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Legal aid call to action: urge state reps to support MLAC amendment

The House of Representatives is poised to consider amendments to the FY15 budget proposed by the House Ways and Means Committee next week. Included in the amendments is #157 filed by Rep. Ruth B. Balser (D-Newton), which would increase Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation (MLAC) funding to $17 million (from $13 million). Please call your State Representative and ask him/her to sign on and to convey support of Balser's amendment to House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo and House Ways and Means Chair Brian S. Dempsey.

MLAC has been forced to cut grants by 51 percent since FY08. More than half of those who seek legal aid, and are eligible, are turned away due to lack of resources. Eligibility for MLAC programs is 125 percent of the federal poverty level, which is $29,813 per year for a family of four.

Click here to find your representative's contact information.
Click here to find out who your representative is.

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Join our growing list of MBA 2014 Annual Dinner sponsors

The Massachusetts Bar Association will hold its 2014 Annual Dinner on Thursday, May 15, at the Westin Boston Waterfront, 425 Summer St., Boston. The event will feature a keynote address by Chris Matthews, a highly respected political news commentator who hosts the top-rated "Hardball" program on MSNBC.

In addition, the MBA Annual Dinner will include the presentation of the Legislator of the Year Award to Rep. Garrett J. Bradley (D-Hingham), First Division Chair, member House Rules Committee; the President's Award to Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh; and the 2014 Access to Justice Awards.

Consider attending this annual event as a sponsor. Click here for our growing list of 2014 Annual Dinner sponsors. Sponsorship opportunities include:

  • Diamond Sponsor ($10,000)
    Up to two tables for 10, MBA membership for five attorneys (2014-15 association year), full page ad in dinner program, firm logo projected at the dinner and displayed on MBA website, sponsorship level recognition and thank you ad in Lawyers Journal
  • Platinum Sponsor ($5,000)
    Table for 10, full page ad in dinner program, firm logo projected at the dinner, sponsorship level recognition in Lawyers Journal and displayed on MBA website
  • Gold Sponsor ($3,500)
    Table for 10, 1/2 page ad in dinner program, firm logo projected at the dinner, sponsorship level recognition in Lawyers Journal and displayed on MBA website
  • Silver sponsor ($2,500)
    Table for 10, 1/4 page ad in dinner program, firm logo projected at the dinner
  • Table for 10 ($1,500)

Click here to register for the MBA's 2014 Annual Dinner online. For a printable PDF outlining the above sponsorship opportunities and table reservation information, click here. For additional information call (617) 338-0530.

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SPSF Section Chair Scott D. Goldberg

SPSF Section launches network directory

As chair of the Sole Practitioner & Small Firm (SPSF) Section, I am excited to announce that, after months of planning and development, we have created an online Network Directory Search within My Bar Access to aid our section members in searching for, and connecting with, other SPSF members.

The SPSF Section Council conceived of the concept at the end of last year under the premise that networking was the most necessary -- and beneficial -- aspect of building and operating a successful solo or small firm practice. Brainstorming with colleagues, exchanging ideas and sharing sample documents, and of course, promoting congeniality throughout the MBA are just some of the many benefits available to a sole practitioner or member of a small firm from networking.

The section council believes this networking tool will further our section's primary objectives, specifically, providing a forum for the exchange and dissemination of ideas and information, and promoting benefits and services of interest to its section members. Sole practitioners and members of small firms face unique challenges in the practice of law. This Network Directory Search will aid our section members by providing a useful tool for supporting other section members. Through the MBA's My Bar Access our section members can search for colleagues using a multitude of criteria including: areas of practice, experience, professional associations, and honors and awards, to name a few. The search criteria are based on the information a member includes in his or her profile.

How it works

Using the Network Directory Search is an easy two-step process. First, to be found in a search, a member must complete his or her profile on My Bar Access, which is simple and quick. In fact, if a member has a LinkedIn profile, then he or she can import that LinkedIn profile into the My Bar Access profile and revise it as desired. Any additional information can be included in the "Bio" narrative section.

