e-Journal

12-17

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MBA On Demand to roll out January 2010

Unable to attend an MBA conference, seminar or roundtable? Attend the program from the comfort of your home or office with MBA On Demand

MBA On Demand is a new and innovative approach to continuing legal education and other association offerings.

Starting Jan. 4, 2010, the MBA is pleased to provide you with the following online, recorded CLE programs for purchase:

  • 18th Annual Family Law Conference:
    State of the Trial Court
    Issues of Interstate Custody
    The Hague Convention and Issues of International Custody
    DOMA: What Hurdles Does DOMA Place in the way of Same-Sex Married Couples and Those Who are Divorcing? Federal Tax Issues in Family Law
  • Offers and Purchase and Sale Agreements
  • Looking for Career Control and Satisfaction? Small Firms Offer Big Options
  • Chapters 93A and 176D Update
  • Technology to Turbo-Charge Your Practice
  • Keys to Successful Advertising and Marketing
  • Start Up Basics
  • Traps for the Unwary
  • Successfully Making the Transition from Law Student to Lawyer
  • View from the Bench: Effective Oral and Written Advocacy

In the next few months, there will be additional programming offered at www.massbar.org. A real-time webcast option will soon be available for members wishing to participate in a program remotely.

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From left to right: MBA President-Elect Denise Squillante, Gov. Deval Patrick's Chief Legal Counsel Mo Cowan, MBA President Valerie A. Yarashus, MBA Acting Executive Director and General Counsel Martin W. Healy.

From left to right: MBA Vice President Richard P. Campbell, MBA President Valerie A. Yarashus, MBA Treasurer Robert L. Holloway Jr., MBA President-elect Denise Squillante.

From left to right: Todd & Weld's Ian Crawford, MBA Secretary Jeffrey N. Catalano, Todd & Weld's Christopher R. O'Hara.

MBA Boston Holiday Reception

View photos of the Dec. 10 event

MBA members celebrated the start of holiday season at the Boston Holiday Reception on Thursday, Dec. 10.

Click here to view event images.
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MBA seeks nominations for 2010-11 officer and delegate positions

Submit nominations to the MBA Secretary by Friday, Jan. 29

The Massachusetts Bar Association is currently accepting nominations for officer and delegate positions for the 2010-11 membership year. Nominees must submit a letter of intent and a current resume to MBA Secretary Jeffrey N. Catalano by 5 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 29, 2010, to be eligible.

To submit a nomination, mail or hand deliver the information to:

Massachusetts Bar Association
Attn: Jeffrey N. Catalano, MBA Secretary
20 West St., Boston, MA 02111

Or fax the nomination to (617) 542-7947.

If you have any questions about the nomination process, call MBA Acting Executive Director Martin W. Healy at (617) 988-4777.

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Martin F. Kane II, chair, Crisis in Court Funding Task Force

MBA launches task force to address crisis in court funding

The Massachusetts Bar Association has created a task force to put a human face on the impact that drastic budget cuts are having on the courts.

The Crisis in Court Funding Task Force will compile stories of hardship among public users of the court system and will present a report to the House of Delegates meeting in March. If endorsed, the report will support calls for the Legislature to adequately fund the state court system, which had was cut from an initial fiscal 2009 budget of $605.1 million to $559 million in fiscal 2010.

"(The task force) was created to document the real, human impact of the budget cuts on the courts. The goal is to show how inadequate staffing levels are affecting the people who come to the courts as litigants, jurors and witnesses," MBA President Valerie A. Yarashus said. "While it's incredibly frustrating for us as attorneys to see delays and long lines, it is often much worse for members of the public, who have to miss work unnecessarily and see their cases languish because the court system is underfunded and understaffed."

The 10-person task force, which is chaired by Martin F. Kane II, of McGrath & Kane Inc. in Boston, held its first meeting Dec. 16 in Boston. It will contact judges and clerks in courthouses throughout the state to collect accounts of how the budget cuts are delaying citizens from receiving access to the justice system.

A report by the Boston Bar Association analyses the statistics relating to the cuts. "Our report, by contrast, is intended to bring out the human side through documenting the real life stories of how this is played out across the commonwealth," Yarashus said, noting that, if approved by the MBA's governing body, it will be used as part of a lobbying effort for adequate court funding during the spring.

