A century ago, Portia Law School opened its doors in Boston as a
women-only law school to help fulfill an unmet need — women were simply
not accepted into law school.
Eventually, women would be seated next to male students, and are now
enrolled in nearly equal numbers. After that initial struggle for
acceptance, women are now being hired by large law firms at rates
roughly equal to that of men.
Portia — now New England Law Boston — started celebrating its 100th
anniversary in 2008 in grand fashion, including appearances by the only
two women to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court, Justices Sandra Day
O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The celebration was a proud
acknowledgment of the school’s longevity and its continuing success. It
was also, in many ways, a memorial to the passing of a distant era.
Guardians, conservators and the court system itself face new
responsibilities under the sweeping probate code changes that take
effect in July.
The changes, signed into law by Gov. Deval Patrick this January after
nearly 20 years in the works, align Massachusetts with the Uniform
Probate Code. The first set of changes, which affect guardianships and
conservatorships, go into effect July 1. At the heart of the reform is
an effort to extend better protections to incapacitated persons and
minors. The rest of the UPC changes are scheduled to go into effect
July 1, 2011.
“It’s a sea change in Massachusetts,” said Judge Paula M. Carey, chief justice of the Probate and Family Court.
A flurry of long-awaited public safety and anti-crime bills proposed by
Gov. Deval Patrick were released in early May. The bills cover a
variety of long-debated areas of criminal justice policy, including
prisoner reentry, Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) reform
and mandatory minimum sentencing and gun crimes. For many of these
topics, such as mandatory sentencing and CORI, they represent the first
attempt at reform by a governor in almost two decades. Though obviously
subject to revision as they wend their way through the Legislature, the
following is a summary of the proposed bills.