e-Journal

05-23

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Senate debates budget

The Senate is continuing to debate its FY14 budget this afternoon. Yesterday, May 22, the Senate adopted an amendment granting an additional $1 million for the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation bringing its FY14 funding to $13 million, a $1 million increase from FY13 funding. The House similarly approved $13 million for MLAC -- making it likely that this line item will not surface when a conference committee convenes to iron out the differences in respective budgets. Therefore, the legal community will advocate that Gov. Deval L. Patrick sign the $13 million increase when it arrives on his desk.

Still pending is an amendment that would give a compensation increase to the commonwealth's judges. The Senate budget amendment proposes trial court justices to $144, 694 effective July 1, 2014; $154,694 effective January 1, 2015; and $159,964 effective July 1, 2015.

The Senate is expected to wrap up its debate on the FY14 budget later today.

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On May 3, MBA Secretary Martha Rush O’Mara was joined by Joshua Dohan, director of the Youth Advocacy Division at CPCS, to testify in favor of House Bill 1432.

House enacts "raise the age" bill

On Wednesday, May 22 the House of Representatives enacted Massachusetts Bar Association-supported legislation to raise the age of juvenile court jurisdiction from 17 to 18. House Bill No. 1432 now awaits action by the Senate.

"We commend the House for raising the age of juvenile offenders to 18," Chief Operating Officer and Chief Legal Counsel Martin W. Healy said. "The rehabilitative nature of Juvenile Court is better suited, with specific resources and trained professionals to get delinquent juveniles -- whose adolescent brain development is still ongoing -- back on track to be productive successful citizens."

Currently, 17-year-olds who are accused of a crime are held in jail with adults and tried in adult court. The commonwealth, in virtually every other area of law, sets 18 as the age of adulthood. There is no parental notification requirement regardless of the severity of the crime. If signed into law, Massachusetts will join 38 other states, the District of Columbia and the federal government in recognizing age 18 as the age of majority.

To see the bill, click here.

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Featured member benefit: Red Sox Ticket Lottery

Enter to purchase tickets to see the Boston Red Sox play the Colorado Rockies on June 25

The MBA is currently offering tickets to see the Boston Red Sox play the Colorado Rockies at Fenway Park on Tuesday, June 25 at 7:10 p.m. Tickets are $52 each. Due to high demand, the MBA will use a lottery method to distribute tickets to members.  

To enter the lottery, please [e-mail MBATickets] by Thursday, May 30 at 5 p.m. Please include:

  • Your name;
  • Phone number; and
  • Number of tickets you are requesting.

There is a four ticket limit per person and each member is allowed only one lottery entry. After Thursday, May 30, the MBA will no longer accept entries and will conduct the lottery drawing.

All winners will be contacted directly by MBA Member Services via e-mail by Monday, June 3 for payment.

Due to the large number of entries anticipated, only members whose names are drawn will be contacted.

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Volunteer lawyers participate in the semi-annual Western Mass. Dial-A-Lawyer Program on Tuesday, May 21. Photos by Liz Kennedy.

Western Mass. Dial-A-Lawyer helps 328 people get answers to their legal questions

On Tuesday, May 21, the Massachusetts Bar Association gathered lawyers at Western New England School of Law to field calls from residents across the region. Attorney members from the Hampden Country and Hampshire County Bars were among the 31 attorneys present.

As soon as the phones went "live," calls began pouring in on a wide range of topics, from neighborhood disputes to probate issues, divorce to bankruptcy questions. One topic that came up frequently dealt with the inability to discharge student loan debt in bankruptcy.  Attorney Stephen Phillips of Dunn & Phillips in Springfield said he fielded several calls on this topic from recent college graduates. Elizabeth Katz, president of the Hampshire County Bar Association and an attorney at Ostrander Law Office in Northampton, talked to people on a broad range of legal issues, including wills, elder law, divorce, child support and bankruptcy.

Over the course of the four-hour Dial-A-Lawyer Program, approximately 328 people were able to speak with attorneys.

"Given the number of calls, it's apparent that there is an unmet need for free legal advice. Our Dial-A-Lawyer Program is an excellent opportunity for legal professionals to give back to the communities in which they live and work," said Elizabeth O'Neil, MBA director of community and public services.

