Lawyers Journal

Lobby for the courts; vote for changes

Front and center on the MBA's agenda is the state court budget. While we recognize that the entire state is facing a fiscal shortfall, the Massachusetts Court System is facing a crippling budget cutback. The MBA believes that the current reductions in resources place Massachusetts citizens at a serious risk of being denied access to justice. And more cutbacks are projected for next year!

The MBA is organizing a Court Funding Lobby Day to take its concerns to the Legislature. The event will take place May 7, 2002 at 11:00 a.m. in Hearing Room (Rm. A-1) at the State House. The MBA is bringing together a significant cross section of the state's legal community for this occasion. At that time, information prepared by the MBA and others will be provided to assist you in meeting with your state legislators.

Please join us and make your voice heard directly. The court's budget crisis affects all of us! Call the MBA for additional information on how you can be a part of this important event. (For more information, see the article on page B3.)

Cast your vote for
officers, bylaws changes

Watch your mail for important materials from the MBA. Ballots for next year's slate of officers and delegates to the house will be on their way soon. Also in your mail will be proposed amendments to the MBA's bylaws, which were approved by the House of Delegates during its meeting of April 3.

I want to highlight the most of noteworthy of the proposed changes to assist your review. These changes are predominately intended to stress the importance of inclusiveness to the MBA and to further the goal of enhancing diversity both within the bar in general and within the MBA's own membership.

Specifically, the house approved an amendment to Article II, which governs the purpose of the MBA, to add "diversity and unity in the legal profession" to the list of the organization's purposes. The house also approved an amendment to Article III to add both sexual orientation and disability to its diversity statement.

The house also passed amendments to the bylaws designed to change the way in which bar associations can become affiliated with the MBA.

The current bylaws have a two-step process, the first step being a numerical test and the second test being a review of the application by the Executive Management Board. The proposed amendments remove the numerical tests from the bylaws, instead making the process of evaluating an application for affiliation entirely the responsibility of the Executive Management Board.

The House of Delegates also approved a policy setting forth factors for the EMB to consider when it reviews an application. The goal of altering the process for becoming an affiliated bar is to enable some of the newer and sometimes smaller bar associations representing particular ethnic groups within the bar at large to more easily become an affiliated bar while maintaining the goal of ensuring that they are representing the interests of individuals who are active within the MBA community.

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