"Members can expect to hear a targeted call to action at a time when it is determined to be most effective," she said.

Kane said the problems are readily apparent in courthouses across the state. Many times, restraining orders are not being issued in a timely manner, he said.

Kane, whose practice includes working in probate and family courts, filed one modification in probate court in September and waited. A month later, he received a call from a secretary who apologized that a summons hadn't been issued yet, but the office was down from seven staff to two. A month later, he received another call explaining that the staff was doing everything it could.

"Two months to get a summons …" he said.

Court employees who have either been laid off or have had their workload increased significantly because of layoffs and a system-wide hiring freeze are clearly suffering, he said, and lawyers being inconvenienced by the delays caused by the staff reduction certainly have legitimate complaints. But it is the people who use the courts who have been the hardest hit, he said.

"Our charge is clear. We, as lawyers, need to be the voice of the people and get their story to the House of Delegates with demonstrative evidence about how the public is being affected," he said.

Ultimately, that message needs to reach the Legislature and increase funding for the courts, Kane said.

"What they need to hear is how the cuts affect Jane and John Q. Public," he said.

If you have anecdotal stories from clients to share about understaffed courts or unreasonable delays, please e-mail MBA Legislative Activities Manager Lee Constantine at [e-mail lconstantine].

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Photograph by Jennifer Rosinski
10th Annual Walk to the Hill

Join the MBA at the 11th Annual Walk to the Hill for Civil Legal Aid, Jan. 27

The 11th Annual Walk to the Hill for Civil Legal Aid will kick off at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 27 in the Great Hall of the Statehouse, where attorneys and legal advocates will highlight the importance of these programs. The need to maintain funding is just as great for fiscal year 2011 as it was last year.

"Our message to legislators will again be twofold: maintain funding for the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation (MLAC) line item at $9.5 million and include this issue as a personal legislative priority," said Pattye Comfort,
director of the Equal Justice Coalition.

Massachusetts Bar Association President Valerie A. Yarashus will speak about the urgency for more funding. Yarashus will be joined by Boston Bar Association President John J. Regan. A legal aid client will also share how the program has helped their family resolve a legal issue.

The past year's economic troubles have taken a toll on civil legal aid in Massachusetts, according to Comfort. Income from the Interest on Lawyers' Trust Accounts (IOLTA) program has plummeted 63 percent since fiscal year 2008 and is not expected to increase in fiscal year 2010. Compounding this loss is the decrease in the civil legal aid line item ― from $11 million in fiscal year 2009 to $9.5 million in fiscal year 2010.

Walk to the Hill is one of the largest lobbying events at the State House, and last year drew a crowd of more than 750 ― the highest turnout in the event's history.

Details of the event include:

  • Registration: 11-11:30 a.m.
  • Speaking Program: 11:30 a.m.-noon.
  • Legislative visits: Noon-1 p.m.
    Lunch will be served.

For more information, click here. To view a funding fact sheet, click here.

LPM Tip

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Marketing against ROI

ROI is "Return on Investment". It is a measure of how successful your investment is in any given venture. In the context of attorney marketing, you want to be able to measure how well a particular investment (marketing strategy) is. Is that yellow page ad generating business? Is that new Web site bringing new clients? That's easy to measure by simply asking your clients where they first found your information.

Every summer, my firm invests in marketing through participation in area elder fairs and also cultural fairs. I routinely go out to engage the public, to meet with them at these events and speak with passersby and answer their legal questions, for free. I have not yet gotten a single client that has told me they've hired me from seeing me at those events. But yet I keep doing it year after year. Am I a fool? Perhaps. Am I wasting my money? No.

Malcolm Gladwell has a classic discussion of why Coca Cola dominates market shares over Pepsi. It is not because Coca Cola tastes better because when given the "Pepsi Challenge," most people actually prefer the taste of Pepsi over Coca Cola. The reason why Coke dominates is because of its brand. Its brand is so pervasive that you would be hard pressed to find anyone on earth that won't recognize the name.

All things being equal, when a new client sees your ad and they see your competitor's ad, you want them to pick you. People choose products that they know, whether it's a conscious or subconscious choice. The more they've seen something, the more likely they'll pick it. So, why do I continue to do those fairs during the summer? Because though they don't know it, people recognize me and when they see an ad of mine down the road, they pick me not because my ad is so much better or because I am more qualified, but because they recognize me as a brand.

