House vote follows MBA's Lobby Day effort
On the heels of the MBA's successful Lobby Day for Court Funding on May 7, the Massachusetts House voted on May 15 to restore much of the state's court budget for FY03. The House's proposed budget called for cutting the court's $500 million request by nearly $60 million.
In addition, several proposals to significantly change court administration rules were shelved, with the issue of court management moved to a legislative study commission.
"We are very pleased with the outcome of the House action on funding for the state's courts," said MBA General Counsel Martin Healy. "It is notable that the legislators heard the call of legal professionals across the Commonwealth to restore or in large part preserve the needed funds to operate the Trial Court and the Supreme Judicial Court, so the public's access to justice is neither denied nor delayed by the threat of closed courts, dismissed staff or diminished resources."
By December 2001, the recession had hit New England, a result of the economy's cyclical downturn compounded by the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The region's information-technology, manufacturing, financial and biotechnology industries all saw declines in job growth, giving Massachusetts and neighboring states an unemployment rate below the national average.
The Massachusetts Bar Association and the American Bar Association President's Advisory Council on Diversity jointly sponsored an event at Hampshire College on April 20 to explore why college-age students of color do not choose the legal profession more often when making life career choices. The event was hosted by Greg Prince, president of Hampshire College and was held at the Red Barn.