MBA helps feed 600 families at Turkey Drive


The Massachusetts Bar Association's contributions of both time and money helped feed more than 600 families in need -- approximately 2,000 people -- in the Boston area this Thanksgiving when we joined Boston philanthropists Jake and Sparky Kennedy, founders of Christmas in the City (CITC), on their Annual Turkey Drive.

Nearly 40 MBA volunteers -- officers, members, staff and their families -- pitched in between 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 23, at Kennedy Brothers Physical Therapy near Downtown Crossing, providing turkeys and other Thanksgiving food staples.

"Christmas in the City is an all-volunteer organization that helps thousands of families in need each year through its programs, and we are incredibly grateful for the opportunity to lend a hand during this year's Turkey Drive," said MBA President Douglas K. Sheff. "Whether through pro bono legal assistance or community service, volunteerism is built into our association's DNA. This was natural fit for our attorney members."

CITC Co-founder Jake Kennedy said: "Sparky and I are very pleased each time we're able to add new volunteers, because it means we're able to increase our services to these courageous and deserving families. We look forward to a great partnership with the MBA."

Thank you to everyone who volunteered to make the Turkey Drive such a success!

Click here to view drive photos.

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New issue of Lawyers Journal available

The December issue of Lawyers Journal has been mailed and is available online.

In this issue:

  • Learn how Massachusetts Bar Foundation funding is assisting the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute in its fight to end homelessness in Massachusetts.
  • Read about the Massachusetts Clients' Security Board's annual report.
  • See how Massachusetts Bar Association volunteers helped feed 600 families this holiday season.

Click here to read the December issue.

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Featured member benefit: Bruins tickets

Enter a lottery for tickets to the Jan. 14 Bruins - Maple Leafs game

The MBA is currently offering tickets to see the Boston Bruins play the Toronto Maple Leafs at TD Garden on Tuesday, Jan. 14, at 7 p.m. Tickets are $110. Due to high demand, the MBA will use a lottery method to distribute tickets to members.

To enter the lottery, please [e-mail MBATickets] by Friday, Dec. 13, at 5 p.m. Please include:

  • Your name
  • Phone number

There is a two-ticket limit per person, and each member is allowed only one lottery entry. After Dec. 13, the MBA will no longer accept entries and will conduct the lottery drawing.

All winners will be contacted directly by MBA Member Services via e-mail for payment by Monday, Dec. 16.

Due to the large number of entries anticipated, only members whose names are drawn will be contacted.

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MBA seeks nominations for 2014-15 officer, delegate positions

Submit nominations to MBA by Friday, Feb. 21

The Massachusetts Bar Association is currently accepting nominations for officer and delegate positions for the 2014-15 membership year. Nominees must submit a letter of intent and a current resume to MBA Secretary Christopher A. Kenney by 5 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 21, 2013, to be eligible.

To submit a nomination, mail or hand deliver the information to:

Massachusetts Bar Association
Attn: Christopher A. Kenney, MBA Secretary
20 West St., Boston, MA 02111

If you have any questions about the nomination process, call MBA Chief Operating Officer Martin W. Healy at (617) 988-4777.


R.S.V.P. for next week's Third Annual Holiday Party: Casino Royale

Holiday Party Boston

Click here to R.S.V.P.



Middle of the road: the treatment of flat fees

As clients demand further cost certainty from their attorneys, it appears that offers of alternative fee arrangements (generally, as non-billable hour models) are beginning to affect law firm choice. Certainly, there are a number of alternative fee arrangements that lawyers may utilize, or derive; the flat fee option, and its derivatives, are some of them. In fact, some practitioners, like estate planners, have been using flat fee arrangements for quite some time.

However, even those who use flat fees may be unaware of the options available for how to account for them. In Massachusetts, flat fees may be deposited into your operating or your IOLTA account. (Don't believe me? Read this: "Flat fees occupy a middle ground and can either be deposited to a trust account and withdrawn as earned or deposited to a personal or operating account subject to refund where required.") Functionally, it doesn't matter which option you choose; practically, it's a matter of preference.

The unearned portion of flat fees must be returned, like retainers (non-refundable retainers are not allowed in Massachusetts). So placing the flat fee into the IOLTA account means that, while you will have to do some more work tracking the money when you reconcile the account, you're virtually assured of having the money available to you (so long as you manage your trust accounts correctly) to refund should you need to, such as when representation is terminated by either side before the fee is earned.

While deposit of the flat fee into the operating account carries with it less burdensome administrative requirements, you are more likely to spend that money to support your firm, rather than holding it back for a potential refund, so you risk not having the unused portion of the flat fee to refund, should the need arise. The question is likely further informed by the maturity of the law firm. If you're operating on a shoestring budget as a new practitioner, you'll likely want to deposit your flat fee into your trust account to be sure you have the money to give back, if you need to give it back. But, if you're running a practice with significant billings, you may feel more confident that you will have money in your operating account to refund, should you need to make a refund.