Go out and engage your client base. Make your name and your presence pervasive.

This tip is courtesy of Gabriel Cheong, attorney at law, owner of Infinity Law Group.

Published December 17, 2009

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For more helpful tips, join the MBA's Law Practice Management Section. Call MBA Member Services at (617) 338-0530 to join.

To learn more about the Law Practice Management Section, contact Co-Chairs Andrea Goldman or Rodney Dowell.

MBF's 45th Anniversary Gala Dinner registration is now open

MBF 45 Annual ad

Please click here to register on-line.
Click here to browse the MBF's online Silent Auction.

CLE Conference News

Register by Dec. 18 to receive discounted rates to the "How to Start and Run a Successful Solo or Small-Firm Practice" conference and reception, Jan. 28

GPSSF Conference 2010

Click here to register for the How to Start and Run a Successful Solo or Small-Firm Practice and GPSSF section reception following the conference.

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In-house counsel seek helpful tips on "Tools for Effective Legal Management" at the MBA's Seventh Annual In-House Counsel Conference on Dec. 9

InHouse Counsel ConferenceOver 40 attorneys attended the MBA's Seventh Annual In-House Counsel Conference on Wednesday, Dec. 9 in Boston. The theme of this year's conference was "Tools for Effective Legal Management."

Topics including developments on the business litigation session, licensing agreements, data security, enlisting outside counsel, conflicts of interest and bankruptcy headlined the well-attended conference held at the MBA Boston office. Conference chairs included Peter D. McDermott, David A. Parke and James C. Donnelly Jr.

Business litigation session judges Judith Fabricant, Stephen E. Neel, and Margaret R. Hinkle led a panel discussing developments in the session, including its 2010 pilot project planned to reduce time and resources in the discovery process.

In addition, with new Massachusetts data regulations on the near horizon, data security laws and privacy regulations were of particular interest to conference goers. MBA's Business Law Section Co-chair Stephen Y. Chow of Burns and Levinson led the panel addressing risk management issues associated with the well-publicized regulations that go into effect March 1, 2010.

Rounding out the December conference was the bankruptcy panel led by MBA Business Law Co-chair Robert J. Kerwin of Tarlow, Breed, Hart & Rodgers PC and Francis C. Morrissey of Morrissey & Wilson LLC.

Kerwin summarized the day-long event. "We want to get to the issues that are keeping people up at night. I think that Jim Donnelly, Dave Parke and Peter McDermott did a wonderful job at organizing an event that accomplished that goal."

According to conference attendee Kai May, in-house counsel for Osram Sylvania, the event was worthwhile. He noted that as both an in-house counsel and compliance officer, "the topic pertaining to internal investigations, conflicts and fraud was very useful to me. I was able to gain very good, practical knowledge."

 

 

Featured member benefit: My Resources page

Log-in to the MBA Web site and check out the new way to customize and find relevant practice tools and information.

 

My Resources

Click here to view your "My Resources" page.
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MBA section news

Law Practice Management open meeting; Intellectual Property Practice Group meeting; Taxation Law open meeting

Law Practice Management open meeting

Paperless Practice

Friday, Dec. 18, Noon-1:30 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston

The Law Practice Management Section Council has scheduled its first open meeting for Friday, Dec. 18 at the MBA, 20 West St., Boston. The topic will be on a Paperless Office with panelists Rodney S. Dowell of Mass. Law Office Management Assistance Program in Boston and Alan J. Klevan of Klevan & Klevan LLP.

To R.S.V.P., click here.

Future open meeting topics will include Marketing for No Money and the New Privacy Regulations. More information will be posted on the MBA's Law Practice Management Web page.

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Intellectual Property Practice Group Meeting

Thursday, Jan. 14, 5:30-7 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston

The second meeting of the Business Law Section's Intellectual Property Practice Group will be held on Thursday, Jan. 14, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the MBA, 20 West St., Boston.  There will be a short presentation on "Trademark Basics," followed by a roundtable discussion. More information regarding the presenters to come.

To R.S.V.P., click here.

