Lawyers Journal

Community Services wraps up 2005-06, begins planning for 2006-07

Over the summer months, the Community Services Department at the Massachusetts Bar Association will begin planning for our 2006-2007 programming year. As we approach fall, we will again reach out to encourage members to Get Involved in the MBA's community efforts. However, before we turn our full attention to next year, here is a brief look at what happened in 2005-2006.

The 2005-2006 year saw the continued growth of Community Service programming at the MBA. In the fall, 122 high schools registered teams for our Mock Trial Program. Our Mock Trial Committee, which consists of 15 dedicated volunteers (among them attorneys and school teachers), created a challenging and entertaining case for the students: a product liability case in which a portable Global Positioning System (GPS), used to relay map information to drivers, was blamed for an automobile accident that left the driver's spouse in a coma.

During the season, 115 attorneys volunteered as judges in the trials, (some judging more than one) and as a testament to the balance of the case, 104 judges sided with the plaintiff and 98 with the defense. The program culminated in the crowning of Boston Latin School as the 2006 Mock Trial State Champions. The state champions went on to the nationals in Oklahoma City in May and placed 24th out of 44 high school teams. For more information on the 2006 Mock Trial Program, visit www.massbar.org/mock to view the program's “Mock Talk” newsletter.

In February, our Job Shadow Day Program gave 34 teens from Boys and Girls Clubs in Boston, Worcester and Springfield the opportunity to spend the day with legal professionals in a variety of settings. Students visited courthouses, attended trials, met with judges and law enforcement officials and toured the Statehouse. Over the course of the day, students met with more than 30 volunteers from within the legal community.

In celebration of Law Day, seniors at 148 senior centers and Councils on Aging across Massachusetts received presentations on important legal issues. Volunteers delivered presentations covering three topics: “Elder Law Essentials,” “Medicare/Medicaid Changes” and “Real Estate Tax Abatements for Elders.” Additionally, middle schools across the state participated in the Conversations on the Constitution Program, in which attorneys led students through interactive discussions on important constitutional issues, such as Separation of Powers, Advice and Consent of the Senate and Unreasonable Search and Seizure. And throughout the year, MBA members volunteered their time through our Speaker's Bureau program, and for other individual events.

As the year progresses, please keep an eye on these pages, as we begin to reach out to volunteers for the fall. Or, to find out more about how to get involved in programs like these, contact the Community Services Department at (617) 338-0695 or [e-mail communityservices].

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