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MBA News

MBA Criminal Justice Section Council forms committee to assist members with issues surrounding DPH Lab scandal

The Massachusetts Bar Association has been actively working and meeting with state officials from the Gov. Deval L. Patrick Administration, Attorney General's Office, courts and the Committee for Public Counsel Services to address the ongoing issues surrounding the Department of Public Health Drug Lab Scandal.

Providing access for defense counsel representing clients in thousands of cases affected has been the main priority of the MBA. Below is a memo from the commonwealth's Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, along with a form to be used by defense counsel to access a state-created database of information to identify individuals whose cases potentially may have been impacted.

The MBA Criminal Justice Section Council is creating a new committee to assist members with information and guidance on the ongoing DPH crisis.

To view the practice memo, click here.
To view the form, click here.


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Top left: MBA President Robert L. Holloway Jr. speaks at the first 2012-13 MBA House of Delegates meeting.
Top right: Chief Legal Counsel and Chief Operating Officer Martin W. Healy gives a legislative update.
Bottom left: Francis C. Morrissey addresses the delegates on the topic of the Uniform Commercial Code.
Bottom right: Michael F. Kilkelly speaks about the laws to determine competency in juvenile cases.

Photos by Tricia Oliver.

Holloway convenes first HOD meeting of new association year

MBA President Robert L. Holloway Jr. called to order the first House of Delegates meeting for the 2012-13 association year at the MBA offices in Boston.

As his first report of the year, Holloway shared with the group his priorities -- membership, education and media/public relations. He also mentioned that he'd be focusing on outreach to Massachusetts' affiliated county bars and meeting with various civic groups across the state.

Holloway, fresh off of a meeting with Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Roderick L. Ireland and Trial Court Chief Justice Robert A. Mulligan, committed to further enhancing bench-bar communications. To that end, he mentioned the first in a series of informal receptions for the bench and bar to be held in Essex County in the coming months.

"We hope to move that into other counties," Holloway said.

He has also tapped attorney Crista Arcos, along with judges Stephen E. Neel (ret.) and Peter M. Lauriat to begin discussing the issues arising from the lack of law clerks in Superior Court.

Holloway encouraged all delegates to follow his lead and serve as "ambassadors for our profession." He also set the expectation for each delegate to recruit one new member this association year.

Holloway was followed by MBA President-elect Douglas K. Sheff, who gave an overview of the three key committees formed to focus on the association's priorities. The Membership Committee is chaired by MBA Vice President Christopher P. Sullivan; the Education Committee is being co-chaired by MBA Treasurer Marsha V. Kazarosian and MBA Past President David W. White Jr., while the Media Committee is being led by Sheff.

MBA Vice President Robert W. Harnais followed with brief remarks concentrating on an initiative that ties into MBA's continued efforts to address the socioeconomic issues plaguing the state's so-called "Gateway Communities." Harnais explained that meetings with members of the federal bench and Chief of the U.S. Probation Department for Massachusetts Christopher Maloney have led to the MBA's involvement in a re-entry program for federal inmates.

Harnais handed off the microphone to Kazarosian who spoke more about the recharged MBA Education Committee, sharing that the group will be working with volunteer members and staff to present CLE offerings that are "current, more dynamic and cost-effective." As treasurer, Kazarosian reported that numbers for FY12 look to be slightly better than budget and membership renewals for this association year (FY13) are on budget.

Secretary Martha Rush O'Mara fielded a few edits to the minutes of the last delegates meeting in May, before the delegation approved them as corrected.

Officer reports were followed by an update from Chief Legal Counsel and Chief Operating Officer Martin W. Healy. Healy touched upon the crisis with the DPH drug lab and its far-reaching impact on the criminal justice system, describing it as "unprecedented" both in Massachusetts and nationally. Roughly 600,000 samples have been reported to have handled by rogue chemist in the Jamaica Plain-based lab. Healy explained that such discourse is believed to have affected 30,000 cases, some potentially ending in wrongful incarceration. "The MBA has been collaborating with key government offices on this issue since last week," said Healy, who ended his remarks on this topic by further characterizing the situation as a "colossal, political nightmare."

Healy described a busy summer for the MBA, including the work of the Joint Bar Committee on Judicial Appointments. The group, comprised of representatives from both the MBA and the Boston Bar Association, reviewed the credentials of 13 judicial candidates over the summer months.