The MBA's Dial-A-Lawyer Program hosts monthly call-in programs in the Boston area, biannual call-in programs in Western Massachusetts and ad hoc programs when the need arises. The next Dial-A-Lawyer Program is scheduled for May 30 and is specially designed to help victims of the Boston Marathon bombing. To participate in an upcoming Dial-A-Lawyer event, or to learn more, [e-mail communityservices].

The MBA thanks the following attorneys who participated in the May 21 Western Mass. Dial-A-Lawyer Program:

  • Jeffrey M. Burstein, Burstein Law Offices, Springfield
  • Corey M. Carvalho, UMASS Legal Services, Amherst
  • Kevin Christanthopoulos, Robinson & Donovan PC, Springfield
  • Mark David Cress, Bulkley, Richardson & Gelinas LLP, Springfield
  • Leslie A. Curley, Berkshire Mediation Group, Pittsfield
  • Hyman G. Darling, Bacon Wilson PC, Springfield
  • Mary K. Eaton, Eaton & Rescia LLP, East Longmeadow
  • Michele Feinstein, Shatz, Schwartz and Fentin PC, Springfield
  • Theresa S. Finnegan, Hampden County Sheriff's Department, Springfield
  • Stephanie Fitzgerald, Fitzgerald Attorneys at Law PC, East Longmeadow
  • Elizabeth D. Katz, Ostrander Law Office, Northampton
  • Kelly A. Koch, Bulkley, Richardson & Gelinas LLP, Springfield
  • Stephen R. Manning, Stephen R. Manning, PC, East Longmeadow
  • Carolyn L. McCaffrey, McCaffrey Law Firm PC, Enfield, CT
  • Amy J. Megliola, Siddall & Siddall PC, Springfield
  • Susan A. Mielnikowski, Cooley Shrair PC, Springfield
  • Francis K. Morris, Law Office of Francis K. Morris, Brookline
  • Timothy F. Murphy, Skoler Abbott & Presser PC, Springfield
  • Stephen J. Phillips, Dunn & Phillips PC, Springfield
  • Christine M. Pikula, Edward M. Pikula-Attorney at Law, Springfield
  • Edward M. Pikula, Edward M. Pikula-Attorney at Law, Springfield
  • Andrea R. Reid, Reid & Gaudet Law Group LLP, Springfield
  • Timothy A. Reilly, Law Office of Timothy A. Reilly, Springfield
  • Daniel Mark Rothschild, Bulkley, Richardson & Gelinas LLP, Springfield
  • Denise M. Shear, Ostrander Law Office, Northampton
  • Michael Siddall, Siddall & Siddall PC, Springfield
  • Gillian Szlachetka Dubay, Szlachetka Dubay PC, Chicopee
  • Peggy A. Torello, Peggy A. Torello, Attorney at Law, Greenfield
  • Dennis E. Tully, Attorney at Law, East Longmeadow
  • Diana S. Velez Harris, Marien & Hodge, Springfield
  • Gregory A. Wolf, Law Office of Gregory A. Wolf Esq., Pittsfield

 

LPM Tip

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Accelerate your marketing: top sound bites from the MBA’s Annual Marketing Conference

There was much wit and wisdom being passed around during last week's Third Annual Super Marketing Conference, presented by the Massachusetts Bar Association, in partnership with the Massachusetts Law Office Management Assistance Program, Suffolk University Law School's Advanced Legal Studies department and Avvo. This year's conference, tagged 'Accelerate Your Marketing' focused on web marketing.

Below are some of the top quotes from the show, per session:

--"Don't hide your fees; instead, be transparent, and demonstrate your value to clients."
Mark Britton

Founder and CEO, Avvo

Ten Opportunities Lawyers Miss in Online Marketing

It is still the rare law firm website that features a pricing chart. While pricing legal services is not the same as attaching value to a 1999 Honda Civic, price transparency and price certainty are important things to modern consumers, including consumers of legal services. Attorneys should conceive of their pricing matrix as part of their sales pitch.

--"Repurpose your content.  Each piece of content can, and should, be used multiple times."
Cynthia MacCausland

Principal, Law Offices of Cynthia E. MacCausland

Content Is Still King: Marketing by Publication

With the proliferation of free publication tools (blogs, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ etc.), there are no shortage of places to publish your content. And, you should probably publish your content more than one time, depending on the medium, since information streams are so heavily populated these days. You should also consider repurposing your content: an article can become a blog post, you can create an infographic and/or make a presentation.

