Image for Sheff
MBA Vice President Douglas K. Sheff

MBA vice president to receive inaugural Excellence in Advocacy Award

Massachusetts Bar Association Vice President Douglas K. Sheff will be honored with the President's Award for Excellence in Advocacy from the Massachusetts Academy of Trial Attorneys this May. Sheff is being recognized for his representation of children and adults who have suffered traumatic brain injuries. This is the first time the award will be presented.

"Doug's representation of TBI victims sets the standard in representing the underrepresented for the trial bar," said MATA President Christopher Milne, who will present Sheff with the award on May 19 at the academy's annual dinner in Newton. A past president of MATA, Sheff has served on its Board of Governors for more than 20 years.

Sheff has represented clients with TBI since 1984. A combination of cutting edge advocacy and proper utilization of medical technologies has enabled him to deliver consistently favorable results on his clients' behalf.

Currently serving his second term as MBA vice president, Sheff is also a member of the MBA's Executive Management Board and Budget and Finance Committee. In addition, he served as MBA secretary in 2007-08 and as chair of the MBA Civil Litigation Section in 2005-06. Sheff also serves as chair of the MBA Membership Committee and has chaired the MBA Annual Dinner Committee.

"This high honor is a reminder of the tireless commitment of attorneys on behalf of their clients. Doug's example of professionalism and altruism has had an immeasurable impact in MBA leadership and the larger Massachusetts legal community," said MBA President Valerie A. Yarashus.

In addition to his professional affiliations in the commonwealth, Sheff holds the title of governor to the American Association of Justice, where he has spent more than 20 years working nationally and locally on issues that affect the trial bar. Elected by his national peers, Sheff chairs the AAJ's State Delegates and served as chair of its Council of Presidents. Sheff is a recipient of the AAJ's Next Generation Award and a five-time recipient of its Wiedeman Wysocki Award.

Sheff has also been appointed a trustee of the National College of Advocacy, which provides education for lawyers across the United States. Also, he received the ORT Award for integrity in the law and has been recognized by the publication, "Lifesavers," for preventing injury through aggressive representation of victims of defective products.

Image for FEMA
Flood photos courtesy of FEMA.

Free legal assistance available to Mass. flood victims

Attorneys can volunteer to return calls from flood victims or take on a pro bono case

The Massachusetts Bar Association has provided a toll-free legal assistance hotline and online request form for victims of recent severe storms and flooding in Massachusetts. This service, which allows Massachusetts residents to request the assistance of a lawyer, is a partnership between the MBA, the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Massachusetts residents facing legal issues due to the floods can call the Lawyer Referral Service toll free number, (866) 627-7577, from 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Monday through Friday, fill out an online form or e-mail. Assistance will be offered based on the legal question, and could include information and referrals to attorneys or local, state and federal agencies.

Click here for more program information. If you would like to volunteer to return calls from flood victims or take on a pro bono case, please fill out and return this form. The MBA cannot guarantee all volunteers will be needed because it is unsure of the call volume.

Image for Lawyers Journal

New issue of Lawyers Journal available

The May Lawyers Journal describes the state's efforts to improve access to justice, and what the most in-demand services are according to a statewide survey. The issue also features:

  • Coverage of the silver anniversary of the MBA's Mock Trial competition, including the win by a Boston all-girl's high school, and why one attorney decided to change his courtroom approach after judging a competition;
  • Photos from the MBA delegation's participation in ABA Day in Washington, D.C., including meeting with U.S. Sen. Scott Brown;
  • Stories featuring the volunteer and community work done by two MBA leaders, Vice President Richard P. Campbell and Robert J. Kerwin; and
  • A short profile of the veteran Boston Globe reporter who will be honored at Excellence in the Law on May 20 in Boston.

Click here to read the May Lawyers Journal.

Image for MBA On Demand

MBA On Demand

Unable to attend an April MBA seminar or roundtable? Watch the MBA program from the comfort of your home or office

Practitioners who were not able to attend MBA CLE programs in April can now view select programs on MBA On Demand.

MBA On Demand is a new MBA member benefit that offers you the opportunity to watch an MBA program from the comfort of your home or office, at a time that suits your schedule.

April programming now available includes:

Click here to view additional MBA On Demand programming.

After you place a session order, you will receive an order confirmation e-mail containing a link to your "My Resources" profile. Your "My Resources" profile will permanently house all MBA On Demand products you order.

For information about On Demand system requirements and how to use the player, click here.
NOTE: Due to high interest in MBA On Demand, you may experience connectivity issues when attempting to view an On Demand product. Please be patient and try the link again.

The MBA welcomes feedback on your MBA On Demand experience. E-mail us your questions and comments to [e-mail ondemand].

Image for Tiered mentoring
Photograph by Elizabeth O'Neil
From left to right: MBA President Valerie A. Yarashus, MBA Diversity Task Force Co-Chair Hon. Angela M. Ordoñez, MBA Diversity Task Force Co-Chair April C. English, U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz and MBA Civil Litigation Co-Chair Kimberly Y. Jones.

