Amendment raising bar advocate pay passes House

Thursday, Apr. 30, 2015
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Among the few budget amendments that passed when the House of Representatives wrapped its budget this week, was a Massachusetts Bar Association drafted amendment sponsored by House Leader Garrett Bradley (D-Hingham) raising bar advocate pay in the District and Juvenile Courts effective July 2016. The rates will be raised from $50 to $53 for those privately appointed practitioners. Those handling Children and Family Law Cases and Care and Protection work will see an hourly rate increase from $50 to $55.

The Trial Court received an additional $2 million over the original House appropriation. They will be seeking an additional $6 million in the Senate to raise the appropriation to $628 million to avoid staff layoffs. The Supreme Judicial Court received an additional $200,000, which will let the highest court avoid disruption in court operations.

Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation (MLAC) did not get the additional $5 million in funding sought in the House of Representatives and will now turn to the Senate seeking the $22 million in funding for MLAC to begin to bridge the justice gap in Massachusetts.

The MBA will continue to push aggressively for appropriate funding for legal practitioners, the court and legal services as the Senate begins its budget debate in May. Following passage of the Senate budget, a conference committee will be appointed from both branches to mete out a compromise budget before sending it to Gov. Charles D. Baker for approval.