Lawyers Journal

Delegates accept a report relative to the law economy and endorse a pay increase for judges

Ceremonial passing of the gavel takes place

The final meeting of the House of Delegates for the 2011-12 association year took place at the University of Massachusetts Boston on May 17. Among the business at the meeting, the delegation voted to accept a report from the MBA's Task Force on Law, the Economy and Underemployment entitled "Beginning the Conversation." Delegates also heard from Massachusetts Judges Conference on a long-overdue salary increase proposal for members of the bench. The meeting concluded with the ceremonial passing of the gavel from MBA President Richard P. Campbell to MBA President-elect Robert L. Holloway Jr.

Eric Parker and Radha Natarajan, co-chairs of the Task Force on Law, the Economy and Underemployment, summarized the comprehensive report put together by the 14-member group that first met last fall. Delegates voted to accept the report -- "Beginning the Conversation" -- that explores the causes of and potential solutions for the underemployment of recent law school graduates in Massachusetts. To read the full report, click here.

The Hon. James Collins, president of the Massachusetts Judges Conference, was on hand to address the MBA HOD on the topic of judicial compensation. HOD voted to endorse the plea of the MJC in implementing the recommendations of the Advisory Board on Compensation for Honorable Judicial Salaries (a.k.a. Guzzi Commission) issued in 2008. Currently, according to the National Center for State Courts, the 2011 salaries of the Massachusetts judiciary ranked 47th among its national peers after accounting for cost of living.

Collins was joined by the Hon. Peter W. Agnes Jr. of the Appeals Court and the Hon. Thomas C. Horgan from the Boston Municipal Court. According to Agnes, judicial salaries only account for 1.8 percent of the state budget.

Following Agnes, Professor Andrew Kaufman, presented on behalf of the MBA Ethics Committee. Delegates voted to approve the three opinions presented. These included:

  • an opinion involving client consent related to the reporting of misrepresentation to the Board of Bar Overseers by a peer attorney;
  • an opinion related to the distinction between the Massachusetts Rules of Professional Conduct and ethics rules of a tribal court relative to a contingent fee agreement in a tribal lands personal injury case; and
  • an opinion about the electronic storage of confidential client information using an Internet-based platform.

For more comprehensive summaries or full text of the opinions described above, click here.

Immediate Past President Denise Squillante announced the 2012-13 Nominating Committee Report. Aside from Robert L. Holloway Jr. automatically succeeding to the officer of president on Sept. 1, 2012, the 2012-13 officers, regional delegates and at-large delegates are listed below.

Officers:
President-elect: Douglas K. Sheff
Vice President: Robert W. Harnais
Vice President: Christopher P. Sullivan
Treasurer: Marsha V. Kazarosian
Secretary: Martha Rush O'Mara

Regional Delegates include Michael I. Flores, Scott D. Peterson, Miriam H. Babin, Veronica J. Fenton, Kyle R. Guelcher, Donald R. Bumiller, Walter A. Costello Jr., Timothy V. Dooling, Lee J. Gartenberg, Patricia A. Metzer, Alan Klevan, David A. DeLuca, Denise I. Murphy, Catherine E. Reuben, Kenneth B. Walton, Paul E. White, Christopher A. Kenney and James G. Reardon Jr.

At-large delegates include Anthony J. Benedetti, Stephen Y. Chow, Francis J. Riccio, Gloria Tan, Alice B. Braunstein, Radha Natarajan and Michael P. Sams.

HOD also approved the appointments of Kyle R. Guelcher, Roy A. Hammer, Denise Squillante and Richard P. Campbell as MBA Delegates to the American Bar Association HOD.

Delegates then carried a motion to support the Initial Discovery Protocols for Employment Cases Alleging Adverse Actions to be used by individual judges across the country in a pilot program. Protocols provide a new pretrial procedure (creating a new category of information to be exchanged by parties) for certain types for federal employment cases. Individual judges throughout the United States District Courts will pilot test the protocols and the Federal Judicial Center will evaluate their effect.

