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Senate Ways and Means releases FY13 budget proposal

The MBA remains fully engaged in advocating for funding important to the administration of justice.

Yesterday, the Senate Ways and Means Committee released its $32.2 billion fiscal year 2013 budget proposal. Included in the proposal was $561.8 million in funding for the Trial Court, $1.8 million more than the House budget. The Senate budget also included full transferability for the newly appointed court administrator.

Additionally, the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation was funded at $11 million, $3.5 million below MLAC's requested amount necessary to restore critical legal services for low-income citizens. Senator Cynthia Stone Creem (D-Newton), senate chair of the Joint Committee on the Judiciary, is filing an amendment to add $3.5 million to MLAC's budget.

The Committee for Public Counsel Services account was filed at $162.4 million. The House funded CPCS at $162.2 million. Both branches have refrained from further expanding the ratio of staff counsel to assigned private counsel.

The Senate is set to begin debate on the budget proposal on Wednesday, May 23. Click here to view the budget.

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MBA thanks its 2012 Annual Dinner sponsors

Join the growing list of sponsors of the MBA's May 31 Annual Dinner

The Massachusetts Bar Association will hold its 2012 Annual Dinner on Thursday, May 31 at the Westin Boston Waterfront, 425 Summer St., Boston. Join us for a reception, beginning at 5:30 p.m., which will be followed by the annual dinner at 7 p.m. The event will feature a keynote address by Victoria Reggie Kennedy, the presentation of  the Legislator of the Year Award to Speaker Robert A. DeLeo and the annual MBA Access to Justice Awards.

Attend this annual event as a sponsor. Sponsorship opportunities to consider include:

  • Platinum Sponsor ($5,000)
    Table for 10, full page ad in dinner program, firm logo projected at the dinner, sponsorship level recognition in Lawyers Journal and displayed on MBA website
  • Gold Sponsor ($3,500)
    Table for 10, 1/2 page ad in dinner program, firm logo projected at the dinner, sponsorship level recognition in Lawyers Journal and displayed on MBA website
  • Silver sponsor ($2,500)
    Table for 10, 1/4 page ad in dinner program, firm logo projected at the dinner

Tables and individual tickets are also available for purchase. A table for 10 is $1,500 and individual tickets are $150.

Click here to view our current sponsors.

Click here to register for the MBA's 2012 Annual Dinner online. For a printable PDF outlining sponsorship opportunities and table reservation information, click here. For additional information, call (617) 338-0543.

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Top: Hon. Mark Wolf, chief judge of the U.S. District Court, accepts the Daniel F. Toomey Excellence in the Judiciary Award.

Bottom (from left to right): Boston Globe columnist Kevin Cullen receives the Excellence in Legal Journalism Award from MBA President-elect Robert L. Holloway Jr.


Excellence in the Law salutes finest in the profession

MBA honors Hon. Mark Wolf, Globe columnist Kevin Cullen

Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly and the Massachusetts Bar Association honored the best of the legal profession at "Excellence in the Law" on the evening of May 10 at the Fairmont Copley Plaza in Boston.

Following welcome remarks and a group champagne toast led by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly Publisher Susan Bocamazo, MBA President-elect Robert L. Holloway Jr. presented the Daniel F. Toomey Excellence in the Judiciary Award to the Hon. Mark Wolf, chief judge of the U.S. District Court; and the Excellence in Legal Journalism Award to Pulitzer-prize winning Boston Globe columnist Kevin Cullen.

Wolf was appointed to the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts in 1985 and became its chief judge in 2006. He delivered acceptance remarks that highlighted his great appreciation of America's judicial system following his speaking engagements and other interactions with judicial colleagues around the globe.

Cullen has written for The Boston Globe since 1985, and served as a local, national and foreign correspondent before becoming a columnist in 2007. His columns highlighting the suicide of a 15-year-old girl who had been bullied by schoolmates helped win the top award from the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma at Columbia University in 2011.

The event also saluted the 2012 Up & Coming Lawyers, as well as the recipients of this year's other Excellence in the Law awards for diversity, pro bono, marketing, firm administration and operations.

For more Excellence in the Law coverage, look in the June Lawyers Journal.

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Commonwealth seeks Inspector General applicants

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is seeking a person to serve as Inspector General who will be responsible for the management and operations of the Office of the Inspector General.

The mission of the Office of the Inspector General, as established in Chapter 12A of the Massachusetts General Laws, is to prevent and detect fraud, waste and abuse in the expenditure of public funds, whether state, federal or local, relating to programs and operations involving the procurement of any supplies, services or construction by state government entities and activities of the commonwealth, including those districts, authorities, instrumentalities and political subdivisions created by the state Legislature, including cities and towns.