Following reports, the first order of business for the HOD to consider was related to House Bill No. 25 that amends certain articles of the Uniform Commercial Code. Francis C. Morrissey, a former Business Law Section chair for the MBA, presented to the group, explaining that the bill would further harmonize how the code is adhered to and provide necessary updates to the UCC. Delegates agreed and voted in favor of supporting the bill in principle.

MBA Juvenile and Child Welfare Section Chair Michael F. Kilkelly urged the delegation to support proposed legislation that would alter the current Massachusetts law that determines competency equally in adults and juveniles. Kilkelly and the Juvenile Section propose that a separate set of criteria should be applied to children under 17. Following HOD's approving vote, Kilkelly and his council will discuss the legislation with the MBA's other sections for further input.

Next up, Isabel Raskin, on behalf of the Access to Justice Section Council, presented a resolution to encourage pro bono and financial support of the legal aid system. Raskin cited the reality of less than 200 legal aid attorneys to serve the commonwealth's 750,000 indigent citizens. Delegates voted to support such a measure.

Finally, a past chair of the Judicial Administration Section Kathy Jo Cook and Northeastern University professor Janet Randall provided the delegation with an update on the MBA's nearly 5-year project on plain English jury Instructions. Cook and Randall described the committee's recent expansion to include citizens and linguistic experts, like Randall. Regarding next steps, the committee will continue to work the judiciary on getting access to jurors for input and it will seek funding for its pilot project phase.

The House of Delegates will convene again on Thursday, Nov. 15 at 4 p.m. at the MBA's Boston offices.

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MBA Chief Operating Officer and Chief Legal Counsel Martin W. Healy.

Healy appointed to represent Massachusetts on the Uniform Law Commission

Martin W. Healy, the Massachusetts Bar Association's chief operating officer and chief legal counsel, has been appointed by Gov. Deval L. Patrick to represent Massachusetts on the Uniform Law Commission, for a five-year term. Healy is one of three commissioners who represent the commonwealth.

The ULC is a 120-year-old national organization with headquarters in Washington, D.C. comprised of more than 300 commissioners from legislatures, judicial branches and academia with the goal of drafting and promoting uniforms laws designed to solve problems common in all states.

Patrick, in his appointment, stated that Healy's "experience and sound judgment will contribute substantially to the board."

An attorney, Healy also serves on the governing board for the Committee for Public Counsel Services, is a member of the Board of Bar Examiners and is a former hearing committee member of the Board of Bar Overseers.

Healy is the MBA's chief legal advisor and liaison to the legislative, executive and judicial branches. He is responsible for legal advice in corporate matters and legal support in issues of public policy concerning the practice of law and administration of justice. Healy serves as counsel to the MBA's leadership team and its House of Delegates and Executive Management Board. He also sits on the Editorial Board of Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly and the SJC Judiciary-Media Committee.

Prior to his arrival at the MBA in 1989, Healy was a law clerk in the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office and in the Law Office of William F. Coyne in Boston. He also served as a senior legislative aide in the Massachusetts Senate.

Healy received his law degree, cum laude, from Suffolk University Law School and his bachelor's degree from Suffolk University.



MBA kicks off 2012-13 association year with member reception

Welcome Back Reception Collage

The Massachusetts Bar Association hosted its first member reception of the 2012-13 association year on Thursday, Sept. 20 at the Back Deck, 2 West St., Boston.

The networking event offered members of the legal community an opportunity to relax and mingle with fellow MBA members, while enjoying complimentary beer/wine and hors d'oeuvres.

Click here to view event photos.

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Featured member benefit: MBA On Demand goes mobile

MBA members can now watch previously recorded MBA On Demand programs on a mobile device

Watching an MBA seminar or conference just got easier. All previously recorded MBA On Demand programs are now available anytime, anywhere on your mobile device.  

Now you can take MBA On Demand with you everywhere you go. Watch any recorded program at a time that suits your schedule. Whether you are in your home, office or traveling, MBA On Demand is here to help you conveniently access the information you need.

MBA On Demand is supported by iPad, iPhone, iPod, Blackberry, Tablet and Android mobile devices with Wi-fi or cellular data connection. You get the same experience as on a PC or Mac.