The second step is the search function, which can be accessed a number of ways. Members of the SPSF section can most easily search for members of the section by opening the "Sole Practitioner & Small Firm" group page and clicking on the "Network Directory Search" button located on the right side of the page. This will lead to an "Advanced Member Search" form. Simply select or fill in the criteria that you would like to search by --including keywords that you would anticipate being included in the Bio section -- and click "Find Members" at the bottom of the page.

A benefit for all members

Anticipating that searching for members would be useful to, and desired by, many MBA members outside of the Sole Practitioner & Small Firm section, the Advanced Member Search is available to all MBA members to search for members throughout the MBA.

This search will not be limited to members of a specific section but rather will search throughout the MBA. A member of any section can access the search form by the Advanced Member Search tab now located on all group pages. (SPSF section members can also search outside their section by accessing the search form found on a tab on the group's homepage.)

We encourage members of the Sole Practitioner & Small Firm Section, and all MBA members, to complete their profiles and use the Network Directory Search to advance their law practices.

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Health Law Section Council to host first Central Mass. Conference April 30

The Health Law Section Council will be hosting its first Central Massachusetts Healthcare Conference. This is a unique opportunity to gain a better understanding of a wide variety of topics in the complex world of health law practice

Conference agenda

  • 8:30 a.m.: Registration, Refreshments and Public Relations Table for Attendees
  • 9 a.m.: Introduction
  • 9:05-9:55 a.m.: Getting to Resolved -- Impact of Medicare and Medicaid Liens on Medical Malpractice Settlements
  • 9:55-10:25 a.m.: Health Care Reform Matters -- Updates from the MA Health Connector and Consumer Healthcare Needs
  • 10:25-10:40 a.m.: Q&A, Comments and Break
  • 10:40-11:15 a.m.: HIPAA and Privacy Issues
  • 11:15-11:50 a.m.: Eating Disorders and Legal Perspectives on Behavioral Health
  • 11:50 a.m.: Q&A and Closing

Sponsoring sections

Health Law, Juvenile & Child Welfare, Labor & Employment


MBA law students, member paralegals, recent admittees: $40; MBA members: $80 and nonmembers: $160.

For more information, or to register, call Member Services at (617) 338-0530 or click here.

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Celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Civil Rights Act of 1964 on April 28

The Massachusetts Bar Association is proud to co-sponsor the Massachusetts Chapter of the Federal Bar Association's celebration of the "Civil Rights Act of 1964: then, now and moving forward." The FREE program will take place on Monday, April 28, from 4 to 6 p.m., at the John J. Moakley U.S. Courthouse (jury assembly room). R.S.V.P. to [email carmengk].

Fifty years ago, peaceful civil disobedience triumphed over hate and the Civil Rights Act became law. Please join legal scholars and local bar associations to commemorate this landmark federal law. Speakers include:

  • The Hon. Gustavo A. Gelpi Jr., U.S. District Court Judge in Puerto Rico and president of the Federal Bar Association
  • The Hon. Gordon A. Martin Jr., (ret.), sought voting rights for blacks in Mississippi in the early 1960s and served as a state District Court judge
  • Joshua M. Davis, Esq., preeminent employment lawyer at Goulston & Storrs PC

Please join us for light refreshments after the presentations.



Achieving “Inbox Zero”: Email Management Tips

Ever send an email to your colleague across the hall rather than picking up the phone? Sure, we all have. And, while the telephone is not by any means obsolete, email has become a primary means of communication for many attorneys. As such, we are bombarded by a stream of emails 24/7. Without a good workflow to sort, organize and respond to emails, you will easily be overwhelmed and end up interrupting important billable work time.

"Inbox Zero" is one method to handle the stress that accompanies the constant barrage of emails. The system is based on an "out of sight, out of mind" concept. By quickly taking a simple action to remove an email from your inbox, you should in turn spend less time agonizing over each and every email. Those actions include: deleting, delegating, responding, deferring and doing. Ideally, once you have taken an action, that email has either been handled or filed away for another day.

