm.

Networking lunch (noon1 p.m.)
Featuring keynote speaker Rodney S. Dowell, Esq.
Director, Law Office Management Assistance Program, speaking on "The Business of Lawyering: Great Resources for Solo and Small-Firm Practitioners"

Judicial Panel - District Court (12 p.m.)
Listen to an informative, interactive discussion among prominent district court judges who will provide you with practical insight and guidance on District Court practice. Attendees will learn about the latest trends, recent developments, and essential tips in preparing and presenting your case.

What Every Practitioner Needs to Know on Divorce, Deeds, Inheritance and Trusts (23:20 p.m.)
This session is designed to help the practicing solo or small firm practitioner successfully navigate through the complexities of divorce practice including its impact on issues relative to deeds, inheritance and trusts.

Judicial Panel - Probate and Family Court (3:35–4:30 p.m.)
Learn from our distinguished panel of judges from the Probate and Family Court as they highlight current and emerging issues in family law and offer tips on practicing in their courts. Topics will include pretrial practice; what judges look for in complex asset cases or novel issues; and tips on how to balance public record information with privacy concerns.

Sessions offer attendees a valuable opportunity to learn from expert faculty. Conference faculty members include: 


  • Hon. Elizabeth O’Neill LaStaiti, Bristol Probate & Family Court
  • Hon. Michael J. Livingstone, Plymouth Probate & Family Court
  • Hon. Joseph I. Macy, District Court
  • Hon. Prudence M. McGregor, Bristol Probate & Family Court
  • Hon. Bernadette L. Sabra, District Court
  • Hon. Robert A. Scandurra, Barnstable Probate & Family Court
  • Denise Squillante, Esq., MBA vice president, Law Office of Denise Squillante, Fall River

Special thanks to General Practice, Solo & Small Firm Section co-chairs Patrick Francomano and Susan A. Huettner, who helped to organize the conference.


For more information, or for a complete list of faculty, visit the MBA calendar.


To register for either of these programs, call MBA Member Services at (617) 338-0530, [e-mail membership] or visit the CLE Web site.


MBA applauds release of the Access to Justice Commission Report

The MBA applauds the release of the Massachusetts Access to Justice Commission Report, titled "Barriers to Access to Justice in Massachusetts: A Report, with Recommendations, To the Supreme Judicial Court". The report includes 45 recommendations to improve the quality of justice for low-income residents.

“The Access to Justice Commission has done a remarkable job of identifying impediments to justice which unfortunately still persist in our legal system. This report clearly documents so many of the problems facing unrepresented litigants. The report is valuable because it makes clear recommendations on long-needed reforms,” said MBA President David W. White Jr.

Among its recommendations, the commission asks that advocates who are not attorneys be allowed tospeak in court on behalf of low-income individuals in eviction and domestic violence cases.

“The Massachusetts Bar Association looks forward to working with the Access to Justice Commission, the courts and the Legislature. We will continue our advocacy for increased funding to provide legal assistance for citizens who cannot afford a lawyer,” White said.

Click here to download the MBA press release.

The MBA also acknowledges the efforts of the MBA member Commission members:

Hon. Peter W. Agnes, Jr.

Superior Court, Boston


Hon. Herbert P. Wilkins (ret.)

Boston College Law School, Newton


Hon. Dina E. Fein

Western Housing Court, Springfield


Maxa S. Berid, Esq.

Berid & Schutzbank LLC, Lowell


Jacquelynne J. Bowman, Esq.

Greater Boston Legal Services, Boston


P. Keyeburn Hollister, Esq.

Gobel & Hollister, Pittsfield


Bettina M. Holton, Esq.

Bettina M. Holton PC, Brockton


Nancy King, Esq.

Southern Middlesex Legal Services Inc., Framingham


Robert W. Lavoie, Esq.

Devine, Millimet & Branch, Andover


David W. Rosenberg, Esq.

Rosenberg & Schapiro PC, Boston


Richard Soden, Esq.

Goodwin Procter LLP, Boston


James T. Van Buren, Esq.

James T. Van Buren, Attorney at Law, Fitchburg


Toni G. Wolfman, Esq.

Bentley College, Waltham


Antone G. Singsen III, Esq.

Commission consultant, Singsen & Tyrell Associates, Watertown


©2017 Massachusetts Bar Association