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Taxation Law Section open meeting

Wednesday, Jan. 20, 5-6:30 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston

The Taxation Law Section and the State Tax Practice Group will sponsor the Taxation Law's first open meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 20, from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at the MBA, 20 West St., Boston. Our guest speaker will be Kevin Brown, general counsel of the Department of Revenue, who will discuss the new combined reporting requirements, including the statute and regulations, the technical corrections, and several outstanding issues. Since many Massachusetts tax attorneys have limited experience with combined reporting (new for 2009), this is a great opportunity for an introduction. To join the State Tax Practice Group contact Rick Stone, chair of the State Tax Practice Group, at (617) 848-9360 or [e-mail rick].

To R.S.V.P, click here.

Upcoming CLE seminar and program schedule

Register by tomorrow to receive discounted rates on the "How to Start and Run a Successful Solo or Small-Firm Practice" conference and reception

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. To download a PDF of the December/January CLE brochure, click here.

This week's highlighted programs include:

  • Revised LJ On Demand WebExpanding Horizons for Senior Lawyers
  • Distressed Property Bootcamp Session I: Representing a Buyer Purchasing Distressed Property
  • How to Use the Mortgage Discharge Statute to Improve Your Real Estate Practice
  • Handling Depositions with Confidence
  • Statute of Limitations Issues in Estate and Trust Matters
  • Cost Effective E-Discovery for Small Firms
  • Asset Protection Planning for (Happily) Married Couples
  • The Massachusetts Data Privacy Conference
  • How to Start & Run a Successful Solo or Small-Firm Practice Conference and reception
  • Save the date: MBA Annual Conference 2009

Scroll down for program descriptions, dates and registration details.

JANUARY CLE PROGRAMS

Expanding Horizons for Senior Lawyers
Monday, Jan. 11, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St. Boston


Distressed Property Bootcamp Session I - Representing a Buyer Purchasing Distressed Property

Tuesday, Jan. 12, 5-7 p.m.
Western New England College School of Law, 1215 Wilbraham Road, Springfield

How to Use the Mortgage Discharge Statute to Improve Your Real Estate Practice
Wednesday, Jan. 13, 4-7 p.m.
Holiday Inn, 700 Myles Standish Blvd., Taunton

Cost Effective E-Discovery for Small Firms
Thursday, Jan. 14, Noon-2 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston

Handling Depositions with Confidence
Thursday, Jan. 14, 4-7 p.m.
Registry of Deeds, 90 Front St., Worcester

Statute of Limitations Issues in Estate and Trust Matters
Wednesday, Jan. 20, 4-7 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston

Asset Protection Planning for (Happily) Married Couples
Wednesday, Jan. 27, Noon-2 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston

The Massachusetts Data Privacy Conference
Wednesday, Jan. 27, 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Sheraton Springfield Monarch Place, One Monarch Place, Springfield

How to Start & Run a Successful Solo or Small-Firm Practice
Register by tomorrow, Friday, Dec. 18 to receive discounted rates. After Friday, Dec. 18, prices will increase by $25.
Thursday, Jan 28, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Lombardo's, 16 Billings Street, Randolph
**The General Practice, Solo & Small Firm Section Council will host a member reception immediately after the conference. Meet the section council chairs and members in an informal setting while networking with colleagues with similar interests. This event is FREE for MBA members and all attendees at the "How to Start & Run a Successful Solo or Small-Firm Practice" Conference. You do not need to register for the conference to attend.

CONFERENCE SAVE THE DATE

MBA Annual Conference 2010: Achieving a Competitive Advantage in Changing Times
Thursday, March 11 - Friday, March 12
Westin Copley Place, 10 Huntington Ave., Boston

CASEMAKER WEBINARS

Want to learn more about the capabilities of Casemaker 2.1 straight from the source? Attend a complimentary Web training session to review the enhancements and new functionality of Casemaker 2.1 from the comfort of your home or office.

NOTE: You must log into Casemaker to register for these Webinars.
Space is limited. Click here to reserve your place at a Webinar.

  • Tuesday, Dec. 15, 11 a.m.
  • Tuesday, Dec. 22, 11 a.m.
  • Tuesday, Dec. 29, 11 a.m.

How to Use the Mortgage Discharge Statute to Improve Your Real Estate Practice

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