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Justice Roderick Ireland participates in MBA and MBF events.

News from the courts

MBA supports Gov. Deval Patrick’s nomination of Roderick Ireland as the next Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice

The Massachusetts Bar Association applauds Gov. Deval Patrick in his nomination of Associate Justice Roderick Ireland as the next Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice. Ireland, if confirmed, will fill the position vacated by a retiring Margaret H. Marshall.

"Associate Justice Roderick Ireland's exemplary intellect, poise and commitment to the rule of law make him a remarkable nomination to succeed the Hon. Margaret Marshall as the leader of the state's judiciary," MBA President Denise Squillante said.

"The bar, bench and most importantly, the citizens of the commonwealth, will be well served should Gov. Patrick's nomination be confirmed," Squillante said. "In addition to his valued collaboration on access to justice initiatives, the Massachusetts Bar Association has long enjoyed Justice Ireland's partnership in its community programs aimed to educate youth and inspire the next generation of legal professionals."

Ireland has served as presiding judge of the MBA's annual Mock Trial Championship and been a longtime advocate of the Worcester and Boston Judicial Youth Corps program. In 2008, he received the Great Friend of Justice Award from the Massachusetts Bar Foundation, the philanthropic partner of the MBA.

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Top: Family Law Conference Co-Chairs Thomas J. Barbar, Veronica J. Fenton and Marc E. Fitzgerald.
Bottom: Judicial faculty at the 20th Annual Family Law Conference includes Hon. Paula M. Carey, Hon. Anne Geoffrion and Hon. Anthony R. Nesi. Not pictured: Hon. Joan P. Armstrong and Hon. Linda S. Fidnick.

Enhancements featured at next week's 20th Annual Family Law Conference

For the first time in its 20 year history, the Massachusetts Bar Association's Family Law Conference will offer a breakout educational session and judges on nearly every panel, including those discussing the hot topics of bankruptcy and assisted reproductive technology. These enhancements make this version of the popular program -- held Nov. 12-13 at the Cranwell Resort, Spa & Golf Club in Lenox -- a must for practitioners.

"We've really tried to give people what they are looking for," said Conference Co-Chair and MBA Executive Management Board member Veronica J. Fenton, who said surveys from past attendees were considered when building this year's conference. "This is the premiere family law event for both our most seasoned attorneys and our newer practitioners."

This year's conference theme is, "Ask the Experts: Raise the Bar! Using Expert Advice from Various Disciplines to Enhance Your Family Law Practice." The conference will open with a cocktail reception on Nov. 12, with educational programming taking place all day Nov. 13.

One unique topic of this year's conference is: State of the A.R.T.: The Law in the Age of Assisted Reproductive Technology. The program, which will examine the law of assisted reproductive technology from both an academic and pragmatic perspective, features the Hon. Anthony R. Nesi of Bristol Probate and Family Court.

"It's something that's happening more and more, and it's going to continue to come up," Conference Co-Chair and Family Law Section Chair Marc E. Fitzgerald said of reproductive technology. Added fellow Conference Co-Chair Thomas J. Barbar, "the legal issues are lagging way behind the medical issues. We need to be educated on all of the issues."

Another session you "don't want to miss," according to Barbar is Bankruptcy and Family Law: It's a Family Affair. A panel of attorney experts will discuss the implications bankruptcy has on family law matters.

In addition to the relevant education programming, Barbar said the conference also offers practitioners a chance to trade notes with others in the field. "It's a good way to discuss family law cases with each other. I think that's a very valuable aspect of the conference - to share experiences with other lawyers."

Click here to register and for a full list of faculty.



Do you have a client contact policy?

Consider having a written client contact policy. A client contact policy can help you have a plan of attack to deal with the deluge of phone calls and e-mails. It can also set expectations for your clients, who may not realize just how many phone calls and e-mails you get. Sometimes, it can even steer clients toward your preferred method of contact. For example, your policy could say that phone call will be returned within 48 hours and e-mails will be responded to by the end of business. Share this with your new clients and staff and make sure you stick to it.

Tip courtesy of Dayanna Moreno, Moreno Law.

Published November 4, 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 Phil Taylor.

