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Featured member benefit: My Bar Access

MBA to launch interactive My Bar Access section/division pages on Monday

My Bar Access -- a new online member-to-member community exclusive to Massachusetts Bar Association members -- will launch this Monday, Dec. 3.  

A valuable member benefit, My Bar Access transforms the way you can exchange information with fellow MBA members by combining social networking, member-created content and imperative bar resources, in one convenient web location. Each MBA section and division can interact and share information through a My Bar Access member group. These member groups will replace the current section pages on www.massbar.org.

Instantly connect with fellow members of the bar using interactive My Bar Access tools, including: blogs, discussions (formerly known as listservs), resource libraries and more. In addition to member-created content, My Bar Access member groups offer information on section-sponsored MBA On Demand programs, Section Review articles, section leadership and more. 

As an added benefit, My Bar Access is completely customizable. You can decide how often you wish to receive notification of My Bar Access group activity.

Take advantage of this invaluable resource, which enables you to connect, share and collaborate with members of the legal community.

Look for an e-mail on Monday, Dec. 3 with instructions about how to get started on My Bar Access.

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Photograph by Tricia Oliver
Chief Justice of the Trial Court Robert A. Mulligan presents at the November 2012 MBA House of Delegates meeting.

Chief Justice Mulligan updates MBA delegates

The Massachusetts Bar Association House of Delegates convened for the second time this association year at the MBA Boston offices on Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012. Featured guest speaker for the meeting was Chief Justice of the Trial Court Robert A. Mulligan.

Mulligan provided a cautiously optimistic update on the fiscal health and performance of the Massachusetts Trial Court to the MBA delegation. He explained that positions are being filled at a modest rate following the court's $561 million allocation in the Fiscal Year 2013 state budget. Although the years-long hiring freeze has been lifted, the current 6,266 current Trial Court positions represent a nearly 18 percent drop from the court's 7,629 filled positions in 2007.

He also addressed the forecasted expenses associated with the Department of Public Health Drug Lab scandal. According to Mulligan, the aftermath of this alleged mishandling of evidence will cost the courts $2.96 million for the remainder of FY13 and $5 million in Fiscal Year 2014.

In addition to personnel and other core expenses, Mulligan spoke about the court's clearance rates. A 95.6 percent clearance rate was realized in Calendar Year 2011, while a 95.3 percent rate was seen in CY12 (through the second quarter). In addition, since Fiscal Year 2008, case filings have decreased by 278,562 or 21.2 percent.

Mulligan also named Greenfield and Lowell as the communities next up to benefit from capital expenditures. The Greenfield Trial Court is budgeted at $60 million, while the Lowell Justice Center will cost $100 million. He also noted that Middlesex County is in need of a county-wide capital plan, but explained that he didn't foresee that coming into play within 10 years.

Following Chief Justice Mulligan's presentation, action taken by the delegates at the meeting included:

  • A vote to support a draft resolution on emergency housing regulations in light of the current high housing costs and limited employment opportunities;
  • A vote to support Spousal Elective Share amendments to the Massachusetts Uniform Probate Code;
  • A vote to file legislation to amend the so-called "Three Strikes Rule";
  • A vote to file amicus briefs in Johnson v. Kindred Healthcare and Licata v. GGNSC Malden Dexter; and
  • A vote to change the name of the General Practice, Solo & Small Firm section to The Sole Practitioner & Small Firm section.

Full coverage of the Nov. 15 meeting will be included in the January 2013 issue of Massachusetts Lawyers Journal.

MBA members are invited to the 2012 Holiday Party: Casino Royale on Dec. 13

Click here to R.S.V.P.

2012 Holiday party

Join tomorrow's 10th Annual In-House Counsel Conference

The Nov. 30 conference will feature remarks from Lauren Stiller Rikleen, an update on the BLS Pilot Project, current cyber-security issues, best practices in insurance planning and more.

