e-Journal

05-24

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Join the MBA at next week's 2012 Annual Dinner

The May 31 event will feature keynote speaker Victoria Reggie Kennedy, the presentation of the Legislator of the Year Award to Speaker Robert A. DeLeo and the Annual Access to Justice Awards

The Massachusetts Bar Association will hold its 2012 Annual Dinner next week, 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.

This is your last chance to 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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Senate debates budget; approves Joyce amendment

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

The Senate, in yesterday's fiscal year 2013 budget debate, approved an amendment filed by Sen. Brian A. Joyce that adds $500,000 to the Senate budget bringing total Senate funding to $11.5 million, $500,000 less than the House budget. The Senate appropriation for the Trial Court is $561.9 million, roughly $1 million more than the House.

Following the conclusion of the Senate debate, which is expected today, both branches will appoint a conference committee. The conference committee will be charged with producing one final budget, which will then be sent to both branches for an up or down vote. The budget will then be sent to Gov. Deval L. Patrick for his approval. Fiscal year 2013 begins on July 1, 2012.

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Top: The Hon. James Collins asked the delegation to consider endorsing proposed measures to increase judicial compensation.
Middle left: MBA President Richard P. Campbell ceremonially passes the gavel to President-elect Robert L. Holloway Jr.
Middle right: Co-chairs Eric Parker and Radha Natarajan discuss the highlights of the Report of the Task Force on Law, the Economy and Underemployment.
Bottom: MBA Past President Denise Squillante announces the 2012 Nominating Committee report.

Photos by Tricia Oliver.

Delegates accept a report relative to the law economy and endorse a pay increase for judges

Ceremonial passing of the gavel takes place

The final meeting of the House of Delegates for the 2011-12 took place at the University of Massachusetts Boston last Thursday. Among the business at the meeting, the delegation voted to accept a report from the MBA's Task Force on Law, the Economy and Underemployment entitled "Beginning the Conversation." Delegates also heard from Massachusetts Judges Conference on a long-overdue salary increase for members of the bench. The meeting concluded with the ceremonial passing of the gavel from MBA President Richard P. Campbell to MBA President-elect Robert L. Holloway Jr.

Eric Parker and Radha Natarajan, co-chairs of the Task Force on Law, the Economy and Underemployment, summarized the comprehensive report put together by the 14-member group that first met last fall. Delegates voted to accept the report -- "Beginning the Conversation" -- that  explores the causes of and potential solutions for the underemployment of recent law school graduates in Massachusetts. To read the full report, click here.

The Hon. James Collins, president of the Massachusetts Judges Conference, was on hand to address the MBA HOD on the topic of judicial compensation. HOD voted to endorse the plea of the MJC in implementing the recommendations of the Advisory Board on Compensation for Honorable Judicial Salaries (a.k.a. Guzzi Commission) issued in 2008. Currently, according to the National Center for State Courts, the 2011 salaries of the Massachusetts judiciary ranked 47th among its national peers after accounting for cost of living. For more information on this topic, see the May issue of Lawyers Journal.

The business meeting came to a close with the ceremonial passing of the gavel. Campbell handed over the gavel to President-elect Robert L. Holloway Jr., who Campbell described as a "true consensus builder and team player." Holloway, who begins his term as president on September 1, 2012, accepted the gavel and pointed to the successes of Campbell's term. "I'm extraordinarily honored," said Holloway.

For complete coverage of the May 17 House of Delegates meeting, look for an article in the July issue of Lawyers Journal.

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News from the courts

Trial Court Child Support Guidelines Task Force seeking public's comments and suggestions

The Massachusetts Trial Court is seeking public comment and suggestions concerning the Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines. Written comments may be submitted to the Child Support Guidelines Task Force at: The Administrative Office of the Trial Court; Suite 540, Two Center Plaza; Boston, MA 02108 or [e-mail childsupport]

The task force will also hold five public forums where written statements may be delivered and brief oral statements may be made. Oral testimony is not necessary because oral and written comments will be considered equally. The public forums will be held during the month of September 2012 in locations across the state. Specific dates and locations will be announced when determined.

The deadline for submission of all comments is Sept. 30, 2012. If specific changes to the guidelines are suggested, specific sections to be changed should be referenced, new language proposed, and reasons for the proposed change included.

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Photograph by Charlene Smith
MBA Vice President Marsha V. Kazarosian (left) participates in the May 23 Lawyers Weekly Women's Breakfast Forum.

MBA Vice President Marsha V. Kazarosian featured on May 23 Lawyers Weekly Women's Breakfast Forum Panel

MBA Vice President Marsha V. Kazarosian participated in the May 23 Lawyers Weekly Women's Breakfast Forum at the University of Massachusetts Club in Boston. One of four panelists, Kazarosian provided attendees with an opportunity to learn more about her experiences as principal of Kazarosian Law Offices.