Upcoming CLE seminar and program schedule

Register for November programs including "Post Nuptial Agreements After Ansin"

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. 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.


Legal Chat @ Noon: Why LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter Matter to the Legal Industry Live program
Friday, Nov. 5, noon-1 p.m.
NOTE: There is no on-site attendance for Legal Chats.

Forming a Business Entity

Tuesday, Nov. 9, 4-7 p.m.
Western New England College School of Law, 1215 Wilbraham Road, Springfield

20th Annual Family Law Conference Recorded program
Friday, Nov. 12 - Saturday, Nov. 13
Cranwell Resort, Spa & Golf Club, 55 Lee Road, Lenox
Click here to view the conference brochure.

Legal Chat: What Title Examiners and Conveyancers Need to Know Live program
Tuesday, Nov. 16, 4-5 p.m.
NOTE: There is no on-site attendance for Legal Chats.

Ninth Annual Western Massachusetts Bankruptcy Conference
Tuesday, Nov. 16, 4-7 p.m.
Western New England College School of Law, 1215 Wilbraham Road, Springfield

Alternative Careers: Opportunities in Higher Education Administration
Wednesday, Nov. 17, 12:30-2 p.m.
MBA Western Mass. office, 73 State St., Springfield

Defenses to Removal: Representing Clients in Immigration Court Recorded program
Wednesday, Nov. 17, 4-7 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston   

Post Nuptial Agreements After Ansin: What Does an Enforceable, Durable Agreement Look Like Now? Recorded program
Tuesday, Nov. 30, 4-7 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston 

November/December CLE BrochureNOTE: The MBA CLE brochure will no longer be mailed to MBA members, but will continue to be featured online on a monthly basis. Online registration for CLE programs is quick and simple.

Click here to view the brochure and register for an upcoming program.



Eighth Annual In-House Counsel Conference: Doing Business in the Electronic Age Live program
Thursday, Dec. 9, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston

Legal Chat: What to do About that File Languishing on Your Desk Live program
Friday, Dec. 3, noon-1 p.m.
NOTE: There is no on-site attendance for Legal Chats.

Legal Chat: Relationship Building During the Holiday Season and Beyond Live program
Friday, Dec. 10, noon-1 p.m.
NOTE: There is no on-site attendance for Legal Chats.


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.



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Photo courtesy of the SJC.

Ninth Annual Adams Pro Bono Publico Awards presented

Recipients recognized for outstanding commitment to volunteer legal services

In recognition of outstanding commitment to providing volunteer legal services for the poor and disadvantaged in Massachusetts, the Supreme Judicial Court Standing Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services presented the ninth annual Adams Pro Bono Publico Awards to the Boston law firm of McDermott Will & Emery LLP with special recognition to partners Melissa Nott Davis and Edward P. Leibensperger; Attorney Kathleen McGrath of Liberty Mutual Insurance Company, Boston; and Attorney Alfred C. Phillips, a volunteer with MetroWest Legal Services.

Supreme Judicial Court Justice Francis X. Spina, who presented the awards to the recipients at a ceremony in the Seven-Justice Courtroom in the John Adams Courthouse, said, "As citizens of the commonwealth continue to face challenging economic circumstances, the need for pro bono legal services has exploded. This year, the diverse projects undertaken by our award recipients reflect a multitude of innovative ways of helping those most in need of representation, and we hope that these award recipients will serve as outstanding examples to others in the legal community of the limitless possibilities for pro bono work."

The Boston law office of McDermott Will & Emery was recognized for its excellent pro bono initiatives, particularly for work on Dwayne B. v. Granholm, a case brought on behalf of 19,000 children in Michigan's foster care system, the collaboration with the Medical Legal Partnership/Boston and the Children's Law Center of Massachusetts. In 2009, 84 percent of the attorneys in the Boston office performed pro bono legal work with more than half of its attorneys contributing more than 20 hours in free legal services. The Boston office donated over 6,500 hours to working on pro bono matters ranging from civil rights litigation to assisting non-profits with organizational issues.  

