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MBA showcases third in video series on court funding

Next YouTube post focuses on the lack of necessary resources in Probate & Family Court

The Massachusetts Bar Association has posted its third video as part of its public awareness campaign on the negative effects of underfunded courts. The third in the series focuses on the impact of the underfunding crisis on the Probate and Family Court.

Video subjects shed light on the reality of inadequate funding and resources. "Average citizens" who seek solutions to their legal issue in Probate and Family Court are met with significant delays in paperwork (affecting case processing and volume), child support requests, custody changes and the processing of deceased family members' estates, among others.

"The constraints that we have that we have to work under is making us not be able to serve the public in the way that they would expect us to," the Hon. Anthony Nesi of the Probate and Family Court said.

Probate and Family Court Chief Justice Paula M. Carey explains that patrons of the Probate and Family Court "come because they have to, and they usually come during their darkest time." 

This level of anxiety, combined with the stretched resources of the court system, does not make for an optimal experience.

"Our citizenry interacts with the courts much more than they do with the other two branches of government. If that falls apart, then people are going to lose faith in our system," said UMass Boston Political Science Chair Maurice Cunningham, PhD, JD, who is also featured in this video.

View the video below or click here.

Court funding Video 3

MBA members are encouraged to reach out to their legislators on the need for adequate funding in the state's fiscal year 2013 budget. Members are asked to use information in the MBA video and the MBA's online resources when reaching out to legislators. Members are also encouraged to share the link to the video and online resources with colleagues and acquaintances.



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Photograph by Jennifer Rosinski
From left to right: MBA Vice President Jeffrey N. Catalano, MBA Secretary Robert W. Harnais, MBA Vice President Marsha V. Kazarosian, MBA Treasurer Douglas K. Sheff, Lt. Gov. Timothy P. Murray, MBA President Richard P. Campbell and MBA Chief Operating Officer and Chief Legal Counsel Martin W. Healy.

MBA leaders meet with Lt. Gov. Murray

On Tuesday,  MBA President Richard P. Campbell and fellow officers met with Lt. Gov. Timothy P. Murray at the Statehouse. Among the topics covered were court funding, the MBA's Gateway Cities initiative, medical malpractice legislation and the recent expansion of the Committee for Public Counsel Services. MBA Chief Operating Officer and Chief Legal Counsel Martin W. Healy and MBA Legislative Activities Manager Lee Ann Constantine also attended the Jan. 31 meeting.


Campbell appoints 2012 Nominating Committee

MBA President Richard P. Campbell has announced the members of the 2012 MBA Nominating Committee. The committee is charged with reviewing the nominations submitted for consideration for MBA officer positions for the 2012-2013 association year to begin Sept. 1, 2012.

Nominations for 2012-13 officer/delegate positions are due to MBA Secretary Robert W. Harnais by 5 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 24. Click here for more information.

Denise Squillante, chair

SquillanteDenise Squillante is the MBA immediate past president and a family law and corporate law practitioner in Fall River. Long active in the MBA's Family Law Section and its associated committees, she has lent her energy to the MBA's Presidential Task Force on Terrorism, and the Amicus and the Joint Bar committees. A former recipient of the MBA's Pro Bono Publico Award, Squillante is a longtime member of the House of Delegates and a Massachusetts Bar Foundation fellow. A Massachusetts delegate to the American Bar Association's House of Delegates and co-chair of the joint MBA/Boston Bar Association Alimony Task Force, Squillante was also appointed to a legislative task force charged with studying the issue of alimony in Massachusetts in 2010. Squillante is also a former president of the Fall River Bar Association and New England Bar Association. In 2010, she was awarded the John S. Brayton Jr. Memorial Community Service Award by the Fall River Chamber of Commerce.

Valerie A. Yarashus

Valerie A. YarashusValerie A. Yarashus is an MBA past president and a principal with Meehan, Boyle, Black and Bogdanow PC, where she concentrates in plaintiff's trial practice and a wide variety of other general liability cases. Yarashus co-founded the MBA Monthly Leadership Roundtables, spearheaded the MBA Diversity Task Force from 2005 to 2007 and is a past president of the Massachusetts Academy of Trial Attorneys. Awarded the prestigious Wiedemann-Wysocki "Citation of Excellence" from the American Association for Justice for her commitment to the civil justice system, Yarashus has also been named one of Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly's Hall of Fame for Up and Coming Lawyers.

