Lawyers Journal

News from the Courts

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit has proposed an amendment to Rule VII of the Rules of Attorney Disciplinary Enforcement for the Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.

The rule is being modified so that reinstatement is not automatic after a suspension period has run, but rather, a petition for reinstatement is required.

The proposed amendment can be found under the "What's New" section at Deletions are indicated in strike-out print and additions are indicated in italic print."

The Court of Appeals invites public comments on the proposed amendment, which should be submitted by Jan. 14 to:
Office of the Clerk

U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
United States Courthouse
1 Courthouse Way, Suite 2500
Boston, MA 02210

For more information, visit

The Supreme Judicial Court has appointed members of a task force established to undertake a comprehensive review of the hiring and promotion procedures in the judicial branch. The task force was created in the wake of the findings of corruption and systemic abuse in the hiring and promotion practices of the Probation Department, which were documented recently in independent counsel Paul Ware's report.

The SJC justices had previously announced, in a Nov. 18 statement that accompanied the public release of Ware's report, that they had appointed former Attorney General Scott Harshbarger, senior counsel in the law firm of Proskauer Rose LLP, to lead the task force.

To enhance public confidence in the integrity of the court system, the task force is charged with reviewing the hiring and promotion policies, practices and procedures of the Probation Department and other court departments within the judicial branch.

In addition to Harshbarger, the initial members of the task force are as follows (additional members may be named at a later time):

  • Stephen P. Crosby, the founding and current dean of the John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies at UMass/Boston.
  • Kathleen M. Donovan, managing director of Manpower Business Solutions. She also directs Manpower's Global RPO Center of Excellence to promote innovation and sharing of best practices in recruitment process outsourcing.
  • Ruth Ellen Fitch, president of the Dimock Community Health Center and a current member of the Court Management Advisory Board.
  • Michael B. Keating, a partner and chair of the Litigation Department at Foley Hoag LLP. He also served as chair of the Court Management Advisory Board from 2004-10.
  • William J. Leahy, former chief counsel for the Committee for Public Counsel Services.
  • Hon. James F. McHugh, associate justice of the Massachusetts Appeals Court since 2001 and a former Superior Court justice.
  • Susan M. Prosnitz, executive director of the Rappaport Center for Law and Public Service at Suffolk University Law School.
  • Harry Spence, a lecturer at the Harvard Kennedy School and a former commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Social Services. He is also a current member of the Court Management Advisory Board.
  • Steven H. Wright, executive partner for the Boston office of Holland and Knight LLP.

Juvenile Court Judge James Collins has been elected the new president of the Massachusetts Judges Conference, which represents more than 80 percent of the commonwealth's 410 trial court and appellate judges. Collins has served as a Western Massachusetts circuit judge since 2001 and will be the first Western Massachusetts Juvenile Court judge to serve as president of the MJC. His two-year term begins this month.

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