Melissa Nott Davis, a trial partner, who was singled out by McDermott Will & Emery for demonstrating strong leadership and commitment to pro bono causes, is recognized for the manner in which she has led large teams of attorneys on high-impact projects affecting systemic change for the benefit of children in Massachusetts. She serves as co-chair of the Boston Pro Bono Committee and enjoys an active role on the firm's Pro Bono and Community Service Committee. During her eight years with McDermott, Nott Davis, of Somerville, has personally contributed over 1,800 hours to pro bono and community service work.

Trial partner Edward (Ned) Leibensperger, who was also recognized by McDermott Will & Emery, is awarded for his exemplary leadership and pro bono work, particularly on the case, Dwayne B. v. Granholm, in partnership with Children's Rights, a non-profit advocacy organization. The federal class action suit involved charges against the state of Michigan for violating the constitutional rights of approximately 19,000 children in its foster care by failing to protect their safety and well-being and to find them permanent homes. Leibensperger led the team of lawyers and staff to obtain a settlement that mandated top-to-bottom reform and federal court oversight of Michigan's child welfare system and resolved the constitutional due process and federal statutory claims in the lawsuit. A resident of Waban, Leibensperger, who has been practicing in Boston for more than thirty years, personally devoted more than 600 hours to the case.

Senior Corporate Counsel Kathleen McGrath, who has worked at Liberty Mutual Insurance Company since 1995, spearheads the Legal Department's multi-faceted pro bono program. She is recognized for her passion and commitment to pro bono work with unrepresented litigants in Boston Housing Court cases as part of the Attorney-for-the-Day program. In one typical pro bono case, she wholeheartedly volunteered as co-counsel in a jury trial and spent countless hours to prevent a mentally ill woman from becoming homeless again. She continued to work on the case until affordable housing was secured for the disabled woman. McGrath has also served on the board of the Volunteer Lawyers Project (VLP) since 1996, and from 2007 to the present, has been chair of the board. McGrath is known as a vocal advocate for the work of VLP and is constantly striving to improve client services and to increase the involvement of the private bar in pro bono legal work. McGrath, of Haverhill, is a 1988 graduate of Boston College Law School and served as a law clerk at the Supreme Judicial Court in that same year.  

Attorney Alfred Phillips, of Wayland, has been a volunteer working on bankruptcy matters for clients at MetroWest Legal Services since 2005. After being employed for forty years as labor and pension counsel at Raytheon Corporation, Mr. Phillips was eager to engage in pro bono legal work in his retirement years. He handled his first bankruptcy case in September 2005 at MetroWest and since then has represented 106 clients, donating over 3,300 hours of pro bono time. He works on bankruptcy screenings, prepares petitions, and represents clients with skill and precision. Known as a consummate professional with a genteel and courteous manner, Phillips is being honored for his dedication and sensitivity to clients' needs and his thorough commitment to pro bono legal service. Phillips received his undergraduate degree at Yale University in 1952 and his J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1957.

Now in its ninth year, the Adams Pro Bono Publico Awards program seeks to identify and honor individual lawyers, small and large law firms, government attorney offices, corporate law departments and other institutions in the legal profession that have enhanced the human dignity of others by improving or delivering volunteer legal services to our commonwealth's poor and disadvantaged.

The Adams Pro Bono Publico Awards ceremony is one of many events and activities celebrating and building support for pro bono legal work in Massachusetts. October has been proclaimed as Pro Bono Month by Governor Deval Patrick for the second consecutive year. The American Bar Association has declared October 24-30, 2010 as Pro Bono Week.

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October MBA On Demand programs feature a training on the new foreclosure law and changes to the Massachusetts Personnel Records Act

Watch them from the comfort of your home or office

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

MBA On Demand is an innovative 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.

October CLE 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].

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Section News: Upcoming meetings and special section events

Employment Law Practice Group open meeting; Health Law Section Council meeting; Access to Justice Section Council meeting; Individual Rights & Responsibilities Section Council meeting; Legal Chat: What Title Examiners and Conveyancers Need to Know; Taxation Law Section Council meeting; Juvenile & Child Welfare Section Council open meeting


Employment Law Practice Group open meeting

Tuesday, Nov. 9, noon-2 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston

Join the MBA's Labor & Employment Section at an Employment Law open meeting to welcome, meet and hear from the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination guest speakers including newly-appointed Commissioner Jamie Williamson and Chairman Julian Tynes.

