MBA plugs second video in public awareness campaign
Next YouTube post emphasizes courts’ adaptations to funding crisis
The Massachusetts Bar Association has posted its second video as
part of its public awareness campaign on the effects of underfunded
courts. The second video in the series concentrates on the judicial
system's response to the underfunding crisis.
Video subjects -- representatives from the bench, bar and academia
-- shed light on the reality for the 42,000 Massachusetts citizens
who seek justice in the commonwealth's more than 100 courthouses
The subjects' collective insight paints a picture of the mounting
burdens on the system's shrinking resources, including its
"We are really asking our people to do more and more with fewer
and fewer resources," Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Roderick
L. Ireland said in the video.
MBA President Richard P. Campbell also spoke to the escalating
strains on court personnel. "It's a huge problem for us," he
"We have not hired one single person," Probate and Family Court
Chief Justice Paula M. Carey added, referencing the court's hiring
freeze since 2008.
The Hon. Anthony Nesi, also of the Probate and Family Court,
commented on the lack of clerks and weeks-worth of delays in
processing judicial decisions. He explains that the lack of support
services has significantly slowed down the process for citizens and
impacts the service that they receive.
"People are waiting for their decision. Their lives are in limbo.
And, we may have decided the case, but no one knows it," Nesi said.
Maurice Cunningham, PhD, JD, chairman, Department of Political
Science, UMass Boston, also featured in the video, said, "There is
a point where you just can't tighten your belt any longer. We're at
it right now."
View the video below or click here.
MBA members are asked to continue to
share the MBA videos and the link to
online resources with colleagues and acquaintances. All can serve
as resources when members of the legal community and citizens alike
reach out to legislators on this important issue.
Since its first YouTube video post,
statewide billboard launch and online resources provided last week,
the MBA's public awareness campaign has garnered significant media
coverage, including pieces on/in boston.com; State House News
Service; MassINC's CommonWealth magazine; WBUR-FM;
the American Bar Association's ABAJournal;
Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly's blog, The Docket;
Banker & Tradesman; and Worcester's Telegram &
In addition, news of the campaign has received considerable
attention on social media, especially Twitter. Follow @massbar for the latest tweets on the topic or
to join the conversation. In addition to MBA's social media
platforms, MBA's e-Journal and Massachusetts Lawyers Journal will
contain campaign updates.
Governor files FY13 budget recommendations
Yesterday, Gov. Deval L. Patrick filed his budget
recommendations for fiscal year 2013. Recognizing the tremendous
cuts already endured by the court system, Patrick recommends level
funding for the courts. Further, Patrick recommends removing the
Probation Department from the auspices of the court and seeks to
place it with parole under the Executive Office of Public Safety.
Additionally, in a repeat of his last year's stance on
restructuring the Committee for Public Counsel Services, Patrick
proposes to further expand the use of public attorneys instead of
state contracting with private counsel. Additionally, Patrick
recommends enhanced efforts on indigency verification.
Also, Patrick allocates $12 million for the Massachusetts Legal
Assistance Corporation. That is a $1.5 million bump from FY12
funding levels. You may recall, MLAC received $1 million in
supplemental funding last week bringing FY12 funding to $10.5
The House and Senate will take up their own versions of the budget
in the spring. The Massachusetts Bar Association will continue to
vigorously advocate for full funding for our courts.
Top: Lt. Gov. Tim Murray speaks at the 13th Annual Walk to the Hill
Bottom: Hundreds of lawyers from across Massachusetts attend the annual program.
Photos by Jeff Thiebauth.
Hundreds gather for annual Walk to the Hill
Hundreds of lawyers from across Massachusetts converged on the
State House today to implore their legislators that funding for the
Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation be increased $5 million
to $14.5 million in the fiscal year 2013 budget.
The 13th annual Walk to the Hill for Civil Legal Aid featured a
surprise visit from Lt. Gov. Tim Murray, who told a
standing-room-only crowd in the Great Hall of Flags he is confident
the governor will sign a supplemental budget to increase MLAC's
funding this current fiscal year "because he believes in what you
"You represent people who have been disenfranchised . . . you make
sure they are heard," Murray said. "Thank you for your
In the past four years alone, MLAC has seen a drop in its funding
from the Interest on Lawyers' Trust Accounts from $17 million to
just over $3 million and has reduced its staff attorneys by 34
percent. At the same time, the number of people in Massachusetts
who qualify for civil legal aid has jumped 11 percent to just under
"The free lunch from IOLTA is gone," Supreme Judicial Court
Associate Justice Ralph D. Gants said. "The legal problems of the
poor have not dwindled. They too have grown."
