Lawyers e-Journal

Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012
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From top to bottom:
Probate & Family Court Chief Justice Paula M. Carey delivers to the State of the Trial Court address to open the second day of programming at the MBA’s Annual Family Law Conference.

MBA Past President Denise Squillante; Rep. John V. Fernandes (D-Milford); Sen. Gale Candaras (D-Wilbraham); MBA President Robert L. Holloway Jr.; Probate & Family Court Chief Justice Paula M. Carey and MBA Director of Policy and Operations Lee Ann Constantine.

Family Law Chair and Conference Co-Chair Michael Flores; Conference Co-Chair Marc Fitzgerald; and Family Law Section Vice Chair Jennifer Clapp.

MBA members attend the annual Family Law Conference on Oct. 26-27.

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Family practitioners head to the Berkshires to learn the latest in the law

The Massachusetts Bar Association's sold-out 22nd Annual Family Law Conference was held at the Cranwell Resort in Lenox at the end of October. Delivering on its high expectations, the popular event featured award presentations to state legislators, Probate & Family Court Chief Justice Paula M. Carey's State of the Trial Court and panel presentations on the latest in family law.

The conference's Oct. 26 opening reception featured MBA President's Award presentations to Sen. Gale D. Candaras (D-Wilbraham) and Rep. John Fernandes (D-Milford). The legislators of honor co-chaired the task force pivotal in bringing to fruition the long-awaited, new alimony laws enacted this past spring.

"The MBA applauds their far-reaching contributions to both the legal community and the citizens of Massachusetts," said MBA President Robert L. Holloway Jr., who was joined by MBA Past President Denise Squillante to present the awards. Squillante served on the task force led by Candaras and Fernandes.

The second day of conference programming began with Chief Justice Carey's address. Her remarks touched upon the fiscal challenges endured by the Massachusetts Trial Court over the last five years and provided a more optimistic view of the court's current fiscal health. She also spoke to the high level of collegiality from the Massachusetts probate and family bar in the face of such fiscal constraint and its resulting challenges. "That doesn't exist in other states," she noted.

Among the many Probate and Family court initiatives discussed by Carey were the recent conciliation programs in all counties; the interdisciplinary settlement conference piloted in Norfolk and Plymouth counties; and work being done to develop a screening tool for domestic violence thanks to a Violence Against Women Act grant.

Carey announced that the Probate and Family Court's strategic planning process is well underway and that the technical changes to the Massachusetts Uniform Probate Code are now up on the court's website. "Once the kinks are worked out, I think you'll be pleased with it," she said.

The remainder of the conference featured panel discussions -"The New Era of Alimony-One Year After the Alimony Reform Act"; "Demystifying the GAL Process-Explanation and Preparation and Preparation for your Client"; and "Parenting Plans Focusing on the Best Interests of the Children."

The conference was planned by Marc E. Fitzgerald and Family Law Section Chair Michael I. Flores.

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If you missed the Family Law Conference, click here to view the program via MBA On Demand.

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Sixth Annual Public Law Conference focuses on private lives of public attorneys

Sixth Annual Public Law ConferenceThe Massachusetts Bar Association's Public Law Section held its sixth annual conference on Thursday, Nov. 1 at the MBA, 20 West St., Boston. This year's conference delved deeply into the issues surrounding the private lives of public employees. A wide array of speakers examined state law, regulations and employer policies that impose limitations on what public employees can do, both "on" and "off" the clock.

Public Law Section Chair Michele Randazzo began the conference by posing the question, "Where is the line between employee's privacy interests on the one hand, and on the other, government employer interests in efficient operations?" This theme resonated throughout the program with Inspector General Glenn A. Cunha cautioning public employees and those in supervisory roles that, "anything you do, say, text, or e-mail could end up on the front page of the paper." Cunha advised agency leaders that clearly communicating this concept is key to have public employees better understand the risks.

Other conference panelists discussed the limits a public employer can place on the use of social media by its employees, both on and off the job. Robert Fitzgerald from the Lorenzi Group led a very lively discussion on online monitoring.

The conference concluded with a keynote address from the Hon. Timothy S. Hillman of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts. Hillman offered valuable insights on evidentiary issues related to electronic discovery.

Photo (right): MBA members listen to panelists at the Sixth Annual Public Law Conference on Nov. 1. Photo by Marc D'Antonio.

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If you missed the Public Law Conference, click here to view the program via MBA On Demand.

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