Issue March 2014

March 2014

Justice for juveniles

As we carry out our work in the legal community, it is good to consider the legal maxim, "Melior est justitia vere praeveniens quam severe puniens," which translates to, "Justice is better when it prevents rather than punishes." At the same time we also need to remember that one who spares the guilty threatens the innocent. As you ponder these maxims, we at Juvenile Court Restorative Justice Diversion also lift up the voices of those harmed by a criminal act and work with the legal community to further justice in our commonwealth. In doing so, we ask you to consider the following questions: How can we work towards justice that prevents repeat offending, holds responsible parties accountable and increases victim satisfaction?

A benefit for all

On Jan. 30, 2014, more than 500 attorneys descended on the State House to lobby their elected representatives to push for increased funding for civil legal aid in the 2014 state budget. With a goal of $17 million, attorneys from throughout the commonwealth sought to highlight the importance of such aid, particularly in a climate that has withstood a 51 percent decrease in funding since 2008, despite a nearly 200,000 person growth of those eligible for free legal representation.

Accelerator-to-Practice Program

Law school applications are the lowest they've been in 30 years. Law school enrollment is down significantly from last year, and analysts see the trend continuing for the 2014-2015 academic year.1 The lack of current job opportunities and the potential for massive student loan payments have discouraged many from entering the legal profession.2 At the same time, many people suffer harms due to a lack of affordable legal services. Progress in achieving necessary access to legal assistance relies on an influx of new, talented and energetic lawyers.3

Decanting after Morse v. Kraft

To a wine enthusiast, decanting serves a dual purpose: to provide aeration and to separate the wine from any sediment that developed during the aging process. To decant, simply pour the contents of the wine bottle into a separate container (the decanter), leaving undesirable sediment behind. To the trust and estate attorney, decanting generally means "pouring" the assets of an existing trust into a new trust (the decanter), and the sediment are the provisions of the old trust left behind.

Petition for instructions and complaints for declaratory judgment in the Probate Court

Fiduciaries have a lot of authority; the proverbial buck stops with them. And with all that discretion, not to mention all that fiduciary duty, fiduciaries must have all the answers, right? Aren't they the omniscient wizards of wills and trusts?

Health care protections strengthened

On Nov. 8, 2013, mental health stakeholders across the nation applauded the release of a "Final Rule" implementing the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (MHPAEA).1 The long-awaited regulations arrived more than five years after the MHPAEA was signed into law. Although interim regulations were issued in 2010, the Final Rule offers much needed clarification and more definitive guidance on a complex area of health care law.2