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Left to right: Hon. Peter W. Agnes Jr., Hon. Carol S. Ball, Hon. Kenneth J. Fishman and Hon. Margaret R. Hinkle, all from the Superior Court, will serve as panelists. Photos courtesy of Harvard Studios.

Join the MBA at its Second Annual Bench-Bar Symposium on Oct. 11

SJC Chief Justice Margaret H. Marshall, Superior Court judges and seasoned attorneys to headline event

The MBA is proud to present the second annual Bench-Bar Symposium to take place at the John Adams Courthouse in Boston on Thursday, Oct. 11.

The afternoon will begin with Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Margaret H. Marshall's Annual Address to the Legal Community. In her 2006 address, Marshall discussed issues that ranged from judicial management and time standards, to limited assistance representation pilot programs and courthouse security issues.

The program will feature a two-part panel discussion segment based on the crucial issue of jury communication, with questions and answers at the end. MBA President David W. White Jr. will moderate the conversations. Both panels will include two attorneys and four judges, all of the Superior Court – Hon. Peter W. Agnes Jr., Hon. Carol S. Ball, Hon. Kenneth J. Fishman and Hon. Margaret R. Hinkle.

The first panel, which will focus on pre-trial jury issues, will also feature attorney panelists Kathy Jo Cook (Keches & Mallen PC, Taunton) and MBA Past President Edward P. Ryan Jr. (O'Connor & Ryan PC, Fitchburg). Cook is an experienced civil litigator, and Ryan has done both civil and criminal work over the course of his career. Some points of discussion will include:

  • Extracting useful and appropriate information from potential jurors;
  • Open-ended questions vs. one-word answers;
  • The time available for attorneys and judges to implement meaningful voir dire;
  • Attorneys’ access to questionnaires; and
  • Meaningful participation from attorneys in the jury selection process.

The second panel will focus on post-trial jury issues. The two attorney panelists will be MBA Past President Kathleen M. O'Donnell (Marcotte Law Firm, Lowell) and Andrew M. Perlman (Suffolk University Law School, Boston). O’Donnell’s practice concentrates on personal injury and professional liability claims, exclusively for plaintiffs. Perlman teaches courses at Suffolk Law on professional responsibility, civil procedure and federal courts. Some talking points will include:

• Issues and strategies in providing jury instructions;
• Written instructions vs. tape-recorded instructions;
• Rule 3.5 of the Massachusetts Rules of Professional Conduct;
• MBA task force conclusions on post-trial jury communication; and
• Juror instruction on the existence of liens, insurance subrogation and set-offs to prevent reduction of damages based on jurors’ assumptions about insurance.

To reserve your space at this free event, R.S.V.P. to membership or call MBA Member Services at (617) 338-0530.


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A screenshot of the new MassEsq.com e-mail service and the MBA Forums. Click here to post on the new forums.

MBA launches new, Web-based member benefits

MBA forums and e-mail service now exclusively available to members

The MBA is excited to announce the launch of two new electronic member benefits:


(1) MBA forums, a Web-based tool to encourage active online dialogue among members; and

(2) MassEsq.com, a complimentary e-mail account that members can use in place of more generic services, such as Hotmail or Yahoo.


MBA forums


The MBA forums offer a range of tools for MBA members to more easily communicate with one another, including the ability to post messages for all members to access, create individual profiles, send private messages to other users, subscribe to unique threads and post URL links. The forums are divided into six categories, which are described in further detail on the Forums page:


  • General Forum
  • Practice of Law
  • Managing Your Practice
  • Ethics
  • Massachusetts Bar Association
  • Casemaker
  • Site Feedback and Questions

As you use the forums, the MBA urges you to bring to our attention any issues that arise by alerting us through the MBA Web site. We hope this tool is as user friendly as possible to encourage the exchange of ideas among members.


To get started, please have your MBA member number available, and click here. In the future, the forums can be easily accessed through the top bar of the Web site's navigation.


MassEsq.com 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?

Today, the MBA is proud to launch 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. Interested attorneys may opt to take advantage of this e-mail service at no charge.

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John Henning, former WBZ senior political correspondent and reporter (1981-2007), will be moderating the Oct. 23 discussion about criminal sentencing. Photo courtesy of WBZ.

MBA to host Sentencing Symposium on Oct. 23

Panelists include former Mass. Attorney General Scott Harshbarger and Chief Justice for Administration and Management Robert Mulligan

The MBA will host a Sentencing Symposium at the State House Oct. 23 at 10 a.m. that will feature panel discussions about reforming the current sentencing system with representatives from all branches of government.


