e-Journal

01-31

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William "Mo" Cowan has participated in numerous Massachusetts Bar Association events, including the Tiered Community Mentoring program (bottom).

Cowan to serve as the Massachusetts interim U.S. senator

William "Mo" Cowan has been selected by Gov. Deval L. Patrick to serve as the Massachusetts interim U.S. senator. Patrick's former chief of staff, Cowan will hold the post until a June 25 special election determines who will succeed John F. Kerry, who resigned after being named Secretary of State.

Patrick announced his selection of Cowan on Wednesday, Jan. 30 in the Governor's Council chambers at the State House. Cowan is the first African-American in the Massachusetts Senate since Edward Brooke served from 1966 to 1978.

"The governor went with his most trusted confidant. Cowan has the wisdom and practicality to be a great steward for the state," said Martin W. Healy, MBA chief legal counsel and chief operating officer.

"Mo has been at the forefront of every one of Patrick's inside political appointments and complex legal decisions. He enjoys a great working relationship with federal and state office holders," Healy said. "The historic appointment of an African American U.S. senator could not have been handled better by the governor."

Hired by Patrick in 2009 as his legal counsel, Cowan was promoted to chief of staff one year later. He stepped down from his position in November with plans to return to the private sector.

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From top to bottom:

From left to right: Boston Bar Association President James D. Smeallie, Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Roderick L. Ireland and Massachusetts Bar Association President Robert L. Holloway Jr.

MBA President Holloway and Gov. Deval L. Patrick speak at the 14th Annual Walk to the Hill event.

Daniele Bien-Aime of Brockton speaks about how civil legal aid has impacted her life.

MBA President Holloway greets Gov. Patrick.

Photos by Jeff Thiebauth.

Lawyers advocate for civil legal aid funding at the 14th Annual Walk to the Hill on Jan. 30

More than 650 lawyers assembled at the State House on Wednesday, Jan. 30 to request their legislators support Gov. Deval L. Patrick's fiscal year 2014 budget recommendation of $15.5 million for the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation.

The 14th Annual Walk to the Hill for Civil Legal Aid featured a visit from Patrick, who told attendees in a packed Great Hall of Flags that civil legal aid is necessary.

"I value what you do. I value on whose behalf you do it," Patrick said. "We do not have to be victims of economic circumstance. We can shape our own future."

The largest single funding source for civil legal aid in Massachusetts, MLAC received a $12 million appropriation from the state this fiscal year.

Legal aid programs are often the last resort for low-income people in Massachusetts, Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Roderick L. Ireland said.

"Without these services, indigent clients often try to navigate the legal system on their own, or give up hope . . . The results can be devastating," he said. "We are here today to help balance the scales of justice."

Civil legal aid programs have been struggling to meet demand due to a 78 percent decrease in revenue since fiscal year 2008 from the Interest on Lawyers' Trust Accounts program, the other major funding source for civil legal aid. MLAC has cut grants to the 16 legal aid programs it funds by 56 percent since fiscal year 2008.

"We need to have adequate finding for civil legal aid services," MBA President Robert L. Holloway Jr. said.

"The bottom line is we have a system in place there the funding is the lowest when the need is the greatest," Boston Bar Association President James D. Smeallie said. "Thus, it is critical that the state step in to increase funding for civil legal services to assure access to justice for our citizens who are most in need of it."

Civil legal aid saved her life, said Daniele Bien-Aime of Brockton. The former South Coastal Counties Legal Services client lost her job, health insurance, and was in danger of becoming homeless during her battle with breast cancer. The advocacy of a legal aid attorney helped Bien-Aime get her job back, providing her with health insurance to finish her cancer treatment and the income needed to keep her in her home.

"My legal aid attorney was Heaven-sent," Bien-Amie said. "I don't know what I would have done without her help, and I am grateful to everyone who supports the funding that enables these lawyers to continue to help people like me."

The event was sponsored by the Equal Justice Coalition, Boston Bar Association and MBA, and was co-sponsored by 30 county and specialty bar associations.

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Become a 2013 MBA Annual Dinner sponsor

The annual dinner will be held on May 9 at the Westin Boston Waterfront

The Massachusetts Bar Association will hold its 2013 Annual Dinner on Thursday, May 9 at the Westin Boston Waterfront, 425 Summer St., Boston.

Consider attending this annual event as a sponsor. Sponsorship opportunities 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
  • Table for 10 ($1,500)

Click here to register for the MBA's 2013 Annual Dinner online. For a printable PDF outlining the above sponsorship opportunities and table reservation information, click here. For additional information call (617) 338-0543.

