Thursday, Sep. 26, 2013
Supreme Judicial Court Justice Ralph D. Gants speaks to Massachusetts Bar Association leadership at the September 2013 House of Delegates meeting.
Delegates establish new section, welcome Justice Gants
Workers' Compensation is the newest Massachusetts Bar
Association section after unanimous approval by the House of
Delegates during its Sept. 19 meeting, held at the MBA's Boston
headquarters. The proposal to add the new section was part of the
robust agenda for the meeting, which also featured guest remarks by
Supreme Judicial Court Justice Ralph D. Gants along with several
other new business items and officer reports.
Presiding over the first meeting of the 2013-14 association
year, new MBA President Douglas K. Sheff thanked immediate Past
President Robert L. Holloway for his work on behalf of the bar.
Sheff then spoke about his own goals going forward, which included
working with judges to improve the dialogue between the bench and
Sheff introduced Gants as the first of many distinguished guests
who will be invited to speak at House of Delegates meetings this
year. Calling Sheff a "drum major for justice," Gants echoed the
MBA president's remarks about re-establishing connections with the
judiciary and said he was excited about the MBA's plans for more
bench-bar meetings. As part of improved communications, Gants urged
the bar to take an active role when the SJC asks for comments on
proposed rules. "It's terribly important when you folks have an
opportunity to comment that you take advantage of it," the judge
Gants said it was an "exciting time in the court system," citing
new court leadership in Trial Court Chief Justice Paula M. Carey
and Court Administrator Harry Spence. He said court officials would
take a hard look at specialty courts and look for ways to improve
access to justice as part of the judiciary's philosophical shift
towards being "problem solvers."
Addressing the delegates, Gants emphasized the importance of pro
bono, and he also called upon experienced attorneys to look for
mentoring opportunities. "We need to find a way not to lose a
generation of attorneys," the judge said.
Following Gants remarks, President-elect Marsha V. Kazarosian
gave the first officer's report and announced she would be
testifying about an increase to the Workers' Compensation death
benefit at a hearing on Oct. 8. Vice Presidents Christopher P.
Sullivan and Martha Rush O'Mara then provided a report about the
Membership Committee, which they co-chair, and noted that it will
include representatives from all section councils. Robert W.
Harnais and Christopher A. Kenney also delivered their first
reports as MBA treasurer and secretary, respectively.
MBA Chief Legal Counsel and Chief Operating Officer Martin W.
Healy thanked supporters of the MBA-backed juvenile jurisdiction
law, which Gov. Deval Patrick had signed. He also noted that Past
President Kathleen O'Donnell is chairing a committee to deal with
the SJC's request for comments on proposed changes to Rules of
Professional Conduct regarding advertising.
For a full report for the MBA's September House of Delegates
meeting, look in the October Lawyers Journal.