Williamson and Tynes will also be joined by Commissioner Sunila Thomas George. The discussion will revolve around the ongoing work of the MCAD and answer questions about practicing before the commission.

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


Health Law Section Council meeting

Tuesday, Nov. 9, 5-6:30 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston

The next meeting of the Health Law Section Council will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 9 from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at the MBA, 20 West St., Boston. 

The guest speaker will be Reni Gertner, editor of the Massachusetts Medical Law Report. Gertner graduated from Brown University with a B.A. in Biomedical Ethics and became an associate editor of Lawyers USA (formerly Lawyers Weekly USA) in 1997. In January 2005, she obtained a Master's Degree in public health from Boston University, where she studied epidemiology, health services and health law. In May 2005, she was chosen as a member of Delta Omega, the public health honor society. She became editor of Massachusetts Medical Law Report in September 2005, and news editor of Lawyers USA in January 2008.

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


Access to Justice Section Council meeting

Tuesday, Nov. 9,  6-7:30 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston

The next meeting of the Access to Justice Section Council is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov., 9th from 6 to 7:30 p.m. All section members are invited to attend.

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


Individual Rights & Responsibilities Section Council meeting

Wednesday, Nov. 10, 4-5:30 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston

The next meeting of the Individual Rights & Responsibilities Section Council is scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 10 from 4 to 5:30 p.m. All section members are invited to attend.

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


Legal Chat: What Title Examiners and Conveyancers Need to Know Live program

Tuesday, Nov. 16, 4-5 p.m.
NOTE: There is no on-site attendance available for Legal Chats.

It seems that trial courts are setting aside mortgage foreclosures and voiding mortgages with increasing frequency and for various reasons. With no guidance yet from the appellate courts, title examiners are at a loss as to how to evaluate foreclosure titles and identify what of the many mistakes made by mortgage lenders are potentially fatal to those titles.

Join Ward P. Graham, Esq. of WFG National Title Insurance Company and Gary W. Cruickshank, Esq. for an analysis of recent cases and a frank discussion of how to deal with the challenges posed by these decisions when evaluating titles coming out of foreclosures.


Joe Boynton, Esq.
Joe Boynton, Attorney at Law, Worcester

Ward B. Graham, Esq.
WFG National Title Insurance Company, Lynnfield

Gary W. Cruickshank, Esq.
Gary W. Cruickshank, Attorney at Law, Boston

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


Taxation Law Section Council meeting

Wednesday, Nov. 10, 5-6:30 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston

The next meeting of the Taxation Law Section Council is scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 10 from 5 to 6:30 p.m. All section members are invited to attend.

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


Juvenile & Child Welfare Section Council open meeting

Wednesday, Nov. 10, 4-6 p.m.
Hampshire County Courthouse, 116 Russell St., Hadley

This meeting is free to all attorneys interested in the practice of Juvenile & Child Welfare. The topics under discussion will include:

  • Standing Order for care and protection trials;
  • Proposal for dedicated C&P session in Hadley;
  • Permanency hearings for children aging out;
  • Juvenile competency after Abbott A.;
  • School-based delinquency offenses; and
  • Additional timely issues that the bar and bench would like to address.

The panel includes:

Martha Rush O'Mara, moderator
Law Office of Martha Rush O'Mara, Melrose

The Hon. Charles S. Belsky, associate justice
Hampden County Juvenile Court

The Hon. James G. Collins, circuit justice
Hampden County Juvenile Court

The Hon. Daniel J. Swords, first justice
Berkshire and Hampden County Juvenile Court

James Morton, case manager
Juvenile Court Department

Christopher D. Reavey, clerk-magistrate,
Hampshire County Juvenile Court Department


To R.S.V.P., click here. Space is limited.


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MBA Classifieds

Have you taken advantage of FREE classifieds?

MBA Classifieds provide MBA members and non-members the opportunity to post and view employment/internship opportunities, office share/rental options, as well as lawyer-to-lawyer services and other specialized categories.

Classified postings are FREE to members and are available to non-members at a special promotional rate of $25.

Post an ad today and take advantage of this opportunity to reach members of the commonwealth's legal community, through its largest bar association.

Click here to post an MBA classified ad.
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