Issue February 2011

February 2011

SJC rules private nuisance claims against government are subject to Massachusetts Tort Claims Act

On Dec. 22, 2010, the Supreme Judicial Court, in Morrissey v. New England Deaconess Ass'n-Abundant Life Communities Inc., et al.1 held that claims of private nuisance against the government are subject to the Massachusetts Tort Claims Act, G.L. c. 258. This is a landmark decision that will provide greater protection for state and local governments by capping damages at $100,000 and requiring the presentment of claims in writing within two years of the claim.

Pair of Appeals Court decisions leave questions on 93A damages analysis

Recently, the Massachusetts Appeals Court ruled in favor of plaintiffs in two significant M.G.L. c. 93A cases, but followed divergent damages analyses.

How to get past hourly billing, and maintain a profitable practice

Hourly billing has been common practice in the legal profession for more than half a century. While clients sometimes complained, until recently, law firms had little incentive to set fees any other way. Now, as a result of the recession and other factors, clients are demanding not only lower rates, but fixed fees.

A change of pace: An earnings improvement strategy for your practice

In today's weak economy, most lawyers feel as though they are losing control over many of the factors that influence profitability. Clients are wielding newfound power over pricing and staffing decisions, not to mention slowing down payments. New clients are harder and harder to come by as competition among law firms has increased. And despite modest improvements in busyness in late 2010, most law firm partners find they are still less busy than they would like to be or need to be.