Issue September 2014

Storied career adds new chapter

Marsha V. Kazarosian knew she wanted to be a lawyer even before she got to preschool.

"I started taking piano lessons when I was 3, and I knew I wanted to be a lawyer right around the same time," Kazarosian said. "It was a big joke in my family. I had my whole life planned out by the age of 3."

Now a nationally recognized attorney, Kazarosian, this month, takes over the presidency of the Massachusetts Bar Association.

A year of unprecedented opportunity

As we turn the corner into the 2014-15 Massachusetts Bar Association membership year, we can look proudly upon an impressive record of accomplishment by Douglas K. Sheff, our immediate past president. He, like his predecessors, invested his time, resources, energy, blood, sweat and tears to maintain the MBA's position as the preeminent statewide bar association in the commonwealth. And I know that President Sheff would be the first to acknowledge that little could be accomplished without the dedication and leadership of our incomparable Chief Legal Counsel and Chief Operating Officer Martin Healy and our talented staff.

This is an incredible time for the MBA, and I am very excited about the upcoming year - not only because I have the privilege of serving you as MBA president, but because this year attorneys in Massachusetts, and particularly MBA members, will have opportunities that we've never had before.

New voir dire law a "victory for fairness"

In August, Gov. Deval L. Patrick signed into law Chapter 254 of the Acts of 2014 ("the voir dire law"), allowing attorney-conducted voir dire in the state of Massachusetts. Its passage permits attorneys to question potential jurors in Superior Court trials, with the goal of obtaining a fair and impartial jury. Judges maintain authority to impose reasonable limitations on the process by overseeing the type of questions asked and the amount of time an attorney is permitted.

Governor signs uniform adult guardianship law

On Aug. 7, 2014, amidst a flurry of other legislative enactments, Gov. Deval L. Patrick signed into law Massachusetts Bar Association-championed legislation relative to the uniform adult guardianship and protective proceedings act. Chapter 225 of the Acts of 2014 will bring clarity and predictability to guardianship cases in which more than one state is involved. The bill's scope is narrowly focused and will not substantively change guardianship/conservatorship laws in Massachusetts. Instead, it will address interstate jurisdictional conflicts. Passage of this uniform acts brings Massachusetts law into conformity with 38 other states, in addition to the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.