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Judith M. Flynn, founder of the Elder Law Office of Judith M. Flynn in Rockland.

Flynn wins MBA iBelong campaign challenge

An MBA member since 2003, Flynn joined the association because of the valuable resources the MBA has to offer

The Massachusetts Bar Association is pleased to announce member Judith M. Flynn has won the association's iBelong campaign challenge. The iBelong campaign was established in November 2012 and allows members to share their personal reasons for belonging to the MBA here. As the 2013 iBelong winner, Flynn has received a free 2013-14 MBA membership.

See Flynn's winning quote below:

"The whole (of the MBA) is greater than the sum of its parts: there is not really one distinguishing element of the MBA that makes it the valuable resource that it is, but the totality of its many resources. The educational programs, networking, advocacy, publications, member groups, events, etc. The MBA is a great value, providing far more than the annual cost in benefit."

Flynn is the founder of the Elder Law Office of Judith M. Flynn in Rockland, where she specializes in long-term care planning, estate planning, assisted living, crisis planning, special needs planning and conservatorships.

An MBA member since 2003, Flynn joined because of the valuable resources the MBA has to offer. Recently, Flynn has greatly benefited from the numerous MBA educational seminars and resources highlighting changes in the Massachusetts Uniform Probate Code and the Massachusetts Uniform Trust Code.

"The educational programs and networking were most important to me as a new attorney," Flynn said. "The educational programs are just as important to me today (as they were when I started out) since nearly every aspect of my practice area has been affected by significant changes in the laws over the past few years. The On Demand programs are a valuable resource to me as a sole practitioner, allowing me to view programs at my convenience."

In addition, Flynn expressed her appreciation for the MBA's legislative efforts.

"I have been impressed with the legislative advocacy of the various MBA sections, and with their leadership on the fight for adequate funding of our courts. I am just beginning to get more involved with the legislative efforts," Flynn said.

Flynn is currently the president-elect of the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys.

 

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Connect, share and collaborate with fellow MBA members on My Bar Access

Participate in ongoing section discussions on recent programming, rule changes and more.

The Massachusetts Bar Association has launched My Bar Access, which replaces the section/division portion of the MBA website. Visit http://access.massbar.org/ today to join the conversation.

Check out posts on:

  • HIPAA Omnibus Rule -- Google+ Hangout; and
  • Family Law Resources | Articles by Charles P. Kindregan Jr.

Participate in ongoing member group discussions on:

  • Information on the FDIC Insurance Coverage Changes in the Family Law member group; and
  • A Business Law and Young Lawyers Division post on Part II of the Lifecycle of a Business series on Land Use/Permitting, Insurance Considerations and Financing.

The following simple steps can instantly connect you with fellow members:

  1. Login and agree to terms: Sign in using your MBA user name and password and sign the Code of Conduct.
  2. Create your profile and settings: Include your bio and photo and customize the frequency and format of your notifications (your profile info from LinkedIn may be pulled over).
  3. Start connecting: Post blogs, discussions (listservs) or upload a resource library entry for your section(s).

Resource materials -- including "Getting Started on My Bar Access" and "How to Use My Bar Access" -- posted in various areas throughout the site, can help users with questions. Following a review of those resources, members who need further help should contact the My Bar Access Help Desk at [e-mail mybaraccess].

Click here to login now.

Register for next week's "11th Annual Western Massachusetts Bankruptcy Conference"

The Feb. 4 conference will focus on important updates and issues relevant to both new and experienced bankruptcy practitioners

Western Mass. Bankruptcy Conference

Since we expect consumer bankruptcy to continue to be a busy practice area, it is important to stay up to date on the latest trends in bankruptcy law. The 11th Annual Western Massachusetts Bankruptcy Conference aims to keep practitioners current and up-to-date to best serve their clients. The conference will be held on Monday, Feb. 4 at Western New England University School of Law from 4 to 7 p.m.

Featuring most of the Massachusetts Bankruptcy judges, this year's conference will focus on important updates and issues relevant to both new and experienced bankruptcy practitioners. This year's panelists will include Connecticut presenters in order to explore similarities and differences between the Massachusetts and Connecticut bankruptcy practices. Specific topics include:

  • Changes in the intersection of bankruptcy and family law;
  • Successful attorney /trustee interactions and issues;
  • Updates on new claims and new foreclosure law; and
  • Comparing bankruptcy practice and procedure between Massachusetts and Connecticut.

Click here to register.

