Lawyers e-Journal

Thursday, Jun. 23, 2011
Image for June Conferences
Photograph by Marc D'Antonio
From left to right: Labor & Employment Conference Co-Chair Christina L. Montgomery, Keynote Speaker Associate Justice Ralph D. Gants of the Supreme Judicial Court, Labor & Employment Conference Co-Chair Sheryl D. Eisenberg.

June conferences provide overviews and updates in Labor & Employment, Public and Health Law

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Judge Gants provides inside view of SJC at labor conference

Supreme Judicial Court Associate Justice Ralph D. Gants delivered the keynote address at the 32nd Annual Labor & Employment Law Spring conference, giving attendees an inside view of the workings at the state's highest court.

The conference was held June 6 at the Colonnade Hotel in Boston, featured a daylong series of programs, followed by an afternoon reception co-sponsored by the General Practice, Solo & Small Firm Section.

Aside from an occasional reference to budget calamities, Gants focused on explaining the caseload, schedule and responsibilities of the justices. He said that the weekend before a sitting, justices are reading roughly 3,000 pages of briefs for between 16 and 20 cases they're considering hearing. A "reciting judge" will lead the discussion on an individual case and make recommendations to the group, though he noted that it is the practice of the current SJC for every justice to read up on each case.

Gants described the ways in which cases make it before the SJC, including further appellate review and direct appellate review, sua sponte cases in matters of "significant" legal consequence, and cases by right - including first degree murder cases. "Friday is murder day at the SJC. It can be quite a grisly day."

One audience member asked why there's been so little guidance from the SJC on noncompete issues.

"I know full well how little guidance there is on noncompetes," Gants said, noting that it was one of the reasons the Business Litigation Session was created. "We're not running from noncompete cases, but in general, they just don't get (to the SJC)."

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Fifth Annual Public Law Conference

Fifth Annual Public Law ConferenceMark A. Reilly, chief legal counsel to Gov. Deval Patrick, highlighted the Fifth Annual Public Law Conference on June 16 at the MBA's Boston headquarters. Reilly's keynote address presented the packed conference with an overview of his duties, including the office's role in the judicial nomination process.

Reilly, who first met Patrick when the governor was one of his professors at Boston College Law School, said his job is to be a facilitator. Reilly said his office helps draft and review, makes recommendations on which side of an issue the governor should stand, supports the administration's priorities and oversees the process of selecting judicial candidates.

In addition to Reilly's remarks, the conference featured the latest developments in public law. Attendees heard from representatives from the Division of Open Government, Office of the Attorney General, the state Operational Service Division, the Public Records Division, and the Office of the Secretary of State. The conference was co-sponsored by the City Solicitors & Town Counsel Association of Massachusetts.

Right: Gov. Deval Patrick's Chief Legal Counsel Mark A. Reilly delivers the keynote address at Public Law Conference on June 16. Photo by Jennifer Rosinski.

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Affordable Health Care Act reforms top 2011 Health Law Conference discussion

2011 Health Law Conference2011 Health Law Conference Keynote Speaker John E. McDonough capped off the June 22 conference with an overview of the Affordable Care Act, a bill signed by President Barack Obama in March 2010, which is set to provide new health care rights and benefits for Americans. McDonough, a professor of Public Health Practice and the director of the Center for Public Health Leadership at Harvard School of Public Health, began his review of the Affordable Care Act by polling conference attendees on both their understanding of the act's reforms and whether or not they were pleased the act had passed.

"I look at the affordable care act [when trying to explain it] as a statue unto itself," said McDonough, who broke the act into 10 titles and explained how reforms within each title will impact the healthcare system and Americans. "[The Affordable Health Care Act] is huge in what it attempts to do."

Health Law Conference attendees also took part in a Health Law Career Panel and lively discussions on Accountable Car Organizations and issues of access, confidentiality and privilege with Medical Peer Review.

Right: Health Law Keynote Speaker John E. McDonough, D.P.H., M.P.A., professor of Public Health Practice and director, Center for Public Health Leadership at Harvard School of Public Health, outlines Affordable Care Act reforms. Photo by Kelsey Sadoff.

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