REBA launches three new committees

Issue July 2004

More than 90 area attorneys and professionals joined a recent seminar on "Parent Alienation" that addressed issues concerning custody of minor children arising in high conflict divorce and paternity cases and was hosted by the Probate & Family Court, Bristol Division in New Bedford. Pictured (from left) are the presenters Lawrence Moniz, Esq., Hon. Anthony R. Nesi, Betty Ussach, Esq., Hon. Elizabeth O'Neill LaStaiti, Dr. Vicki Lyall and Dr. Steven Nisenbaum.

The event was jointly sponsored by the bar associations from Attleboro, Bristol County, Fall River, New Bedford and Taunton together with the New Center For Legal Advocacy, Inc., a nonprofit provider of free legal services to the poor. The event was funded in part by a grant from the Massachusetts Bar Foundation.

At the Real Estate Bar Association's (REBA) spring seminar on May 10, President Chris Kehoe announced the rollout of three new REBA Committees to serve the association's growing membership.

An Affordable Housing Committee, a Litigation Committee and a Commercial Real Estate Finance Committee will be formally launched in September.

"These three new committees demonstrate our expanded scope and broader mission as REBA reaches out to real estate lawyers and other real estate professionals in fields and concentrations beyond traditional title-related practice," Kehoe said.

The Affordable Housing Committee will be co-chaired by Kurt James and Robert Ruzzo. James leads the affordable housing and community development law practice group at Sherin and Lodgen LLP in Boston. Ruzzo, a lawyer and long-time association member, serves as deputy director of MassHousing, formerly known as the Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency (MHFA), an independent agency dedicated to creating and preserving affordable housing opportunities across Massachusetts.

The goals of the committee are to acquaint and educate REBA members and others on emerging initiatives on developing and financing housing. The group also will participate on behalf of the association in the Beacon Hill dialogue on all housing-related legislation, particularly Chapter 40B reform. The committee will serve as a legal resource in the housing and development field for lawyers across Massachusetts. Both James and Ruzzo formerly co-chaired of the Affordable Housing Committee of the Real Estate Section of the Boston Bar Association.

The Litigation Committee will be co-chaired by Diane Tillotson, a former association president and a partner in the Boston firm of Hemenway & Barnes, and Lawrence P. Heffernan, a partner at Robinson & Cole LLP. This committee, comprised of civil litigators sharing a common interest in trial advocacy, will participate in REBA's educational offerings, focusing on litigation in all trial and appellate courts, both state and federal. The group will also become a forum for discussion and exchange of ideas leading to the improvement of individual trial skills as well as an advocate for expanding the jurisdiction and streamlining the operation of the land court.

Beth H. Mitchell, a partner in Boston-based Nutter, McClennen & Fish, LLP, will chair the association's new Commercial Real Estate Finance Committee. The goal of this group is to become the preeminent resource for REBA members and others on emerging trends and industry intelligence in all aspects of commercial real estate lending. The committee will address issues of concern to both commercial borrowers and commercial lenders; provide input to REBA on legislative initiatives that bear on the commercial lending practice; and support REBA's growing educational programs in the commercial real estate finance practice area.