In House Counsel Conference

The theme of the MBA's 10th Annual In-House Counsel Conference is "Best Practices for In-House Counsel." The conference will be held tomorrow, Friday, Nov. 30, from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the MBA, 20 West St., Boston. Designed to present in-house counsel with information from in-house practitioners, outside counsel, and experts in selected areas of current interest to in-house counsel, this year's conference highlights include:

  • Opening remarks by Lauren Stiller Rikleen regarding strengthening multigenerational relationships. Rikleen is an attorney and a nationally-recognized expert on developing a diverse and multi-generational workforce and creating a culture where professionals can advance and flourish.
  • An update from the Business Litigation Session of the Superior Court Department regarding the BLS Pilot Project, which was designed to lessen the burdens of litigation. Attendees will learn about the advantages of the pilot program over other alternatives as a means of resolution of business disputes.
  • A presentation regarding current cyber-security issues, including cyber-stalking, use of false identities and other threats; electronic data security and privacy; how to address cyber-threats; and cyber-security insurance and other insurance products available to address risks.
  • Best practices in insurance planning, including commonly encountered insurance terms and forms, where gaps in coverage can occur, funding mechanisms for self-insured retentions and deductibles, insurance issues that arise under contracts and tailoring contracts to suit insurance coverage.
  • Traps for the Unwary in Independent Investigations. Independent investigations are a proven strategy to reduce the risk of shareholder litigation in public and private companies, but what does it take to satisfy a court that the investigation was independent? Recent court decisions may raise the bar.
  • The conference will again have brief "lightning round" presentations concerning current developments of interest to in-house counsel. There will be two intellectual property segments:

    1. "First-to-file and absolute novelty for patent applications is (almost) here"
    In March 2013 the U.S. implements a first-to-file patent system requiring "absolute novelty" for patentability.

    2.  "Patent validity challenges by a licensee (or having your cake and eating it too)"
    Patent licensees can now sue their licensor and assert invalidity of the licensed patent. What contract provisions are licensors using in license agreements to protect themselves against a patent validity challenge by their own licensees -- and will they work?

InHouseCounselConferenceThis year the MBA will be offering a special post-election presentation for those who arrive early. Witt Associates will sponsor a breakfast and vice president John Weinfurter will offer remarks regarding what in-house counsel can expect from the recent elections, including who will likely be chairing important congressional committees and other political projections of interest to in-house counsel.

The conference is co-sponsored by New England In-House, a publication affiliated with Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, and the New England Corporate Counsel Association.

Live programUnable to come to Boston? This program is available as a real-time Webcast. When registering, participants can choose to attend virtually from a home or office computer. If you choose to attend the program via real-time Webcast, space is limited. Registrants will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis.

MBA member paralegals, law students, recent admittees: $40; MBA members: $80; and nonmembers: $160.

For more information, or to register, call Member Services at (617) 338-0530 or click here.


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Deadline extended: Nominate a colleague for an MBA Access to Justice award

Submission deadline is Monday, Dec. 10

The MBA is accepting nominations for the 2012-2013 Access to Justice Awards.

To nominate and recognize an unsung hero of the legal profession or a law firm that has made a significant difference for low income litigants interfacing with the justice system, submit your nomination by 5 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 10 to:

Massachusetts Bar Association
Access to Justice Awards
20 West St., Boston, MA 02110

We encourage nominations from local and affiliated bar associations, government agencies and/or legal services organizations.

Click here for a nomination form.

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Donate to the MBA Cradles to Crayons "Gear Up For Winter" collection

Warm clothing will be accepted through Dec. 19

This holiday season, the MBA is joining Cradles to Crayons for "Gear Up for Winter" -- a collection for children's coats, warm clothing and boots to help thousands of families. Please join us in recycling children's items your family/friends have outgrown and help make a difference. Click here for donation guidelines. Please be sure the items are new or gently used. Items with tears or stains can not be accepted.

Donations can be made through Wednesday, Dec. 19 at:

  • MBA's Boston office, 20 West St., Boston;
  • MBA's Springfield office, 73 State St., Springfield and 20 West St., Boston;
  • Denise Squillante PC, 190 Rock St., Fall River;
  • Fuller, Rosenberg, Palmer & Beliveau LLP, 339 Main St., Worcester;
  • Marcotte Law Firm, 45 Merrimack St., Lowell;
  • The Law Office of Michael T. Cupoli III, 48 Central St., Manchester-by-the-Sea;
  • Worcester County Bar Association, 370 Main St., Worcester; and
  • Zizik, Powers, O'Connell, Spaulding & Lamontagne PC, 690 Canton St., Suite 306, Westwood.

