A spring in our step

Issue March 2015 By Marsha Kazarosian

I saw a photograph of a recently snow-engulfed Massachusetts neighborhood captioned, "Welcome to Alaskachusetts," and had to remind myself that since February is the shortest month, this "snowpocalypse" should soon be over. As we enter March and head toward spring, I am happy to announce a number of exciting upcoming events.

March 16 - Seeing voir dire in action: The courts have put a lot of thought into the voir dire pilot program and its roll out, and our rescheduled voir dire training scheduled for March 16 gives us all a chance to see how it continues to evolve. With Superior Court Judges Bonnie MacLeod-Mancuso, Peter Lauriat and Maynard Kirpalani, plus an expert panel of lawyers, this free CLE program will be a great opportunity to get insight from both bench and bar as to the best way to approach our voir dire and learn best practices.

April 6-10 - Member Appreciation Week: Our members (you) are the heart and soul of our association. The MBA would not be here today without your support for our programs, your commitment to volunteerism and your dedication to legal excellence. We are grateful year-round for everything you bring to the MBA, and for the fifth year in a row we've dedicated a week to celebrate you. This year, from April 6-10, the MBA will offer fun social activities, as well as great giveaways and prizes. Please join us in all that we offer during this special week (and all year, of course) and revel in the vibrant statewide legal community that you, as a member, have created.

April 14-16 - ABA Day in Washington: Right after Member Appreciation Week, from April 14-16, I have the honor of representing the MBA during ABA Day in Washington, DC, where I and other leaders from the American Bar Association and other local bars will have a chance to meet with members of Congress to lobby for important issues that directly impact the legal profession and the administration of justice. We all know of the positive impact we can make when we collaborate with legislative leaders here in the commonwealth. On ABA Day, we have an opportunity to educate our elective representatives on Capitol Hill and make a difference on a national level.

May 7 - 2015 MBA Annual Dinner: Plans are now set for what promises to be the pinnacle of our year - the MBA's 2015 Annual Dinner, which will be held at the Westin Boston Waterfront on May 7. We have a very full agenda planned, highlighted by keynote remarks from Mark J. Geragos, a renowned trial lawyer who has amassed an extraordinary career representing high-profile and celebrity clients, such as Susan McDougal ("Whitewater" controversy), Winona Ryder, Michael Jackson and many others. Attorney Geragos is also an accomplished author, speaker and advocate for human rights. As a fellow Armenian-American and grandchild of genocide survivors, I am especially proud of his vigorous advocacy for the recognition of the Armenian genocide and for reparations. It makes his presence at our Annual Dinner especially meaningful to me.

We will also be honoring two individuals who have consistently supported members of the bar: House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo (President's Award) and Superior Court Judge Dennis J. Curran (Chief Justice Edward F. Hennessey Award). The Annual Dinner will also feature the presentation of the Access to Justice Awards, and, for the first time, the presentation of the Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. Scholarship to a third-year law student. This will be a can't-miss event. You can find all the details about the Annual Dinner here.

No more snow! It goes without saying that all of us are looking forward to seeing an end to this winter. Record snowfall led to court closures, office closures, commuter headaches and more. The wheels of justice kept moving (even if the MBTA was not), but I know many lawyers had to make sacrifices to meet their client and court obligations, because that's what we do.

MBA programs were not immune to disruptions, and several meetings and CLEs had to be rescheduled. The MBA's Mock Trial program was hit especially hard as the storms wreaked havoc on previously scheduled trials around the commonwealth. With over 100 trials that had to be rescheduled, I am grateful to all the attorneys who took on make-up trials at very last moment, as well as the MBA's Elizabeth O'Neil and Amy Osborne for their hard work in keeping this important program on track under such trying weather conditions.

We have a great deal to look forward to in the second half of our MBA year. I have a spring in my step just thinking about it.