The office conducts investigations and operational and management reviews, analyzes legislation and regulations, and provides technical assistance to governmental entities. The office has a Fiscal Year 2012 budget of $2.8 million and 40 employees.

Click here for more information and to apply.




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Photograph by Marc D'Antonio
From left to right: Symposium Co-Chair Alan J. Klevan, Esq., General Practice, Solo & Small-Firm Section Chair John B. DiSciullo and Symposium Chair Scott D. Goldberg, Esq.

General Practice, Solo & Small-Firm Conference focuses on preparing for the future

The Second Annual General Practice, Solo & Small-Firm Symposium was held May 10 at Lombardo's in Randolph. At the afternoon symposium, attendees were provided with practical tips on how to strengthen their business plans and embrace advances in technology, while also participating in a working lunch and networking reception.

Symposium panelists discussed a variety of topics, including the effects of cloud computing on law practices, innovative business models for the modern legal world, ethical issues surrounding contingent fee agreements and client management, and a variety of networking techniques. Additionally, a panel of active and retired judges provided a heuristic analysis of alternative dispute resolution.

Scott D. Goldberg, Esq., of the Law Firm of Scott D. Goldberg PC in Boston chaired the event. Rodney S. Dowell, Esq., of the Law Office Management Assistant Program and Alan J. Klevan, Esq., of Klevan & Klevan co-chaired the symposium.

LinkedInCongrats to Jim Silva of the Law Office of James G. Silva in Westford, winner of the MBA's LinkedIn contest. He attended the General Practice, Solo & Small-Firm Conference free of charge.


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MBA members volunteer at the May 16 Western Mass. Dial-A-Lawyer program.

Photos by Jennifer Rosinski.

MBA holds semi-annual Western Mass. Dial-A-Lawyer program on May 16

Phones rang non-stop for four hours on Wednesday, May 16 at Western New England University School of Law in Springfield, where 30 volunteer lawyers affiliated with the Massachusetts Bar Association provided 385 callers from across Western Massachusetts with free legal advice.

The Western Massachusetts Dial-A-Lawyer has been held for the past 18 years and became a semi-annual program, held in May and October, 11 years ago. It is provided as a public service of the MBA. In addition to WNEU School of Law, other sponsors include The Republican, El Pueblo Latino, the Massachusetts Association of Hispanic Attorneys and the Hispanic National Bar Association.

Legal topics are varied and include landlord-tenant disputes, worker's compensation, divorce, criminal matters, estate planning, discrimination, adoption and landlord disputes as well as health and Medicare issues.



Ten ways to ensure marketing failure

There are many paths to building a successful law practice. Some lawyers use golf or other recreational activities as a way of cultivating business relationships. Others  get active in nonprofit causes, local politics, alumni associations or the arts. Still others write, speak and get involved in trade associations. 

Whatever the path you choose to build your practice, the strategy is the same. Develop a reputation in a niche practice area (or with a particular industry) and build relationships with potential clients and referral sources. Beyond that, there are many tactics you can use to be successful. 

But what are some things that are guaranteed not to work? Here is my top 10 list:

  1. Expecting that doing good work is enough.
  2. Relying too much on speaking, writing, social media and other forms of marketing and not doing enough  relationship building. (Marketing is important, but it is not a substitute for engaging prospects in conversation.)
  3. Giving up too easily -- These days, you need to work pretty hard to break through the noise if you want to connect with referral sources and prospects. (Many lawyers give up when one e-mail message goes unanswered.)
  4. Communicating like a lawyer (i.e. failing to distill what you do down to simple sound bites).
  5. Failing to project confidence in your ability to help a prospect with his or her problem. (Sure you don't want to over promise; but people hire lawyers they trust and who they think can solve their problems, not lawyers who hedge every promise.)
  6. Projecting negativity. (This is an occupational hazard for attorneys -- we are paid to think about what might go wrong; but we need to be more positive when we are out marketing.)
  7. Saving marketing for a rainy day. (Try spending at least 15 minutes every day.)
  8. Expecting short term results. (Don't expect one seminar to generate a lot of clients.)
  9. Failing to have a written plan. (Putting your plan in writing is the best way to guarantee that you will stick to your plan.)
  10. Being a poor listener. (Let prospects do 80 percent of the talking. That is the only way you are going to learn about the challenges they face-and services they need.)

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

Published May 17, 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 seeks judge evaluations in Superior Court in Suffolk and Middlesex Counties; Trial Court Law Libraries offer eBook accessibility to court rules and Massachusetts Guide to Evidence


SJC seeks judge evaluations in Superior Court in Suffolk and Middlesex Counties

As part of the continuing program to evaluate and enhance judicial performance, the Supreme Judicial Court will evaluate judges of the Superior Court in Suffolk and Middlesex counties beginning Monday, May 21.