Edward W. McIntyre

McIntyreEdward W. McIntyre is an MBA past president and a solo practitioner in Clinton. A civil litigator in state and federal court, he concentrates his practice in the areas of spinal cord and brain injury law. McIntyre, a U.S. Army veteran, has been a member of the House of Delegates since 1998, sat on the MBA President's Task Force on Judicial Evaluations and the MBA's ABA Nominating Committee. He also fulfilled one-year appointments as vice-chair and chair of the MBA's Judicial Administration Section Council. Chair of MBA's Judicial Performance Evaluation Standing Committee since 2004, McIntyre is a former recipient of the MBA's Community Service Award and is a Massachusetts Bar Foundation fellow and trustee.

Thomas J. Barbar

Tom BarbarThomas J. Barbar, the chair of the MBA's Law Practice Management section and a past co-chair of the MBA Family Law section council, is a principal with the family law department at Deutsch Williams, Brooks, DeRensis & Holland PC in Boston, where he concentrates in the fields of probate and domestic relations. Before joining his current firm, Barbar was a solo practitioner in West Roxbury, where he grew up. Barbar has testified at the Statehouse on behalf of the MBA regarding family law legislation. He has also been a panel participant and chair for probate and family law issues for the Boston Bar Association and the MBA.

Laurence M. Johnson

JohnsonLaurence M. Johnson is a shareholder at Davis, Malm & D'Agostine PC in Boston, where he practices in the area of trials and appeals of complex business litigation. A past co-chair of the MBA's Individual Rights & Responsibilities Section, Johnson has been a member of the MBA's House of Delegates since 2008. A past president of the Massachusetts Bar Foundation, Johnson is also a trustee and an MBF Oliver Wendell Holmes life fellow. A member of both the Massachusetts IOLTA Committee and Supreme Judicial Court Law Clerks' Society, Johnson has served as director of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law for more than 30 years. In addition to being a long-time member of the MBA, he is a member of the Boston Bar Association and American Bar Association as well as a life member of the American Law Institute and an elected fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.

Nancy Frankel Pelletier

PelletierNancy Frankel Pelletier is an attorney with Robinson Donovan PC in Springfield. Recognized as one of Massachusetts Super Lawyers "Top 50 Women Attorneys" in 2009, Pelletier focuses her practice in litigation. A member of the Massachusetts, Hampden County, women's and federal  bar associations, Pelletier is also a fellow in the International Association of Defense Counsel and a life fellow of the Massachusetts Bar Foundation. She has also volunteered as a judge in the MBA's Mock Trial program.

Michelle I. Schaffer

SchafferMichelle I. Schaffer is a shareholder at Campbell, Campbell, Edwards & Conroy PC, where she focuses her practice on civil litigation, particularly the defense of complex products liability, toxic tort and premises liability matters. Actively involved in the Federal Bar Association and in the Defense Research Institute, Schaffer has published many articles and has spoken at educational programs on topics relating to her substantive areas of practice, discovery techniques and trial practice in general. She has served as the chair of several educational programs sponsored by professional organizations, including the American Bar Association, DRI and Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education Inc.



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Top (from left to right): UMass School of Law Dean Michael G. Hillinger shares a word with panel moderators Francis A. Ford and Margaret D. Xifaras prior to the Jan. 26 event.

Middle: Research Director Benjamin Forman shared information on MassINC’s research on Gateway Cities to date.

Bottom: Sen. Benjamin Downing (D-Pittsfield) is flanked by Undersecretary for Business Development Michael Hunter (left) and Rep. Antonio Cabral (D-New Bedford). Also pictured is Kate Fentress of the Women’s Fund and Education Roundtable.

Photos by Tricia Oliver.

MBA hosts forum on Gateway Cities

Well-attended event takes place at UMass School of Law

Members of the legal community, elected officials and other community leaders convened at the University of Massachusetts School of Law in Dartmouth last week for a forum on Gateway Cities.

The Jan. 26 evening event featured a panel of leading voices on Massachusetts' Gateway Cities and drew a crowd of about 60.