Achieving Inbox Zero begins with a good email client. A few popular options include Google Gmail, Microsoft Outlook and Mac Mail. Second, you should set up a system of folders within your email client. You might create one folder for messages that need a later response and another folder for messages that need some action. Therefore, when you receive an email during the course of the day, you can either respond immediately (and briefly) or move it quickly to your "respond later" or "take action" folder for handling at a later time. You might also set up separate folders for any mailing lists or listservs and configure your client to automatically filter those emails directly into those folders, thus bypassing the inbox. Again, with less mail in your inbox, the less time you will spend focused on email throughout the day. Once you've set up your folder system, turn off email notifications, close or minimize your email client and schedule time to check your email rather than be interrupted each time you receive an email.

For even greater efficiency, you can use the clients themselves and third party apps/plugins to automate email management with Gmail, Outlook and Mail. A solution like SaneBox, which can be used with any email client, automatically prioritizes and sorts email, among other features. While there are many, a couple of third party plugins for Outlook include Reprise Mail, a "smart" mailbox that automatically sorts mail into tabs, such as Priority, VIP, CCs and BCCs, and Low Priority and SnoozeIt, which enables you to hide a message from the inbox for a specified time. Gmail has a couple of options for sorting email, including its Priority Inbox feature, which splits your inbox into sections for "Important and Unread," "Starred," and "Everything else," and customizable tabs to sort emails into a Primary mailbox, Social (for all social network emails), Promotions and more. Mac Mail offers a smart mailbox feature that gathers and presents a list of emails that meet certain conditions (i.e., contains the word "Massachusetts Bar Association") and a VIP mailbox for email from certain people that you designate as VIPs. There are also third party email management tools like MailHub that can be used with Mac Mail.

Tip courtesy of Heidi Alexander, Law Office Management Assistance Program.

Published April 24, 2014


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.

CPCS posts attorney position openings

The Committee for Public Counsel Services is looking for new attorneys. CPCS has recently updated its employment portal.

Click here to view a current list of available positions, including an opening for staff counsel -- private counsel/criminal trials.

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Featured member benefit: Clio

Belong to the MBA and receive a 10 percent lifetime discount on the #1 cloud-based legal practice management system for solos and small firms

Clio is a 100 percent web-based legal practice management system optimized to meet the needs of sole practitioners and small firms. Have your all-important matters, contacts and documents available anywhere you go! If you already use other popular cloud services, like Dropbox or Google Apps, Clio will make you smile by tying them together in a single, easy-to-use system. With dozens of more advanced features like terrific time-tracking, comprehensive calendaring and beautiful billing, Clio will save you time, make you money and help you look polished and professional to your clients.

Members of the Massachusetts Bar Association receive a 10 percent lifetime discount on Clio, in addition to:

  • A free trial
  • Live 1:1 web demonstrations
  • Unlimited access to live customer support and training

Clio's 2014 prices are $65/month paid yearly OR $72/month paid monthly. Any member that currently uses Clio has been grandfathered into the old rate. Massachusetts Bar Association members receive a 10 percent lifetime discount on their Clio subscription. Sign up today.

** Valid MBA membership required.

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My Bar Access this week

Precedent-setting alimony appellate case -- 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 [email mybaraccess].

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


Upcoming CLE seminar and program schedule

CLE Heading

To register for the following programs, call MBA Member Services at (617) 338-0530, [email 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.


Central MA Health Care Conference
Wednesday, April 30, 9 a.m.-noon
University of Massachusetts Medical School, 55 Lake Avenue North, Worcester

Mock Trial: Current Issues under Padilla v. Kentucky Live program
Monday, May 5, 2-4 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston

The Ethical Rules for the Family Law Attorney:
Where is the line between zealous and over-zealous?
Monday, May 5, 4-6 p.m.
Plymouth Probate & Family Court, 52 Obery St., Plymouth

Law Practice Transitions: From Sole Practice to Mid-Size and Back Again Live program
Wednesday, May 7, noon-1:30 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston

Fundamentals of Sophisticated Practice Part II: Live program
Critical Tax and Creative Compensation Issues
Tuesday, May 13, 4-7 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston

Practicing with Professionalism
Thursday, May 22, 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
University of Massachusetts Medical School, 55 Lake Avenue North, Worcester


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.

