Lawyers e-Journal

Thursday, May. 26, 2011
Image for Hail to the Chiefs
Top photo:
Top row from left to right: MBA Treasurer Robert L. Holloway Jr.; Housing Court Chief Justice Steven D. Pierce; Juvenile Court Chief Justice Michael F. Edgerton; Land Court Chief Justice Karyn F. Scheier; Superior Court Chief Justice Barbara J. Rouse; panel moderator Supreme Judicial Court Associate Justice Ralph D. Gants; MBA President Denise Squillante; MBA Vice President and Centennial Conference Co-Chair Douglas K. Sheff.

Bottom row from left to right: District Court Chief Justice Lynda M. Connolly; Probate and Family Court Chief Justice Paula M. Carey; Boston Municipal Court Chief Justice Charles R. Johnson; Chief Justice for Administration and Management Robert A. Mulligan; Appeals Court Chief Justice Phillip Rapoza.

Bottom photo:
MBA Public Service Award honoree Supreme Judicial Court Clerk for Suffolk County Maura S. Doyle (center) credited her staff as being the “most knowledgeable and talented” in the court system and thanked them publicly for making “this night possible for me” at the “Hail to the Chiefs” Bench-Bar panel.

Photos by Merrill Shea.

State’s chief justices give overview of budget constraints at May 18 "Hail to the Chiefs" Bench-Bar panel and reception

MBA presents SJC Suffolk County Clerk Maura S. Doyle with the MBA Public Service Award

The message from nine of the state's chief justices was clear and consistent: budget cuts have forced them to do more with less, and technology has helped keep on top of the mounting workload.

That overview came during the "Hail to the Chiefs" bench-bar panel moderated by Supreme Judicial Court Associate Justice Ralph D. Gants. The panel wrapped up day one of the Massachusetts Bar Association's Centennial Conference on May 18 at the Boston Sheraton Hotel.

"Where we go from here remains a good question," Chief Justice for Administration and Management Robert A. Mulligan said after giving an overview of the courts' $85 million in budget reductions since fiscal 2009. Just one day earlier, the Senate Ways & Means Committee released its fiscal 2012 budget, which funds the Trial Court at $519.8 million, a $24.3 million cut. He suggested civil cases will be affected.

"We're at the point where we are going to have to take measures," Mulligan said. "We will not be able to deliver justice at every courthouse from 8 to 4 five days a week."

These tough economic times have made a tremendous impact on the Land Court, which is dealing with a large number of foreclosures, Land Court Chief Justice Karyn F. Scheier said. At the peak, the court was receiving 130 cases a day. That number has now dropped to 70 cases a day, but is expected to rise once the mortgage industry completes its reform of the foreclosure process. "We're triaging every day," said Scheier, who added that she does not believe judicial foreclosure is the answer.

Panelists included:

  • Chief Justice Paula M. Carey, Probate and Family Court;
  • Chief Justice Lynda M. Connolly, District Court;
  • Chief Justice Michael F. Edgerton, Juvenile Court;
  • Chief Justice Charles R. Johnson, Boston Municipal Court;
  • Chief Justice for Administration and Management Robert A. Mulligan;
  • Chief Justice Steven D. Pierce, Housing Court;
  • Chief Justice Phillip Rapoza, Appeals Courts;
  • Chief Justice Barbara J. Rouse, Superior Court; and
  • Chief Justice Karyn F. Scheier, Land Court.

"Hail to the Chiefs" closed with a reception, where SJC Suffolk County Clerk Maura S. Doyle received the MBA Public Service Award. Doyle is the first woman to hold the position of SJC Clerk for Suffolk County since the position's inception in 1692, and the first woman to hold a Suffolk County-wide elected office.

Click here to view photos from the May 18 "Hail to the Chiefs" Bench-Bar Panel and Reception.

Look in the June issue of Lawyers Journal for full coverage of the commemorative events.

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