Among the featured panelists were Rep. Antonio Cabral (D-New Bedford) and Sen. Benjamin Downing (D-Pittsfield), chairs of the Gateway Cities Caucus; Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development's Undersecretary for Business Development Michael Hunter; and MassINC's Research Director Benjamin Forman.

New Bedford attorney Margaret D. Xifaras and Worcester attorney Francis A. Ford moderated the program. Both were chosen by MBA President Richard P. Campbell to lead the association's initiative on Gateway Cities.

Following the forum in Southeastern Massachusetts, the MBA expects to hold comparable forums in Central Massachusetts and other parts of the state in the near future.

Massachusetts' Gateway Cities are those mid-sized cities whose residents are experiencing significantly higher rates of unemployment and a stalemate in social, economic and civic innovation. Some examples are Brockton, Fall River, Lawrence, New Bedford, Springfield and Worcester.

Look for full event coverage in the March issue of Massachusetts Lawyers Journal.

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MBA members mingle at the Jan. 26 Member Appreciation Reception.

Photos by Jeff Thiebauth.

January Member Appreciation Reception draws crowd

The Massachusetts Bar Association hosted its second 2011-12 association year Member Appreciation Reception on Thursday, Jan. 26 at Lombardo's in Randolph.

Over 50 members enjoyed hors d'oeuvres while networking, after the "How to Start and Run A Successful Solo or Small-Firm Practice" Conference.

Click here to view event photos.

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MBA co-sponsors Uniform Commercial Code Conference at New England Law | Boston on Feb. 16

Is the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) meeting today's finance and technology needs? Is the code exploding or imploding? The Massachusetts Bar Association is proud to co-sponsor, with New England Law | Boston's Center for Business Law, a Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) Conference, which will feature leading national authorities on current issues bearing upon the scope of the UCC's article 2 (sales) and the application of article 9 (secured transactions). The panelists will discuss related bodies of law, including the American Law Institute's Principles of the Law of Software Contracts.

The article 2 panel, beginning at 1 p.m., will discuss attempts to revise article 2, contracts for the development and transfer of software, bankruptcy claims and defining electricity as a "good."   

The article 9 panel, beginning at 3:15 p.m., will discuss recent amendments to article 9, recent commentary issued by the Permanent Editorial Board for the Uniform Commercial Code and the intersection of articles 9 and 3 with real property law pertaining to foreclosures.

"This conference will bring together students, academics, and practitioners to explore current issues about the scope of the code," MBA Business Law Section Council Chair Francis C. Morrissey said. "Both new practitioners as well as seasoned lawyers with extensive experience with the UCC will find the conference extremely valuable."

Registration is requested by Monday, Feb. 6 by e-mailing abigail.p.adams or calling (617) 455-5705. Please include your name, affiliation, phone number and e-mail address.

Click here for more program and panelist information.

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News from the courts

Clerks' offices modify hours in Quincy and Dedham; Sorokin becomes eighth chief magistrate judge

The District Courts in Dedham and Quincy will now operate under modified hours to address case backlogs and staff shortages. Public access to the clerks' office in Dedham will be limited between 1:30 and 3 p.m. The Quincy District Court has clarified recently-introduced changes to court office hours. in Quincy, the court will be open for all business including petitions filed under G.L. c. 123 § 35. After 2 p.m. private applications for criminal complaints and requests for copies of court files will be deferred until the following business day.

The scheduling of court sessions is not affected by the changes in office hours and access is available for emergency matters. This reduction in counter and telephone hours provides uninterrupted time for staff to prepare cases for court sessions and execute court orders, as well as to complete filing, docketing, scanning and other case processing.

Click here for more information.


Sorokin becomes eighth chief magistrate judgeSorokin

On  Feb.  1,  Magistrate Judge Leo T. Sorokin succeeded Magistrate Judge Judith Gail Dein as chief magistrate judge of the District of Massachusetts. Sorokin will serve a three-year term as the eighth chief magistrate judge of the District of Massachusetts.

Click here for more information.




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Join the MBA at the "MUPC Basics: An Overview of the New Massachusetts Uniform Probate Code" on Feb. 10

The enactment of the Massachusetts Uniform Probate Code ("MUPC") will substantially overhaul probate practice in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The Massachusetts Bar Association stands committed to helping attorneys acquire a working knowledge of the MUPC.