--"Plan to reevaluate your social media presence. The technology changes so quickly."
Lesley Ridge

Digital and social media strategist

The Social Web: New Media Marketing for Lawyers

So true; and, I had this same thought as I was constantly revising my Twitter book, due to Twitter's impressive ability to consistently make major changes to its platform, just when I had a publication deadline. The pace of technology in 2013 is staggering; and, it's easy to get overwhelmed. But, you do have to harness each of the social media tools you're going to use. You should review your settings every now and then, to make sure you're getting the most out of your profiles; and, if you follow the right blogs, you should be able to get updates on a regular basis respecting important features upgrades.

-- "Online readers don't like to read the way lawyers write. Use short text, bullet points and bold headers, as opposed to prose."
Todd Curlett

Senior business development consultant, FindLaw

More and Better Clients: Five Ways to Make Internet Marketing Deliver

Guilty.

--"YouTube provides HD distribution for free on the world's largest search engine."
James Ringrose

CEO, Real Cool TV

Using Video to Market Professional Services

The vast majority of law firms have not yet caught the video bug; but, it's becoming a more important part of online marketing every day.  Professional video production services may not cost as much as you think they do; but, even if you do it yourself, if you invest in the right equipment, and get a YouTube channel set up, you can do quite well in video marketing.  The integration of Google services, and the rise of Google + means that social, including YouTube videos, is intertwined with search like never before.  If you want to take a look at a method for integrating video, check out what fellow LPM Tip contributor Stephen Seckler has done at his website.

--"Websites are about products, and are static.  Blogs are about people, and are dynamic."
Amy Ullman

Inbound marketing consultant, HubSpot

SEO Tactics for Getting Local Buzz

. . . which is why many attorneys situate their blogs at the main page of their websites: to get consistent content turnover.  However, the point is, nevertheless, well-made: websites represent what you offer in the way of specific services; blogs highlight what you offer in the way of expertise.  With the increasing use of traditional blog platforms for website creation (WordPress being the prime example), it's easy to think of your blog and your website as one entity.  However, keeping in mind the dichotomy presented above will allow you to present a more coherent view of your services.

--"The cost of obtaining clients is high.  The cost of retaining clients is far lower. CRM tools help with client retention."
Morris Singer

Litigation consultant, The Boston Expert Witness Group

Finding, Tracking and Converting Prospects: The Use of CRM Systems in Legal

Many lawyers have their heads down looking for new clients. But, it's true that your best sources of business are your existing clients, including the referrals that they make to you. So, you've really got to put in the effort to stay in touch with your clients in ways that are relevant, and that show that you continue to care about them and their needs. They'll pass the value of that connection along to your next potential clients. The clear majority of solo and small firm attorneys do very little to track their client relationships from a marketing standpoint; but, CRM tools, even non-legal-specific tools, can go a long way to helping you to leverage that aspect of your client relations.

. . .

For almost all of the buzz surrounding the conference, you can check out the still-active #LHLM hashtag Twitter feed.  To connect with the presenters and conference participants, Inside Legal's Twitter List is your go-to spot.

Tip courtesy of Jared Correia, Law Office Management Assistance Program.

Published May 23, 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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Photograph by Marc D'Antonio
From left to right: Program moderator Craig Levey of Bennett & Belfort PC, guest speaker Brian J. Carney of WIN Interactive Inc., guest speaker Austin J. Freeley of the Law Offices of Austin J. Freeley and program moderator Courtney Shea, of Looney & Grossman LLP.

Civil Litigation and Young Lawyers Division host free legal lunch on demonstrative evidence

The Civil Litigation Section and Young Lawyers Division hosted Part III of the Legal Lunch Series on May 16. 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.

The May program focused on how to effectively use demonstrative evidence, including 3D animation, timelines, medical illustrations and maps and diagrams, to successfully litigate matters. Guest speakers included Brian J. Carney, Esq., of WIN Interactive Inc. and Austin J. Freeley, Esq., of the Law Offices of Austin J. Freeley. Courtney Shea, of Looney & Grossman LLP and Craig Levey, Esq. of Bennett & Belfort PC moderated the discussion.

Look for details on Part IV of the Legal Lunch Series in
Lawyers e-Journal and on www.massbar.org.