HOD members also voted to send a letter to the Supreme Judicial Court stressing the MBA's concerns over proposed amendments to Rule 12 and 29 of the Massachusetts Roles of Criminal Procedure. As explained in the proposed letter by the Criminal Justice Section Council, "The MBA believes that the proposed amendments are unnecessary and has concerns about the unintended consequences they will have on plea negotiations, the role of judges in sentencing and the fair and efficient case management of cases."

The meeting came to a close with the ceremonial passing of the gavel. Campbell handed over the gavel to Holloway, who Campbell described as a "true consensus builder and team player." Holloway, who begins his term as president on September 1, 2012, accepted the gavel and pointed to the successes of Campbell's term. "I'm extraordinarily honored," said Holloway.

Delegates were greeted by UMass Boston Provost Winston Langley, who also offered some remarks about the public university. "Our goal is to be the best public research university in this country with urban roots," he said (see related sidebar article). Currently, UMass Boston enrolls 16,000 students annually; however, according to Langley, by 2025, it aims to grow its student body to 25,000.

May 17 marked the last official HOD gathering for the 2011-12 association year.

Provost Langley welcomes delegates to UMass Boston campus

The following greeting was provided by University of Massachusetts Bos­ton Provost Winston Langley to the MBA House of Delegates prior to its business meeting on May 17.

Good afternoon, and thank you for having me in your midst. Be­fore I begin a few comments to you, please allow me to recognize Presi­dent Dick Campbell, who is one of UMass Boston's most distinguished alumni, and to thank him for his service as a University trustee and member of the UMass Building Authority, and the UMass Boston Board of Visitors. We also want to recognize his leadership in taking the initiative to host this year's Mas­sachusetts Bar Association House of Delegates meeting at each of the campuses and to provide an oppor­tunity for members to learn about the university, and for us to learn about you.

Welcome to all of you -- wel­come to the University of Massachu­setts Boston, Boston's only public research university.

UMass Boston is a public re­search university with a dynamic culture of teaching and learning, and a special commitment to urban and global engagement. Our vibrant, multi-cultural educational environ­ment encourages our broadly di­verse campus community to thrive and succeed. Our distinguished scholarship, dedicated teaching, and engaged public service are mutually reinforcing, creating new knowl­edge while serving the public good of our city, our commonwealth, our nation and our world.

UMass Boston is the second-largest campus in the UMass sys­tem; has nearly 16,000 students and 900 faculty members; 50 percent of undergraduates are first generation college students; it is nationally rec­ognized as a model of excellence for urban public universities; and eight colleges and graduate schools of­fer over 150 academic programs for undergraduates, graduate and non-degree seeking students.

What distinguishes our teach­ing and learning environment is that we are a research university with a teaching soul. UMass Boston com­bines a student-centered education in small classrooms with the vast resources of a major research uni­versity.

With more than 30 research cen­ters and institutes, UMass

Boston contributes substantially to public policy discus­sion and formulation in such areas as economic develop­ment, social well-being, environmental affairs and health care.

The 2012 edition of the Princeton Review recognized the university as one of the nation's Top 25 "Best Value" public colleges and universities in the country. UMass Boston is the only public college or university in Massa­chusetts named to the list.

With regard to the university's strategic plan, we envi­sion a university with:

● 25,000 students who will receive an education that prepares them to succeed in a transnational world;
Firmly committed to teaching modest-income and first- generation students from urban areas;
Residence halls;
Faculty pursue deeply engaged research, teaching, and service; and
External research funding has increased by at least 300 percent, enabling university to rise within the Carnegie Foundation's Research/high ranking.

Our overall ambition is to have achieved national standing and an international imprint comparable to the best public urban universities in the country.

Between 2010 and 2011, university planners have been engaged in a long-term strategic planning process, releas­ing their report last year. University administrators are now implementing a new strategic plan to realize this vision.

