The November House of Delegates meeting convened at New England
Law | Boston last month, the first of several HOD meetings that
will be held at Boston-area law schools during the 2013-14
association year. Massachusetts Bar Association President Douglas
K. Sheff opened the meeting by recounting several recent and
successful bench-bar collaborations, including the MBA's annual
Bench-Bar Symposium. Sheff also previewed his upcoming "12 for 12"
initiative, a new program aimed at getting 12,000 lawyers to ask 12
clients to send letters of support to legislators for increased
Among the most discussed items at the meeting, the HOD voted
unanimously in favor of recommendations contained in a study aimed
at improving the procedures used in eyewitness identification in
criminal trials. Criminal Justice Section Council Chair Radha
Natarajan and Vice Chair Adam J. Foss presented the recommendations
contained in both the majority and minority reports of the Supreme
Judicial Court Study Group on Eyewitness Identification, which were
formulated by prosecutors, defense attorneys and academics. In
supporting the measure, several MBA delegates commended the
collaborative nature of the study.
Two other measures brought before the HOD also met with unanimous
support. Delegates voted to support in principle legislation
(H3099/S1643) that would eliminate automatic suspensions for
convictions of delinquency or adjudications on drug offenses.
Delegates also elected to support a bill (H2389) that would give
collective bargaining rights to employees of the Committee for
Public Counsel Services, much like those enjoyed by other public
In addition to a My Bar Access presentation and other MBA-related
business, delegates heard from several members of other
organizations. MBA Vice President Chris Sullivan introduced Patrick
Curran from the Federal Bar Association for a presentation on the
SOLACE Program, which is a network of legal professionals who
assist attorneys and other legal professionals facing difficult
personal tragedies. American Bar Association Delegate and MBA Past
President Alice Richmond also announced that the ABA will be
holding its annual meeting in Boston next summer.
Massachusetts Bar Foundation President Jerry Cohen and MBF
Executive Director Elizabeth Lynch closed out the meeting with an
announcement about the MBF's annual appeal and the MBF's 50-year
anniversary, which will be celebrated in 2014.