NCBP and ABA conferences address issues of concern to MBA

Issue Sept/Oct 2009

MBA President Valerie A. Yarashus and President-elect Denise Squillante attended the 2009 National Conference of Bar Presidents Annual Meeting and the American Bar Association Annual Meeting (July 30 - Aug. 4), both of which were held in Chicago. Court funding, civics in education and criminal justice topics were front and center during the course of the meetings.

"Our courts throughout the country are in crisis and inadequately funded and this was a significant topic of discussion as bar leaders from each state shared their concerns and described the impact on the courts in their states, including the closing of the courts for various sessions and dates," said Squillante, who is the Massachusetts delegate to the ABA's House of Delegates.

In addition to the lack of court funding, the importance of civics in education was a topic stressed throughout the NCBP and ABA conferences. The culmination of that discussion came when the ABA House of Delegates passed a resolution reflecting the importance of civics in education. "This is an issue of national concern, and the MBA has opportunities for our members and other lawyers in the state to make a difference in this area," Squillante added.

Also at the ABA HOD meeting, U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. described the issues surrounding over-incarceration, alternative sentencing and drug policies. "The MBA's own Drug Policy Task Force, led by Past President David White, is on target with these and I expect that our members will see continued work from the task force, our Criminal Justice Section Council and many MBA bar leaders on these important issues of national concern," said Squillante.