Thursday, Mar. 28, 2013
Top: MBA President Robert L. Holloway Jr. addresses the delegates.
Second from top: Chief Justice Paula M. Carey provides an informational report on the Probate and Family Court.
Middle: Worcester County Regional Delegate J. Gavin Reardon; MBA President-elect Douglas K. Sheff; and MBA Treasurer Marsha V. Kazarosian.
Second from bottom: MBA Vice President Christopher P. Sullivan; Mass. LGBTQ Bar Assoc. Delegate Timothy G. Lynch; and Access to Justice Section Chair Isabel S. Raskin.
Bottom: Worcester County Bar Delegate Margaret J. Hurley; Law Practice Management Section Chair Thomas J. Barbar; and Suffolk County Regional Delegate Catherine E. Reuben.
Photos by Tricia Oliver.
Delegates approve a section name change, a measure to pump more funds into IOLTA and improved workers compensation death benefits
Chief Justice Carey provides an update on the Probate and Family Court
Following three Boston-based House of Delegates meetings, MBA
President Robert L. Holloway Jr. convened the House at the Sheraton
Framingham last Thursday for its March meeting.
Delegates voted on business brought forth by the Access to
Justice and Property Law sections and the Workplace Safety Task
Force. Special guest and Chief Justice of the Probate and Family
Court Paula M. Carey provided an update on her department and MBA
leaders delivered their informational reports.
HOD members voted favorably on the three Access to Justice
measures. First, members voted to support in principle Senate Bill
No. 417 with the recommendation that the bill would be amended by
striking the first paragraph. The bill is an act to ensure full
compliance with the good funds statute, which protects citizens who
borrow money against their homes. It strengthens the requirements
that funds are available for dispersment immediately at the
closing. Second, HOD voted to support the recommendation for
Massachusetts Rules of Civil Procedure to provide for at least 50
percent of class action residuals be disbursed to the IOLTA
Committee. Lastly, delegates approved the nominees recommended by
the section to receive the 2013 Access to Justice Awards. Those
honorees include Legal Services Attorney awardees Ruth A. Bourquin
of Massachusetts Law Reform Institute and James Breslauer of
Neighborhood Legal Services; Pro Bono Law Firm awardee Brown
Rudnick; Pro Bono Publico Attorney awardee Timothy G. Lynch of
Swartz & Lynch LLP; Defender awardee Gloria Tan of the Harvard
Law School's Criminal Justice Institute; and Prosecutor awardee
Adam J. Foss with the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office.
Look for articles on all of the honorees in the May issue of
The delegation also approved the name change of the MBA's
Property Law Section to the Real Estate Section. And, the group
voted to support in principle House Bill No. 1698 and Senate Bill
No. 866, both pending before the Committee on Labor and Workforce
Development. If passed, the legislation will increase the workers
compensation burial allowance from $4,000 to $8,000.
Chief Justice Carey's remarks came following what she described
as a "seminal year." Carey's first term as Chief Justice of the
Probate and Family Court came to a close and she was reappointed
for another five-year term. Carey painted a broad picture of her
department's strategic planning process, which really made headway
at a "Vision for the Future" conference last November. Included as
part of the strategic planning for her department is an innovative
collaboration with Boston College MBA candidates to develop
recommendations for improved business practices and other
efficiencies. Carey also mentioned the Probate and Family Court's
push for more educational videos for litigants to be featured on
the department's website; a pilot program for staggered scheduling
in Norfolk County; and improvement measures related to domestic
violence screening and giving children a voice in court. Carey also
thanked the bar for all its help with the roll out of the
Massachusetts Uniform Probate Code, noting that efforts of
volunteer attorneys on related committees and necessary training
were key in that transition.
Highlights of the MBA Officer Reports were updates from MBA
Treasurer Marsha Kazarosian on the MBA Education Committee, from
MBA Vice President Christopher Sullivan on the Membership
Committee, from MBA President-elect Douglas K. Sheff on the Media
Committee, from MBA Robert W. Harnais on the Diversity Committee
and from MBA Secretary Martha Rush O'Mara on the Annual Dinner
Committee. MBA President Robert L. Holloway Jr. detailed the MBA's
recent court funding advocacy events, as well as the Mock Trial
Championship. He also announced that the MBA would be honoring the
Hon. Sandra Lynch, chief judge of the United States Court of
Appeals for the First Circuit and WBUR-FM's News Department at the
May 2 Excellence in the Law event co-presented with
Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly.
The last report of the meeting came from MBA Chief Legal Counsel
and Chief Operating Officer Martin W. Healy. Healy mentioned that
Gov. Deval L. Patrick will deliver the keynote address and Rep.
Brian Dempsey (D-Haverhill) will be honored with the Legislator of
the Year Award at the MBA's Annual Dinner on May 9. Healy also
noted that U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren announced that MBA Past
President Michael E. Mone will serve as the MBA representative on
the Advisory Committee on Massachusetts Judicial Nominations. Mone
brings a "world of experience" to this committee, according to
Healy also provided updates on an "outrageous" workers
compensation tax that is part of Patrick's FY 14 budget proposal,
letting the delegates know that the MBA has stressed its opposition
to this tax to legislative leaders. Healy also spoke about two
juvenile justice measures to which the MBA has stressed its
support. One would involve raising the age of those tried as adults
from 17 to 18 and the other would change life without parole for
juvenile inmates to the opportunity for parole following 15-25
The HOD meeting was adjourned following Healy's remarks. The May
HOD meeting will take place on Wednesday, May 15.