U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz speaks at MBA Tiered Community Mentoring Program event

U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz, the first woman and Hispanic to hold the job of the state's top federal prosecutor, delivered the keynote address at an event to celebrate the first year of the MBA's Tiered Community Mentoring Program. The April 29 wrap-up was held at Suffolk University Law School, and also featured remarks from Bernard Keenan, Suffolk's interim dean and professor of law.

"You want to make an impression, wherever you are," said Ortiz, who recommended staying in touch with mentors and colleagues - even from internships - because you never know when those relationships will be revisited. Ortiz first met her new boss, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, when she was as a student at George Washington University Law School interning at the Justice Department's Public Integrity Section and Holder was a trial lawyer in the section.

Ortiz advised the group that they surround themselves with people who believe in them, remain confident in themselves, utilize education as a path to success and work hard. "The bottom line is you can do what you set out to do with hard work and determination," she said.

The program, which kicked off in October, matched up four tiers of individuals: practicing lawyers and students from Suffolk University Law School, Roxbury Community College, and John D. O'Bryant High School in Roxbury. The innovative program was the idea of Norfolk and Family Court Associate Justice Angela M. Ordoñez, who also delivered remarks.

Image for Section news

MBA section news

Individual Rights & Responsibilities open meeting; Young Lawyers Division save the date

Individual Rights & Responsibilities open meeting

Guantanamo Bay: Opened - Closed, Why and When
Thursday, May 27, 4-6 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston

This open meeting presentation will explore the legal issues relating to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as well as legal, ethical and political principles relating to detainees. 

The panel will explore whether and to what extent Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, should be opened or closed, and the faculty will suggest what role citizens and legal practitioners can have as to the legal and political process. Topics include:

  • Representation of detainees;
  • The legal, ethical and political issues involved in representation of detainees;
  • The role of citizens and lawyers as to Guantanamo Bay; and
  • Selected syllabus of Supreme Court decisions regarding detainees.


Frank A. Smith, III, Esq., program co-chair, Law Office of Frank A. Smith III, Boston; Jonathan Mannina, Esq., program co-chair, Legal Assistance Corp.of Central Mass., Worcester; Buz Eisenberg, Esq., Weinberg & Garber PC, Northampton; Shiva Karimi, Esq., Karimi & Associates PC, Boston; Kevin G. Powers, Esq., Rodgers, Powers &  Schwartz LLP, Boston; Robert Roughsedge, Esq., Lawson & Weitzen LLP, Boston

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


Save the date: Young Lawyers Division
open meeting

Thursday, May 20, 6 p.m.
MBA 20 West St., Boston

Mark your calendar and join members of YLD for a lively and informative panel discussion on starting and maintaining a solo practice. Details of this event will be forthcoming. Check the Young Lawyer's Division Web page and the MBA's Web calendar for updates.

Upcoming CLE seminar and program schedule

Register for the "From Criminal to Immigration Court" seminar

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 May/June CLE brochure, click here.

Scroll down for program details including dates and registration details.

Recorded program Recorded session available for purchase after live program through MBA On Demand.

Live program Real-time Webcast available for purchase through MBA On Demand.


31st Annual Labor & Employment Law Spring Conference Recorded program
Tuesday, May 11, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
The Colonnade Hotel, 120 Huntington Ave., Boston
**Click here to view the full conference schedule.

From Criminal to Immigration Court: Immigration Consequences of Criminal Conduct Recorded program
Wednesday, May 12, 4-7 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston

Landlord/Tenant Basics and Beyond Recorded program
Thursday, May 13, 4-7 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston

Financial Implications of Unemployment: Managing Debt and Investments Luncheon Roundtable Recorded program
Monday, May 17, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston
**Sponsored by the Lawyers In Transition Committee*

Same-Sex Marriage: New Protections and New Planning Challenges Recorded program
Monday, May 17, 4-7 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston

Forming a Business Entity
Tuesday, May 18, 4-7 p.m.
Holiday Inn, 700 Myles Standish Blvd., Taunton


MBA On Demand in line

Unable to attend these seminars? Purchase the recorded session available after the live program through MBA On Demand and watch the presentation from the comfort of your home or office.

To view a listing of current programs offered on MBA On Demand, click here.



Fourth Annual Public Law Conference
Wednesday, June 2, 9 a.m.-2 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston

Criminal Justice Conference - Doing Time: Effective Advocacy at Sentencing and in the Parole Process
Tuesday, June 15, 2-6 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston


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

Image for Member benefit

Featured member benefit: Celtics tickets

New SportsDeck member packages

Experience all the excitement at the Garden from the Premium Club's membership-only area, the SportsDeck. The SportsDeck offers complimentary appetizers and soft drinks, wait service, and a high-end bar, plus a fantastic view of the action on the court or ice. Packages are available for 10 or 20 games for Bruins, Celtics or a combination of both teams. Packages start at $1,000 per person.

For more information on the Sportsdeck, or if you would like to purchase a package, contact a Premium Sales Account Executive today by calling (617) 854-8061 or via e-mail.

©2017 Massachusetts Bar Association