LPM Tip

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Anyone can tell a “good” story

I have written a number of times about the importance of good story telling in marketing legal services (see here and here).  The main concept is that telling a story is a much better way to communicate your expertise than documenting what you do. Not only will prospective clients and referral sources find your stories a lot more interesting than a dry recitation of your areas of legal expertise, but referral sources are MUCH more likely to understand what you do. More importantly clients and referral sources are much more likely to REMEMBER what you do when a referral opportunity comes along.

We all know some great story tellers (i.e. people that can keep our attention for hours). Most of us do not have that ability and never will. The good news, however, is that we don't need to be great story tellers in order to be successful; rather, we just need to be good at telling a quick anecdote that illustrates what we do and how we can be of help to an individual or business.

Telling a good story or anecdote that illustrates what you do requires preparation. In fact, even the greatest storytellers in the world do a lot of preparation; but they make it look so easy that you think they are doing it off the cuff. You would never go into a courtroom trying to wing it for an entire trial; so why do we feel we can wing it when it comes to telling stories that are intended to sell our services? Here are some other useful tips in drafting your own stories:

  • Know your audience. You will probably tell different stories to another lawyer than you would to a business person.
  • Keep it short. People have short attention spans.
  • Chose stories that illustrate what you want to be known for. If you achieved a great victory in a divorce case but you have zero interest in getting more divorce work, then don't use that anecdote to illustrate what you do.
  • Practice your stories out loud and use voice intonation to make the story more interesting (a dull monotone is sure to put your prospect to sleep.)
  • Try spending most of your time listening. Even if you have a few good anecdotes, it is much more important in selling to find out what concerns the other individual has. That is the only way to find out how you can be of help to them (either directly, or indirectly.)

Finally, do not feel like your stories have to demonstrate that you work on extremely fascinating and high powered cases or deals. The chances are, most of the people you talk to, will have no opportunity to refer that work to you. Instead, give them a good example of a situation they are likely to encounter. If you do, then you increase the likelihood that you will be the one to get the referral.

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

Published January 31, 2013

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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 Cynthia E. MacCausland.
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Featured member benefit: MBA On Demand mobile

Watch previously recorded MBA On Demand programs on a mobile device

Take MBA On Demand with you everywhere you go. All previously recorded MBA On Demand programs are available anytime, anywhere on your mobile device.

Watch any recorded MBA 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.

Join the MBA's Member-Get-A-Member campaign

Refer a colleague and be rewarded.

Member get a member graphicJoin in the Massachusetts Bar Association's Member-Get-a-Member campaign. As a current member, you are the greatest testimony to the value of an MBA membership and we ask for your participation in recruiting at least one new member this association year.     

Take this opportunity to help expand the MBA's network of legal professionals statewide and strengthen our association's preeminent voice in the legal profession. Share your personal and professional MBA experiences and why you belong to the MBA with a colleague and be rewarded. See why others belong.

For every new member you recruit, you will be entered into our raffle for the following prizes:

  • Grand prize: $500 AMEX gift card
  • Second prize: $250 AMEX gift card
  • Third prize: $100 AMEX gift card

To be eligible, you must be identified as the source of the referral on the membership application.

To learn about the program, visit www.massbar.org/membergetmember
for guidelines and rules.

 

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News from the courts

Hon. Paul LoConto appointed Chief Justice of the District Court; SJC seeks nominations for new chief justice of the trial court;Probate and Family Court announces release of a procedural advisory and updated trust forms

Hon. Paul LoConto appointed Chief Justice of the District Court


LaContoChief Justice of the Trial Court Robert A. Mulligan has announced the appointment of Hon. Paul F. LoConto as interim chief justice of the district court, in accordance with G.L. c.211B, §7. LoConto will succeed Chief Justice Lynda M. Connolly, who will retire on March 1, 2013. Mulligan, who will reach the mandatory retirement age in July of this year, recently stated that his successor will appoint the Chief Justice of the District Court to the full five-year term.

LoConto has been a regional administrative judge of the district court department since 1999. He also has served as first justice of the Worcester District Court since 2004. Prior to that, he was first justice of the Fitchburg District Court for five years and first justice of the East Brookfield District Court for 10 years. He also served as presiding justice of the Appellate Division of the District Court in the western region from 1989 to 2011. He was first appointed to the District Court Department in 1985. Previously, he served as clerk magistrate of the East Brookfield District Court for 10 years, following his career as an attorney in private practice.

