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MBA seeks nominations for 2009-10 officer positions

Nominations due tomorrow

The Massachusetts Bar Association is currently accepting nominations for officer and delegate positions for the 2009-10 membership year. Nominees must submit a letter of intent and a current resume to the MBA secretary Douglas K. Sheff by 5 p.m., tomorrow, Friday, Jan. 30, to be eligible.

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

Massachusetts Bar Association
ATTN:  MBA Secretary Douglas K. Sheff
20 West St.
Boston, MA  02111

Or, fax 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.

To view the MBA Nomination and Election Procedures, click here.

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Photograph by Tricia Oliver
Hon. Ralph D. Gants was sworn in as Associate Justice to the Supreme Judicial Court this afternoon by Gov. Deval Patrick.

MBA congratulates the Hon. Ralph D. Gants on his appointment to the SJC

Gants fills the vacancy created by the retirement of the Hon. John M. Greaney

The Massachusetts Bar Association congratulates the Hon. Ralph D. Gants on his appointment today to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, the state’s highest court. Gants, who served 11 years on the Superior Court, will bring his vast experience and thoughtful, balanced approach to the SJC.

“Justice Gants has a finely tuned intellect with significant trial court experience adjudicating complex cases. I think his substantial background in criminal law enhances the court's collective knowledge,” MBA President Edward W. McIntyre said.

Prior to his appointment, Gants was Administrative Justice to the Superior Court’s Business Litigation Section. Before that, the 54-year-old had been a Superior Court justice since 1997. Gants’ nearly 30-year legal career includes partner at Palmer & Dodge, prosecutor and chief of the Public Corruption Division of the United States Attorney’s Office in Boston, special assistant to then-FBI Director, Judge William H. Webster, in Washington, D.C. and law clerk to the Hon. Eugene H. Nickerson of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York.
Gants is Gov. Deval Patrick’s second nomination to the SJC and follows his first appointment, in 2007, of Associate Justice Margot G. Botsford, formerly of the Superior Court.

A long-time member of the MBA, Gants is currently a member of the Judicial Administration Section Council and has served as faculty for various CLEs and conferences, most recently, the “Sixth Annual In-House Counsel Conference” this past December.

MBA urges Gov. Deval Patrick to reconsider Trial Court budget cuts

Gov. Patrick announces an additional 7.4 percent cut to Trial Court's slashed budget

Following Gov. Deval Patrick's announcement yesterday that an additional 7.4 percent cut will be made to the already slashed Trial Court budget, the Massachusetts Bar Association is urging Patrick to reconsider his decision.

Patrick called for the Trial Court to further trim down its 2010 budget to $560 million, which will ultimately mean massive layoffs. The Trial Court requested $583 million, and the MBA’s House of Delegates voted to support that appeal. The Trial Court had already in October volunteered to trim $22 million off its $605 million fiscal year 2009 budget, substantially more than other government departments. Reducing the remaining $583 million budget yet again is devastating to all courts in the commonwealth and detrimental to the fair administration of justice for all citizens of Massachusetts.

“All Massachusetts citizens are entitled to an efficient, responsive court system. These material cuts to the Trial Court's budget imperil the core functions of the courts. They impede access to timely justice while jeopardizing the significant innovations the courts have made in the last six years,” MBA President Edward W. McIntyre said.

“The harsh reality is that these cuts come when so many of our citizens, finding themselves in dire financial straits, resort to the Courts for relief and refuge,” McIntyre said. “It's simply unrealistic to expect the courts to service so many more citizens with a drastically reduced budget.”
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Photograph by Jennifer Rosinski
Lisa Damon sits with MBA President Edward W. McIntyre at the 10th Annual Walk to the Hill. Civil Legal Aid has helped Damon and her family stay in their home.

Civil legal aid in “crisis” on 10th anniversary of Walk to the Hill

More than 700 attorneys take part

The need to maintain civil legal aid funding is greater now than perhaps ever before, as budget cuts have crippled programs that are now being stretched thin by more needy residents seeking help because of the recession. That was the dismal update provided at the 10th anniversary of Walk to the Hill for Civil Legal Aid last week, which drew nearly 1,000 attorneys and legal advocates to the Statehouse Great Hall.

Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation, the largest source of civil legal aid in the state, is asking the Legislature for a level-funded budget for fiscal year 2010, or $11 million. Funding MLAC also helps the state save money, according to the agency. MLAC estimates its legal aid programs saved the state $48 million in fiscal year 2008.

The more than 750 lawyers and advocates who attended the Jan. 22 rally visited their legislators and urged they support a level-funded budget. MLAC already had its fiscal year 2009 budget slashed 40 percent. In addition, MLAC’s second source of income, funding from the Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts program, has decreased 60 percent.

