The Massachusetts Bar Association's fourth House of Delegates
meeting for the 2010-11 association year began in a celebratory
fashion as three attorneys were presented MBA Centennial Awards.
HOD, which gathered March 10 at the Dedham Hilton, then addressed a
full agenda on a wide range of topics, including workplace safety,
cameras in the courtroom and the Defense of Marriage Act
The late Paul Kazarosian, Walter Costello and Denise Murphy were
honored with centennial awards. MBA President Denise Squillante
presented the posthumous honor to the Kazarosian family, including
MBA Secretary Marsha V. Kazarosian.
Following the award presentations, Squillante gave her president's
report, which included an announcement regarding MBA delegation
participation in the mid-April American Bar Association's Lobby
Day. Squillante revealed that MBA President-Elect Richard P.
Campbell and Vice President Robert L. Holloway Jr. have begun
Strategic Planning Committee meetings, and also issued a call to
action - urging HOD to learn more about the MBA's upcoming
Centennial Conference on May 18 and 19 at
Following Squillante's report, MBA Vice President Douglas K. Sheff
presented the so-called "Right to Know" bill, related to temporary
employment and staffing agencies. Sheff and his MBA Workplace
Safety Committee co-presenters successfully encouraged HOD to
support the bill, which is currently pending before the Joint
Committee on Labor and Workforce Development. The "Right to Know"
bill would update the Employment Agency Law to better level the
playing field for all temporary employment and staffing agencies,
while ensuring rights are guaranteed to members of the temporary
Commission on Judicial Conduct Executive Director Gillian Pearson
also attended the HOD meeting and provided an informational report
on the CJC. Pearson summarized the instances which would warrant a
complaint, the ways in which attorneys can submit complaints and
explained that complaints to the CJC can be anonymous. Delegates
were encouraged to visit www.mass.gov/cjc for more
MBA Property Law Section Vice Chair Elizabeth J. Barton and
attorney Ward Graham asked the governing body to support
legislation relative to power of attorney and joint tenancy. The
group opted to do so unanimously.
Following that vote, Lee J. Gartenberg, Fern Frolin, Peter Elikann
and Michael Flores presented the recommendations of the ad-hoc
committee established by Squillante to study the proposed
amendments to the Supreme Judicial Court Rule 1:19, concerning
cameras in the courtroom.
The committee presented its recommendations, which included having
the MBA continue to oppose the proposed Rule 1:19. Among the
group's rationale, Gartenberg and Frolin said bloggers and other
less conventional online media should be given equal status to the
those who qualify as "news media"; permission be required from the
presiding judge in Probate and Family Court proceedings involving
private and potentially damaging information concerning children
and other vulnerable individuals; and judges should entertain
requests to close specific portions of civil proceedings when
appropriate, given privacy or public safety concerns.
The delegates also voted to hear an unscheduled presentation from
Michael Traft, co-chair of the MBA's Amicus Committee. Traft was
joined by Maura Healey from Attorney General Martha Coakley's
Office to ask for HOD's support of an amicus brief challenging the
application of DOMA to residents of Massachusetts. The brief is an
outgrowth of pending federal litigation, in which Coakley has
argued that DOMA impermissibly interferes with the state's ability
to regulate marriage and directly harms same-sex partners and the
state by denying certain government benefits. Delegates voted to
support the related amicus brief, if the need arises.
Delegates also heard from Immigration Law Section Vice Chair
Gerald Rovner, who asked the delegation to oppose a proposed rule
that expands when practitioners must file a Notice of Entry of
Appearance as Attorney or Accredited Representative (G-28). The
delegates did oppose the proposed amendment to the Department of
Homeland Security's Rules of Professional Conduct for Practitioners
and a letter will be sent from Squillante to DHS detailing the
One of the last orders of business was approving the Access to
Justice awardees to be honored at a luncheon as part of the
Centennial Conference on May 18. The delegates approved the
proposed slate of honorees (See page 1 for more information on the
Access to Justice Awards).
The next meeting of the MBA House of Delegates will be May 18.