Notable & Quotable: MBA members in the media

Notable & Quotable



Back Bay Fire Negligence Lawsuit

Sheff for Notable"Negligence means simply acting in an unreasonable manner. In this complaint, the plaintiff alleges several allegations which could be considered unreasonable behavior."

MBA President Douglas K. Sheff, FOX25 Evening News, April 22

Sheff provided FOX25 with legal insight into a negligence lawsuit filed in relation to the Back Bay fire at 298 Beacon Street that claimed the lives of two Boston firefighters. Referring to welding being done at 296 Beacon Street that allegedly started the fire, Sheff told WBUR's "All Things Considered" that "This is an ultra-hazardous activity and that can in the eyes of the law raise the responsibility of the building owner." MBA President-elect Marsha Kazarosian also appeared on FOX25 to discuss the lawsuit on April 23.


Tsarnaev Case

Notable Kazarosian"They're trying their best to point to someone else and say he's just a young, duped kid tagging along after his brother."

MBA President-elect Marsha V. Kazarosian, FOX25 Morning News, April 18

Kazarosian went Case-By-Case with FOX25 and addressed the latest developments in the Tsarnaev case as well as a federal lawsuit filed against General Motors. She also made an April 21 appearance on FOX25 to discuss new developments in the Jeremiah Oliver case. "Hopefully something good will come out of it," said Kazarosian. "Maybe they'll have more funding for DCF to take care of these kids. There are so many kids in that system."


Gants SJC Nomination

Healy for Notable"Justice Gants has worked his way up from the trenches of law practice and has the strong intellectual fire power to boldly lead the court."

MBA Chief Legal Counsel and Chief Operating Officer Martin W. Healy, State House News, April 17

Gov. Deval L. Patrick announced last week that he has nominated Ralph D. Gants to serve as the next Cheif Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court. Healy was also quoted in the Boston Globe and the Associated Press. Healy noted in the Globe article that Gants helped establish a new legal process for subprime mortgage cases, shifting the burden from borrowers to banks and lenders. "It was a major shift of the burden, and it was a case cited throughout the country," said Healy. MBA President Douglas K. Sheff was also quoted on the selection of Gants in the Boston Herald. "A lot of the time, judges think they're beyond reproach, but he's a guy who will pull you aside and have a genuine conversation," said Sheff.

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Section News: Upcoming meetings and special section events

Civil Litigation Section Council meeting (April 28); Family Law, Criminal Justice Section Council meetings (April 29); Juvenile & Child Welfare open meeting with DYS Commissioner Forbes, Public Law Section Council, Energy Law Practice Group meetings (May 1)


Civil Litigation Section Council meeting

Monday, April 28, 5-6:30 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston

The next meeting of the Civil Litigation Section Council is scheduled for Monday, April 28, from 5 to 6:30 p.m. All section members are invited to attend.

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


Family Law Section Council meeting

Tuesday, April 29, 5:30-7 p.m.
MBA Springfield, 73 State St., Springfield

The next meeting of the Family Law Section Council is scheduled for Tuesday, April 29, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. All section members are invited to attend.

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


Criminal Justice Section Council meeting

Tuesday, April 29, 6-7:30 p.m.
Worcester County District Attorney's Office, 225 Main St., Worcester

The next meeting of the Criminal Justice Section Council is scheduled for Tuesday, April 29, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. All section members are invited to attend.

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


Juvenile & Child Welfare open meeting

Featuring DYS Commissioner Peter J. Forbes
Thursday, May 1, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston

Please join the Juvenile & Child Welfare, Access to Justice and Criminal Justice Section Councils for this networking event. The guest speaker for this program will be Peter J. Forbes, Commissioner of the Department of Youth Services.

Forbes will share his insights on his first year as commissioner as well as his vision for the department. This will be a great opportunity to meet fellow section members! Drinks and light snacks will be provided.

To R.S.V.P., click here. Space is limited.


Public Law Section Council meeting

Thursday, May 1, 5:30-7 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston

The next meeting of the Public Law Section Council is scheduled for Thursday, May 1, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. All section members are invited to attend.

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


Energy Law Practice Group meeting

Thursday, May 1, 5:30-7 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston

The next meeting of the Energy Law Practice Group is scheduled for Thursday, May 1, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. All section 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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