In addition, LoConto recently served as chair of the Commission on Judicial Conduct from 2010 to 2012, and as a member since 2006. He also served on the Supreme Judicial Court's Committee on Judicial Performance Evaluation and on the District Court's Committee on Caseflow Management. Loconto has been an adjunct instructor at several colleges and served in the Massachusetts National Guard from 1969 to 1975. He received a B.S. from Boston College, a J.D. from Suffolk University Law School, and an LL.M. from Boston University Law School.

The District Court Department is comprised of 62 Divisions with 158 authorized judicial positions across the commonwealth. The Massachusetts Trial Court includes seven court departments with 379 judges who deliver justice in 100 courthouses across the state.

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SJC seeks nominations for new chief justice of the trial court

The Justices of the Supreme Judicial Court have announced they are soliciting nominations of trial court judges for the position of chief justice of the trial court. Chief Justice Robert A. Mulligan currently holds the position. He was appointed chief justice of the trial court in 2012 pursuant to court management legislation that replaced his former position of chief justice for administration and management with the two new positions of chief justice of the trial court and court administrator. Mulligan reaches mandatory retirement in July 2013, creating a vacancy.

As the trial court's judicial leader, the chief justice has a critical role in the oversight of the delivery of justice in a 21st Century environment of information technology advancements, evolving case law, demographic changes and increased numbers of self-represented litigants. Working with court administrator Harry Spence, who was appointed last year by the Supreme Judicial Court, the new chief justice of the trial court will develop policies and programs to support and maintain the highest standards of judicial excellence in the trial court. The chief justice of the trial court reports to the chief justice of the Supreme Judicial Court.

"This is a unique leadership opportunity for a superbly skilled judge who can embrace innovative judicial management and various high level responsibilities amid daily challenges," said SJC Chief Justice Roderick L. Ireland. "The position will have strong appeal to a judge with vision, creativity, and energy to enable further improvements in court administration in collaboration with the court administrator and other court leaders. It is clearly designed for a talented individual who is not only an excellent communicator with numerous constituencies, including the public we serve, but one who wants to make valuable contributions in the administration of justice."

The chief justice will be appointed by the justices from among the judges of the trial court for a five year renewable term. Judges are encouraged to nominate themselves. Others may also nominate a judge for consideration. All nominations and submissions must be received by the Supreme Judicial Court by March 1, 2013.

Click here for more information.

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Probate and Family Court announces release of a procedural advisory and updated trust forms

Chief Justice Paula M. Carey of the Probate and Family Court has announced the release of a procedural advisory on trust matters, as well as new and revised trust forms. The procedural advisory highlights procedural and form changes as a result of the adoption of the Massachusetts Uniform Trust Code ("MUTC"). The MUTC was enacted as part of Chapter 140 of the Acts of 2012. Chapter 140 amended various sections of G. L. c. 190B, the Massachusetts Uniform Probate Code ("MUPC") and incorporated the MUTC as Chapter 203E of the General Laws.

The pocedural advisory and trust forms were developed over the last several months by the MUPC Procedures Committee and the MUPC Forms Committee. Both committees are comprised of Probate and Family Court judges, court staff and members of the bar. See the procedural advisory here.

The following new trust forms have been created:

  • MPC 275 -- Statement of Confirmation of a Testamentary Trustee
  • MPC 351 -- General Trust Petition for Appointment of Guardian ad Litem
  • MPC 777 -- Decree and Order on General Trust Petition Appointing Guardian ad Litem
  • MPC 266 -- Petition for Resignation/Removal/Appointment of a Successor Trustee
  • MPC 782 -- Decree and Order on Petition for Resignation/Removal/Appointment of a Successor Trustee
  • MPC 267 -- Petition to Terminate a Trust
  • MPC 783 -- Decree and Order to Terminate a Trust

The following trust forms have been revised:

  • MPC 201 -- General Trust Petition
  • MPC 857 -- Petition for Allowance of Account
  • MPC 791 -- Decree and Order of Allowance of Account
  • MPC 295 -- Petition to Modify Bond
  • MPC 776 -- Decree and Order to Modify Bond

The following trust forms have been deleted and replaced by form MPC 275 -- Statement of Confirmation of Testamentary Trustee:

  • MPC 275 --  Petition for Appointment of Testamentary Trustee
  • MPC 781 -- Decree and Order on Petition for Appointment of Testamentary Trustee

The trust forms can be located here.

 

Upcoming CLE seminar and program schedule

Register for the Feb. 6 "Divorce Basics" seminar and learn how to achieve positive results for your client.