Massachusetts Bar Association President Edward W. McIntyre said being amongst attorneys who care about legal aid inspired him. He also recalled the honor he felt in joining with other attorneys to work together as one.

“I’ve stood in the back left hand corner of this Great Hall with the same friends for years and I’ve listened to a thousand hearts beat in unison. I’ve closed my eyes and sensed the love that brings us together as one. I’ve smiled with the thought of how proud I am to be a lawyer and among other lawyers who seek to fulfill the promise of justice in the lives of tens of thousands of people,” said McIntyre, who finished his speech with a Sufi teaching.

The assistance provided by civil legal aid has allowed Lisa Damon and her family to stay in their Uxbridge home. Damon and her husband, Army National Guard reserve Spc. Michael Damon, struggled to pay their mortgage when it jumped to nearly 11 percent after he returned home in December 2006, and he was unable to work after more than a year in Iraq.

With the help of Andrew Park and Ray Mastre at Legal Assistance Corp. of Central Massachusetts in Worcester, the Damons and their two small children were able to avoid eviction and are currently working on securing a loan to buy back their home.

“If it wasn’t for people like Andrew and Ray at legal aid, I don’t know where we’d be,” Lisa Damon told the crowd at Walk to the Hill. Her husband could not attend because he is preparing to be redeployed to Iraq again in June. “Thank you very much; they’ve really done a lot for us.”

Walk to the Hill was co-sponsored by the MBA, Boston Bar Association, Equal Justice Coalition and more than two dozen specialty bars.

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MBA Section News

Join in the Immigration Consequences of Criminal Conduct; Labor Relations and Collective Bargaining Open Forum; Immigration Law and Transgender Clients

Immigration Consequences of Criminal Conduct: Overview of Concepts & Discussion of Emerging Issues

Thursday, Feb. 12, noon-1:30 p.m.
Course#: IMB09
MBA, 20 West St., Boston

The interplay between immigration and criminal law can have devastating consequences for any non-citizen charged with a crime. With skyrocketing numbers of immigrants being deported for relatively minor criminal offenses, it is imperative that anyone representing non-citizens understand basic concepts in this area.
To R.S.V.P., contact Member Services at (617) 338-0530.

Labor Relations and Collective Bargaining Open Forum

Thursday, Feb. 12, noon-1 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston

Join members of the Labor Relations and Collective Bargaining Open Forum for a discussion concerning what does and does not amount to unlawful double-breasting at Double-Breasting-Legal Considerations for Employers and Unions.  
Our informative discussion will be led by Andrew Eisenberg from Seyfarth Shaw LLP in Boston, and Burt Rosenthal from Segal Roitman LLP in Boston.

To R.S.V.P., please contact MBA Sections Administrator Jean Stevens at jstevens.


Immigration Law and Transgender Clients

Wednesday, Feb. 18, 5-7 p.m.
Course #: IMA09
MBA, 20 West St., Boston

This workshop will provide both law students and attorneys practicing immigration law the tools for effective representation of transgender individuals in the immigration context. Experienced panelists will discuss the legal issues faced by transgender non-citizens, including Transgender Law 101 and DOMA implications for family-based immigration for transgender clients. This program is sponsored by the MBA's Immigration Law Section and MLGBA.
To R.S.V.P., contact Member Services at (617) 338-0530.







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Law Practice Management Tip of the Week

Need help creating a strong password? Keep your passwords fresh


Do you keep your passwords on sticky notes on your wall?  Are they stored in a file on your computer titled “Passwords?” Needless to say, those are not "strong password" systems. Strong passwords contain letters, numbers, and symbols, but not any recognizable words from the dictionary. It takes some thought to create strong passwords, the best of which are based on a phrase rather than a single word. For a few password selection tips plus a rating of the strength of your proposed password, go to the SecurityStats.com Web site. Once you've settled upon a secure password, set an expiration date. The more critical the data you are protecting (such as documents and financial data kept on your office workstations or server), the more frequently your password should be changed.

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, Alan J. Klevan or Rodney Dowell.

Featured member benefit: Trial Court Orientation Forum

Gain insight into navigating your way through the courts at this specially-priced program

Specially priced at $25 for Massachusetts Bar Association members, this daylong program will feature judges, clerks and court officers from the District Court, Probate and Family Court, Juvenile Court and Boston Municipal Court sharing their expertise on a variety of issues, including jurisdiction, tips for working with the clerk’s office to get matters heard, best practices, the role and resources of probation and the role of alternative dispute resolution and mediation.

Trial Court Orientation Ad

 To register, call (617) 338-0530.

Upcoming CLE seminar and program schedule

Participate in the upcoming "Probate and Guardianship Reform" seminars and co-sponsored "Leading the Business of Law: How Lawyers Acquire Business Acumen" program

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 January/February CLE brochure, click here.  

