MBA President Valerie A. Yarashus and
President-elect Denise Squillante attended the 2009 National
Conference of Bar Presidents Annual Meeting and the American Bar
Association Annual Meeting (July 30 - Aug. 4), both of which were
held in Chicago. Court funding, civics in education and criminal
justice topics were front and center during the course of the
"Our courts throughout the country
are in crisis and inadequately funded and this was a
significant topic of discussion as bar leaders from each state
shared their concerns and described the impact on the courts in
their states, including the closing of the courts for various
sessions and dates," said Squillante, who is the Massachusetts
delegate to the ABA's House of Delegates.
In addition to the lack of court
funding, the importance of civics in education was a topic stressed
throughout the NCBP and ABA conferences. The culmination of that
discussion came when the ABA House of Delegates passed a resolution
reflecting the importance of civics in education. "This is an issue
of national concern, and the MBA has opportunities for our members
and other lawyers in the state to make a difference in this area,"
Also at the ABA HOD meeting, U.S.
Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. described the issues
surrounding over-incarceration, alternative sentencing and drug
policies. "The MBA's own Drug Policy Task Force, led by Past
President David White, is on target with these and I expect that
our members will see continued work from the task force, our
Criminal Justice Section Council and many MBA bar leaders on these
important issues of national concern," said Squillante.