Lawyers e-Journal

Thursday, Jun. 18, 2009
Image for CLE conference wrap-up
Photograph by Tricia Oliver
Left to right: Health Law Section and conference Co-Chair George M. Thompson Jr., Sager & Schaffer LLP, Westborough; Rep. Peter J. Koutoujian, House chair of the Joint Committee on Financial Services; Health Law Section and conference Co-Chair Frank J. Riccio, Esq., Law Office of Frank J. Riccio, Braintree; MBA Acting Executive Director and General Counsel Martin W. Healy.

June conference wrap-up

Koutoujian encourages attorneys to continue to advocate on Beacon Hill

Rep. Peter J. Koutoujian, House chair of the Joint Committee on Financial Services, served as the keynote speaker at the Health Law Conference held on June 5 at the MBA Boston office.

Koutoujian was the final speaker at the half-day educational conference that attracted more than 60 attorneys. Conference goers chose between two tracks of programming — business or liability issues. Specific topics covered included employment issues, privacy (HIPAA), DPH investigations and medical/dental negligence.

“Attorneys can be great advocates,” said Koutoujian, an attorney himself, who encouraged attendees to continue to advocate and “teach” legislators on Beacon Hill. “A call or outreach can matter a great deal.”

Following Koutoujian’s presentation, a robust debate on medical malpractice concluded the program.

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Former AG Harshbarger decries culture of ethics abuses at Public Law conference


Public Law Conference 2009Former Massachusetts Attorney General Scott Harshbarger delivered an impassioned call for ethics and lobbying reform during his keynote speech at the Massachusetts Bar Association’s Third Annual Public Law Conference in Boston on June 10.

Harshbarger, senior counsel at Proskauer Rose LLP in Boston, recently sat on the Governor’s Task Force on Public Integrity, which issued a report in January calling for a number of specific changes to stanch ethics violations by improving oversight and enforcement. "Officials need the tools to investigate and enforce violations," he said, expressing “deep disappointment” in a “culture” that tolerates ethical abuses.

“Democracy erodes when people lose confidence that government is representing them,” he said. Gov. Deval Patrick appointed the task force last fall amid high-profile investigations, including the arrests of former state Sen. Dianne Wilkerson and Boston City Councilor Chuck Turner. Former Massachusetts Speaker of the House Salvatore F. DiMasi, who resigned in January, was indicted by a federal grand jury on corruption charges in June.

“The shocking part is that we needed to wait this long to give public officials the tools to do their jobs,” Harshbarger told the audience. “To hold public officials accountable, you have to have the tools.”

Photo:  From left to right: Former Massachusetts Attorney General Scott Harshbarger; Conference Co-Chair Jennifer Cartee, Office of the Attorney General, Boston; Public Law Section and Conference Co-Chair Margaret J. Hurley, Office of the Attorney General, Boston; MBA Acting Executive Director and General Counsel Martin W. Healy. Photo by Bill Archambeault.

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