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Top: The Hon. Lynne C. Rooney of Lowell District Court (second from left) and attorney Eric Schutzbank of Berid & Schutzbank PC (third from left) volunteered to speak with students at Lowell Catholic High School about the MBA's Law Day Initiative, "Realizing the Dream: Equality for All."

Middle: Judge Rooney speaks with students about human trafficking, considered to be a form of modern day slavery.

Bottom: Attorney Schutzbank interacts with Lowell Catholic High School students.

Photos by Philip-Lauren Photography.

MBA’s Law Day Initiative focuses on human trafficking and modern day slavery

Students at high schools in Amherst, Fall River, Lowell, Southbridge, Springfield, Wilbraham and Worcester participated in the Massachusetts Bar Association's Law Day Initiative and discussed human trafficking and modern day slavery.

"This year marks the 150th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln freeing all slaves by signing the Emancipation Proclamation, which makes modern day slavery a fitting topic to study through a legal lens," MBA President Robert L. Holloway Jr. said.

Volunteer attorney/judge teams from the MBA visited classes at each school and presented "Realizing the Dream: Equality for All." Students then participated in a mock trial that debated human trafficking, considered to be a form of modern day slavery. Students were broken into groups of judges, prosecutors and defense attorneys. Click here to read an article on the MBA's Law Day program featured on WWLP-22News.

"The MBA is grateful to the attorneys and judges from across the state who have shared their time and expertise to make this critical program a success," Holloway said.

The MBA is appreciative of the Massachusetts Judges Conference for its assistance in recruiting volunteer judges for this endeavor.

Law Day is a national day of celebration in May focusing on the United States' heritage of liberty under law and recognizing its role in our daily lives. Celebratory events are often held throughout the month of May. President Dwight D. Eisenhower gave Law Day its name by declaration in 1958.

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From left to right: Francis C. Morrissey and Stephen Y. Chow, former chairs of the MBA's Business Law Section Council and UCC advocates.

The Uniform Commercial Code celebrates 50 years

On June 13, Boston's legal community will gather at Suffolk Law School to commemorate over 50 years of the Uniform Commercial Code in Massachusetts. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Uniform Law Foundation, the charitable arm of the Uniform Law Commission.

In 1958, Massachusetts became the second state in the country to enact the Uniform Commercial Code. Other states soon followed Massachusetts' lead and enacted the UCC, resulting in a 50-state adoption and the integration of commercial law throughout the United States.

Francis C. Morrissey, a longtime advocate for the UCC and former chairman of the Massachusetts Bar Association's Business Law Section Council said "The UCC event will celebrate Massachusetts' long leadership in commercial law and will bring together legislators, judges, lawyers and academics from across the state and the country. Anyone with an interest in commercial law is strongly encouraged to attend."

The ULC is a 120-year-old national organization with headquarters in Chicago 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.

The Uniform Commercial Code aims to promote legal consistency in commercial transactions across various states. Presently, the ULC has four Massachusetts-based Uniform Law commissioners, including:

  • Martin W. Healy, the MBA's chief legal counsel and chief operating officer;
  • Stephen Y. Chow, partner, Burns & Levinson LLP;
  • Edwin E. Smith, partner, Bingham McCutchen LLP; and
  • Robert Sitkoff, professor, Harvard Law School.

The UCC Commemoration event will take place on Thursday, June 13, at Suffolk University Law School, 120 Tremont St., Boston, from 5 to 8 p.m.  The keynote speaker is University of Michigan Law School Professor James J. White.

Individuals interested in attending or sponsoring this event should click here to view the event invitation.

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The Winsor School's Mock Trial Team represented Massachusetts at the 2013 National High School Mock Trial Championships.

The Winsor School of Boston travels to Indianapolis to represent Massachusetts at the National High School Mock Trial Championships

Following its March 20 win over Pioneer Valley Performing Arts High School at the 28th annual Massachusetts Bar Association Mock Trial Finals in Boston, The Winsor School advanced to the National High School Mock Trial Championships, which was held May 9 to 11 in Indianapolis, Indiana. This is the second time The Winsor School has represented Massachusetts at the national competition.

The team's travel expenses to Indianapolis were paid for in part by a $2,500 stipend donated by the Massachusetts Bar Foundation, the philanthropic partner of the MBA. The MBA Mock Trial program is made possible by the international law firm of Brown Rudnick LLP through its Center for the Public Interest in Boston. The center has contributed $25,000 per year to the program since 1998.