MBA On Demand Mobile

Visit www.MassBar.org/OnDemandHelp for system requirements. Click here for information on how to access your purchased MBA On Demand programs.

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Tell us why you belong to the MBA

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.

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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The most important page on your website

If your law practice relies on referrals, then building relationships with potential referral sources is the most important thing you can do to build your practice. But what happens after a potential client gets your name from a referral source? In all likelihood, one of the first things he or she will do is to read your bio on your firm's website (either because the referral source provided your website URL or because the prospect has Googled your name). Your LinkedIn profile may also get a look (i.e. in addition to or instead of your website bio).

Your bio is typically one of the most visited pages on your website. Prospective clients turn to your bio to help evaluate whether they think you are someone they can trust to help them solve their problem. They are looking for tangible evidence that you have experience in working with similar clients and that you have worked on similar projects for these clients. In short, they are hoping to further substantiate what the referral source has already said about you.

If you mainly represent institutions, prospective clients will be looking to see that you have experience in their industry. They will be looking for evidence that you have handled the kind of problem they have and they will be looking to see examples of representative matters.

Like an elevator speech, your biography and your LinkedIn profile should position you in a way that makes you memorable. While you have more latitude in a bio (i.e. to include a broader mix of work that you want to be known for), make sure that your biography is not simply a laundry list of everything you have ever done. Instead, focus more on how you are best positioned in the marketplace. Find a way to describe your expertise in a manner that differentiates you from other lawyers who may handle similar matters.

A good biography or LinkedIn profile should contain the following elements:

  • A description of the industries and types of businesses, organizations and individuals that you represent;
  • A summary of the kinds of problems you solve for these clients;
  • What have you done (i.e. give examples of matters you have handled and describe what you accomplished for these clients);
  • Other professional activities which highlight the depth of your experience (volunteer activities, trade group involvement, speaking, writing, etc.); and
  • Any "recognition" that you have received (either implicitly through leadership positions you have assumed in trade groups or community groups, by being quoted in the press, or explicitly through any awards you have received).

You can spend hours trying to get this right and if that is all you do to market your practice, then you are probably not allocating your marketing time well. In my last LPM tip, I mentioned the same issue when talking about social media. But maintaining an up to date and descriptive bio will help turn those referrals into actual phone calls and ultimately, it will help you build the practice you want. So get out and network, but don't forget about your bio.

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

Published September 27, 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.

Upcoming CLE seminar and program schedule

Learn how to increase income and save clients money at the Oct. 4 "Making Your Job Easier with ADR" 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.


Making Your Job Easier with ADR
Thursday, Oct. 4, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Boston College Law School, 885 Centre St., Newton

Intellectual Property Basics for the Non-Specialist
Live program
Tuesday, Oct. 9, 4-7 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston

Juvenile & Child Welfare Legal Chat Series Live program
Friday, Oct. 19, 1-2 p.m.
NOTE: There is no on-site attendance for Legal Chats.

The New Massachusetts Uniform Trust Code Live program
Wednesday, Oct. 24, noon-4 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston

22nd Annual Family Law Conference
Recorded program
Friday, Oct. 26-Saturday, Oct. 27
Cranwell Resort, Spa & Golf Club, 55 Lee Road, Lenox


Sixth Annual Public Law Conference Live program
Thursday, Nov. 1, 9 a.m.-2 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston

11th Annual Western Massachusetts Bankruptcy Conference
Thursday, Nov. 8, 4-7 p.m.
Western New England University School of Law, 1215 Wilbraham Road, Springfield


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

Vacancy on the Board of Bar Examiners; Access to Justice Commission launches new Pro Bono Fellows Program


Vacancy on the Board of Bar Examiners

The Justices of the Supreme Judicial Court invite applications for appointment to the Board of Bar Examiners. There is one vacancy on the board due to the expiration of the term of an incumbent member. Appointments are made for a term of five years.

Under G.L. c. 221, §§ 35, 36, the justices appoint the five-member board to consider issues relating to examinations for admission to the bar and the qualifications of applicants. Because at least four members of the board must reside in different counties, residents of Essex County are not eligible for this vacancy. The justices seek applications from experienced lawyers who have been members of the Massachusetts bar in good standing for a substantial number of years.

