Lawyers Journal

Volunteer Spotlight

Mark A. Leahy
Attorney Mark A. Leahy has devoted countless hours to the Massachusetts Uniform Probate Code (MUPC) -- which went into effect fully on March 31 -- from developing it to helping other practitioners understand it.

Leahy, a partner at Whittum & Leahy in Hingham, where he practices probate, trust and estate law, answered the call of both the courts and the bar in the implementation of the MUPC.

He was reporter for the Joint MBA/BBA Committee on the Uniform Probate Code; a draftsman of the MUPC; part of the Probate & Family Court's Implementation Committee; and finally, one of the key leaders in planning and implementing the recent five-part CLE series "MUPC Demystified" for the Probate Law Section Council of the Massachusetts Bar Association.

The idea for the MBA's five-part series came about when past Probate Law Section Council Chair Janice Nigro (see related spotlight below) and other council members talked about creating an educational program on the new probate code, Leahy said. He had already put several together, including for MCLE and Suffolk University Law School, and was chosen to help lead the MBA series.

"Rather than repeat the same overview, we decided to go into the major subjects in more depth than we could even in a whole day in an overview. And we tried to give more practical, useful forms of information than was provided by other CLEs," said Leahy.

Leahy and Nigro collaborated in planning the series, for which he served as a panelist on four of the five seminars that ran from the fall through February. The "MUPC Demystified" series is available online through MBA On Demand at www.MassBar.org.

"Attorneys can get an insight to the new options which the code offers probate administrators and estate planners, and also the new internal procedures which the Probate and Family Court must follow," he said.

And he isn't done yet. He will be a panelist on the estate planning panel at the upcoming "MUPC Basics: An Overview of the New Massachusetts Uniform Probate Code" seminar at the Massachusetts School of Law in Andover on April 27.

Janice C. Nigro
For those who attended the Massachusetts Bar Association's five-part "MUPC Demystified" CLE series, they have attorney Janice C. Nigro and her colleagues to thank. Nigro not only helped spearhead the popular series, she also served as a panelist on three of the five seminars.

Nigro, a former MBA Probate Law Section Council chair, and attorney Mark A. Leahy (see related spotlight above) worked together to establish the topics for the important series in advance of the upcoming implementation of the Massachusetts Uniform Probate Code.

Other colleagues helped with its organization and content. These included Jennifer Rivera-Ulwick, Evelyn Patsos, Thomas Jalkut, John Dugan, Edward Notis-McConarty, Michael Christy and the Hon. Anthony Nesi.

"All helped bring the series to an unsurpassed level of excellence," Nigro said.

The goal of the five-part series was to offer comprehensive in-depth training on the new Massachusetts Uniform Probate Code (MUPC). While other CLEs devoted an hour to cover the informal probate proceedings, part one of the MBA series focused solely on the topic for four hours.

"Because we knew the law changes would require sweeping changes for practitioners, the series needed to be hands-on," Nigro said.

Those who were not able to attend the series in person can still view it online through MBA On Demand by visiting www.massbar.org/cle/mba-on-demand. Other educational offerings on the topic of MUPC are also available through On Demand.

"Jan took the lead and I couldn't imagine any other member being able to pull this together other than her," said MBA Senior Program Manager Marc D'Antonio.

Nigro has long been involved in MBA CLE faculty and finds much enjoyment in it. "I view my CLE work as a unique opportunity to give back," said Nigro, who finds her CLE work and other bar involvement intellectually stimulating.

"I'm always learning from other members, and appreciate their insight and depth of knowledge," she said.

In addition to her work in CLE, Nigro volunteers her time through the MBA's Elder Law Education Programs, and serves on the board of The Angel Fund, an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) research.

A Northeastern University School of Law graduate, Nigro has been practicing law for 26 years. She is a partner at Nigro, Pettepit & Lucas in Wakefield, where she practices probate, trust, estate and serious personal injury law.

©2014 Massachusetts Bar Association