In line with Massachusetts Bar Association President Mark D Mason's commitment to the next generation of legal professionals, the MBA's first HOD meeting of 2006-07 was held on Sept. 20 at Southern New England School of Law in North Dartmouth.
Dean of SNESL Robert Ward offered remarks as host of the meeting. "It is pleasure to host the MBA's first HOD Meeting of the new association year and to see so many familiar faces of friends, former students and colleagues. This is the first of what we anticipate to be a number of collaborative efforts between the MBA and Southern New England School of Law," said Ward, before turning the podium over to Christopher Morris, president of SNESL's Student Bar Association.
Morris was joined by other SNESL students who attended the Sept. 20 meeting as guests of the MBA. Morris summarized the priorities of the student bar association, emphasizing the group's focus on community service.
As a way to encourage more early involvement from students such as Morris, the MBA leadership first announced its Law Student Sponsorship Program to HOD members at the meeting. The new initiative provides existing MBA members an opportunity to sponsor the $35 membership dues for a law student or students.
The announcement gave way to a full agenda that provoked important debate on key issues before the House. The traditional introductions of each delegate took place following Mason's introduction of his fellow MBA officers'€”President-elect David W. White-Lief; Vice Presidents Valerie A. Yarashus and Denise Squillante; Treasurer Robert F. Lucas; and Secretary Edward W. McIntyre. Mason also noted the full host of priorities for the year.
Following projects from the officers and those from MBA's General Counsel Martin W. Healy and Executive Director Marilyn J. Wellington, productive discussions were underway, including those related to the Young Lawyers Division; an ABA Resolution on Civics in Education; and the Payee Notification Rule proposed by the Client Security Board.
Section evolves into MBA division
Sanjay Sankaran, chair of the Young Lawyers Section Council, made the bid for the section to become recognized as an MBA Division. He noted, "Our interests and backgrounds are as diverse as those in this room." After Sankaran fielded a few clarification questions, the transformation of the Young Lawyers Section to a Young Lawyers Division passed.
A customized adoption of an ABA resolution
Much discussion ensued following the presentation of an ABA Resolution on Civil Education. Many delegates weighed on this vote, offering multiple amendments before the group came to agreement to pass a slightly amended resolution, containing language customized to the MBA. Civics in education is a priority for the MBA this association year.
A vote to maintain a voice in Payee Notification Rule
Much discussion also followed a presentation by Neal Winston, a member of the comprehensive task force, which was established last spring to consider the Payee Notification Rule of the Client Security Board. Winston provided the report on behalf of the task force chairman Wayne Budd.
Among those involved in the debate on this topic was Lucas. "We want to participate in this rule," said Lucas, who encouraged his fellow delegates to endorse the rule in order to have a continued voice in its implementation. The Payee Notification Rule was originally drafted by the CSB as a measure to deter attorney theft of client funds. Following a lengthy discussion, the group voted to support the recommendations of the task force, who will share their recommendations to endorse in principle the establishment of the Payee Notification Rule and have the MBA appoint a committee to further work with CSB on this issue.
Following the formal portion of the HOD meeting, delegates enjoyed a reception hosted by the Bristol County Bar Association.
The next HOD meeting will take place at Old Sturbridge Village in Sturbridge on Nov. 15. Delegates will enjoy a preview of the MBA-sponsored re-interpretation and refurbishment of the village's authentic 1796 law office exhibit