Join an esteemed panel of experts on Friday, Feb. 10, at Massachusetts School of Law in Andover, as they provide probate practitioners (and those that aspire to be) with a day-long comprehensive overview of the MUPC. Topics include:

  • Up-to-the-minute news and tips from the court regarding the implementation process and procedures; including how pending pre-MUPC estates;
  • The most important changes to make your estate planning documents state of the art under the MUPC;
  • How the MUPC impacts real estate closings and title issues;
  • Up-to-date status on the newly proposed Uniform Trust code; and
  • How to complete filings and instruments using sample court and MUPC forms.

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




Tone rangers: Be certain that your e-mails do not offend, inveigle or obfuscate

How many times have you heard someone say, or have said yourself, some variation of: "I wish there was a sarcasm font?" Have you ever been regretful of hitting 'send,' because you thought your words might come off harsher than your intention? How many times have you sent an e-mail, the tone of which was actually misinterpreted? When, in your course of a busier day, you're dashing off e-mail after e-mail, wouldn't it be nice to gain some perspective on what you might sound like to recipients?

ToneCheck, a free e-mail add-on (presently for Outlook, GMail and Lotus Notes), offers a measure of insight. Once installed, ToneCheck adds a 'Tone Alert' bar to the bottom right-hand corner of your draft e-mail messages: white represents a neutral tone; red represents a hostile tone. Below the 'Tone Alert' bar appears a listing of those phrases used that might illicit, in the reader of your e-mail, negative emotions. ToneCheck reviews e-mail draft text across 200+ 'negative' emotions, but allows you to set tolerance levels and to create customized 'ignore' lists. Roaming profiles and 256 bit SSL security means that you can get your message drafts reviewed safely and securely from wherever you are. TechCrunch has called ToneCheck "an emotional spell-check application;" and, while it's not quite that (it doesn't offer suggested replacements), the description is mostly apt in defining what it is that ToneCheck can do for you.

Of course, there are things that you can do on your own, to check yourself, in combination with, or in lieu of, the regular use of a program that reads your e-mails for you -- things like the following:

  • You can, and should, re-read/proofread each of your e-mails before you send them out, as you would any other documents that you submit to clients. If it's a particularly important, or complex message, ask a colleague to review it, as well.
  • Don't send angry messages. If you must write in anger, wait an hour, or several, or a day, before you send the e-mail. Chances are, you won't send it at all.
  • Run traditional spellcheck on all of your outgoing messages.
  • Respond completely to messages. Don't skim received messages, and compose and send a half-reply, that does not address matters fully. Incomplete responses require additional follow-up, frustrate the recipient and reflect negatively on your capacity for paying attention to detail.
  • Remember to include attachments, to avoid more unnecessary follow-up. Here are some great tools to remind you of when you've promised an attachment.

It's very easy to dash off e-mails, in bunches, and without much thought; but, the use of appropriate tone, and the application of a modicum of thoroughness, speaks to your level of professionalism.

Tip courtesy of Jared Correia, Law Office Management Assistance Program and Michael Hochman, Legal Talk Network.

Published February 2, 2012


To learn more about the Law Practice Management Section, which is complimentary for all MBA members, contact LPM Section Chair Thomas J. Barbar or Vice Chair Stephen Seckler.

Upcoming CLE seminar and program schedule

Learn the effect of the MUPC on trusts at the Feb. 7 "MUPC Demystified Part V: Estate Planning under the MUPC Drafting Wills and Trusts" seminar.

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.


The MUPC Demystified Part V: Estate Planning under the MUPC Drafting Wills and Trusts Live program
Tuesday, Feb. 7, noon-4 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston

MUPC Basics: An Overview of the New Massachusetts Uniform Probate Code
Friday, Feb. 10, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Massachusetts School of Law, 500 Federal St., Andover

Law Practice Management Section Educational Series: Going Paperless
Live program
Wednesday, Feb. 15, 12:30-1:30 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston

MBA co-sponsors program: Uniform Commercial Code Conference
Thursday, Feb. 16, 12:30-5:30 p.m.
New England Law | Boston, 154 Stuart St., Boston

Fundamentals of a Civil Jury Trial: Courtroom Conduct and Procedures

Wednesday, Feb. 29, 4-7 p.m.
Massachusetts School of Law, 500 Federal St., Andover


MBA On Demand

Unable to attend January seminars? Practitioners who were not able to attend MBA CLE programs in January 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.

