From top to bottom:
Chief Justice Margaret H. Marshall accepts the MBA's Chief Justice Edward F. Hennessey Award, presented to her for her accomplishments over the past decade as leader of the state's judicial branch.
From left to right: MBA Vice President Richard P. Campbell, MBA President-Elect Denise Squillante, Chief Justice Margaret H. Marshall, Hon. A. Paul Cellucci, MBA President Valerie A. Yarashus, Chief Justice of Utah's Supreme Court Christine M. Durham, MBA Treasurer Robert L. Holloway Jr.
MBA President Valerie A. Yarashus (right) presents Chief Justice Margaret H. Marshall with the Chief Justice Edward F. Hennessey Award.
From left to right: Hon. A. Paul Cellucci, Chief Justice Margaret H. Marshall, MBA Acting Executive Director and General Counsel Martin W. Healy.
Photos by Christine Peterson.
Chief Justice Marshall warns more budget cuts will put justice “in jeopardy”
Deepening financial crisis leaves Trial Court Department in “a moment of peril”
Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Margaret H. Marshall
delivered a dire warning in her 10th Annual Address to the Legal
Community: "Justice is in jeopardy in Massachusetts," she told
nearly 200 people at the John Adams Courthouse on Oct. 21.
Marshall, who was recognized with the Massachusetts Bar
Association's Chief Justice Edward F. Hennessey Award on her tenth
anniversary as chief justice, used the annual speech to convey how
serious the situation is, rather than chart how much progress the
courts have made, as she has done in past years.
"By year's end, Trial Court staffing levels will be slightly more
than two-thirds of the appropriate - the necessary - levels
identified for us by an independent, objective model developed by
the National Center for State Courts, the nation's expert on that
subject," she said.
Several district courts have been relocated, she noted, and leases
for rented spaces have been terminated. "The closure of court
sessions, the closure of more courthouses, is inevitable -
inevitable - if the already decimated Trial Court budget is further
reduced," she said.
Marshall expressed frustration that the courts have been hit
harder than other departments of state government.
"The judicial branch is being asked to absorb a disproportionate
amount of the necessary reductions in government spending," she
said, noting that the judicial branch accounts for just 2.1 percent
of state spending. The court department has reduced its workforce
7.5 percent, she said, greater than other departments.
"Are we now prepared to tell a woman who seeks a protective order
for herself and her children to come back next week because budget
cuts have forced the court to close for a day or more?
State leaders are saying the situation is even worse than they'd
anticipated a year ago, and more cuts will be needed.
"Here is the truly dismal news: the bleeding has just begun,"
Marshall told the audience. "The budgetary forecasts for fiscal
year 2011 and fiscal year 2012 presage more fiscal pain. Who will
bear the brunt of this pain? Everyone who seeks access to our
"I do not point fingers," she said. "As chief justice, however,
as one who has labored long and hard to bring lasting
reform to the administration of justice in the commonwealth, and to
broaden access to justice, as one who is passionate about the
importance of courts to a free people, I cannot, I shall not,
ignore that our courts are at a moment of peril."
She concluded by urging lawyers and court staff to speak up and
contact the Legislature and governor.
For more information on the MBA's Fourth Annual Bench-Bar
Symposium and additional information about Marshall's award, look
in the November Lawyers Journal.
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and other specialized categories on the MBA Web site.
For a limited time, the MBA is offering free online classified
postings to members for a 30-day listing.
Take advantage of this special offer today and see how your MBA
membership more than pays for itself in these difficult times.
Click here to post or view an MBA classified
MBA supports legislation to reform mandatory minimum sentences
The Massachusetts Bar Association applauds the Judiciary
Committee's action earlier this week to move forward legislation
that reforms mandatory minimum sentences for certain non-violent
drug offenders. The bill, Senate Bill Number 1651, would allow
certain non-violent drug offenders to apply for parole after
serving two thirds of the maximum sentence imposed. Previously, the
offenders could only be released upon completion of their entire
sentence. This measure allows authorities to consider parole based
on an individual's previous record and one's efforts to
"This action is in line with the recognition of the drug problem
as a health issue and not solely a criminal justice matter," said
MBA General Counsel Martin W. Healy.
