Lawyers e-Journal

Thursday, Jul. 26, 2012
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News from the courts

SJC invites comments on proposed new Rule 3:16; Grant received to create small claims video


SJC invites comments on proposed new Rule 3:16

In 2011, the Justices of the Supreme Judicial Court appointed a working group to consider how to help new lawyers deal with difficult issues that can generate complaints to the Board of Bar Overseers. The justices asked the working group to consider whether requiring an education program for newly-admitted Massachusetts lawyers would help these lawyers.       

The group has recommended that there be a required education course for newly-admitted lawyers. A substantial section of this course would address issues of law office management. Other topics would include professionalism and civility, professional ethics, the bar discipline system, managing the attorney-client relationship, do's and don'ts of social media, the availability of mentoring and continuing legal education, an introduction to general and affinity bar associations and the importance and availability of pro bono opportunities.

Proposed Rule 3:16 would require all persons newly-admitted to the Massachusetts bar to complete a one-day, in-person mandatory practicing with professionalism course within 18 months of admission. The proposed rule anticipates that the course curriculum would be subject to standards issued by the Supreme Judicial Court or its designee, and that providers (e.g. continuing legal education providers, bar associations, law schools) would be approved by the Supreme Judicial Court or its designee. Fees for the course would be approved by the Supreme Judicial Court. The proposed rule includes sanctions for noncompliance.

Comments should be directed to Barbara Berenson at [e-mail barbara.berenson] or at the Supreme Judicial Court, John Adams Courthouse, One Pemberton Square , Boston MA 02108 on or before Aug. 24.

Click here to learn more.


Grant received to create small claims video

The Trial Court's Access to Justice Initiative is pleased to report that the State Justice Institute has granted a request for funds to create and disseminate a small claims self-help video in English and other languages. This effort will build upon work already underway through prior SJI funding to translate documents for small claims proceedings.

The Access to Justice Advisory Committee decided to seek funding in the area of small claims, since three court departments hear approximately 100,000 small claims matters each year and many parties, both plaintiffs and defendants, appear without counsel.

The 15-20 minute video will depict the progress of a fictional small claims case from the dispute through resolution. It will include basic vocabulary and procedure, how to prepare for court, what to expect in the courtroom and how to comply with judgments and orders. Information on how to access additional self-help resources also will be provided.

Click here to learn more.



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