Following Gov. Deval Patrick's proposal to eliminate the use of
assigned private counsel as part of his fiscal 2012 budget and
bring Committee for Public Counsel Services within the purview of
the executive branch, MBA President Denise Squillante convened a
meeting of bar advocate representatives throughout the commonwealth
to discuss the topic at MBA headquarters on Feb. 7.
With representation from most Massachusetts counties, audience
members discussed the various flaws with the governor's proposal,
namely the unaccounted overhead costs associated with such a plan,
the negative impact on current caseloads and the lack of specifics
on the proposed, dramatic cost savings that the governor claims
would result from his plan.
Joining Squillante to provide remarks were MBA Past President
Edward P. Ryan Jr., who will be chairing the MBA's Standing
Committee on Bar Advocates; CPCS' Chief Counsel Anthony Benedetti;
MBA COO and Chief Legal Counsel Martin W. Healy; and Massachusetts
Association of Court Appointed Attorneys Legislative Counsel
"This is really a call to action," said Ryan, who along with the
other meeting leaders encouraged all bar advocate programs to be in
touch with their legislators stressing the importance of assigned
The MBA has long been a supporter of private bar advocates in
Massachusetts, a system that is recognized nationally as a model
for the delivery of defense counsel.