e-Journal

02-09

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MBA showcases fourth video in series on court funding

Next YouTube post focuses on the importance of adequate funding in protecting the rule of law

The Massachusetts Bar Association has posted its fourth video as part of its public awareness campaign on the negative effects of underfunded courts. This video focuses on how adequate funding of the third branch of government is essential to preserving the rule of law.

"Adequate funding of the judicial branch is critical to the survival of constitutional democracy," Former Chief Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court Margaret H. Marshall (ret.) said in the video.

Probate and Family Court Chief Justice Paula M. Carey's remarks are also featured. "We need to be a vibrant, productive and well-managed system that has the ability to deliver the best quality justice that we can. And, we need to be funded in order to be able to do that," Carey said.

Marshall later uses the analogy of breathing oxygen to explain the value of the rule of law. "When you're breathing oxygen, you don't notice it. When you cut off the supply, you'll notice it very quickly."

View the fourth video in the MBA series below or click here.

Court Funding Video 4

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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Legislative News

House of Representatives grants post conviction forensic analysis access

The House of Representatives yesterday engrossed legislation granting post conviction forensic analysis access. This legislation, supported by the Massachusetts Bar Association, is aimed at preventing wrongful convictions. The Senate passed the bill in July.

The MBA has studied and long-advocated on the issue of DNA testing, and access, for a number of years. In 2005, the MBA held an annual conference highlighting the necessity of an individual's access to DNA evidence. As part of its conference, the MBA's keynote speaker, Calvin C. Johnson Jr., spoke of his experience of being wrongfully convicted. Having spent over 16 years behind bars in Georgia and finally freed with the help of the National Innocence Project, Johnson went on to become a national best-selling author and advocate.

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New issue of Lawyers Journal available

The February issue of Lawyers Journal has been mailed and is available online.

It features a profile of Harvey Silverglate, the noted civil liberties and academic rights attorney, on the accidental route he took to a legal career.

Also featured are news and opinion pieces about all three of MBA President Richard P. Campbell's 2011-12 priorities:

  1. The launch of a highway billboard and YouTube campaign alerting the public to the dangers of underfunded courts;
  2. Involving lawyers in plans to revitalize the state's Gateway Cities; and
  3. Problems caused by the costs of a legal education.

The issue also includes articles from the Civil Litigation, Law Practice Management and Public Law sections on:

  • The universal demand requirement and closely held corporations;
  • An important ruling in Chapter 93A claims against public entities;
  • Things to consider in creating and maintaining a paperless office;
  • Generating leads with the right questions; and
  • Lessons learned from last year's tornadoes in handling disaster recovery.

Click here to read the February issue of Lawyers Journal.

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Photograph by Jennifer Rosinski
Hon. Diana L. Maldonado, first justice of the Chelsea District Court (center, nametag) speaks with students at the Feb. 9 Tiered Community Mentoring Program.

Students hear about the importance of networking at MBA Tiered Community Mentoring Program event

Believe in yourself and connect with others who can help push you toward your professional best. That was the message from three guest speakers at today's networking event at Roxbury Community College for participants in the Massachusetts Bar Association's Tiered Community Mentoring Program.

"Everyone needs a push. Everyone needs a pull," said the Hon. Diana L. Maldonado, first justice of the Chelsea District Court. Maldonado said it was an attorney she worked with while a paralegal in the JC Penney legal department that pushed her to enroll in law school. And it was a tutorial assistant at Northeastern University Law School who pulled her toward a goal of improving her legal writing and analysis. "You have to believe in yourself. You have to trust in yourself," Maldonado said.

State Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz and Damian W. Wilmot, a partner at Goodwin Procter LLP in Boston, also spoke about the professional roads they have traveled and how mentors helped them along the way. The event ended with a speed networking session.

Now in its third year, the MBA's Tiered Community Mentoring Program matches up 10 practicing lawyers with more than two dozen students from high school, college and law school, including New Mission High School, Roxbury Community College, Middlesex Community College, Suffolk University Law School and Northeastern University Law School. The innovative mentoring program was the idea of Norfolk and Family Court First Justice Angela M. Ordoñez, who attended the event.

