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Legislative News

The MBA files brief in appeal of REBA v. N.R.E.I.S decision

The Massachusetts Bar Association filed an amicus curiae brief in the United States Court of Appeals in support of the Real Estate Bar Association (REBA), which is appealing the April 2009 ruling of Judge Joseph L. Tauro's decision in Real Estate Bar Association for Massachusetts v. National Real Estate Information Services, Inc. (NREIS).  

REBA brought suit against NREIS arguing that the defendants engaged in the unauthorized practice of law by performing real estate conveyances and issuing title insurance. In his ruling, Tauro sided with NREIS limiting the role of lawyers in residential real estate closings. He also sided with NREIS in their counterclaim that REBA's interpretation of the unauthorized practice of law issue violates the United States Constitution's Dormant Commerce Clause, and awarded fees and costs to NREIS totaling over $900,000.

The MBA believes that due to its order granting summary judgment for the defendants, the district court adopted a definition of the practice of law which is contrary to the policy of the commonwealth.

Although the MBA's arguments centered on support of REBA's claim that Tauro erred in his determination that NREIS is not engaged in the unauthorized practice of law, the MBA also supports the appeal of Tauro's order on legal fees. The MBA believes that the REBA suit was not state action and the imposition of liability on REBA under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 penalizes the free exercise of the constitutionally protected right to bring reasonably based claims for judicial relief.

Click here to see the MBA's amicus curiae brief in Real Estate Bar Association v. National Real Estate Information Services, Inc.

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From top to bottom: Patti A. Prunhuber of Legal Assistance Corp. of Central Massachusetts; Thomas E. Kosman of South Coastal Counties Legal Services Inc.; Michael P. Angelini of Bowditch & Dewey LLP; Beth L. Eisenberg of Committee for Public Counsel Services; Michael C. Connolly of the Norfolk County District Attorney's office; Fish & Richardson PC of Boston.

Photo of Prunhuber by Merrill Shea. All other photos by Jeff Thiebauth.

Access to Justice award winners announced

Reserve a table or buy a ticket for the Access to Justice Awards Luncheon on March 12

Five attorneys and one law firm will be honored at the Massachusetts Bar Association's Access to Justice luncheon on Friday, March 12, as part of the MBA Annual Conference 2010.

The Access to Justice awards are bestowed upon those attorneys and law firms dedicated to helping others and enhancing the legal profession.

"The MBA has the distinct honor of recognizing Massachusetts attorneys who selflessly devote their expertise and energy to represent the most vulnerable of our citizens," said MBA President Valerie A. Yarashus, who designated access to justice as a prominent theme of her presidential term.

This year's honorees include:

  • Patti A. Prunhuber
    Legal Services Award
    Legal Assistance Corp. of Central Massachusetts, Worcester
  • Thomas E. Kosman
    Legal Services Award
    South Coastal Counties Legal Services Inc., Hyannis
  • Michael P. Angelini
    Pro Bono Publico Award
    Bowditch & Dewey LLP, Worcester
  • Beth L. Eisenberg
    Defender Award
    Committee for Public Counsel Services, Somerville
  • Michael C. Connolly
    Prosecutor Award
    Norfolk County District Attorney, Norfolk
  • Fish & Richardson PC Boston
    Pro Bono Award for Law Firms

Individual table reservation and sponsorship opportunities are now available. Reservations must be submitted by Friday, March 5.

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: $1,500
    Includes: Luncheon table for 10, 1/4-page ad and firm name listed in the luncheon program, and logo projected behind the podium.
  • Friend: $1,200
    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

Special pricing for judges, government attorneys and legal services attorneys:

  • Individual tickets: $80
  • Tables for 10: $800

For a reservation form, click here. To register online, click here. For more information, contact Member Services at (617) 338-0530.

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MBA section news

Juvenile & Child Welfare open meeting; Municipal Tax & State Tax Practice Groups; Public Law Section Council open meeting

Juvenile & Child Welfare open meeting

Wednesday, March 10, 5:30-7 p.m.
Legal Assistance Corporation of Central Mass., 405 Main St., Worcester

The Juvenile & Child Welfare Section Council is hosting an open meeting and all section members are invited to attend. The guest speaker will be Valerie Lovelace Graham, regional director for Central Massachusetts Department of Children and Families. Graham will speak on a range of topics including permanency for aging out youth.

