Lawyers Journal

MBA co-hosts March 19 court funding Advocacy Day

In January, the Massachusetts Bar Association launched a high-profile awareness campaign on the effects of underfunded courts through a series of videos, billboards and other outreach. The campaign launched shortly before Gov. Deval Patrick released his proposed fiscal 2013 budget and will continue leading up to the House and Senate budget debates in April and May, respectively.

As part of this campaign, four public service announcement-style videos have been produced and released so far. The videos highlight the negative impact of inadequate court funding through the perspective of judicial leadership, attorneys, academic leaders and court staff. The four videos debuted in January and February and can be found at www.massbar.org or YouTube. Two more videos will be posted in the weeks ahead.

The association's billboard campaign has aimed to grab the average citizen's attention to reinforce that court funding does impact him or her. The MBA's message was showcased on billboards in Greater Boston, along I-93 in Dorchester and Medford; in Worcester along I-290; and in Fall River along Rt. 24. The board on I-93 in Dorchester remains on display.

"As officers of the court, it is imperative for the MBA to continue to be out front on the importance of adequately funding the third branch of government," MBA President Richard P. Campbell said. "The rule of law is in jeopardy without that financial support."

Campbell explained that the MBA will continue its commitment to advocate for this cause by organizing a Court Funding Advocacy Day on March 19 with the Boston Bar Association and affiliated bars throughout the state (see page 21 for more information).

For more information on this campaign, visit www.massbar.org. Also included on the MBA's site are informational materials on court funding, as well as resources that members of the legal community can reference when reaching out to their respective legislators on this important issue.

"We've never done this before," Campbell said. "The fact that the MBA has committed to elevating awareness in this fashion is a clear indication of how dire the circumstances have gotten in the court room atmosphere and operations."

 

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