In the last decade, MBA presidents continued to work on a number
of projects and causes that had long concerned the organization and
the legal profession, including substantive court management
reform, professional civility, championing judicial independence
and the proper funding of the courts through difficult financial
Longtime efforts like the passage of decades-in-the-making Uniform
Probate Code were finally met with success, while newer efforts
like David W. White's (2007-08) sentencing reform were undertaken.
White also introduced the MBA's first green effort, a
profession-wide challenge for lawyers to improve their
environmental practices with the MBA Eco-Challenge, which
concentrated on reducing practitioners' use of electricity and
Presidents also oversaw the emergence and evolution of online
efforts at the MBA. From posting print publications like
Lawyers Journal and the Massachusetts Law Review
online to the creation of the weekly electronic newsletter,
e-Journal. And as the decade drew to a close, the MBA
embraced the emergence of social networking sites such as Facebook,
LinkedIn and Twitter.
Also, after two decades of diversification of MBA leadership, the
MBA still had room for two more firsts: the election of its first
openly gay president with Mark D Mason (2006-07), who was later
appointed a district court judge; and Valerie A. Yarashus (2009-10)
passed the gavel to Denise Squillante (2010-11), the first time
women had served consecutive terms. In addition to ushering in a
new decade, Squillante also saw the close of the MBA's first
century by presiding over its centennial celebration during her
Centennial Timeline, 2000s
2001: In response to the 9/11 tragedy, the MBA
establishes a Victims' Relief Fund; hosts a Dial-A-Lawyer event for
victims' families and friends; develops a pro bono
initiative to assist victims' families with legal matters and works
with U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy's office to coordinate and
participate in an event to help families with legal, financial,
health and other needs.
2002: After the SJC accepted direct appellate
review in Goodridge v. Dept. of Public Health, the MBA
files an amicus brief arguing that excluding same-sex
couples from marriage violates equal protection under the
2003: The MBA works tirelessly to obtain adequate
funding for Massachusetts courts, which were crippled with a near
$60 million deficit in fiscal years 2002 and 2003. On March 18, it
holds a lobby day for court and CPCS-assigned private counsel
2004: The MBA reiterates its support for
increased pay for bar advocates.
2004: The MBA's House of Delegates debates and
rejects the proposition that the country cannot be both safe and
free, passing the resolution contesting the U.S.A. Patriot Act and
related federal executive orders, and endorsing the
protection of civil rights and liberties.
2005: Gov. Mitt Romney proposes legislation to
reinstate the death penalty for the most "heinous" crimes. The MBA
maintains its position against the death penalty and cites the
catastrophic effect its implementation would have on the court
2006: The Young Lawyers Section is elevated to the Young
2006: The MBA issues "Report of Attorney
Financial Responsibility Disclosure Task Force" and "Debt
Collection/Small Claims Task Force Report."
2007: The MBA is honored with the American Bar
Association's Harrison Tweed Award for long-standing commitment to
funding and provision of quality legal services to the poor in
Massachusetts, in both criminal and civil matters.
2007: The MBA forms a Drug Policy Task
2007: The MBA launches its Lawyers Eco-Challenge
with the goal of lawyers and law firms reducing their ecological
2007: The MBA holds its first Legal Technology
Expo, highlighting the latest advancements to aid in law practice
2008: The Legislature enacts the MBA-sponsored
Uniform Probate Code after more than 20 years of discussion and
2009: The MBA issues the Drug Policy Task Force's
"The Failure of the War on Drugs" report.
2010: The MBA issues the "Crisis in Court Funding
Task Force" report, showcasing the devastating impact of the
economic downturn on everyday uses of the courts.
2010: Following years of advocacy by the MBA and
other groups, the Legislature passes a bill that reforms mandatory
sentencing laws and Criminal Offender Record Information.
2010: The MBA Governance Committee, led by Past
President Warren Fitzgerald, wins HOD approval to extensive bylaw
changes that further clarify Executive Management Board and House
of Delegate roles and create a chief operating officer position.
Longtime General Counsel Martin W. Healy is named the MBA's first
COO and chief legal counsel.
MBA Did You Know?
As early MBA responsibilities like grievance hearings were
delegated to organizations such as the Board of Bar Overseers, the
MBA turned its efforts toward improving the impact of the law on
The new MBA Legal Fee Arbitration Board allowed lawyers and
clients to resolve fee arguments without resorting to the courts or
to BBO grievance procedures.