HOD approves expanded roles for dispute resolution, law students

Thursday, Mar. 31, 2016
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Photo Credit: Jason Scally
MBA President-elect Jeffrey N. Catalano speaks at the March 24 House of Delegates meeting.

The creation of a new Dispute Resolution Section and a new Law Student Division were among the proposals passed by the Massachusetts Bar Association's House of Delegates (HOD) at its meeting in Boston on March 24.

The MBA has had an active Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee for many years. The creation of the new Dispute Resolution Section -- and the dropped "Alternative" from the name -- is recognition of dispute resolution's now mainstream use and the increasing number of practitioners who use it and/or practice it. HOD members adopted the proposal to create the new section after a presentation by ADR Committee Chair Brian Jerome.

Similarly, the adoption of the Law Student Division was presented as a natural expansion of the MBA's active work with its law student members. Law students enjoy free MBA membership and are automatically members of the MBA's Young Lawyers Division. This new Law Student Division will provide additional opportunities both for law students and the MBA. The HOD approved the Law Student Division after a presentation by MBA Secretary John J. Morrissey and Law Practice Management Section Chair Damian J. Turco.

In addition to the measures passed above, the HOD voted affirmatively:

  • To join by letter the amicus brief in support of the appellant in Partanen vs. Gallagher, which answers affirmatively questions related to whether the plaintiff, whose same-sex partner gave birth to two children by artificial insemination with the plaintiff's consent during their relationship, was entitled to assert a claim of parentage. (Introduced by Thomas Carey from the MBA's Amicus Committee.)
  • To support a recommendation regarding the public records law. (Introduced by David Saliba, chair of the taxation Law Section Council.)
  • To support, in principle, the concept of earned work credits for satisfactory performance while under parole supervision and to endorse this proposal to amend M.G.L. c. 127, s.129D (Introduced by Lee Gartenberg, vice chair of the Criminal Law Section Council.)
  • To support the redrafted version of the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act. (Introduced by Jennifer Clapp, chair of the Family Law Section Council.)

Earlier in the meeting, MBA President Robert W. Harnais discussed the statewide expansion of the MBA's Section 35 Helpline, which was initially launched as a pilot program in Norfolk County. He and MBA President-elect Jeffrey N. Catalano also discussed the work of the newly created Civility Task Force, which will be visiting law schools in April. During the discussion about the Law Student Division, MBA Vice President Christopher A. Kenney gave an update about the MBA's Leadership Academy.

In addition to his legislative update, MBA Chief Legal Counsel and Chief Operating Officer Martin W. Healy spoke about the Trial Court's plan to use the For The Record digital recording system in lieu of court reporters. Court reporters' jobs, he said, are not guaranteed after January 2017.