Our strategic goals consist of:

Advance student success and development;
● Enrich and expand academic programs and research;
Improve the learning, teaching, and working environ­ment;
Establish a financial resources model consistent with the university's vision statement; and
Develop an infrastructure supportive of the preceding goals.

With that in mind, the university also holds itself to a master plan to be realized by 2025. UMass Boston's 25-year Master Plan is the physical realization of the uni­versity's strategic vision: becoming a model student-cen­tered, urban public research university of the 21st century. The recommendations of this bold and innovative master plan serve as a flexible blueprint and framework for a cam­pus infrastructure and landscape that reflects UMass Bos­ton's highest academic ambitions, its urban mission, and its commitment to enhancing the student experience and improving connections with its neighbors.

Plans call for renovating and redeveloping the Colum­bia Point campus with new academic facilities, improve­ments to existing space, residence halls, green spaces, parking garages, new roadways, and pedestrian and bi­cycle pathways.

Phase One through 2017 calls for more than $500 mil­lion in new facilities and infrastructure construction on the campus including the following priority projects:

Integrated Sciences Complex;
General Academic Building (No. 1);
Space Allocation Plan; and
Utility Corridor and Roadway Relocation.

Regarding the Integrated Sciences Complex, UMass Boston broke ground in June 2011 and the complex is scheduled for opening in Fall 2013. This will serve as the first new academic building on campus in nearly 40 years. The complex is a $155 million structure funded by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the UMass Building Authority, and MassDevelopment. The structure includes 220,00 gross square feet of space featuring:

Research lab and support space (for biology, chem­istry, environmental sciences, physics, and psychol­ogy);
Undergraduate introductory biology teaching labora­tories;
Interdisciplinary undergraduate sandbox teaching lab;
Infant cognition lab;
The Center for Personalized Cancer Therapy - a col­laborative initiative of the University's partnership with Dana-Farber; and
The Developmental Science Research Center.

We'll break ground on the General Academic Building # 1 later this year. It will serve a large cross-representation of students, faculty, and staff through diverse programming that includes state-of-the-art general purpose classrooms, specialized teaching and performance spaces, faculty and staff offices, a café, and student lounge and study spaces.

Additionally, in spring 2011, construction began on Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the Study of the U.S. Senate, situated on land owned by UMass Boston.

And, in May 2010, UMass Boston, in conjunction with the University of Massachusetts Building Authority, pur­chased the 20-acre Bayside Exposition Center site, which is located a half-mile from the main campus. It offers great potential for future redevelopment.

In the near term, UMass Boston will use the Bayside site to:

Support construction of the new academic buildings;
Replace faculty, staff, and student parking lost to con­struction; and
Provide staging space for construction workers.

In the long term, UMass Boston is working with the city of Boston, the state, neighbors, and the surrounding communities to develop a plan that furthers the university's mission, realizes the potential of the site, stimulates eco­nomic activity, creates jobs, and brings greater activity and opportunity to Columbia Point and the region.

The university convened 11 charrettes in 2011 for the purpose of gathering input into the planning process from a cross-section of stakeholders including members of the university community, representatives from the public and private sector, and experts in education, development, and government. Meetings generated a wide variety of sugges­tions for land use, programmatic, and urban designs. Re­ports from these meetings are available on the university web site.

We should thank you, for your work -- as you use your judicial thinking to wrestle with the many conflicting interests of groups and individuals in our society, although as I understand it, you are not being well compensated. Higher education, also, often takes a backseat, although we do not want to compare our experience to your. But we might want to pursue some joint efforts.

Research universities are not the sign of knowledge ac­cumulation; of information transmission; or even the sites of thinking -- this is done by many other forums. What we do is to think in a manner characteristic of disciplines. We think philosophically, mathematically, historically. In order for you to do your work, you must think judicially. What we do here is to provide students with a universe of the modes of thinking. As we educate students we should endeavor, as you do, to help them to think judicially, also, so that we can, together, help in the renewal of societies.

Welcome to campus and to the activities of the after­noon.

©2014 Massachusetts Bar Association