Image for Crisis in Court Funding Task Force

MBA Crisis in Court Funding Task Force releases report

The Massachusetts Bar Association's Crisis in Court Funding Task Force has issued a report detailing the human, everyday impacts of the recent budget cuts to our state court system. The report calls on the Legislature and governor to restore court funding.

Gov. Deval Patrick's FY 2010 budget slashed the Massachusetts Trial Courts budget by nearly 10 percent from the year before. Those cuts resulted in a workforce reduction of 7.5 percent by October 2009 compared to July 2008 staffing levels. Those cuts come at a time when the struggling economy has led more citizens to seek assistance from the courts.

"While it is important to see the statistical analysis of the impact of the funding crisis facing the courts, this crisis impacts the real lives of many of our citizens each and everyday," MBA President Valerie A. Yarashus said. "This report tells just a few of their stories."

The cuts' impact on justice is substantial, including consolidation of courts, reduced hours that inconvenience the public, extensive delays in getting hearings scheduled, reductions in interpreters and an increased security risk due to fewer court officers.

"This report underscores the impact to the public when the third branch of government is underfunded. I am hopeful that the contents of this report will be shared with the members of the Legislature so that they can see how their constituents are being affected," said task force Chair Martin F. Kane II of McGrath and Kane in Boston, also an adjunct law professor at Boston College. "It is incumbent upon the Legislature to allocate funds to maintain our courts. Access to justice is a right guaranteed to every citizen."

Click here to view the report.

Click here to view members of the MBA's Crisis in Court Funding Task Force.


Image for MBA legislative news

Legislative News

CORI Reform enacted in the House; Senate adopts Probation Amendment

Yesterday, the House of Representatives enacted legislation that would reform Massachusetts Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) laws to limit access, provide greater accuracy, seal records earlier and provide greater clarity in the reports.

The Senate passed a broader version of the bill late last year. The Senate version, in addition to reforming CORI laws, contains MBA-backed provisions that would grant parole eligibility for certain non-violent drug offenders. It would also grant eligibility for work release programs. Both bills will now be sent to a conference committee where the differences will be worked out between them. The MBA will continue to make the case for parole and work release eligibility with the conference committee.


Senate adopts Probation Amendment

Yesterday the Senate adopted an amendment to its version of the state budget that would reform the probation department in the wake of the Spotlight Series in the Boston Globe earlier this week. The amendment, filed by Sen. Cynthia Stone Creem, would limit the appointment of the Commissioner of Probation to a five-year term, would place probation staffing decisions in the hands of the Commissioner of Probation with the approval of the Chief Justice for Administration and Management (CJAM), and would grant transferability to the CJAM. The Senate plan would also establish a task force to make a recommendation on whether the probation department should remain with the judicial branch, move to the executive branch or offer an alternative. The MBA has a seat on the task force. The Senate is expected to wrap up its budget debate tomorrow. The House completed work on its budget last month. The House budget does not contain the same probation department language as the Senate. A conference committee will be appointed and the differences between the two budgets will be worked out.


For More Information Contact Lee Ann Constantine, Legislative Activities Manager at [e-mail lconstantine]

Image for AlLami
From top to bottom:

Top left: From left to right: MBA President Valerie A. Yarashus, MBA President-elect Denise Squillante, Iraqi attorney Sua'ad Abbas Salman Al-Lami, MBA At-Large Delegate Denise I. Murphy and the Hon. George F. Phelan.

Top right: Sua'ad Abbas Salman Al-Lami speaks about her experiences in Iraq at a March 24 breakfast, co-sponsored by the Women's Bar Association.

Middle: Iraqi attorney Sua'ad Abbas Salman Al-Lami is presented with the MBA's Public Service Award in celebration of her work as a global leader in equal rights.

Bottom left: Sua'ad Abbas Salman Al-Lami and the Hon. George F. Phelan speak about their work in Iraq.

Bottom right: From left to right: MBA President Valerie A. Yarashus, Iraqi attorney Sua'ad Abbas Salman Al-Lami and the Hon. George F. Phelan at the March 25 reception held in Al-Lami's honor at the John Adams Courthouse.

MBA recognizes women’s rights trailblazer

On Tuesday, May 25, the Massachusetts Bar Association honored Iraqi attorney Sua'ad Abbas Salman Al-Lami with its Public Service Award for her work as a global leader in equal rights.

Al-Lami has made it her life's work to advance women's rights in Iraq. Voted the 2008 Iraq Female Lawyer of the Year by the Iraq Women's Foundation, she received the 2009 International Women of Courage Award from U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and First Lady Michelle Obama. She is currently working toward her LLM in International Law at the University of Minnesota Law School, where she serves as a Hubert Humphrey Fellow.

"The Public Service Award is presented to individuals for their contributions to their community and for furthering the public understanding and respect for the law and showing extraordinary leadership and dedication to improving the administration of justice," said MBA President-elect Denise Squillante, who worked closely with Al-Lami's host, the Hon. George F. Phelan of the Probate and Family Court, to coordinate Al-Lami's visit to Massachusetts.