The coming revision to the new ethics rules, which I wrote about in this space previously, may include a definition for flat fees and specific direction as to the treatment of those, per proposed new Comment 2A to Rule 1.15.

Tip courtesy of Jared Correia, Law Office Management Assistance Program.

Published May 12, 2013


To learn more about the Law Practice Management Section, which is complimentary for all MBA members, contact LPM Section Chair Cynthia E. MacCausland or Vice Chair Damian J. Turco.
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From left: Conference co-chairs George I. Roumeliotis, Esq. of Roumeliotis Law Group PC and Spencer A. Stone, Esq. of Bacon Wilson PC

Western Mass. Bankruptcy Conference features ‘State of the District’

Several dozen members of the legal community participated in the Massachusetts Bar Association's 12th Annual Western Massachusetts Bankruptcy conference on Tuesday, Dec. 3, at Western New England University School of Law. The conference provided insights relative to the dischargeability of student loans, strategies dealing with tax debt, and cases of note on appeal and before the U.S. Supreme Court during the past year.

Four U.S. Bankruptcy Court judges from the District of Massachusetts were among on the conference faculty: Hon. Frank Bailey (Chief Judge, Boston), Hon. Henry J. Boroff (Springfield), Hon. Joan N. Feeney (Boston), and Hon. Melvin S. Hoffman (Worcester). They were joined by conference co-chairs George I. Roumeliotis, Esq. of Roumeliotis Law Group PC and Spencer A. Stone, Esq. of Bacon Wilson PC. Henry E. Geberth Jr., Esq. of Hendel & Collins PC and Kara S. Rescia, Esq. of Eaton & Rescia LLP also served as panelists.

Boroff spoke highly of the entire conference and highlighted some of the major presentations: "Chief Judge Frank Bailey gave a 'State of the District' presentation and Judge Joan N. Feeney discussed upcoming critically important United States Supreme Court cases, both were well received."

He went on to thank those who help make the conference possible and ensure its continued success. "We are indebted to the Massachusetts Bar Association, to Western New England University and the four Western Massachusetts county bar associations for their sponsorship and support of this program," said Boroff. "It has become a hallmark of continuing legal education in bankruptcy for the District of Massachusetts."

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MBA hosts Cradles to Crayons' Gear Up For Winter collection

This holiday season, the Massachusetts Bar Association is partnering with Cradles to Crayons to collect new and like-new children's items, especially warm winter gear. Your donations of quality children's items will help support Cradles to Crayons' Gear Up for Winter program, which provides essential items to children living in homeless or low-income situations.

Donations will be accepted from Monday, Nov. 4, through Monday, Dec. 16, at the MBA's Boston and Springfield locations. Click here for donation guidelines. Other drop-off locations:

  • Marcotte Law Firm, 45 Merrimack St., Lowell
  • Gillis, Borchardt & Barthel LLP, 160 Old Derby St., Suite 227, Hingham

The MBA thanks the Young Lawyers Division for its contributions to the "Gear Up for Winter" collection.

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Why 'iBelong': To be involved in the wider Massachusetts legal community

MBA Young Lawyers Division Chair Brian Bialas thinks it is important to be a part of the organization that drives the profession in the state

Engaging conferences. Inspiring pro bono work. Welcoming networking events. You belong here, at the Massachusetts Bar Association.

Tell us why YOU belong. E-mail us at ibelong to share your story.

The MBA offers the legal community a wide array of professional development and volunteer opportunities. See why others belong.

iBelong: Bialas

NOTE: All testimonials shared by e-mail, mail and phone may be published in various MBA publications, posted on the MBA website and its social media platforms, printed on marketing materials and used in advertising or for other related endeavors.

Join button


Join the conversation to keep up to date on the
latest iBelong news and offers:

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Follow hashtag #iBelong2MassBar

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News from the courts

Innovation grants announced

Ten Innovation Grants to implement projects proposed by local courts were recently announced by Chief Justice Paula M. Carey and Court Administrator Harry Spence. A 10-member review team of volunteers reviewed 40 proposals submitted to the recently introduced Innovation Grant program. Funds were requested for a range of projects, including training, new applications of technology and program enhancements.

The 10 approved projects will cost an estimated $38,600 and range from $500 to $10,000 each. They include promoting extending hours, improving public information through printed and video materials, training for a program to support adolescent women, and development of courtwide databases to enhance operations.

"This is an exciting new initiative that supports the goals of the Trial Court's strategic plan," said Chief Justice Carey. "We wanted to encourage employees to consider ways to improve the delivery of justice and courts across the state stepped up to take advantage of this opportunity. We thank the ten-member review team which brought a great range of expertise to this new program."

