Section Council Spotlight

Issue January 2007

Civil Litigation

Benjamin B. Tymann of the Civil Litigation Section Council arranged a pro bono project with The Lawyers Clearinghouse on Affordable Housing and Homelessness to obtain volunteers for a legal clinic on Dec. 15 at the St. Francis House in downtown Boston. For two hours, each volunteer lawyer met with one or two residents of the shelter to hear and gather information about his or her legal issue.

Over lunch, the volunteer lawyers gathered with Clearinghouse staff to discuss the matters brought forward by the shelter residents. At this wrap-up session, each volunteer lawyer confirmed whether he or she could take on the matters presented during the clinic, assuming there were no conflicts for the lawyer or his/her firm.

Attorney Lee McHarg Holland assisted in drafting an amicus brief in Charron v. Amaral. The brief dealt with whether a same-sex spouse can pursue a claim for the loss of an injured spouse’s consortium where the couple was not married when the personal injury cause of action accrued, but can demonstrate that they would have been married if allowed by law (and the couple did marry when permitted following the Goodridge decision.

In response to The Boston Globe’s recent Spotlight series, the Civil Litigation Section Council has created a debtors’ rights subcommittee to investigate debtor rights and explore means of addressing inequities in the law that severely prejudice debtors.

Labor and Employment Law

January marks the expansion of the L&E’s Luncheon Roundtable program to include Springfield and Worcester. On Jan. 18, the Springfield Roundtable will present "Retaliation Claims in the Wake of Burlington Northern." On Jan. 30, the Worcester Roundtable will present "The Oakwood Healthcare Decisions: A Practitioner’s Perspective."

Because of the large number of in-house employment counsel in the section, the section council is encouraging an initiative by Yvette Politis, employment counsel at Reed-Elsevier, and Alicia Alonso Matos, legal counsel at Fidelity Legal Department, to work on additional programming and networking with particular appeal to in-house employment counsel.

The section council notes that employment counsel may be particularly interested in the Boston luncheon roundtable on Tuesday, Jan. 30, "Religion in the Workplace."