Lawyers Journal

MBA Centennial

The 1990s sees further gains in MBA leadership diversity

Since its founding a century ago, the Massachusetts Bar Association had welcomed women and minorities when the profession was almost exclusively made up of white men. The 1990s would usher in much diversification in association leadership following the first black and female presidents during the decade prior.

James S. Dilday, who served as president from 1994-95, became the association's second black president, after Wayne A, Budd served as its first (1979-80). And following the lead of Alice E. Richmond, the MBA's first woman president (1986-87), three more followed in the 1990s: Elaine M. Epstein (1992-93), Kay H. Hodge (1993-94) and Marylin A. Beck (1997-98).

Hodge was also a groundbreaker, becoming the association's first Asian-American president.

The 1990s were also notable for the MBA's leadership efforts on the issue of court reform, which looks like it might be accomplished in 2011 after winning passage in both the House and Senate.

Two presidents in particular, Leo V. Boyle (1990-91) and Epstein, are recognized for their contributions to pushing to professionalize the Massachusetts court system.

In 1991, the MBA released the independent Harbridge House Report that it had commissioned. It included recommendations for hiring a professional court administrator. (The subject would be revisited in 2003 with the release of the MBA Court Study Task Force Report.)

Also, the MBA reorganized itself in 1998 under President Camille F. Sarrouf, creating its Executive Management Board and House of Delegates, the MBA's governing body.

The MBA in the 1990s

1990: The MBA adopts a position against the death penalty, following a study by its Individual Rights & Responsibilities Section.

1991: In the wake of a lawsuit filed by the MBA and other organizations, the Sales Tax on Legal Services (enacted in 1990) is repealed.

1992: Massachusetts Court Reform Act mandates judicial evaluations of each judge either every 12-18 months or 18-36 months. The statute also mandates "judicial evaluation standards" and "disciplinary procedures for judges who do not complete programs implemented or judges who fail to achieve judicial evaluation standards."

1993: MBA President Michael Mone appoints the MBA Commission on Criminal Justice Attorney Compensation. The commission, led by Past President John Callahan, released its report, "Striking a Balance: Adequate Compensation -- Effective Representation," in 1994. The commission found salaries for criminal justice attorneys in Massachusetts to be inadequate and inequitable.

1994: As part of Massachusetts' "truth in sentencing" act, the Legislature creates the Massachusetts Sentencing Commission to formulate and recommend sentencing guidelines for the Legislature's consideration.

1994: The MBA begins monthly publication of Lawyers Journal.

1998: Under the leadership of President Camile F. Sarrouf, the MBA Board of Delegates adopts new bylaws establishing an Executive Management Board and House of Delegates. The MBA also adds section council chairs as members of the House of Delegates.

1998: The MBA compiles a series of Lawyers Journal articles showcasing the rundown condition of numerous court facilities in a book, Massachusetts' Courthouses of Shame. The MBA holds a Statehouse lobby day for the passage of a $730 million Court Bond Bill, which is ultimately enacted by the Legislature.

1998: The MBA issues the "Pro Se User of the Court Survey."

MBA Did You Know?

In 1978, MBA President Roy A. Hammer announced his intention to pursue the foundation of Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts (IOLTA) in Massachusetts, before Florida became the first state to implement the concept, in 1982.

A compromise between the MBA, Boston Bar Association and Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corp. established the IOLTA program in 1985, with the proceeds going both to legal services agencies and to programs that assist the judiciary and the courts.

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