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Legislative News

Habitual Offender Bill heads to the Senate

Following House approval yesterday, the Senate is today expected to take up long-awaited habitual offender legislation.

The compromise was brokered over eight months by a joint conference committee of the House and Senate, charged with negotiating the differences between the bills passed by both branches in late 2011. The compromise language calls for a reduction in school zones from 1,000 to 300 feet, which the Massachusetts Bar Association supports. It also alters mandatory minimum sentences for certain non-violent drug offenses by raising drug amounts and lowering some of the sentences -- but falls short of the additional mandatory minimum reform being sought by the MBA and many others. Several key legislators have indicated their desire to revisit mandatory minimum sentences in the new legislative session beginning in January including House Judiciary Chairman and Conference Committee Co-Chair Rep. Gene O'Flaherty (D-Chelsea), Rep. David Linsky (D-Natick) and Rep. Brad Hill (R-Ipswich) as well as Gov. Deval L. Patrick.

The habitual offender piece of the bill covers approximately 40 crimes. Felons sentenced for at least three years for one of the qualifying crimes would trigger the three strikes provisions. For felons serving two life sentences or for felons who get a third strike, parole eligibility will be eliminated.

Following the anticipated passage by the Senate today, the bill will head to Patrick's desk. In an appearance on WHBH's Greater Boston, Patrick said "It is not a bad bill, it's just not as good as it could have been."

To see the conference committee's report, click here.


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Featured member benefit: Casemaker upgrade provides state-of-the-art search capabilities

Belong to the MBA and save hundreds of dollars every month on legal research

Casemaker has released the newest version of its legal research software, which provides users with state-of-the-art search capabilities and more.

Unlimited Casemaker use is provided to you FREE as a member of the Massachusetts Bar Association, which saves you hundreds of dollars every month in legal research.

New Casemaker features include:

  • A Universal Search Bar: The Casemaker search bar appears at the top of every page, for your convenience.  Modeled after Google's familiar search, Casemaker now allows for faster search results via a more intuitive interface.
  • Organization: Casemaker offers a personalized search history, which allows you to save and reuse your research.
  • Consolidation: You can save research in folders organized your way.

To access Casemaker, go to www.massbar.org/Casemaker.

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Tell us why you belong to the MBA

Criminal Justice Section Vice Chair Natarajan has developed strong relationships as an MBA member. Share your story.

Engaging conferences. Inspiring pro bono work. Welcoming networking events. You belong here, at the Massachusetts Bar Association.

Tell us why YOU belong. E-mail us at ibelong to share your story and be entered to win a FREE 2013-2014 MBA membership. E-mails must be received by Dec. 31, 2012. A winner will be selected on Jan. 14, 2013.

The MBA offers the legal community a wide array of professional development and volunteer opportunities.See why others belong.


NOTE: All testimonials shared by e-mail, mail and phone may be published in various MBA publications, posted on the MBA web site and its social media platforms, printed on marketing materials and used in advertising or for other related endeavors.

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YLD hosts final 2011-12 networking event on the Boston waterfront


Members of the Massachusetts Bar Association's Young Lawyers Division gathered for a final 2011-12 association year networking reception on July 12 at M.J. O'Connors Irish Pub at the Westin Boston Waterfront.

The event provided attendees with an opportunity to mingle with fellow attorneys and members of the bar.

Click here to view event images.



Go on vacation and shut off your smartphone

In my last LPM Tip, I wrote about the importance of keeping up your marketing momentum during the summer months. While it is true that you do not want to start the fall season with zero momentum, summer is also a great time to take breaks and enjoy the limited months of good weather that we have in the Northeast. Your brain also needs a rest.

One of the great things about mobile technology is that we can physically leave the office but still keep in touch. At the same time, 24/7 connectivity is a terrible occupational hazard for most professionals. Vacation is supposed to be a time to enjoy yourself and recharge. Summer is a great time to do that (at least for a portion of the summer).

But if you go on vacation and constantly check your e-mail and voicemail, you are depriving yourself of an important mental break from your work.

For those of you who run your own practice and do not have anyone covering for you, then it may not be possible to ignore messages for several weeks; however do not underestimate the value of shutting your phone off for a day or two or at the very least, only checking your messages at the end of the day.

Law is a stressful business and your mind needs a chance to rest. In fact taking breaks throughout the year will enable you to better handle the pressures that come with representing clients in difficult situations (i.e. it will make you a better lawyer).

So take a break, shut off your phone and enjoy the outdoors. Especially if the temperature ever drops below 90°.

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

Published July 19, 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.
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News from the courts

SJC approves amendments to Rules 14 & 23 of the Mass. Rules of Criminal Procedure; SJC amends Rule 1:19


SJC approves amendments to Rules 14 & 23 of the Mass. Rules of Criminal Procedure

The Supreme Judicial Court has approved changes to the Rules 14 and 23 of the Massachusetts Rules of Criminal Procedure effective Sept. 17, 2012.

Click here to view the changes.


SJC amends Rule 1:19

The Supreme Judicial Court has approved changes to Rule 1:19 effective Sept. 17, 2012.

Click here to view the rule change.



Upcoming CLE seminar and program schedule

Register for the Sept. 19 "Trust Administration for Disabled Minors and Adults" seminar and check out FREE MBA On Demand programs.

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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.


Trust Administration for Disabled Minors and Adults Live program
Wednesday, Sept. 19, noon-4 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston


MBA On Demand

Have free time this summer? Catch up on the MBA educational programs you missed this year at www.massbar.org/OnDemand. FREE series include:

Health Law Legal Chat Series

Learn more about federal and state health care reform in this six-part series.

Law Practice Management Section Educational Series

Get tips on how to professionalize and modernize your practice to make it more profitable. Programs include:

Property Law Legal Chats

Review the latest developments in Property Law.

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

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