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Photograph by Chuck Chaney
L to R: Brown Rudnick Center for the Public Interest Executive Director Al Wallis, MBA Executive Director Marilyn J. Wellington, MBA President David W. White Jr. and Brown Rudnick Chief Executive Officer Joseph F. Ryan.

Brown Rudnick sponsors Mock Trial Tournament for tenth consecutive year

Firm donates $25,000 to program

by Tricia M. Oliver

Brown, Rudnick, Berlack, Israels LLP, through its Center for Public Interest, recently donated $25,000 to the MBA's 2008 Mock Trial Program. Brown Rudnick has been the exclusive financial underwriter of this program, contributing a quarter million dollars since 1998.

“Brown Rudnick’s commitment is integral to enhancing our ability to provide thousands of our young citizens with an early introduction to the legal system,” MBA Executive Director Marilyn J. Wellington, said.

The popular high school Mock Trial competition kicked off its 23rd year on Jan. 28. More than 15,000 students at more than 100 schools across the commonwealth are participating. At least 100 lawyers across the state will serve as volunteer coaches and judges.

Last year, Sharon High School won the state championship and placed seventh in the national tournament.

First organized in 1985, the tournament places high school students in a simulated courtroom to assume the roles of lawyers and witnesses in a hypothetical case.

“We are delighted to support MBA Mock Trial Program, which reaches every corner of the Bay State, enriching both high school students and their attorney coaches,” said Al Wallis, executive director of the Brown Rudnick Center for the Public Interest.

For more information on the 2008 Mock Trial Program, or to volunteer to judge the final rounds of the competition, click here.

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Access to Justice Luncheon to honor six award recipients from across the commonwealth

State Rep. Byron Rushing to deliver keynote address

The MBA’s Access to Justice Awards Luncheon to take place on March 6 is being dedicated to the late Nancy King. The luncheon will take place at the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum in Boston and will feature a keynote presentation by State Rep. Byron Rushing (D-Boston). The event will honor King, the former executive director of South Middlesex Legal Services in Framingham, by presenting her with the 2008 MBA Access to Justice Lifetime Achievement Award posthumously. In addition, the 2008 Access to Justice Awards will be presented to the following recipients: 

Legal Services Award

Faye Rachlin, Legal Assistance Corp., Worcester, serves as a legal advocate for the indigent, and assists tenants struggling with mental illness and addiction in gaining access to clinicians and other social services.

Pro Bono Award for Law Firms

Heisler, Feldman, McCormick and Garrow PC, Springfield, is known for its innovative compensation model, relies on state fee-shifting statutes and has no expectation of client payment upon engagement.

Nutter, McClennen & Fish LLP, Boston, has dedicated its time to representing lawful immigrants whose access to justice would otherwise be limited.

Pro Bono Publico Award

Thomas A. Manning, Worcester, established the “Lawyer for the Day” program in the Worcester Probate and Family Court to provide assistance to pro se parties.

Defender Award

Erica E. Cushna, CPCS, Springfield, is a specialist in juvenile defense work and has zealously advocated for juvenile rights before the Supreme Judicial Court.

Prosecutor Award

J. Thomas Kirkman, District Attorney's Office, Barnstable, has spent much of his career as an advocate for victims of domestic violence, in both private practice and as an assistant district attorney.

MBA members are invited to the March 6 luncheon at the JFK Library and Museum. Individual table reservation and sponsorship opportunities are now available. Click here to download a form. Reservations must be submitted by Feb. 28. For more information, or to register, contact Member Services at (617) 338-0530 or via e-mail.

Sponsorship opportunities

  • Benefactor: $2,000
    Includes: Luncheon table for 10, 1/2-page ad and firm name listed in the luncheon program, and logo projected behind the podium.
  • Patron: $1,750
    Includes: Luncheon table for 10, 1/4-page ad and firm name listed in the luncheon program, and logo projected behind the podium.
  • Friend: $1,500
    Includes: Luncheon table for 10, firm name listed in the luncheon program and logo projected behind the podium.

Individual reservation opportunities

  • Individual tickets: $100
  • Tables for 10: $1,000
For additional marketing opportunities, contact Business Activities Manager Joe Caci at (617) 338- 0516 or via e-mail.
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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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Featured member benefit: MarketYourLawPractice.com

What Has Your Marketing Plan Done for You Lately?

Consider our newest member benefit, MarketYourLawPractice.com, a Web-based marketing resource that is being offered to MBA members at an exclusively discounted rate.

MYLP is a powerful, highly interactive tool that helps you:

  • Find hundreds of marketing tools, assessments, tip sheets and templates.
  • Develop new business with proven, ethical marketing strategies.
  • Assess your situation, plan your next move, track results and measure your success.
  • Leverage The Four Pillars of MarketingSM  to grow your practice.
  • Gain “real-world” marketing skills they simply didn’t teach in law school.

