Lawyers e-Journal

Thursday, May. 20, 2010
Image for HOD
Pictures from the final MBA House of Delegates meeting of the 2009-10 association year.

Photos by Tricia Oliver.

Lt. Gov. Murray addresses HOD, Judge Fein presented Toomey Award

Yarashus lauded as gavel is passed to President-elect Squillante

The final House of Delegates meeting of the 2009-10 year included an address by Lt. Gov. Timothy P. Murray, the presentation of the Daniel F. Toomey Award to Judge Dina Fein and the passing of the gavel from President Valerie A. Yarashus to President-elect Denise Squillante.

"I know what the budget cuts have meant for the courts," Murray told the audience, noting that it was important for legal services to remain level funded. He also said that efforts were being made to address the compensation for private counsel and salaries and funding for the Committee for Public Counsel Services.

He said a number of important issues were being debated, including a crime package that includes reforming the Criminal Offender Registration Information, or CORI, system.

"We know that CORI is not working as it was originally conceived," Murray said, adding that reform is "absolutely essential" for both employers and employees. "By improving the re-entry of ex-offenders into society, we'll help the state."

In presenting the Toomey award to Fein, Yarashus said, "Her judgment is extraordinary, and she knows how to turn goals into action."

Fein explained her role as the special advisor on Access to Justice Initiatives and as a member of the Access to Justice Commission. She said it's important to "examine the work of the courts through the access to justice lens" and make as many improvements as possible without significant spending.

Already, she said, the Access to Justice Initiative is using a survey of court personnel last year to create a manual that helps explain to clerks the difference between providing legal help and legal advice, making uniform, multi-lingual forms that will be available online, planning for a pilot self-help center in the Edward W. Brooke Courthouse in Boston and expanding Limited Assistance Representation programs in the Trial Courts.

In concluding her final HOD meeting as president, Yarashus looked toward the coming association year, praising Squillante's impact on the MBA in recent years, including being a leading family law advocate, initiating the Lawyers in Transition program and helping create the General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Section.

"Denise has had a hand in shaping the modern history of the Mass. Bar," she said, pointing out that this was the first time a woman had passed the gavel to another woman in the MBA's history.

Squillante thanked the other recent past presidents, then told Yarashus, "You've handled your leadership with grace. We have many, many challenges ahead. We all need to work together to face these challenges, and Valerie, you've set us on a path to do this together."

Full coverage of the MBA House of Delegates meeting will appear in the June issue of Lawyers Journal.

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