The Massachusetts Bar Association is the preeminent voice of the
legal profession, and has never stopped speaking about the need to
continue to fight for justice for all. This month with the advent
of voir dire in the commonwealth our voice was heard yet
again, speaking loudly in unison with our colleagues at the
Massachusetts Academy of Trial Attorneys and in the
The MBA has never stopped speaking up about the need for fairness
in our courts and I am so incredibly proud of what we accomplished.
I also want to publicly recognize and congratulate MBA Chief Legal
Counsel and Chief Operating Officer Martin W. Healy, who deservedly
was just named a 2014 Lawyer of the Year by Massachusetts
Lawyers Weekly for his leading role in the unified efforts to
make voir dire a reality in Massachusetts.
The New Year began with a flurry of activity on Beacon Hill. On
Jan. 7, the Senate elected Sen. Stanley C. Rosenberg (D-Amherst) as
its new president, while the House of Representatives re-elected
Rep. Robert A. DeLeo (D-Winthrop) as the speaker of the house. On
Jan. 8, Charles D. Baker was sworn in as governor of the
commonwealth of Massachusetts. By the legislative filing deadline
on Jan. 16, a total of 5,333 bills had been filed for consideration
during this session.
A new era for the Massachusetts legal system began this month
when the highly anticipated voir dire law officially took
effect on Feb. 2 in criminal and civil trials in the Superior
Court. The law (Chapter 254 of the Acts of 2014), which passed last
August, now permits attorney-directed voir dire during the
jury empanelment process.
Hailed as a definitive legislative victory, the Massachusetts Bar
Association and the Massachusetts Academy of Trial Attorneys
advocated for the law's passage for more than 20 years. Thanks to
the symbiotic collaboration of the bench and bar in the
commonwealth, Massachusetts now joins the vast majority of states
that have laws allowing for attorney-directed voir