MBA members receive $250 off an annual subscription to MarketYourLawPractice.com. Receive the special annual rate of $1,200 (regularly $1,450) when you enter promotional code BA-MA1. 

(Valid MBA membership required.)

For more information or to subscribe, click here.

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Supporting MBA’s community service around the Bay State

MBA Executive Director Marilyn J. Wellington is seeking the support and generosity of legal professionals as the MBA continues to build on the wealth of community services programs being provided in cities and towns across Massachusetts.

This month, MBA members will receive an important brochure in the mail - Bringing the Legal Profession into Your Community - reminding members of the thousands of hours of time that their colleagues in the law give back to their communities by volunteering in programming administered through the Massachusetts Bar Institute.

By contributing to the "Bringing the Legal Profession into Your Community" MBI Public Service Fund, members will invest in the future of the association's public and community services that impact thousands of citizens each year across the commonwealth. For more information about the Public Service Fund, click here.

Any and all contributions are welcome. In the materials coming in the mail, members will note levels of giving. For more information, e-mail Community Services.

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Nominate your colleagues for the 2008 Adams Pro Bono Publico Awards

Deadline to nominate in April 18

In furtherance of SJC Rule 6.1, Voluntary Pro Bono Publico Service, the SJC Standing Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services will present awards to individual lawyers, law firms, government attorneys, corporate law departments and other institutions in the legal profession that have demonstrated outstanding commitment to volunteer legal services for the poor and disadvantaged including CPCS, legal services or similar providers who conduct non-program pro bono work. The awards will be presented in a ceremony at the SJC in May/June 2008.

Award Criteria

Awardees will be selected from those who have excelled in providing volunteer services in one or more of the following ways:

  1. Volunteer participation in an activity or pro bono program which resulted in satisfying previously unmet needs or in extending services to undeserved segments of the population;
  2. Successfully litigated pro bono cases that favorably affected the provision of other services to the poor; and
  3. Successfully achieved legislation that contributed substantially to legal services to the poor.

Nomination Guidelines

  • Submit a brief narrative explaining how the candidate meets the criteria for The Adams Pro Bono Publico Award. Specify the nature of the pro bono contribution and identify those who have benefitted;
  • Include candidate's principal areas of practices, the number of years practicing law, hours spent on pro bono activities, other public service contributions, educational background, supporting documents and bar association activities; and
  • Include up to three letters of support, from individuals and organizations who are aware of the candidate’s pro bono contribution\

NOTE: Nominations submitted in 2007 remain active for consideration in 2008.

Selection Process

The Standing Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services will review the nominations and select no more than three awardees. Nominations should be received by Friday, April 18.

Submit all materials to:
Richard McMahon, Esq.
2008 Adams Pro Bono Publico Awards, c/o New Center For Legal Advocacy Inc.
18 Main St. Extension, Third Floor
Plymouth, MA 02360

Contact Alison Fallon at (508) 746-2777, or via e-mail, if you have any questions.

Upcoming educational programming schedule

Join the MBA for a Casemaker training session and roundtable discussion about effective marketing

CLE Heading

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

Luncheon Roundtable

Tales and Tips of Effective Marketing Luncheon Roundtable (lunch provided)
Course #: LPB08
Introductory level
Monday, Feb. 25, 1–2:30 p.m.
Hampden Hall of Justice, 50 State St., Springfield


The Law Practice Management Section believes that the ability to effectively practice and manage a practice requires a solid, qualified client base. To achieve that base, attorneys must institute an effective marketing program which will differ from attorney to attorney and from practice type to practice type. An effective marketing program leads to a better income, a higher quality of client and less stress in your practice. And effective marketing does not require a huge investment. Participants will learn strategies for:


  • Effective low-cost marketing;
  • Referral-based marketing; and
  • Web-based marketing.

Attorneys establishing a practice and attorneys who want to improve marketing strategies should attend. For more roundtable information, or to register, visit the MBA Calendar.


Casemaker Training

MBA members have free, unlimited use of Casemaker, which was recently upgraded in January 2008. A Web-based legal research library, Casemaker allows users to search and browse historic and current state and federal case law, state statutes and regulations, ethics opinions, rules of professional conduct and more. Learn how to best utilize this free tool at one of our Casemaker training programs, held at central locations around the state.

Casemaker Training (Worcester)
Course #: CASEP08
Introductory level
Thursday, Feb. 28

2–3:15 p.m.
Trial Court Law Library, Worcester

For directions, click here or call (508) 756-1665 ext. 185.

*Although the MBA does charge a fee for trainings, the fee is charged only in order to cover costs associated with putting on trainings.

Because space at Casemaker trainings is limited, online enrollment is not available. To register for a training session, call Member Services at (617) 338-0530 or toll-free at (877) 676-6500.

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Lawyers Eco-Challenge Eco-Tip of the Week

Incorporate the weekly eco-tip into your office practices and become more environmentally friendly.

EcoTip - Feb 14
Click here to view more Eco-Tips.
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