Over the past two decades, Kazarosian has built a national practice representing clients in high profile media cases, making case law with precedent-setting issues in areas such as gender and disability discrimination and police excessive force/civil rights litigation in the Federal Court. She is the past president of the Massachusetts Academy of Trial Attorneys and in June 2002, she became the second female president in the history of the Essex County Bar Association, the oldest bar association in the nation.

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Top: Southbridge High School students get Law Day lessons from Michael Sams of Kenney & Sams PC in Southborough (left) and Dudley District Court Associate Justice Margaret Guzman (right). Photos by James H. Finnegan.
Bottom: Chelsea High School students hear about “No Courts, No Justice, No Freedom” from Robert Ronquillo, first justice of the East Boston Division of Boston Municipal Court (left) and Marc Laredo of Laredo & Smith LLP in Boston (right). Photos by Jeff Thiebauth.

Judges and lawyers bring MBA’s Law Day initiative, “No Courts, No Justice, No Freedom,” to Massachusetts high schools in May

Students at high schools in Chelsea, Fall River, Southbridge, Springfield and Worcester are participating in the Massachusetts Bar Association's Law Day Initiative during the month of May focused on the topic: "No Courts, No Justice, No Freedom."

"This unique program is critical because it provides young people with an understanding of the role of law and courts in our society," MBA President Richard P. Campbell said. "This knowledge is necessary to fully understand the importance of a functioning court system, which is currently in jeopardy without proper funding from the state."

Volunteer attorney/judge teams from the MBA are visiting classes at each school and presenting a lesson involving a fictional case, which challenges a state's guidelines for providing free attorneys to criminal defendants. The program teaches students how the adversarial court system works, how the courts review the constitutionality of legislation and about the Sixth and 14th amendments.

The following is a list of participating schools:

  • South High School, Worcester
  • High School of Commerce, Springfield
  • Renaissance School, Springfield
  • Diman Regional Vocational Tech High School, Fall River
  • Southbridge High School, Southbridge
  • Springfield Central High School, Springfield
  • Claremont Academy, Worcester
  • Chelsea High School, Chelsea
  • The SABIS International Charter School, Springfield
  • Cathedral High School, Wilbraham
  • Worcester Technical High School, Worcester
  • North High School, Worcester

The MBA is appreciative of the Massachusetts Judges Conference for its assistance in recruiting volunteer judges for this endeavor.

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Call for Adams Pro Bono Publico Awards nominations

Deadline is Saturday, June 30

To recognize outstanding commitment to volunteer legal services for the poor and disadvantaged, the Supreme Judicial Court's Standing Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services is seeking nominations for the 2012 Adams Pro Bono Publico Awards. The deadline for nominations is Saturday, June 30.

The awards will be presented in a ceremony at the John Adams Courthouse on Wednesday, Oct. 24, in conjunction with the American Bar Association's recognition of National Pro Bono Week.

Award criteria

Awardees will be selected from those who have excelled in providing volunteer services in one or more of the following ways:

  1. Volunteer participation in an activity or pro bono program which resulted in satisfying previously unmet needs or in extending services to underserved segments of the population;
  2. Successfully litigated pro bono cases that favorably affected the provision of other services to the poor; and/or
  3. Successfully achieved legislation that contributed substantially to legal services to the poor.

Nomination guidelines

Nominations should be submitted to: Robert C. Sacco, Esq., The 2012 Adams Pro Bono Publico Awards, c/o Lyon & Fitzpatrick LLP, 14 Bobala Road, Fourth Floor, Holyoke, MA 01040. Contact Crystal Barnes at (413) 536-4000, ext. 122 or [e-mail cbarnes] with questions.

Nominations submitted in 2011 remain active for consideration in the 2012 awards program provided that the nominating party submits a letter restating the intent to nominate the candidate and updating the narrative with any relevant information. Eligibility for the awards has been expanded this year to include law schools and law students.

LPM Tip

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Legal Project Management: It’s All About You

Part II of a series on legal project management

The April 27 LPM Tip discussed using project management (PM) tools to promote more efficient drafting. One of the ways PM promotes efficiency is by reducing projects to repeatable, measurable steps. Attorneys commonly object that each legal matter is unique -- lessons learned by project managers in manufacturing a million toasters do not help an attorney draft a motion in a particular case. Attorneys also object to implementing PM techniques because they believe the client gains all the benefits while the attorney retains all the risks.

We can agree that PM tools help attorneys analyze and enhance routine actions. So let's focus on what is the same in each matter -- you. Regardless of the characteristics of any matter, elements such as your case procedures and your staff obligations usually remain the same. A few specific examples of practices that remain generally constant regardless of matter vagaries are:

  • Opening and closing a matter;
  • Recording time and billing;
  • The methods for analyzing and centralizing key facts;
  • Tracking the execution of documents; and
  • Scheduling and/or organizing site visits or travel.