Al-Lami's visit to the Bay State spanned several days, during which she met with Gov. Deval Patrick, participated in a roundtable at Harvard's Kennedy School, and attended a host of meetings with key leaders in the Massachusetts legal community.  

At the May 25 event, co-sponsored by the Massachusetts Association of Women Lawyers, Phelan spoke to Al-Lami's fearlessness. "The magnitude of what she has done is magnified by where she's done it," he said.

Following her acceptance of the MBA award, Al-Lami addressed the crowd and thanked everyone for "all of this kindness." After sharing her own inspiring crusade to advance women's rights in Iraq, she suggested others to take her lead. "I encourage more women to be involved in women's rights issues."

Image for Meet and Mingle

Join the MBA at Meet and Mingle: Lawyer Writers on Thursday, June 24

Meet lawyers who are writing and publishing in their spare time

From legal thrillers to historical nonfiction, Massachusetts is home to a number of lawyers who are writing and publishing in their spare time.

The Massachusetts Bar Association invites you to a free event with a number of those authors, who will be featured in the June issue of Lawyers Journal.

"Meet and Mingle: Lawyer Writers" will be held on Thursday, June 24 at the MBA's Boston office starting at 5:30 p.m. There will be a 45-to 60-minute panel discussion/Q&A session, followed immediately by a networking reception.

Featured authors include:

  • Robert Shaines, author of Command Influence (nonfiction, SBG Publishing Group, 2010)
  • Raffi Yessayan, author of 2 in the Hat (fiction, Ballantine Books, 2010).
  • Mike Fredrickson, author of A Cinderella Affidavit (fiction, Mass Market Paberback, 2000)
  • David Hosp, author of Among Thieves (fiction, Grand Central Publishing, 2010)
  • Brian Goodwin, author of Pigeons and Doves (fiction, unpublished)
  • Margaret McLean, author of Under Oath (fiction, Hot House Press, 2004)

Click here to R.S.V.P. This event is free for members and nonmembers.

Image for Excellence
Photograph by Bethany Versoy
MBA President Valerie A. Yarashus (right) presents The Boston Globe’s John Richardson Ellement with the Excellence in Legal Journalism Award.

“Excellence in the Law” honors Globe’s Ellement, profession’s best

Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly and the Massachusetts Bar Association once again came together to present the Excellence in the Law event to celebrate achievements and distinctions in the legal profession at the Boston Marriott Copley Place on May 20.

Following a cocktail reception, a ceremony featured the presentations of the Excellence in Legal Journalism, Diversity Heroes and Up & Coming Lawyer awards. There was also a special presentation of the "Lawscars." Upon arrival, the 300 guests had the option to walk the "red carpet" and be photographed with an oversized "Lawscar" trophy. This was the second year that the "Lawscars" were part of the annual event.

MBA President Valerie A. Yarashus presented The Boston Globe's John Richardson Ellement with the association's Excellence in Legal Journalism Award.

"The MBA and Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly have the unique opportunity each year to recognize a member of the media of his or her contributions in presenting important law-related topics to readers or listeners," said Yarashus. "Richardson Ellement has covered thousands of arraignments and hundreds of trials and has developed a keen knowledge of the Massachusetts legal system."

Richardson Ellement has been covering legal issues and breaking news for the Globe since 1986. He has covered the Boston police, ran the Globe's Suffolk County Court Bureau and more recently served as reporter/editor for the Globe's Web site, boston.com.

Look for information on the Lawyers Weekly's Diversity Heroes, Lawyers Weekly's Up & Coming Lawyers, and "Lawscar" award recipients, in the June Lawyers Journal.

Image for Pro Bono Adams Awards

Nominate your colleagues for the 2010 Adams Pro Bono Publico Awards

Deadline for nominations is Friday, July 16

In furtherance of SJC Rule 6.1, Voluntary Pro Bono Publico Service, the SJC Standing Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services will present awards to individual lawyers, law firms, government attorneys, corporate law departments and other institutions in the legal profession that have demonstrated outstanding commitment to volunteer legal services for the poor and disadvantaged including CPCS, legal services or similar providers who conduct non-program pro bono work. The awards will be presented in a ceremony at the John Adams Courthouse on Oct. 27, in conjunction with the American Bar Association's recognition of National Pro Bono Month.

Award criteria

Awardees will be selected from those who have excelled in providing volunteer services in one or more of the following ways:

  1. Volunteer participation in an activity or pro bono program which resulted in satisfying previously unmet needs or in extending services to underserved segments of the population;
  2. Successfully litigated pro bono cases that favorably affected the provision of other services to the poor; and/or
  3. Successfully achieved legislation that contributed substantially to legal services to the poor.