Letters, with resumes, should be submitted by Friday, Oct. 19, 2012, to:

Pamela B. Lyons, administrative attorney
Supreme Judicial Court, Suite 2500
John Adams Courthouse
One Pemberton Square
Boston, Massachusetts 02108


Access to Justice Commission launches new Pro Bono Fellows Program

The Massachusetts Access to Justice Commission will launch a first of-its-kind Pro Bono Fellows Program in which senior lawyers will partner with non-profit and legal service organizations to provide critical legal assistance to underserved populations. Seven distinguished, experienced lawyers -- who have retired or are transitioning into retirement -- have been selected by the commission to participate in the statewide pilot project to help expand legal services to persons of limited means.

The first Access to Justice Fellows and their partners are as follows:

  • Hon. Patrick Fox, district court judge (1990-2010): Massachusetts Justice Project, Dismas House, Lutheran Social Services of New England
  • Martha Koster, Mintz Levin litigation partner: Political Asylum/Immigration Representation Project (PAIR), Access to Justice Fellows Project
  • William Patton, Ropes & Gray retired litigation partner: Volunteer Lawyers Project/Senior Partners for Justice
  • Robert Sable, Greater Boston Legal Services, former executive director: Greater Boston Legal Services
  • Richard Soden, Goodwin Procter business law partner: Lawyers Clearinghouse
  • Eileen Sorrentino, retired solo practitioner from Chicopee: Volunteer Lawyers Project/Senior Partners for Justice
  • Robert Tuchman, WilmerHale Regulatory and Government Affairs and Corporate and Transactional departments retired partner: The Trustees of Reservations, Environmental League of Massachusetts, Community Dispute Settlement Center, development of urban agriculture

The program is structured by pairing fellows with a legal services provider or non-profit organization of their choice. The Massachusetts Access to Justice Commission Fellows Working Group will meet with each fellow to design a project together with the provider or non-profit. The non-profit will provide training and support while law firms will provide resources, such as administrative support and office space. Each fellow is expected to devote between 10 to 20 hours per week to individual pro bono projects. In addition, the fellows will also meet once a month with community leaders, legal services providers, and public interest organizations, among others, to gain an in-depth understanding of the specific needs of the communities they will be serving. Susan Finegan and Martha Koster, partners at the law firm of Mintz Levin, led the Access to Justice Working Group in designing the program.


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Section News: Upcoming meetings and special section events

Attend the Oct. 3 Law Practice Management section council meeting. Join in the Oct. 4 Public Law section council meeting. Assist the Probate and Family Court by attending the Oct. 5 Conciliation Training.

Law Practice Management Section Council meeting

Wednesday, Oct. 3, 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, Oct. 3 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, Oct. 4, 5:30-7 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston

The next meeting of the Public Law Section Council is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 4 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. All section members are invited to attend.

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


Conciliation Training

Friday, Oct. 5, 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
Boston Bar Association, 16 Beacon St., Boston

Are you wondering how you may assist the Probate and Family Court at a time when budgetary constraints and staffing shortages create particular challenges, while simultaneously learning skills that may expand and grow your law practices at little or no cost to you?

The Massachusetts Bar Association and Boston Bar Association cordially invite family law practitioners with at least five years of domestic relations experience to participate in a conciliation training at the BBA, 16 Beacon St., Boston on Friday, Oct. 5 from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Presenters include:

  • Hon. Robert W. Langlois (ret.)
  • Fran Giordano, Esq.
  • Lloyd Godson, Esq.
  • Geraldine McEvoy, Esq.
  • Eugene Nigro, Esq.
  • Joanne Romanow, Esq.
  • Victoria Rothbaum, Esq.
  • Gayle Stone-Turesky, Esq.

At this program, you will become certified as a conciliator, enabling you to be placed on the Probate and Family Courts' list of trained conciliators. Attendance at the program is FREE, except for the fees associated with materials if you do not print them out yourself.

In exchange, you will be asked to commit to volunteering for at least one day at the Probate and Family Court as a conciliator or for a "conciliation" project such as the pilot program at the Suffolk Probate and Family Court.

There are limited spots left to participate in this unique opportunity, so please respond quickly if you wish to attend. Participants will be able to attend on a first come, first serve basis.

If you are already a trained conciliator and are interested in volunteer conciliation opportunities, please contact the Boston Bar Association's Family Law Steering Committee. Registration is required to attend.

To R.S.V.P., [e-mail jjones].



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