‘Traps for the Unwary’ offered as exclusive member benefit for 2021-22

Thursday, Aug. 26, 2021
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Traps for the Unwary, the Massachusetts Bar Association’s award-winning malpractice prevention handbook, is the newest exclusive member benefit for the MBA’s 2021-22 association year. The expanded Seventh Edition is available now as an e-publication to anyone who has renewed for the upcoming association year. 

Members who have already renewed can download their e-copy of Traps for the Unwary from their MBA profile. If you haven’t renewed yet, we hope you will take a moment to renew today to ensure you get the earliest possible access to this exclusive member benefit. Once you renew, you will receive an email with instructions for how to access your e-copy. You can also find instructions here.

Last published in 2011, Traps for the Unwary looks at some of the malpractice hazards for attorneys who practice in a general, civil practice. From dangers that arise in uncommon circumstances to hard-to-see risks that are masked by a complex matrix of laws and regulations, Traps for the Unwary is an indispensable reference tool that benefits both lawyer and client. The original Traps for the Unwary, published in 1988, earned a first place Award of Achievement from the American Bar Association for service to the bar.

The Seventh Edition of Traps for the Unwary updates citations and entries from the previous six editions and adds 50% more content across 18 chapters. One chapter alone includes 50 short statutes of limitations, plus 25 possible paths for relief from certain statutes of limitations. This new edition also contains hundreds of time-saving case citations, a table of cases, an improved index and hyperlinked web resources. More than 170 lawyers have contributed traps to this project since its start in 1987, including 50 lawyers who helped update this most recent edition.

James E. Harvey Jr., a partner at O’Malley, Harvey and Brosnan LLP, who served as editor in chief for the Seventh Edition, says that the expanded Seventh Edition — the first in 10 years, with its 160 pages and over 800 case citations — is the best edition yet. "No one lawyer knows all the malpractice and other hazards lurking out there, but 170 lawyers working together know a lot of them. We are grateful for their contributions to the project."

Funding for Traps for the Unwary has been provided by the MBA Insurance Agency Inc.


We’ve been publishing excerpts in eJournal to highlight some of the “traps” that readers will find in the Seventh Edition of Traps for the Unwary. Read this week’s “trap,” plus previously shared examples, below.

As a jury trial is coming to its end, please keep in mind:

The defendant must move for a directed verdict at the close of all the evidence, not merely at the end of the plaintiff’s case, otherwise a subsequent motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict is deemed waived. Mass. R. Civ. P. 50(b). Michnik-Zilberman v. Gordon’s Liquor, Inc., 390 Mass. 6, 9, 453 N.E.2d 430 (1983). The motion for directed verdict must state the specific grounds. Mass. R. Civ. P. 50(a). No grounds may be raised in a motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict that were not asserted in the directed verdict motion. Barry v. Beverly Enterprises-Massachusetts, Inc., 418 Mass. 590, 595, 638 N.E.2d 26 (1994); Bonofiglio v. Commercial Union Ins. Co., 411 Mass. 31, 34, 576 N.E.2d 680 (1991).