The Innovation Grant Program will issue another request for proposals in mid-February. Contact Grant Manager Jessica Fix at [e-mail Jessica.Fix] for information on this initiative.


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My Bar Access this week

Role of the "voice of the child" in custody disputes, Dec. 6 In-House Counsel Conference preview and more.

Interact with your section/division on My Bar Access. Visit http://access.massbar.org/ today to join the conversation. Posts include:
Questions about a new rule? Need a referral? Looking for a sample motion? Interested in learning more about your fellow members? Log in and participate in ongoing member group discussions, which are now PRIVATE and can only be viewed by MBA members who log in to the MBA's online community. My Bar Access discussions allow you to enjoy the benefits of a traditional listserv, without clogging your inbox.

Follow these simple steps to instantly connect with your fellow members:

  1. Log in and agree to terms: Sign in using your MBA user name and password, and sign the Code of Conduct.
  2. Create your profile and settings: Include your bio and photo, and customize the frequency and format of your notifications (your profile info from LinkedIn may be pulled over).
  3. Start connecting: Post blogs, discussions (listservs) or upload a resource library entry for your section(s).

Resource materials posted in various areas throughout the site -- including "Getting Started on My Bar Access" and "How to Use My Bar Access" -- can help users with questions. Members who need further help should contact the My Bar Access Help Desk at [e-mail mybaraccess].

Get started today on http://access.massbar.org.
Questions? [e-mail mybaraccess].


Notable & Quotable: MBA members in the media

Notable & Quotable


Dookhan Case

Healy for Notable
"This is one chapter in a continuing saga. The legal community and the general public still have a number of unanswered questions about what's gone on here. How deep was the problem? Is it really just isolated to Dookhan or does it go beyond that?''

MBA Chief Legal Counsel and Chief Operating Officer Martin W. Healy, Boston Globe, Nov. 22, 2013

Annie Dookhan, a former William Hinton State Drug Laboratory chemist who was charged with falsifying drug tests, pled guilty to 27 charges on Nov. 22. Dookhan was sentenced to three to five years in prison. In addition to appearing in the Boston Globe, Healy was also quoted by the The New York Times, where he said: "That's just the tip of the iceberg. The total costs could reach $100 million over the years ... no one comprehended that this would snowball the way it has."


Recent releases



Upcoming CLE seminar and program schedule

CLE Heading

To register for the following programs, call MBA Member Services at (617) 338-0530, [e-mail membership] or visit the CLE website. Scroll down for program details, including dates and registration details.

Recorded program Recorded session available for purchase after live program through MBA On Demand.

Live program Real-time webcast available for purchase through MBA On Demand.


In-House Counsel Summit Live program
Featuring the 11th Annual In-House Counsel Conference

Friday, Dec. 6, 9:15 a.m.-1 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston

Conciliation Training
Friday, Dec. 6, 8:30-5:30 p.m.
Boston Bar Association, 16 Beacon St., Boston

Feed Your Mind: The MBA's Legal Lunch Series
Part I: Trial tips -- guidance and insight on trying a case from pre-trial to post-trial motions
Tuesday, Dec. 10, 12:30-1:30 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston

Hot Topics in Healthcare Live program
Tuesday, Dec. 10, 4-6 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston

Managing Your Work Search Process
Tuesday, Dec. 17, 10 a.m.-noon
MBA, 20 West St., Boston

DATE CHANGE: Tips for New Lawyers Live program
What I wish I knew when I first got started

Wednesday, Dec. 11, noon-1 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston
* NOTE: The date of this program is Wednesday, Dec. 11 and NOT Tuesday, Dec. 10, as previously advertised. Our apologies for the error.


MBA On Demand

Were you unable to attend seminars? Purchase the recorded session available after the live program through MBA On Demand and watch the presentation from the comfort of your home or office.

To view a listing of current programs offered on MBA On Demand, click here.

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Section News: Upcoming meetings and special section events

Immigration Law, Juvenile & Child Welfare section council meetings (Dec. 11); Young Lawyers Division Board meeting (Dec. 12)


Immigration Law Section Council meeting

Wednesday, Dec. 11, 4:30-6 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston

The next meeting of the Immigration Law Section Council is scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 11, from 4:30 to 6 p.m. All section members are invited to attend.

To R.S.V.P., click here.


Juvenile & Child Welfare Section Council meeting

Wednesday, Dec. 11, 5:30-7 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston

The next meeting of the Juvenile & Child Welfare Section Council is scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 11, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. All section members are invited to attend.

To R.S.V.P., click here.


Young Lawyers Division Board meeting

Thursday, Dec. 12, 5-6:30 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston

The next meeting of the Young Lawyers Division Board of Directors is scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 12, from 5 to 6:30 p.m. All division members are invited to attend.

To R.S.V.P., click here.


For more information on upcoming monthly MBA section council meetings, click here to view the MBA's Events Calendar.



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