Gants said there is no way to ask for less than the $5 million
increase, which he considers a "sound investment" for the
commonwealth. "Legal services ensure the promise of justice for all
is more than just a promise," he said.
MBA President Richard P. Campbell commended the governor for
stepping up and recommending $12 million for MLAC for fiscal year
2013, but it's not enough.
"Legal service organizations throughout the state are being pushed
to their breaking point as they are faced with drastic cuts in
IOLTA funds and an ever-increasing need for services," he said.
"The sad truth is that the resources fall short of the need for
Increased funding is critical to restore service levels and
prevent further cuts to legal aid programs, as they have been
struggling to meet demand due to a 78 percent decrease in revenue
since fiscal year 2008 in IOLTA funding.
"Thousands of low-income Massachusetts residents with critical
problems . . . have to be turned away when they seek legal aid,"
Boston Bar Association President Lisa C. Goodheart said.
Without the help of Greater Boston Legal Services, Remon Jourdan
of Randolph would never have been able to fix a discrepancy between
MassHealth and his doctor that left his personal care attendants
without pay for one month. Jourdan, who is confined to a wheelchair
following a car accident 10 years ago, said GBLS was able to
convince MassHealth to retroactively pay his attendants.
"It was like a weight lifted from my shoulders," Jourdan said. "I
know it might not seem like a big case, but for me it was
The event was sponsored by the Equal Justice Coalition, Boston Bar
Association and MBA, and was co-sponsored by 30 county and
specialty bar associations.
Click here to view Campbell's
Top (left to right): Massachusetts Medical Society President Lynda Young, MD; MBA Vice President Jeffrey N. Catalano; MMS Past President Alan C. Woodward; and MMS Vice President and General Counsel Charles Alagero.
Bottom: MBA President Dick Campbell addresses the delegates.
Photos by Tricia Oliver.
HOD discusses mandatory CLE and foreclosure mediation
A lively discussion on the practitioners' views of
mandatory minimum CLE and debate over legislation to draft
mandatory mediation prior to foreclosures were among the topics
deliberated at the Massachusetts Bar Association's Jan. 19 House of
Delegates meeting at UMass Medical School in Worcester.
The first topic of the meeting, fittingly, was improving health
care quality as it relates to medical errors. "As a patient
advocate I am always open to listening to means to address this
crisis," said MBA Vice President Jeffrey N. Catalano, who
specializes in medical malpractice. Dr. Alan Woodward, an emergency
physician, consultant and former president of the Massachusetts
Medical Society, presented a detailed power-point on the subject of
transforming medical liability and improving patient safety in
HOD voted to support in principle a report of the Foreclosure Task
Force presented by Robert Cannon, which outlined draft legislation
to create a mandatory mediation procedure prior to foreclose on
residential properties in Massachusetts. The task force originally
presented the matter to HOD in November, but it was tabled. The
legislation calls for face-to-face mediation within 90 days, said
Cannon, who described the process as creating predictability. Real
Estate Bar Association of Massachusetts President Christopher S.
Pitt reported that REBA does not support the bill as drafted, but
does not oppose mediation in principle. MBA Civil Litigation
Section Chair Raymond P. Ausrotas said the section also does not
support the legislation as drafted.
A vote of approval by HOD was given to a resolution from the
American Bar Association that grants United States magistrate
judges the power to conduct any and all proceedings in a jury or
non-jury civil matter in federal court.
HOD voted unanimously to express opposition to provisions
contained in the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year
2012 that concern detention, interrogation and prosecuted of
suspected terrorists. MBA member Michael Mone Jr., son of MBA past
president Michael Mone, presented the matter to HOD.
The MBA's Mandatory Minimum CLE Task Force, co-chaired by MBA Vice
President Marsha V. Kazarosian and Christopher A. Kenney, a region
10, Worcester County delegate, provided an overview of its report.
The seven-member task force, created in September, met with and
sought input from MBA members, affiliated bars, MCLE, the Board of
Bar Overseers and Minnesota Continuing Legal Education. "The
message was Massachusetts lawyers are a very self-motivated group,"
Kazarosian said. "Many are not against CLE, just the mandatory
aspect of it."
MBA Treasurer Douglas K. Sheff gave an positive report, noting the
MBA is operating with a profit in the first quarter of its fiscal
year, new members have increased 10 percent over the same time
period last year and CLE has grossed more than anticipated in part
due to the success of the MUPC series.