Attorneys who receive a questionnaire should take the time to complete it, as the more responses received, the more helpful the judicial evaluations will be. The SJC's evaluation program is the best opportunity for attorneys to offer their opinions of the members of the judiciary. Attorneys who have appeared  in these courts in the last two years, according to court records, will receive questionnaires. Attorneys will receive an e-mail requesting them to log into our website to complete the evaluation electronically. As required by statute, the electronic system keeps the evaluations confidential and anonymous. A paper questionnaire is mailed, if there is no attorney e-mail on record.

Inquiries concerning questionnaires and evaluations should be directed to Mona Hochberg, SJC judicial performance evaluation coordinator, at (617) 557-1156 or [e-mail Mona.Hochberg].


Trial Court Law Libraries offer eBook accessibility to
court rules and Massachusetts Guide to Evidence

In a continuing effort to make legal materials more easily accessible to judges, lawyers and the general public, the Massachusetts Trial Court Law Libraries are now offering free eBook access to court rules and the Massachusetts Guide to Evidence.

Instructions on how to download the free app and links to the downloadable files are available on the Trial Court Law Library website.

In addition to the Massachusetts Guide to Evidence, the following rules are available for download:

  • Rules of Civil Procedure;
  • Rules of Criminal Procedure;
  • Rules of Appellate Procedure;
  • Rules of Land Court, with standing orders, Manual and Guidelines;
  • Rules of Domestic Relations Procedure;
  • Rules of Superior Court; and
  • Rules of Juvenile Court.

New editions of eBooks will be available when a rule is changed, and announcements that an updated edition is ready to download will be made on Twitter, on the Massachusetts Law Blog and linked from the Trial Court Law Library's website.



Upcoming CLE seminar and program schedule

Register for the May 18 Labor & Employment Conference, featuring the Globe's Bob Ryan, employment law/MCAD updates, courtroom skills and more.

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.


Taxation Practice Series: Estate Planning, Basis and Forming a Nonprofit Organization Live program
Thursday, May 17, 4:30-6 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston

33rd Annual Labor & Employment Law Spring Conference Recorded program
Friday, May 18, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Colonnade Hotel, 120 Huntington Ave., Boston

Latest in the Law: Family Law Update Live program
Wednesday, May 23, 4-7 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston


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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Featured member benefit: MBA Mentoring Circles

Join a one-of-a-kind mentoring program that allows you to be both the mentor and mentee.

  • Designed to offer MBA members an opportunity for confidential advice and guidance;
  • Each circle includes eight to 12 attorneys of various levels of expertise (with two to three senior attorneys, one retired judge or attorney, and five to eight attorneys who have practiced for 10 years or less);
  • Arranged by county and practice area;
  • Scheduled to meet a minimum of four times a year; and
  • Offers invaluable resources, networking tools and professional growth.

The MBA's Mentoring Circles program will start a new session in September 2012. Not in a circle? Register online at www.massbar.org/mentorcircles. Join today and participate in this unique mentoring program.

Register for the June 14 "Implicit Racial Bias Across the Law" Conference

Despite cultural progress in reducing overt acts of racism, stark racial disparities continue to define American life. Attend Harvard Law School's "Implicit Racial Bias Across the Law: A Book Conference," on Thursday, June 14,  and consider what emerging social science can contribute to the discussion of race in American law, policy and society. The conference will also explore how scientific evidence on the human mind might help to explain why racial equality is so elusive.

The conference will bring together scholars, judges, practitioners and community leaders to explore the issues surrounding implicit racial bias in law and policy. Beginning with a compelling overview of the social science, leaders in the areas of criminal justice, housing law and policy, education and health care will also present overviews of the impact of implicit bias in their fields. Attendees will hear federal judges' and leading scholars' perspective on implicit bias claims in the courtroom and hear experts' assessment of the future of implicit bias in the law. A lively afternoon session will include simultaneous break-out sessions and roundtable discussions of specific implicit bias related topics. Audience participation will be welcomed and encouraged.

Click here to register.

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Section News: Upcoming meetings and special section events

Attend the May 22 Criminal Justice and Business Law section council meetings. Attend the May 23 General Practice Section Council meeting, rescheduled from May 15.

Criminal Justice Section Council Meeting

Tuesday, May 22, 5:30-7 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston

The next meeting of the Criminal Justice Section Council is scheduled for Tuesday, May 22 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. All section members are invited to attend.

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


Business Law Section Council Meeting

Tuesday, May 22, 6-7:30 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston

The next meeting of the Business Law Section is scheduled for Tuesday, May 22 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. All section members are invited to attend.

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


RESCHEDULED: General Practice, Solo & Small-Firm
Section Council meeting

Wednesday May 23, 5:30-7 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston

The next meeting of the General Practice, Solo & Small-Firm Section Council is scheduled for Wednesday, May 23 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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