This reform is in keeping with the MBA's long-standing
recommendations to eliminate mandatory minimum sentences, and is
highlighted in a report released by the MBA in June,
"The Failure of the War on Drugs: Charting a New Course for the
Photographs of the 2009 Access to Justice Award recipients by Merrill Shea.
Nominate a colleague for an Access to Justice Award
Submit nominations by Tuesday, Nov. 10
The MBA is seeking nominations for its five Access to Justice
Awards, which will be presented at the MBA's Access to Justice
Awards Luncheon on Friday, March 12. The luncheon will be held at
the Westin Copley Place, 10 Huntington Ave., Boston.
These awards offer a unique opportunity to recognize the efforts
and achievements of our MBA members. Often, the people who shoulder
the responsibility of assuring access to the courts and the legal
system for both practitioners and members of the public are unsung
heroes. To ensure that award recipients truly reflect the best of
the legal profession, the MBA encourages nominations from its
members, from Massachusetts regional and minority bar associations
and from local public service organizations.
The Access to Justice Awards are:
Legal Services Award
An attorney employed by a public or nonprofit agency to provide
civil legal services to low-income clients, and who has made a
particularly significant or meaningful contribution to the
provision of low-income legal services, above and beyond the
requirements or his or her position.
Pro Bono Award for Law Firms
A law firm of two or more attorneys, with one or more offices in
the commonwealth, whose pro bono activities are particularly
noteworthy in relation to the firm's size and which has performed
significant or meaningful pro bono activity or which has been
particularly instrumental in developing, implementing and/or
supporting a pro bono program or pro bono services within
Pro Bono Publico Award
An individual who has been instrumental in developing,
implementing and supporting pro bono programs for the Massachusetts
Bar Association or for a local county bar association, or a pro
bono program of a law firm, or has developed a pro bono program
sponsored or organized through an agency in the commonwealth, or
has performed significant or meaningful pro bono activity.
An attorney who is employed or retained by a public or nonprofit
agency to provide criminal legal services to low-income clients,
and who has made a particularly significant or meaningful
contribution to the provision of low-income legal services above
and beyond the requirements of his or her position.
A state or federal prosecutor who has distinguished himself or
herself in public service and whose commitment to justice and
serving the communities where he or she lives or works is
Nominations for all of the MBA Access to Justice
Awards must be submitted in writing no later than
Tuesday, Nov. 10, to: Jean Stevens, Sections/Ethics
Administrator, Massachusetts Bar Association, 20 West St., Boston,
MA 02111-1204; [e-mail jstevens].Please submit a
letter describing why you believe that the nominee deserves this
recognition and to include the names and contact information of a
few additional people who can speak with knowledge about the
For more information, contact Jean
Stevens at [e-mail jstevens].
A little bit of southern hospitality
I recently met with an opposing party for a divorce case who was
raised in Texas, and what surprised me was that he was extremely
polite. After giving the client bad news, he says to me, "Yes sir,
I understand. Thank you for telling me." I was floored.
After the meeting, I was reminded of one of my law school
internships. The owner would say, "Good night" and "Thank you" to
every employee, whether it was the secretary or an associate, when
they left for the day. It was just two simple words―thank you―and
it made all the difference. I still remember it because it made me
feel good. It made me feel as if my day and my efforts were
appreciated and it contributed to making the boss's day
This also translates to better client relations as well. Treating
your clients with respect and understanding them, even when what
they're saying doesn't make sense or you don't agree with them,
will foster a better and more respectful relationship between you
and your clients. And when your representation is over, why not
give them a call (in addition to the closing letter) to tell them
you appreciate their business and to thank them. It'll make them
feel good and it'll also make you feel good.
Thank you for reading.
This tip is courtesy of Gabriel Cheong,
attorney at law, owner of Infinity Law Group.
Published October 22, 2009
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
Featured pro bono opportunity: Health Law Advocates Inc.