Catalano alerted HOD that he is now forming a committee to decide
how to distribute funds collected for the Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.
Scholarship, which was created with money raised above the amount
needed for last year's Centennial Celebration.
For more information, look in the February
Do you have practice management experience?
MBA's Law Practice Management Section seeks mentoring volunteers
Are you a member of the Massachusetts Bar Association who works
with attorneys and law firms on law practice management issues? Do
you have expertise in law firm bookkeeping and finance, law office
technology, legal marketing or general office administration? The
Law Practice Management Section is in the process of helping to
expand the MBA's mentoring program. We are looking for volunteers
who are willing to invest a few hours a year helping MBA members
who have questions about how to run a law practice more efficiently
and more effectively.
Interested in learning
Contact LPM Section Vice Chair Stephen Seckler at [e-mail legal].
Don't document; Tell a story
In most areas of legal practice, being thorough is an important
element of doing a good job. In fact meticulous attention to detail
is one of the best ways to avoid committing malpractice.
At the same time, getting bogged down in details can be
detrimental when you are trying to market your law practice.
Rattling off 15 different practice areas when you describe what you
do is generally ineffective.
Advertisers understand this. An effective commercial will
highlight one or two key benefits of a product or service and then
the commercial will be repeated over and over again so that the
message sticks. Successful politicians do the same thing with
This has to do with the limitations of human memory. Most of
us are unable to recall a barrage of information, particularly if
it is not put into some kind of context. Stories, in particular,
are easier to recall.
Therefore, when describing what you do as a lawyer, don't just
list everything you have worked on in the past six months.
You are under no obligation to do so. Instead, decide what
you want to be known for and talk about that. Give an illustration
or two of the kinds of problems that you solve. Tell a good story.
Resist the urge to simply document what you have done.
If you keep your messages simple and focus on just a couple of
practice areas where you have expertise (particularly the areas
that are most relevant to the prospect), then people you meet are
much more likely to remember you and remember what you do. If
you communicate in the way you draft documents for a closing, you
may get high marks for accuracy; but don't expect that person to
remember you when they have a need.
Tip courtesy of Stephen Seckler, president, Seckler Legal
Consulting and Coaching.
Published January 26, 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
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
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.
here for nomination and election procedures.
Upcoming CLE seminar and program schedule
Register for February programs, including a criminal lawyers guide, an all-day MUPC conference and more.
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 session available for purchase
after live program through MBA On Demand.
Real-time webcast available for purchase
through MBA On Demand.
UPCOMING FEBRUARY PROGRAMS
Criminal Lawyer's Guide to Practice in the Massachusetts District
Wednesday, Feb. 1, noon-5 p.m.
Massachusetts School of Law, 500 Federal St., Andover
Law Practice Management Section Educational
Series: Rules You Need to Know
Wednesday, Feb. 1, 12:30-1:30 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston
Contempt Actions in the Probate and Family
Court: Cut and Dry?
Thursday, Feb. 2, 3-5 p.m.
Norfolk Probate & Family Court, 35 Shawmut Road, Canton
The MUPC Demystified Part V: Estate
Planning under the MUPC Drafting Wills and Trusts
Tuesday, Feb. 7, noon-4 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston
Basics: An Overview of the New Massachusetts Uniform Probate
Friday, Feb. 10, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Massachusetts School of Law, 500 Federal St.,
Law Practice Management Section Educational Series: Going
Wednesday, Feb. 15, 12:30-1:30 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston
co-sponsors program: Uniform Commercial Code
Thursday, Feb. 16, 12:30-5:30 p.m.
New England Law | Boston, 154 Stuart St., Boston
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.
Featured member benefit: Daily Legal Headlines
Looking for recent legal news?
Each morning, visit www.massbar.org to view the latest news
headlines related to state and federal laws, the legal profession
and the MBA. Updated every day, our headlines section is accessible
on the Homepage and here.
Subscribe to the MBA's Headlines
RSS feed here.
Section News: Upcoming meetings and special section events
Join in the Feb. 2 Public Law Section council meeting. Attend the Feb. 7 Labor & Employment open meeting on labor report.
Public Law Section Council
Thursday, Feb. 2, 5:30-7
MBA, 20 West St., Boston
The next meeting of the Public Law
Section Council is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 2 from 5:30 to 7
p.m. All section members are invited to attend.
Labor & Employment Section open
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
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.