“There’s no question that criminal sentencing in Massachusetts is not working. People who are incarcerated are not getting rehabilitated at all,” said MBA President David W. White Jr., who will offer welcoming remarks at the start of the symposium before opening up the two panels. “We’re talking about changes that would increase treatment, education and training, increase opportunities for parole.”


Moderating the discussion will be former WBZ-TV senior correspondent and veteran reporter John Henning, who has been a radio and television reporter and commentator in Boston for more than 40 years. Panelists include:

  • Scott Harshbarger, former Massachusetts Attorney General and Middlesex County District Attorney. He is currently senior counsel in the Boston office of Proskauer Rose LLP where he concentrates on strategic counsel and litigation, corporate investigations and defense, corporate and nonprofit governance and government regulation. Harshbarger is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School.
  • Gene O’Flaherty, state rep. (D-Chelsea), House chairman of Joint Committee on the Judiciary, chairman of the Special Commission on Judicial Management, chairman of the Immigrant’s Caucus and vice-chairman of the Airport Caucus. Practicing lawyer with O’Donovan & Lyons in Somerville. He is a graduate of Suffolk University and Massachusetts School of Law.
  • Mary Price, vice president and general counsel, Families Against Mandatory Minimums. She is a member of the American Bar Association’s Corrections and Sentencing Committee and serves on the Practitioners’ Advisory Group to the United States Sentencing Commission. Price is a graduate of the University of Oregon and Georgetown University Law Center.
  • Robert Mulligan, Chief Justice for Administration and Management, former Chief Justice and justice of Superior Court, former justice of Boston Municipal Court. He is a former assistant U.S. attorney, assistant attorney general and attorney in private practice. The U.S. Army veteran is a graduate of Holy Cross College and Suffolk University Law School.



Family Law conference draws more than 160; concentrates on children

By Roberta Dimitriou

Roughly 160 members of the Massachusetts Bar Association gathered in the Berkshires over the weekend for the 17th annual Family Law Conference, which focused on serving the best interests of children entangled in family law cases.


Held at the Cranwell Resort, Spa & Golf Club in Lenox, the conference included panels on presenting or challenging clinical experts in child custody cases, financial planning for special needs children and the new standards for evaluative guardians ad litem.


Judge Paula M. Carey, recently sworn in as Chief Justice of Probate and Family Court, told the lawyers and judges present that she couldn’t think of a better way to start her tenure as chief than attending the conference.


Carey told the crowd that family law is fundamentally about helping families, and that they should be proud of the challenging work they do.


Conference organizers said they were thrilled by the turnout, which made the event the second-biggest conference the MBA has ever put on in the western part of the state. Fern L. Frolin, with Grindle, Robinson, Goodhue & Frolin in Wellesley and co-chair of the event, said this conference differed from past ones because the organizers tried to pick one theme and build the whole day around various topics relating to that theme.


The conference was capped with a lively judicial forum on parenting plans and custody arrangements, with seven Probate & Family Court judges participating in the panel.


Attorney Bryna S. Klevan said it was the judicial panel which she found the most helpful. “I loved the interchange between the judges,” said Klevan, of Klevan & Klevan LLP in Wellesley. “You get a real-world view of what to expect if you present a case before them.”


Frolin and others said parenting plans in particular are a hot topic around the country right now as traditional notions are being reexamined.


“It’s a reflection that families are changing and their roles in children’s lives are changing,” said Veronica J. Fenton, chairwoman of the conference and a Lenox-based attorney. “We have to reflect that.”


“Massachusetts likes to be on target with what is happening (in the rest of the country) and Mass. Bar in particular is a driving force in keeping Massachusetts up to date,” Frolin said.

"How to Start and Run" seminar 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.



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.) 

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. Faculty presiding over conference panels includes: 


  • 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.


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


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Photograph by Jennifer Rosinski
Left to right: Arthur L. Smith, American Legion Post, Boston, and Larry Doucette, the Military Order of the Purple Heart, Boston.

Pro Bono Veterans Training proves popular with MBA members

More than 60 attorneys attended all-day training on Sept. 27

More than 60 attorneys learned about the legal issues facing veterans, including trouble with housing, employment and benefits, during a complimentary daylong training session offered by the Massachusetts Bar Association and U.S. Trust last month that aimed to teach attorneys how to offer free legal aid to veterans.


Ronald B. Abrams, joint executive director, and Louis J. George, staff attorney, of the National Veterans Legal Services Program in Washington, D.C., led the program, “Serving Our Veterans in the Law: Pro Bono Training for Attorneys,” at the MBA’s West Street office on Sept. 27.