October is Pro Bono
Month. The MBA urges members to expand their pro bono efforts
to help those who need legal services. Click here to view a list of companies and MBA
programs in need of volunteers. To view MBA President Valerie A.
Yarashus' letter to membership about Pro Bono Month, click here.
Mission: Health Law Advocates
provides free legal services to low-income people in Massachusetts
facing barriers with access to health care.
Volunteer activities: HLA's pro bono program is
called the Legal Network. Attorneys and law students receive two
e-mails a month that detail cases available for referral. HLA
manages the intake and referral process and is available for
consultation during cases. Many cases are resolved through advocacy
and negotiation; some matters involve litigation. Research projects
are also available for law students.
Populations: HLA represents people who live or
work in Massachusetts and are at or below 300 percent of the
federal poverty level. We have a particular emphasis on lower
income consumers, the chronically ill and other vulnerable
Legal areas: Health insurance coverage, billing
and collections by health care providers and public health
Categories: Mental health issues, health care,
employment, education, disability law, civil rights and liberties,
benefits and prisoners
Requirements: Attorneys must complete a
registration form. HLA can provide liability insurance coverage for
attorneys who do not have their own insurance.
Short-term opportunities: Short-term research
projects on health access law
Contact: Matt Selig, executive director, 30
Winter St., Suite 1004, Boston, 02108; (617) 338-5241/(617)
338-5242 (fax); [e-mail selig]
Click here to view the March 2008 Lawyers
Journal profile on Health Law Advocates Inc.
CPCS to establish Wrongful Conviction Unit
The special unit is made possible by a U.S. Department of Justice grant
The Committee for Public Counsel Services has been awarded a
U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance grant for
a two-year period to establish a special unit to support the post
conviction litigation of claims of innocence on behalf of
This funding, from the federal FY09 Wrongful Prosecution
Review Program: Representation of Wrongfully Convicted Defendants
in Post-Conviction Claims of Innocence, will enable CPCS
to create a Wrongful Conviction Specialist position to assist
assigned counsel in these cases. The grant will also support an
Expert Funding System to enable post-conviction counsel to access
experts and testing to develop the factual information needed to
present these claims initially, and to obtain court approval for
additional needed funds.
The Wrongful Conviction Unit is anticipated to being services in
Upcoming CLE seminar and program schedule
Register for the Lawyers in Transition Committee's "Author's Panel"
To register for the
following programs, call MBA Member Services at (617)
[e-mail membership] or visit the
CLE Web site. To download a PDF of the
October/November CLE brochure, click
This week's highlighted programs include:
- Forming a Business Entity
- Fundamentals of a Civil Jury Trial: Courtroom
Conduct and Procedures
- Streetwise: A Beginner's Guide to Handling Motor
- Author's Panel (New
roundtable added to November programming)
- Save the date: 19th Annual Family Law
- Save the date: Seventh Annual In-House Counsel
- Save the date: How to Start and Run a Successful
Solo or Small-Firm Practice
- Save the date: MBA Annual Conference
- Casemaker Webinars
Scroll down for program descriptions, dates and
Forming a Business
Monday, Oct. 26, 4-7 p.m.
Massachusetts School of Law, 500 Federal St., Andover
Fundamentals of a Civil Jury Trial:
Courtroom Conduct and Procedures
Wednesday, Oct. 28, 4-7 p.m.
Massachusetts School of Law, 500 Federal St., Andover
Streetwise: A Beginner's Guide to Handling
Motor Vehicle Accidents
Thursday, Nov. 5, 4-7 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston
*New roundtable added to November
Thursday, Nov. 12, 5-7 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston
CONFERENCE SAVE THE DATES
19th Annual Family Law
Friday, Nov. 6 - Saturday, Nov. 7
Chatham Bars Inn, Chatham
Seventh Annual In-House Counsel
Wednesday, Dec. 9
MBA, 20 West St., Boston
How to Start and Run a Successful Solo or Small-Firm
Thursday, Jan. 28
Lombardo's, 6 Billings St., Randolph
MBA Annual Conference 2010
Thursday, March 11 - Friday, March 12
Westin Copley Place, 10 Huntington Ave., Boston
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
- Tuesday, Oct. 27, 11 a.m.