Legal PM advice usually focuses on implementing PM techniques from the beginning to the end of a matter. Yet, as you can see, the practices identified above are discrete actions -- not transactions, such as litigating a case. For an attorney or firm not familiar with PM, making the effort to learn and apply PM tools to discrete actions or tasks is easier and more useful than applying PM tools to an entire matter. Any increased efficiencies will immediately improve the firm's bottom line; the client still bears the inherent risks of uncertain legal projects and attorneys can treat each matter as unique because PM is applied only to actions not matters. Additionally, a firm can apply PM lessons learned to bigger issues (or even transactions) with more confidence.  

As an example, let's apply some very simple PM techniques to a very discrete action -- centralizing all the facts learned during a matter. In even the smallest of practices, if more than one person is working on a matter there is a process for centrally storing facts. A PM approach would assess the centralization project's goals, list the actions needed to meet the goals and the order of those actions, track costs, and set up a communication method to share status updates and address problems. In our fact centralization project a basic plan might look like this:

  • Goals: All facts, with cites and links, will be in one place. The format must be searchable and able to be organized by key fact, date or person. All facts must be entered 60 days before the end of discovery.
  • Steps to assess facts, in order:
    1. Assign likely review tasks and notify supervising attorney of task assignment;
    2. Review documents, input facts into the system and highlight key facts;
    3. Notify supervising attorney document review is complete;
    4. Review and input deposition facts, highlight key facts;
    5. Notify supervising attorney deposition review is complete; and
    6.Repeat for subsequent or follow up discovery.
  • Cost: The project manager will track the amount of time it takes to assess the facts in each case and develop an "average" for all cases.
  • Communicate: The project manager will identify problems and successes, communicate those to reviewers and the supervising attorney and revise procedures accordingly.

So what would you get at the end of the process? The supervising attorney always knows whether facts are in the central location, the project manager fixes problems and makes review more efficient, and the firm has a better idea of the costs to centralize and analyze facts in each case -- a key cost of litigation. Isn't this one of the few times when it is OK to make it all about you?

Tip courtesy of Scott L. Malouf, Law Office Management Assistance Program.

Published May 24, 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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Need conference room facilities?

Take advantage of your MBA membership and rent an MBA conference room today.

MBA members may rent conference rooms at our headquarters in Boston's Downtown Crossing or at the MBA's satellite Western Mass. office in Springfield, located directly across from the Hampden County Courthouse. Both locations are equipped with complete audio-visual capabilities, comfortable accommodations and other practice-centered amenities and conveniences.

Click here to download a room reservation form.

Questions? Contact MBA Member Services at (617) 338-0530.

Upcoming CLE seminar and program schedule

Register for the June 7 "Taxation Practice Series: Tax Implications of Divorce, Taxation of Litigation Proceeds and Spotting Issues on Tax Returns"

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

Health Law Legal Chat Series: Session IV Live program
Friday, June 1, noon-1 p.m.
NOTE: There is no on-site attendance for Legal Chats.


Law Practice Management Section Educational Series: Live program
Cloud Computing
Wednesday, June 6, 12:30-1:30 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston


Lifecycle of a Business Part 4: Mergers & Acquisitions & Bankruptcy Live program
Wednesday, June 6, 5-7 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston


Taxation Practice Series: Live program
Tax Implications of Divorce, Taxation of Litigation Proceeds and Spotting Issues on Tax Returns
Thursday, June 7, 4:30-6 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston


Latest in the Law: Business and Bankruptcy Update Live program
Wednesday, June 13, 4-7 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston

Latest in the Law: Labor & Employment Update Live program
Thursday, June 14, 5-7 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston


Health Law Legal Chat Series: Session V
Live program
Friday, June 15, noon-1 p.m.
NOTE: There is no on-site attendance for Legal Chats.

LOMAP Super Marketing Conference II Live program
Tuesday, June 19, noon-7 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston


Law Practice Management Section Educational Series: Live program
Top 10 Practice Management Tips
Wednesday, June 20, 12:30-1:30 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston


Taxation Practice Series: Live program
Tax Issues Related to Entities and Real Estate
Thursday, June 21, 4:30-6 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston


MBA co-sponsors program: IMLA Land Use Seminar Live program
Thursday, June 21-Friday, June 22
Harbor Events Centerm Portsmouth Garden Hilton, Portsmouth, N.H
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Health Law Legal Chat Series: Session VI Live program
Friday, June 22, noon-1 p.m.
NOTE: There is no on-site attendance for Legal Chats.

Health Law Conference Live program
Tuesday, June 26, 9 a.m.-2 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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