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

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

Divorce Basics: A View from the Bench and Bar
Wednesday, Feb. 6, 4-7 p.m.
Plymouth Probate & Family Court, 52 Obery St., Plymouth

Legal Chat: H-1B Principles Live program
Friday, Feb. 8, noon-1 p.m.
NOTE: There is no on-site attendance for Legal Chats.


Considering, Preparing and Conducting Mediation and Arbitration Hearings
Tuesday, Feb. 12, 4-7 p.m.
Western New England University School of Law, 1215 Wilbraham Road, Springfield


Legal Chat: Conflict Management and Negotiation Live program
Friday, Feb. 15, noon-1 p.m.
NOTE: There is no on-site attendance for Legal Chats.


Lifecycle of a Business Part III: Employment & Business Litigation Matters Live program
Tuesday, Feb. 19, 5-7 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston


MBA co-sponsors program: Uniform Commercial Code Conference
Thursday, Feb. 21, noon-6:30 p.m.
New England Law | Boston (Cherry Room), 154 Stuart St., Boston

SAVE THE DATE

The MUPC Revisited: Part I
Thursday, Feb. 28, noon-4 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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Top: Hon. Stephen E. Neel (ret.) speaks to Legal Lunch Series attendees.
Bottom: Attendees participate in the first Civil Litigation/Young Lawyers Division Legal Lunch Series event.

Civil Litigation and Young Lawyers Division host Legal Lunch Series

Part I features Hon. Stephen E. Neel (ret.)

The Civil Litigation section and Young Lawyers Division hosted Part I of the Legal Lunch Series on Jan. 31. The series, geared toward civil litigators of all experience levels, provides attendees with an opportunity to participate in a discussion of selected areas of law or practice in a collegial setting.

Hon. Stephen E. Neel (ret.) was the guest speaker at the first lunch event. Neel discussed his experiences as both a trial judge and a mediator and offered his perspectives on the different challenges presented to practitioners in these forums.

The lunch series was moderated by Courtney Shea, Esq. of Looney & Grossman, LLP and Craig Levey, Esq. of Bennett & Belfort PC.

Look for information on the next Legal Lunch event on www.massbar.org.

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Section News: Upcoming meetings and special section events

Join in the Feb. 6 Law Practice Management Section Council meeting. Attend the Feb. 7 Public Law Section Council meeting. Mark your calendars: Juvenile & Child Welfare open meeting featuring Reece Erlichman and Immigration Law Section Social featuring Kate Auspitz, issues director for Congressman Michael E. Capuano on Feb. 13.

Law Practice Management Section Council meeting

Wednesday, Feb. 6, 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, Feb. 6 from 5:15 to 6:45 p.m. All section members are invited to attend.

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

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Public Law Section Council meeting

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

The next meeting of the Public Law Section Council is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 7 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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SAVE THE DATE: Juvenile & Child Welfare open meeting

Featuring Reece Erlichman, director of the Bureau of Special Education Appeals
Wednesday, Feb. 13, 5:30-7 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston

You are invited to attend the Juvenile & Child Welfare Section open meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 13 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the MBA, 20 West St., Boston.

The guest speaker for this open meeting will be Reece Erlichman, director of the Bureau of Special Education Appeals (BSEA), an independent subdivision of the Division of Administrative law Appeals.

To R.S.V.P., click here. Space is limited.

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SAVE THE DATE: Immigration Law Section Social

Featuring Kate Auspitz, issues director for Congressman Michael E. Capuano
Wednesday, Feb. 13, 5:15-7:30 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston

The Immigration Law Section Council invites you to attend the Immigration Law Section Social on Feb. 13 from 5:15 to 7:30 p.m. at the MBA, 20 West St., Boston. The  guest speaker at this event will be Kate Auspitz, issues director for Congressman Michael E. Capuano, representative, 7th Congressional District of Massachusetts.  

As many practitioners are aware, Auspitz is one of the most helpful congressional aides when a congressional assist is needed. Many are unaware Auspitz is a political historian, Fulbright fellow and Harvard Ph.D. She was an associate professor in Social Studies at Harvard College and taught in the Political Science Department at Wellesley College before leaving academia for practical politics. She now works on foreign policy, immigration and refugee issues.

Auspitz will discuss what a congressional inquiry can accomplish, how to request assistance and, as importantly, what cannot be reasonably expected from an inquiry. In addition, she will bring the latest news as to what is happening on the hill regarding comprehensive immigration reform issues.

Join Immigration Law section members at this special networking reception, where you will have the opportunity to meet fellow practitioners, expand your practice network and connect with colleagues in your practice area.

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

©2014 Massachusetts Bar Association