The free training is the first step in the MBA’s veterans initiative, which has received complimentary press including a positive editorial in Monday’s Boston Herald, as well as numerous inquiries from veterans and their advocatesU.S. Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management is sponsoring this initiative.


The MBA will also hold a special Dial-A-Lawyer program for veterans in late October. In addition, a visiting lawyer program that will send attorneys to city and town veterans service offices for the day will be scheduled later this year. 


MBA President-elect Edward W. McIntyre, a Vietnam War veteran, presented the idea to the MBA after being approached by members from across the state.

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Upcoming MBA co-sponsored programs

35th Annual Robert Fuchs Labor Law Conference
National Labor Relations Board/Department of Labor Annual Conference

Thursday, Oct. 18, 1:30–5:30 p.m., with reception to follow
Suffolk University Law School, Boston

The 35th Annual NLRB-DOL Labor Law Conference, co-sponsored by all the New England state bar associations and the Boston Bar Association, features two keynote speakers.

  • John Higgins Jr., NLRB deputy general counsel who is also a former NLRB board member and the editor-in-chief of the ABA’s The Developing Labor Law, will provide an inside look at the general counsel’s initiatives, focusing on 10(j) remedies and concerted protected activity, and discuss recent board decisions.  
  • Jonathan Snare, acting solicitor of labor at the U.S. Department of Labor, will discuss recent developments in the laws affecting the American workforce. Summaries of board and circuit court cases will be provided. 

After the keynote speeches, there will be two concurrent panels that will feature: 

NLRB panel:


  • Marshall Babson, former NLRB member;
  • Marc Greenbaum, Suffolk University Law School professor (moderator);
  • Michael Harper, Boston University School of Law professor and author of a leading case book on labor law; and
  • Shelley Kroll, current management attorney and union attorney.

DOL panel:

  • James Glickman, Senior Trial Attorney at the U.S. DOL’s Regional Solicitor’s Office in Boston, moderator;
  • Ellen Kearns, management attorney; and
  • Shannon Liss-Riordan, plaintiff’s attorney.

Registration options are available on the Suffolk University Law School Web site.

Unemployment Insurance Training
Friday, Oct. 19, 9 a.m.–1 p.m.
, 10 Winter Place, Boston 

The Massachusetts Law Reform Institute, with the support of Greater Boston Legal ServicesEmployment Unit, the Volunteer Lawyers Project and the Labor & Employment Law Section of the MBA, is proud to announce an unemployment insurance training session on Friday, Oct. 19. This training session is designed for legal services advocates; lawyers in private practice taking pro bono cases; social services and health care workers; and community activists who want to learn or get a refresher course on the nuts and bolts of unemployment insurance.


Training topics will include:


  • How to represent a claimant at an unemployment hearing;
  • Basic procedures for initial unemployment determinations; and
  • Related health insurance and training benefits available to those receiving compensation.

This session will be free of charge for lawyers (non-legal services) who are or agree to become a member of the Volunteer Lawyers Project pro bono panel and agree to take one pro bono unemployment insurance case over the next year.

The deadline for admission is Friday, Oct. 5, but late pre-registrations will be accepted. More registration and schedule information can be found at the MLRI Web site.


Massachusetts Workers' Compensation Continuing Education Seminar
Friday, Oct. 26, 8:45 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Southern New England School of Law, 333 Faunce Corner Road, North Dartmouth

This  full-day workers’ compensation course offered by the Southern New England School of Law Alumni Association and the Insurance Library Association of Boston is intended to bring lawyers and insurance professionals together to learn workers’ compensation law and discuss the methods insurers and employers use to reduce their exposure. The seminar is divided into two sessions. The morning session will provide an overview of the workers’ compensation process designed for workers’ compensation novices. The morning session will lead into the more advanced afternoon session intended for experienced workers’ compensation practitioners. The afternoon session will provide a discussion of claims processing from the insurer’s perspective, complex construction claims and a view of claims from an Administrative Judge’s perspective.

Faculty include:

  • Joe Agnelli, Esq., Keches & Mallen PC
  • John Davey, Esq., Mullen and McGourty PC
  • Judy Fine-Edelstein, MD
  • Kathleen Fleming, Associate Director of Workers’ Compensation at Sentry Insurance
  • William E. Holtz, Esq., Mullen & McGourty PC
  • Deborah G. Kohl, Esq.
  • Hon. David G. Sullivan, Administrative Judge, Department of Industrial Accidents

For more information or to register for this seminar, please contact Elaine Thibault at ethibault or (508) 998-9600, x118.

©2017 Massachusetts Bar Association