Nomination guidelines

  • Submit a brief narrative explaining how the candidate meets the criteria for the Adams Pro Bono Publico Award. Specify the nature of the pro bono contribution and identify those who have benefited.
  • Information that would be helpful includes principal areas of practice, the number of years practicing law, hours spent on pro bono activites, other public service contributions, educational background, supporting documents and bar association activites.
  • Include up to three letters of support, if available, from individuals and organizations aware of the candidate's pro bono contribution.
  • Nominations submitted in 2009 remain active for consideration in the 2010 awards program.

Selection process

  • Nominations should be received by Friday, July 16.
  • Submit all materials to: Richard McMahon, Esq., The 2010 Adams Pro Bono Publico Awards, c/o South Coastal Counties Legal Services, Inc., P.O. Box 2507, 22 Bedford St., 2nd Floor, Fall River, MA 02722-2507, or contact Jeanne Marcotte at (774) 488-5942 or at [e-mail jmarcotte], if you have any questions.



Create a Photo Book Using “Blurb”

Blurb is free book creation software which can be downloaded to your PC or Mac. The software premise is centered on a photo rich book creation. The application can be used to create wonderful memory books of your vacation adventures, cookbooks, family histories or a book to place in the reception area of your firm. The firm book could be a variation of your Web page information.

Blurb makes money by publishing/printing your books at fairly reasonable prices. Your books can also be made available for sale on the Blurb Web site. Publication takes around two weeks from ordering to delivery.

The application is very well designed, facilitating quick integration of photos and text in a wide variety of formats. The 37-minute introductory tutorial is excellent. Watching it will have you creating your first book in no time. Viewing the intermediate tutorial (26 minutes) will have your inner Rembrandt in high gear with creative projects that benefit friends, family and maybe even your practice.

This tip is courtesy of Diane L. Ebersole, PMRC Advisor, State Bar of Michigan.

Published May 27, 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.
Image for Section news

MBA section news

Young Lawyers Division open meeting on how to hang your own shingle; Intellectual Property Practice Group meeting on cyberspace law; Juvenile & Child Welfare open meeting with Hon. Gail Garinger


Young Lawyers Division open meeting

Hanging your shingle
Thursday, June 3, 6 p.m.
MBA 20 West St., Boston

NOTE: This meeting has been rescheduled to Thursday, June 3 and will NOT be held on Thursday, June 17 as previously advertised.

If you have ever been interested in opening your own firm, partnership, or simply wanted to know about this process, join the Massachusetts Bar Association's Young Lawyers Division on Thursday, June 3 at 6 p.m. as we present three perspectives on hanging your own shingle. The panelists will discuss topics ranging from how to start your own practice; deciding what business entity to form (partnership, LLC, etc.); and how to keep the business running years later. Additionally, they will discuss what does and does not work. A reception will immediately follow. Please feel free to extend this invitation to other MBA members as well as anyone who might be interested in starting their own practice. We look forward to seeing you there.

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


Intellectual Property Practice Group

Tuesday, June 8, 5:30-7 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston

Join the Intellectual Property Practice Group for a discussion on cyberspace law.

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


Juvenile & Child Welfare Section Council
open meeting

Featuring Hon. Gail Garinger
Tuesday, June 22, 6-7 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston

The Juvenile & Child Welfare Section Council will host an open meeting with guest speaker Hon. Gail Garinger on Tuesday, June 22. Garinger was appointed by Gov. Deval Patrick as The Child Advocate for the commonwealth on April 28, 2008. Before her appointment, she served as a juvenile court judge for 13 years, and from 2001-08 she was the first justice of the Middlesex County Division of the Juvenile Court Department. Prior to becoming a judge, Garinger served as general counsel at Children's Hospital in Boston. During that time, she also directed an NIMH-funded research project at The Judge Baker Guidance Center investigating decision making in the handling of child abuse and neglect cases.

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


Upcoming CLE seminar and program schedule

Register for the "Fourth Annual Public Law Conference"

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 June-August 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.


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

The ABCs of Social Security Disability Cases
Recorded program
Thursday, June 3, 4-7 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston

Staying Professional in the Practice Live program
Monday, June 7, 4-7 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston

Uniform Probate Code Article V Update Live program
Tuesday, June 8, 4-7 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston

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

Basics of Massachusetts Construction Law Recorded program
Wednesday, June 16, 4-7 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston


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.



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

Image for Member benefit

Featured member benefit: FedEx® shipping services

Looking for reliable and cost-effective shipping?

Massachusetts Bar Association members are now eligible to receive valuable discounts of up to 26 percent on select FedEx® shipping services. There are no costs and no minimum shipping requirements to take advantage of this great member benefit.

MBA members can save:

  • Up to 26 percent on select FedEx Express® services;
  • Up to 20 percent on select FedEx Express® international services;
  • Up to 12 percent on select FedEx Ground® services; and
  • Up to 10 percent on select FedEx Home Delivery® services.

For more information or to enroll in the FedEx Advantage Program, click here or call 1-800-MEMBERS (1-800-636-2377, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday).

Valid MBA membership required.

©2017 Massachusetts Bar Association