Issue March/April 2018

Sen. Brownsberger and Rep. Cronin to receive MBA Legislator of the Year Awards

The Massachusetts Bar Association will honor Sen. Will Brownsberger (D-Second Suffolk and Middlesex) and Rep. Claire D. Cronin (D-11th Plymouth) with Legislator of the Year Awards at the April 24 Annual Dinner.

The MBA’s Legislator of the Year Award is presented annually to state or federal legislators who have distinguished themselves in public service through outstanding contributions to the legal profession, courts and administration of justice.

MBA hosts reception launching 
Student Loan Bankruptcy Assistance Project

Unmanageable student debt is a growing social problem in the commonwealth. For many low-income borrowers, student debt prevents them from taking care of themselves and their families. The Bankruptcy Code provides for the discharge of student debt — but only upon a showing of “undue hardship” on the student borrower and his or her dependents. 

Recognizing that the student borrowers most likely to be eligible for an “undue hardship” discharge in bankruptcy will not have the resources to hire a trial lawyer, the Massachusetts Bar Association, in partnership with the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office and the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce’s Student Debt Working Group, has established a panel of pro bono attorneys and law firms willing to represent student borrowers in adversary proceedings seeking to discharge student debt in their bankruptcy cases. 

Hundreds ‘walk’ for increased legal aid funding

The 19th Annual Walk to the Hill drew an enormous crowd to the State House to ask legislators to expand civil legal aid funding. Advocates, including the Massachusetts Bar Association, are seeking a $5 million increase in the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation’s fiscal year 2019 budget appropriation, for a total appropriation of $23 million. 

In his opening remarks, Equal Justice Coalition chair Louis Tompros contrasted a few cringe-worthy lawyer jokes with the hundreds of lawyers in attendance to make a point that unflattering stereotypes assigned to the legal profession are entirely undeserved in the commonwealth. But he stressed that the resources to handle legal aid needs are still lacking.

President's View: The past can point to the best way forward

The word “attorney” means one who can act on another’s behalf. As attorneys, we are always acting for others. We serve our clients, our judicial system and our profession. We do not serve ourselves. Our ethical rules call upon us to represent “others” even when they are unpopular or even despised by the public at large.

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