January CLE programming now available includes:

To view a listing of current programs offered on MBA On Demand, click here.

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MBA Past Presidents and current leadership at the 2011-12 Past Presidents' Dinner on Nov. 17.

MBA seeks nominations for 2012-13 officer and delegate positions

Submit nominations to MBA Secretary by Friday, Feb. 24

The Massachusetts Bar Association is currently accepting nominations for officer and delegate positions for the 2012-13 membership year. Nominees must submit a letter of intent and a current resume to MBA Secretary Robert W. Harnais by 5 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 24, 2012 to be eligible.

To submit a nomination, mail or hand deliver the information to:

Massachusetts Bar Association
Attn: Robert W. Harnais, MBA Secretary
20 West St., Boston, MA 02111

If you have any questions about the nomination process, call MBA Chief Operating Officer Martin W. Healy at (617) 988-4777.

Click here for nomination and election procedures.

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Section News: Upcoming meetings and special section events

Join in the Feb. 7 Labor & Employment open meeting on labor report. Attend the Feb. 7 Health Law meeting. Individual Rights, Immigration, Law Practice Management and Juvenile & Child Welfare section council meetings are on Feb. 8. Family Law meets Feb. 9.

Labor & Employment Section open meeting

Improving workplace conditions through strategic enforcement
Tuesday, Feb. 7, 12:30-2 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston

In 2010, a team led by economics professor David Weil of the Boston University School of Management issued a report, which was commissioned by the United States Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division, entitled "Improving Workplace Conditions Through Strategic Enforcement." The report has been embraced by both the DOL Wage and Hour Division, and by the Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General, and has caused a seismic shift in the way those enforcement agencies approach wage and hour enforcement.

The Labor & Employment Section Council invites MBA members to a discussion of the far-reaching impact of this little understood report.

The panelists include George Rioux, district director of the DOL Wage and Hour Division and Jocelyn Jones, deputy chief of the Massachusetts Attorney General's Fair Labor Division. The panel will be moderated by John Tocci of Tocci, Goss & Lee PC.

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


Health Law Section Council meeting

Tuesday, Feb. 7, 5:15-6:45 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston

The next meeting of the Health Law Section Council is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 7 from 5:15 to 6:45 p.m. All section members are invited to attend.

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


Individual Rights & Responsibilities Section Council meeting

Wednesday, Feb. 8, 4-5:30 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston

The next meeting of the Individual Rights & Responsibilities Section Council is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 8 from 4 to 5:30 p.m. All section members are invited to attend.

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


Immigration Law Section Council meeting

Wednesday, Feb. 8, 5:15-6:45 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston

The next meeting of the Immigration Law Section Council is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 8 from 5:15 to 6:45 p.m. All section members are invited to attend.

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


Law Practice Management Section Council meeting

Wednesday, Feb. 8, 5:15-6:45 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston

The next meeting of the Law Practice Management Section Council is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 8 from 5:15 to 6:45 p.m. All section members are invited to attend.

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


Juvenile & Child Welfare Section Council meeting

Wednesday, Feb. 8, 5:30-7 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston

The next meeting of the Juvenile & Child Welfare Section Council is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 8 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. All section members are invited to attend.

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


Family Law Section Council meeting

Thursday, Feb. 9, 5:15-6:45 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston

The next meeting of the Family Law Section Council is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 9 from 5:15 to 6:45 p.m. All section members are invited to attend.

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


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Need conference room facilities?

Take advantage of your MBA membership and rent an MBA conference room today.

MBA members may rent conference rooms at our headquarters in Boston's Downtown Crossing or at the MBA's satellite Western Mass. office in Springfield, located directly across from the Hampden County Courthouse. Both locations are equipped with complete audio-visual capabilities, comfortable accommodations and other practice-centered amenities and conveniences.

Click here to download a room reservation form.

Questions? Contact MBA Member Services at (617) 338-0530.

©2017 Massachusetts Bar Association