SJC announces Web policy; call-in service a success

Issue July 2003

The Supreme Judicial Court has implemented a policy regarding the publication of court case information on the Web.

Under the policy, the Trial and Appellate courts of the commonwealth will, for the first time, be authorized to make available to the general public easily accessible information about court cases on one or more Internet sites. The Trial Court and the Appellate Courts will debut Web sites complying with the policy in the months ahead.

The policy attempts to strike an appropriate balance between the interests of the public, lawyers and litigants. To protect privacy interests, the policy bars publication of individuals' home addresses, telephone numbers, Social Security numbers and date of birth.

The Web policy is effective immediately. The Trial Court will have until Dec. 31 to bring any existing systems that provide court case information on the Web or at the courthouse into compliance with this policy.

W. Mass. Dial-A-Lawyer rings busy

Calls poured into Western Massachusetts Dial-A-Lawyer volunteers on May 21, making the MBA program another huge success. More than 30 attorneys from Berkshire, Franklin, Hampshire and Hampden counties answered 416 calls in a four-hour period from the public. The phone lines were busy the entire four hours.

Keep watching Lawyers Journal to find out when the next Western Massachusetts Dial-A-Lawyer will be held, so you don't miss your chance to participate.

BBO seeks hearing officers

The Board of Bar Overseers is looking for volunteer lawyers and lay people to serve as hearing officers on bar disciplinary matters. Hearing officers generally sit in panels of three, of which two members are lawyers and the third is a layperson. Terms are for three years and volunteers are not compensated for their service.

Attorneys who have a minimum of five years experience at the bar may send their resumes by July 15 to the Board of Bar Overseers, 75 Federal St., Boston, MA 02110. More information is available by calling June Risk at (617) 728-8751.

Take your coffee break in Springfield

Need an afternoon pick-me-up? Stop by the Western Massachusetts office of the MBA in Springfield beginning this month on the first and third Wednesdays of each month from 1-4:30 p.m. for coffee. The office is located at 73 State St. - right across the street from Juvenile Court.

Whether you are doing business in Springfield for just the day or your office is around the corner, feel free to drop in for coffee (or tea).

SJC OKs new code of ethics

The Supreme Judicial Court has adopted a new code of ethics for Massachusetts judges. The new Code of Judicial Conduct (S.J.C. Rule 3:09), which becomes effective Oct. 1, is based, in part, on the 1990 American Bar Association Code of Judicial Conduct. The new code supersedes the one adopted in 1972, and is substantially more detailed than the current code of ethics. It includes a preamble and commentary not in the current code.

To view the new code, go to Click on the SJC home page under "shortcuts" and then click on "judicial ethics opinions" to find both the current code and the new code. The direct link to the new code is