Issue March/April 2017

March 2017

Can you keep your opinion to yourself?

Clients pay lawyers for their advice, counsel, guidance and their opinion. So, when is it important for a lawyer to not offer an opinion?

Class action residuals: Make a major contribution to access to justice

If you are involved in class action litigation you may have an opportunity to support equal justice by designating class action residual funds for distribution to the Massachusetts Interest on Lawyers' Trust Accounts (IOLTA) Committee or directly to a legal aid program. In the past two years, such designations have brought local legal services for the poor such amounts as $393,926 and $254,408.

A lighter load for motor carriers: The Massachusetts independent contractor statute and federal preemption

The Massachusetts Independent Contractor Statute, G.L.c. 149, § 148B ("IC Statute"), makes it difficult and risky for most companies to classify workers in the commonwealth as independent contractors. Thanks to the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act, 49 U.S.C. § 14501 et seq. (FAAAA), and recent appellate decisions, motor carriers may be able to find a path around the IC Statute and limit the risks associated with the use of contractors. In fact, as explained below, careful and proactive motor carriers involved in the transportation of property may no longer have to satisfy the most challenging component of the IC Statute.

Resolving neighbor conflict: Getting the parties to the table

Our civil litigation system offers poor and middle class people little or no practical access to the courts to resolve disputes that have a huge impact on their lives. Dispute resolution services can and should be deployed to help address neighbor conflicts that make life almost unbearable for people who, as a practical matter, have nowhere to turn except to the police. We in the bar association should take a leading role in developing a delivery system to bring the many benefits of dispute resolution services to meet this pressing need.