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


Municipal Tax and State Tax Practice Groups

Thursday, March 4, 5-6:30 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston

The Municipal Tax Practice Group and State Tax Practice Group are sponsoring a joint open meeting featuring guest speaker Thomas W. Hammond Jr., chairman of The Appellate Tax Board. Please save this date - more information regarding this meeting will be announced in the future.

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


Public Law Section Council
open meeting

Tuesday, March 9, 5:30-7 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston

Senate Counsel Alice Moore and Administration and Finance Counsel David Sullivan will discuss the legislative process and how public attorneys can effectively interact with counsel at the state house. Attorneys Moore and Sullivan will review the "mysteries" of the legislative and executive branches as to how a bill advances on the hill, from filing to committee assignment, committee hearings, votes by the two branches of the legislature, reconciliation, final passage and approval by the governor. They will give pointers on pitfalls to avoid when drafting legislation, effective presentations to legislative committees, and how to assist your clients in the legislative process. They will also review the procedures and pitfalls for requesting special legislation for cities and towns, and discuss policies and executive orders that affect special legislation.

To R.S.V.P, click here.
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MBA co-sponsored event

Attend a reception to congratulate new Massachusetts U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz

Join the Federal Bar Association, Massachusetts Bar Association, other commonwealth bar associations and Chief Judge Mark L. Wolf at a reception to congratulate

Carmen M. Ortiz

as the new U.S. Attorney for
the District of Massachusetts

John Joseph Moakley Federal Courthouse
Jury Assembly Room
Monday, March 1, 2010, 4:30-6 p.m.

R.S.V.P. by Friday, Feb 26 to Kenney & Sams PC
Attn: Charlene Cox
[e-mail cmcox]
(617) 722-6045



Managing IOLTA checks and deposit slips

Try ordering your IOLTA checks in red to flag them as IOLTA. On the front of the deposit slip booklets (that all look identical) put red labels on the IOLTAs and green on the business slips. This way, even though the accounts are labeled on the checks, there's an additional safe guard in place to make sure you know which check or deposit slip you are using. You can never be too careful when it comes to safeguarding client funds.

Published February 25, 2010


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.

Upcoming CLE seminar and program schedule

Register for the "Business Development: The Art of Networking" luncheon roundtable

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 February/March CLE brochure, click here.

MediaSite updated without JanThis week's highlighted programs include:

  • Business Development: The Art of Networking, sponsored by the Lawyers in Transition Committee
  • Probate/Property Series Part II: Petition to Partition - A Probate & Property Perspective
  • Basics of Developing an Estate Plan
  • MBA Annual Conference 2010
  • Casemaker Webinars

Scroll down for program descriptions, dates and registration details.


Business Development: The Art of Networking
** Sponsored by the Lawyers in Transition Committee
Monday, March 1, 11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston

Probate/Property Series Part II: Petition to Partition - A Probate & Property Perspective
Tuesday, March 2, 4 - 7 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston

Basics of Developing an Estate Plan
Wednesday, March 3, 4 - 7 p.m.
Massachusetts School of Law, 500 Federal St., Andover

MBA Annual Conference 2010

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

The conference will include the MBA Gala Dinner on Thursday, March 11 featuring a keynote address from Morris Dees, founder and lead trial counsel for the Southern Poverty Law Center and the presentation of the MBA's Legislator of the Year Award to Massachusetts State Sen. Cynthia Stone Creem.

Annual Conference 2010's CLE programming will include plenary sessions as well as two continuous tracks on law practice management and recent developments. The Access to Justice Awards Luncheon will be held on Friday, March 12. Click here to learn how to earn credit on Massachusetts professional liability insurance and a full conference schedule, including a new plenary session on how to Protect Your Firm and Client Information: Compliance with the New Massachusetts Data Privacy Laws.

To register for the conference, click here. For a full conference schedule and more information on table reservations and sponsorship opportunities, click here or call (617)-338-0530.


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

  • Tuesday, March 2, 11 a.m.
  • Tuesday, March 16, 11 a.m.
  • Tuesday, March 30, 11 a.m.

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

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