The MBA thanks the Young Lawyers Division and the WCBA for contributing to the "Gear Up for Winter" collection.



How is a lawyer like a doctor, a therapist or a golden retriever?

The other day, I was listening to an interesting podcast about the efficacy of management consulting. Does management consulting really have an impact on the bottom line of a business? The short answer is "yes," although it is hard to prove. In many ways, the same can be said for the work that lawyers do in helping their clients to avoid risk.  Most of us would agree that good lawyers bring value to their clients, but that value can be hard to measure.

During the podcast, one of the guests talked about how a consultant is like a doctor, a therapist and a golden retriever. After hearing the podcast, I realized that the same could be said for a good lawyer. It may not always be possible to measure the value of avoiding a risk. But a lawyer who acts like a doctor, a therapist and a golden retriever is probably doing a good job.

Like a good doctor, a good lawyer can connect with his/her client. He/she understands the client's underlying needs and not simply the client's "presenting" needs. Good lawyering involves good professional judgment. A skilled attorney knows how to dig below the surface to uncover the "real" issues. He/she doesn't simply take what the client says at face value.

Like a good therapist, a good lawyer is a great listener. A good therapist will ask a client a set of questions which helps the client to achieve a self-discovery. Similarly, a good lawyer helps the client to make decisions; but he/she recognizes that ultimately, it is the client who owns the decision.

Finally, like a golden retriever, a good attorney forms trusted relationships with his/her clients (okay, this one is a bit of a stretch). By forming trusted relationships, a good attorney is able to gather all of the information he/she needs from the client in order to render good legal advice. In addition, a lawyer who builds trusted relationships with referral sources is more successful in growing his/her law practice.

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

Published November 29, 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 Cynthia E. MacCausland.
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Tell us why you belong to the MBA

Melissa Conner feels the MBA is a great resource and community. 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.

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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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Upcoming CLE seminar and program schedule

Collecting outstanding legal fees is a proactive process. Learn various collection options and practical solutions at the Dec. 11 "Getting Paid" seminar.

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.


10th Annual In-House Counsel Conference Live program
Friday, Nov. 30, 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston

Getting Paid Live program
Tuesday, Dec. 11, 4-6 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston


How to Start and Run A Successful Solo or Small-Firm Practice Recorded program
Thursday, Jan. 17, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Lombardo's, 6 Billings St., Randolph


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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News from the courts

Associate Court Administrator appointed; Clients' Security Board's William J. LeDoux Award honors MBA member


Associate Court Administrator appointed

Court Administrator Harry Spence has appointed Christopher Fox to serve as his Associate Court Administrator effective Monday, Nov. 19.

Fox will focus on process improvement, the use of data to enhance court operations and other key court improvement initiatives. The department directors in the Office of Court Management will continue to report to Harry Spence.

Click here to learn more.


Clients' Security Board's William J. LeDoux Award honors MBA member

On Nov. 15, Supreme Judicial Court Justice Barbara A. Lenk presented the Clients' Security Board's William J. LeDoux award to MBA member and Cambridge attorney Leonard A. Frisoli. The award, established in memory of the late William J. LeDoux, a member of the Clients' Security Board from 1987 to 1997, honors an attorney who has performed outstanding pro bono work in representing a claimant before the board. Established by the SJC in 1974, the Clients' Security Board is composed of seven attorneys who serve without compensation and oversee the disbursement of funds to clients who have been victimized by attorney defalcation.

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Section News: Upcoming meetings and special section events

Join in the Dec. 5 Law Practice Management Section Council meeting. Attend the Dec. 6 Public Law Section Council meeting.

Changes to validated parking at the Lafayette Garage

MBA members entering the garage after 4 p.m. will now have a maximum rate of $11 and weekday users will receive $2 off each of the first two hours. Please bring your parking ticket with you to the MBA for validation.

Law Practice Management Section Council meeting

Wednesday, Dec. 5, 5:15-6:45 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston

The next meeting of the Law Practice Management Section Council is scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 5 from 5:15 to 6:45 p.m. All section members are invited to attend.

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


Public Law Section Council meeting

Thursday, Dec. 6, 5:30-7 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston

The next meeting of the Public Law Section Council is scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 6 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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