- Tuesday, Nov. 3, 11 a.m.
- Tuesday, Nov. 10, 11 a.m.
- Tuesday, Nov. 17, 11 a.m.
- Tuesday, Nov. 24, 11 a.m.
The Long Road to Justice: The African-American Experience in the Massachusetts Courts
Join members of the legal community at this special event next Thursday
The Justice George Lewis Ruffin
College of Criminal Justice - Northeastern University
The Massachusetts Bar Association
in cooperation with
The Administrative Office of the Trial Court
cordially invite you to the
re-dedication and reception for
The Long Road to Justice
The African-American Experience
in the Massachusetts Courts
Thursday, Oct. 29, 6 p.m.
Edward W. Brooke Courthouse
New Chardon St., Boston
R.S.V.P. to Erin Sayles at [e-mail e.sayles] or (617)
by Monday, Oct. 26.
MBA section news
Employment Law open forum, Immigration Law brown bag luncheon, Public Law brown bag luncheon, Labor & Employment open meeting
Punitive Damages in the wake
Haddad v. Wal-Mart
Tuesday, Oct. 27, noon-1:30
MBA, 20 West St., Boston
Join the Employment Law Forum of the
Labor & Employment Section at its first brown bag luncheon for
the 2009-10 association year. These meetings will be scheduled for
the fourth Tuesday of each month and will feature speakers and
issues relevant to practitioners in the employment law area. Drinks
and snacks will be served
In its recent unanimous decision in Haddad v. Wal-Mart,
the Supreme Judicial Court reinstated a $1 million punitive damages
award and outlined factors for evaluating such awards in the
How will this decision affect you and your clients? Bring your
lunch and join us for an informal roundtable discussion of the
particulars of the case and what it might mean to the future of
punitive damages awards. Two of the attorneys involved in the case,
David Belfort and Rick Fradette, will join in the discussion.
Citizenship and Naturalization
Thursday, Nov. 12, noon-1:30
MBA 20 West St., Boston
Immigration Section Council kicks off
it's 2009 Brown Bag Lunch Series. This brown bag seminar will cover
topics in citizenship and naturalization Law. Topics include
acquisition of U.S. citizenship at birth, derivation of US
citizenship by operation of law after birth, and naturalization.
Bring your lunch and learn how people become US citizens. Chaired
by Richard M. Green, a solo practitioner practicing Immigration and
Nationality in North Grafton, Mr. Green earned his Law Degree from
Chapman University School of Law in Orange, California and earned a
Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Trinity Western University
in Langley, British Columbia Canada. Green teaches Immigration and
Nationality Law at Anna Maria College in Paxton, Mass.
Changes at the human resources
Tuesday, Nov. 17, noon-1:30
MBA, 20 West St., Boston
The Public Law Section's first open meeting brown bag luncheon
will feature speaker will be John Marra, the general counsel for
the Executive Office for Administration and Finance Human Resources
Division. He will discuss the recent changes at HRD relative to
review of initial civil service appointments and bypasses.
To be or not to be?
A discussion about proposed legislation
Wednesday, Nov. 18, 11:45
MBA, 20 West St., Boston
Believed by many to be critical to their business, loathed by
others as a limitation on innovation, and criticized as being
overused and implemented in unfair ways, noncompetition agreements
are currently the subject of much interest among businesses,
venture capitalists and employees. Two state representatives --
Lori Ehrlich and Will Brownsberger -- have proposed sweeping new
legislation that would significantly restrict the enforceability of
noncompetition agreements under Massachusetts law. Join these
legislators as well as Russell Beck of Foley & Lardner LLP in a
discussion about the proposed legislation, moderated by Andrea
Kramer of Hirsch, Roberts Weinstein.
Click here to view the legislation in its
Click here to R.S.V.P.