Lawyers e-Journal

Thursday, Feb. 14, 2008
Image for Firm/Fair Trial
Photograph by Jeff Thiebauth
MBA Civil Litigation Section Council Chair Jeffrey N. Catalano (pictured) has teamed up with MBA President David W. White Jr., Chief Justice Barbara J. Rouse and others in the Superior Court to present the first Firm and Fair Trial Date Town Hall at Suffolk University Law School on Thursday, March 20, at 4 p.m.

March 20 “Town Hall” to provide forum for bar’s feedback on the Firm and Fair Trial Date initiative

by Tricia M. Oliver 

MBA Civil Litigation Section Council Chair Jeffrey N. Catalano and MBA President David W. White Jr. have collaborated with Chief Justice Barbara J. Rouse and others in the Superior Court to present the first Firm and Fair Trial Date Town Hall at Suffolk University Law School on Thursday, March 20, at 4 p.m.

“This will be a terrific opportunity for practitioners to learn of the progress of the Firm and Fair Trial Date initiative and to convey their thoughts on the initiative’s progress to those members of the judiciary who are most influential in administering the process,” said Catalano, who expects that the event will bring about a productive dialogue between the bench and bar.

According to Catalano, the idea for such a forum followed the judiciary’s interest in sharing information and getting more feedback from trial attorneys on this worthwhile initiative.

More stringent time standards to improve the judiciary’s accountability have been front and center for the trial courts as part of reform efforts following the 2003 Monan Report. When appointed chief justice nearly two years ago, Rouse took that focus one step further by embarking on the Firm and Fair Trial Date initiative.

According to Rouse, the goals are two-fold — to reduce the need for continuance requests and to set reliable and firm trial dates. Rouse described the initiative’s results as bringing about a “dramatic improvement.” She explained that the court has reduced continuances by 22 percent statewide and is trying 60 percent of cases on their first or second trial date.

“The initiative is a big step in the right direction,” said Catalano. “There is a noticeable improvement, but as with all important undertakings, it is a work in progress that requires the input of the bar,” he added.

More details on panelists and event specifics will be published in upcoming issues of MBA’s weekly Lawyers e-Journal and the March issue of Lawyers Journal.

Members interested in attending the March 20 town hall should call (617) 338-0530 or [e-mail membership].

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