This week's highlighted programs include:
  • Probate and Guardianship Reform: Massachusetts Uniform Probate Code
  • The ABC’s of Social Security Disability Cases
  • Managing a Court Appointed Practice
  • Representing the OUI Client
  • Effective Legal Writing Strategies
  • MBA Co-sponsored Programs

Scroll down for program descriptions, dates and registration details.

Probate and Guardianship Reform: Massachusetts Uniform Probate Code 

In response to the highly anticipated Massachusetts Uniform Probate Code's recent enactment, the Massachusetts Bar Association has scheduled several seminars around the state to discuss how the UPC's important changes will impact the probate process. Our expert faculty include Joint MBA/BBA UPC drafting committee members Mark A. Leahy, Esq., and John J. Ford, Esq., as well as Thomas J. Carey Jr., Esq., and Frederick L. Nagle Jr., Esq., who were both instrumental in advocating on behalf of the MBA for passage of this legislation.

Wednesday, Feb. 25, 4-7 p.m., MBA, 20 West St. Boston
(Course #: PLN09)
Tuesday, March 3, 4-7 p.m.,  Western New England College School of Law, 1215 Wilbraham Rd., Springfield
(Course #: PLO09)

Monday, March 9, 4-7 p.m., Mass. School of Law, 500 Federal St., Andover
(Course #: PLP09)

Join us for a review of the newly enacted Massachusetts Uniform Probate Code which modernizes and reforms probate and guardianship law in the commonwealth. The code will simplify, clarify and codify probate law and procedure, promote speedy and efficient estate administration, make effective the intent of decedents and provide effective protection for incapacitated people while minimizing their loss of liberty.

While the UPC does not go into effect until July 1, 2011, guardianship provisions become effective on Wednesday, July 1, 2009. Join us now to learn the most significant changes that will affect your probate practice. Attendees will learn about:
Estate Planning and Intestate Rules
  • Spousal intestate share modernized;
  • Child’s intestate share and omitted child shares; and
  • Will formalities and memorandums.
Estate Administration Options

  • Open estate in 7 days with informal probate;
  • Formal probate for contested estates;
  • New accounting and estate closing options; and
  • Intervivos and testamentary trusts changes.

Guardianship Modernized

  • Incapacity defined;
  • Limited guardianships;
  • Conservator for property & guardian of the person;
  • Protective orders; and
  • New reports and accounts required.


The ABC’s of Social Security Disability Cases, Course #: CLS09
Monday, Feb. 2, 4–7 p.m./MBA, 20 West St., Boston

Managing a Court Appointed Practice, Course #: CSD09

Tuesday, Feb. 03, 4-7 p.m./MBA, 20 West St., Boston

Representing the OUI Client, Course #: CJD09

Wednesday, Feb. 4, 4–7 p.m./Holiday Inn, 700 Myles Standish Blvd., Taunton

Effective Legal Writing Strategies, Course #: CLR09

Thursday, Feb. 5, 4–7 p.m./MBA, 20 West St., Boston


Leading the Business of Law: How Lawyers Acquire Business Acumen
Monday, Feb. 2, 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. (lunch provided)
Suffolk University, Sawyer Business School, Sargent Hall, 120 Tremont St., Boston

Child Support Guidelines: New Solutions to Old Problems
Thursday, Feb. 12, 4-7:30 p.m.
Suffolk University Law School, 120 Tremont St., Boston

Contemporary Alimony Considerations
Thursday, March 12, 4-7:30 p.m.
Suffolk University Law School, 120 Tremont St., Boston 


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Lawyers Eco-Challenge welcomes four new pledge partners

Incorporate the weekly Eco-Tip into your office practices and become more environmentally friendly

Drop off your used cell phones at three locations starting Monday as part of the second year of the Massachusetts Bar Association's Lawyers Eco-Challenge.

The MBA is pleased to announce that four new pledge partners have signed the MBA Lawyers Environmental Pledge.

The new firms and solo pracitioners joining the MBA's Eco-Challenge are:

  • Bogle & Okoye LLC, Boston
  • Family Estate Planning Law Group, Lynnfield
  • Law Offices of Spano & Dawicki, Saugus
  • Moschella & Winston LLP, Somerville

Click here to view the full list of 92 MBA Eco-Challenge Signature Signers and Pledge Partners.

To learn more about the Eco-Challenge's cell phone recycling program and how you can get involved, click here.


Sign the MBA Lawyers Environmental Pledge to participate in the MBA Lawyers Eco-Challenge. By signing the pledge, lawyers agree to do their best to adhere to the MBA Green Guidelines   

  Jan. 29

Click here to view more Eco-Tips. 

©2017 Massachusetts Bar Association