The 1960s was, in many ways, a transformative decade, not just
for the Massachusetts Bar Association, but for the legal profession
in Massachusetts. Some of the initiatives from nearly a
half-century ago include: the expanded availability of continuing
education; greater legal input in the legislative process; policing
of the profession; and the creation of the Massachusetts Bar
Massachusetts Bar Association President Gerald P. Walsh (1959-60)
set the stage by suggesting the MBA create a newsletter and expand
the organization's annual continuing legal education program to a
year-round, statewide effort. He would not see his plans come to
fruition, however; he died shortly after stepping down in 1960 due
Harold Horvitz (1960-62) started to put Walsh's ideas into effect
in 1960, including starting the monthly MBA Newsletter,
which would later become Lawyers Journal.
Walsh's intention to improve continuing education -- which the MBA
started offering at its 1942 Annual Meeting -- was followed through
by presidents Horvitz and Laurence H. Lougee (1962-63). Richard
Milstein, who had previously introduced CLE to Hampden County, was
hired to run the MBA's program, and by the fall of 1962, programs
were offered in New Bedford, Pittsfield, Springfield and
Horvitz would also, along with Committee on Legislation Chairman
Livingston Hall, convince the Board of Delegates on Sept. 20, 1960,
to hire a "legislative agent" to keep the MBA apprised of the
Legislature's activity as it happened, rather than simply weigh in
after legislation was passed.
After Hall became president (1963-64), he helped create the
Massachusetts Bar Foundation in the spring of 1965, modeling it on
the American Bar Foundation. He also oversaw the launch of the
Young Lawyers Section, for attorneys under 36, following vthe
introduction of the Junior Bar.
Hall's term was capped, at the June 1964 Annual Meeting, with
another breakthrough: the creation of the Clients' Security Fund,
which provided compensation to the victims of dishonest lawyers,
duties now handled by the state's Clients' Security Board. (The
fund was set in motion by Horvitz in 1961, when he appointed
Pittsfield attorney Lincoln S. Cain to investigate whether it would
President Walter H. McLaughlin Sr. (1964-66) eventually succeeded
in convincing the Supreme Judicial Court chief justice to allow
depositions to be used as a discovery tool in litigation, a
position that had been advocated by the MBA's Committee on
Administration of Justice in 1962.
McLaughlin, who had been involved in many of the MBA's initiatives
before becoming president in 1964, also advocated the purchase of a
permanent headquarters for the MBA two decades before it would find
its permanent home at 20 West St. in Boston.
One of McLaughlin's other major efforts was the unification of the
bar after decades of discussion. The debate over mandating
membership in the state bar association, with annual dues, would
not be settled until 1974, when the SJC settled on a compromise
that created the Board of Bar Overseers.
Centennial Timeline: 1960s
1960: Harold Horvitz is elected president of
1962: Laurence H. Lougee is elected president of
1962: For the first time, through the coordinated
dissemination of materials through a network of local associations,
cohesive continuing legal education is available to every member of
1962: With an expanded committee base and a
greater number of active members, the MBA is able to address issues
it was less than successful on just a few years prior, including
the administration of justice, which would become the dominant and
defining vision of the association through the mid-1960s.
1963: Livingston Hall, professor at Harvard Law
School, is elected president of the MBA.
1963: In December, the Young Lawyers Section is
formed to develop the young leadership of the association and
assist bar members under the age of 36 gain experience and
1964: At the annual meeting in June, the
association votes to establish a client security fund, providing
compensation to clients for monetary losses caused by dishonest
acts of members of the bar. It is the first bar association in the
country to do so, and leads to the creation of the state's Clients'
1964: Walter McLaughlin Sr. is elected president
of the MBA.
1964: Unification of the various state bar
associations into one organization, a sensitive and deeply personal
topic that had been discussed at various times since the 1930s, is
once again broached at the annual meeting. It will be discussed for
the next 10 years.
1965: An organizational meeting on May 13 begins
the process of establishing the Massachusetts Bar Foundation,
dedicated to supporting the bar association and students of
1966: Paul A. Tamburello is elected president of
1966: Father Robert F. Drinan, former dean of the Boston
College Law School, receives the Gold Award at the MBA Annual
Meeting in recognition of his devotion to public service, his work
in the area of civil rights, and his expertise on the relationship
between church and state. The award was also a recognition of the
Committee on Administration of Justice - created, implemented and
directed by Drinan - as one of the most productive and important
committees in the association's history. Drinan later served five
terms in Congress.
1967: The headquarters of the MBA move from
Barrister's Hall, near Scollay Square, to One Center Plaza.
1967: Tamburello leads a delegation of doctors
and dignitaries on a tour of Bridgewater State Hospital, the
state's only institution for the criminally insane. The deplorable
conditions witnessed by journalists and a documentary crew receive
national attention. Tamburello pledges the assistance of the 6,000
members of the bar association to those confined because they
lacked legal aid. He personally took on the case of the first
inmate represented by the bar, who had been unlawfully detained for
1968: Phillip L. Sisk is elected president of the
1970: After Tamburello's discovery at Bridgewater
and the subsequent work by MBA members and the attorney general's
office, a complete revision and reform of the state's laws
regarding mental illness is completed. The new code is heralded as
one of the most comprehensive statutory overhauls in modern history
and as a national model of how to humanely protect the interests of
the mentally ill.
MBA Did You Know?
- The MBA adopted "sections" in the mid-1970s to encourage more
involvement by sorting members into areas of substantive law. Up
until that point, committees and subcommittees were difficult for
new members to join. The section model today enables members to
enjoy special programs and events focused on their practice area,
in addition to association-wide services and events.
- In the early 20th century, aspiring lawyers qualified for the
bar by clerking with or shadowing practicing attorneys. However,
the growth in importance of law schools changed the focus of
lawyers to the mindset of the profession and away from strict
memorization of the law. MBA President Mayo Shattuck aimed to close
the gap between theory and practice by offering refresher courses
for returning WWII veterans through the MBA's annual Massachusetts