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MBA co-sponsors "Bullying and the Law: Policies, Programs and Best Practices"

Conference features keynote speaker Dean B. Eggert, Esq. on March 16 at Harvard Law School

The Massachusetts Bar Association is proud to co-sponsor Bullying and the Law: Policies, Programs and Best Practices on Friday, March 16 at Harvard Law School, 1563 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge.

The conference features keynote speaker Dean B. Eggert, Esq., who will explain the law's response to bullying in the cyber age, by reviewing and seeking to harmonize the legislative and judicial responses to the new challenges presented by the bully and her avatar.

In addition, conference attendees will have the opportunity to attend workshops including educators, attorneys, school counselors, resource officers, nurses, other school climate leaders and community members.

Registration deadline is Thursday, March 1.

Registration fees cover conference attendance, e-materials via flash drives, continental breakfast, lunch and certificate of attendance listing appropriate professional development credit hours. Law students may attend the program for a reduced rate of $100.

Click here for a full schedule and for additional registration and conference information.

Upcoming CLE seminar and program schedule

Learn how to conduct a civil jury trial at the Feb. 29 "Fundamentals of a Civil Jury Trial" 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.

UPCOMING PROGRAMS

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

Divorce Basics: A View from the Bench and Bar Live program
Thursday, March 1, 4:30-7 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston

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MBA On Demand

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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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.

LPM Tip

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Beyond the billable hour

There is  a significant push underway to get lawyers to bill more on a project basis (clients are demanding more certainty about how much a matter will cost and clients are recognizing that paying by the hour provides no incentive for lawyers to be efficient).

In reality, if you run your law practice like many attorneys, you still bill most of your time by the hour and this is unlikely to change any time soon.

While it is certainly possible to have a satisfying, efficient and well run practice when you charge for your time in tenths of an hour, there are also some occupational hazards associated with the time billing.

One big problem with hourly billing is that your time becomes completely monetized.  In other words, when you bill by the hour, every hour you spend on "non-billable" work may seem like lost income.

But taken to an extreme, focusing only on billable work can seriously hurt your practice. A well-run law firm needs to also focus attention on marketing, managing staff, professional development, technology and finance.

So make sure you budget a certain amount of time each week to take care of these other important parts of your practice, even when you are busy with billable work.  While you may feel like you are losing money in the short run, you will hurt yourself a lot more in the long run if you don't tend to your marketing pipeline or take care of other important management functions in your firm.

Tip courtesy of Stephen Seckler, president, Seckler Legal Consulting and Coaching.

Published February 9, 2012

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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.
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Section News: Upcoming meetings and special section events

Join in the Feb. 14 Criminal Law Section Council meeting. Attend the Feb. 15 Civil Litigation, Judicial Administration, Probate Law and Taxation Law section council meetings.

Criminal Law Section Council meeting

Tuesday, Feb. 14, 5:30-7 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston

The next meeting of the Criminal Law Section Council is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 14 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. All section members are invited to attend.

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

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Civil Litigation Section Council meeting

Wednesday, Feb. 15, 4:30-6 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston

The next meeting of the Civil Litigation Section Council is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 15 from 4:30 to 6 p.m. All section members are invited to attend.

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

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Judicial Administration Section Council meeting

Wednesday, Feb. 15, 4:30-6 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston

The next meeting of the Judicial Administration Section Council is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 15 from 4:30 to 6 p.m. All section members are invited to attend.

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

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Probate Law Section Council meeting

Wednesday, Feb. 15, 5-6:30 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston

The next meeting of the Probate Law Section Council is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 15 from 5 to 6:30 p.m. All section members are invited to attend.

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

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Taxation Law Section Council meeting

Wednesday, Feb. 15, 5-6:30 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston

The next meeting of the Taxation Law Section Council is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 15 from 5 to 6:30 p.m. All section members are invited to attend.

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

 

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