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Call for Adams Pro Bono Publico Awards nominations

Deadline is Monday, July 1

To recognize outstanding commitment to volunteer legal services for the poor and disadvantaged, the Supreme Judicial Court's Standing Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services is seeking nominations for the 2013 Adams Pro Bono Publico Awards. The deadline for nominations is Monday, July 1.

The awards will be presented in a ceremony at the John Adams Courthouse on Wednesday, Oct. 23, in conjunction with the American Bar Association's recognition of National Pro Bono Week.

Nomination guidelines

Nominations should be submitted to: Robert C. Sacco, Esq., The 2013 Adams Pro Bono Publico Awards, c/o Lyon & Fitzpatrick LLP, 14 Bobala Road, Fourth Floor, Holyoke, MA 01040 or [e-mail rsacco]. Contact Carol Lev at (617) 557-1074 or [e-mail carol.lev] with questions.

Nominations submitted in 2012 remain active for consideration in the 2013 awards program provided that the nominating party submits a letter restating the intent to nominate the candidate and updating the narrative with any relevant information. Eligibility for the awards has been expanded this year to include law schools and law students.

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

Refer a colleague and be rewarded.

Join 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.

 

Upcoming CLE seminar and program schedule

Register for the June 5 Labor & Employment Law Spring Conference featuring keynote speaker Jonathan B. Kreisberg, regional director of the National Labor Relations Board.

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

A View from the Bench Seminar and Reception
Wednesday, May 29, 4:30-7:30 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston

34th Annual Labor & Employment Law Spring Conference
Wednesday, June 5, 1-5:30 p.m.
Suffolk University Law School, 120 Tremont St., Boston


Visa Issues for International Medical Professionals
Thursday, June 6, 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
UMass Memorial Medical Center, 55 Lake Ave. North, Worcester

Health Law Legal Chat Series Live program
Friday, June 7, noon-1 p.m.
NOTE: There is no on-site attendance for Legal Chats.

Legal Chat: Your Land, Your Legacy Live program
Planning for Preservation and Development of Family Land

Tuesday, June 18, 4-5 p.m.
NOTE: There is no on-site attendance for Legal Chats.

Juvenile & Child Welfare Legal Chat Series Live program
Friday, June 21, 1-2 p.m.
NOTE: There is no on-site attendance for Legal Chats.

2013 Annual Health Law Conference Live program
Tuesday, June 25, 9 a.m.-2 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston

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MBA On Demand

Were you 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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Connect, share and collaborate on My Bar Access

Posts include "Hospital chargemasters and open data from CMS," "The federales' open data policy and the Medicare hospital chargemaster data dump" and more.

Interact with your section/division on My Bar Access. Visit http://access.massbar.org/ today to join the conversation.

Blog posts include:
Questions about a new rule? Need a referral? Looking for a sample motion? Interested in learning more about your fellow members? Login and participate in ongoing member group discussions, which are now PRIVATE and can only be viewed by MBA members, who login to the MBA's online community. Current discussion posts include information on moving a law firm, the juvenile jurisdiction bill and standard real estate sales contract forms. My Bar Access discussions allow you to enjoy the benefits of a traditional listserv, without clogging your inbox.

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].

Get started today on http://access.massbar.org.
Questions? [e-mail mybaraccess].

 

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Section News: Upcoming meetings and special section events

Join in the May 28 Business Law and Access to Justice section council meetings. The Workers' Compensation Practice Group will feature Administrative Law Judge Mark D. Horan on May 30.

Business Law Section Council meeting

Tuesday, May 28, 6-7:30 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston

The next meeting of the Business Law  Council is scheduled for Tuesday, May 28 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. All section members are invited to attend.

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

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Access to Justice Section Council meeting

Tuesday, May 28, 6-7:30 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston

The next meeting of the Access to Justice  Council is scheduled for Tuesday, May 28 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. All section members are invited to attend.

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

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Workers' Compensation Practice Group meeting

Featuring Administrative Law Judge Mark D. Horan
Thursday, May 30, 3-5 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston

The next meeting of the Workers' Compensation Practice Group is scheduled for Thursday, May 30 from 3 to 5 p.m. Horan will provide a Workers' Compensation Law update -- tracking significant new cases since November 2012 with a focus on interesting developments, particularly those regarding psychiatric claims and permanent loss of function.

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

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