Trial Court Administrator Harry Spence was the featured guest
speaker at the Jan. 31 House of Delegates meeting. Spence detailed
the areas of focus in his nine-month tenure in this newly created
position in the Trial Court Department.
Spence told the MBA delegates of his strongest impression since
beginning his post -- he has encountered a highly competent and
professional work staff with "surprisingly more of an appetite for
change" than he was anticipating.
Spence continues to make weekly visits to various courthouses
throughout the state. These visits and a staff survey have provided
his office with key anecdotal information, as well as data to help
quantify and qualify staff perceptions. Spence reported the survey
revealed that 30 percent of court staff was interested in
aggressive change, 90 percent wanted change and 10 percent was
comfortable with the status quo.
Spence indicated that the Trial Court will soon be reaching out
to the MBA for advice and assistance in the preparation of its
strategic plan, which the court expects to submit to the Supreme
Judicial Court for approval in June.
Aside from Spence's remarks, the delegation also heard from the
MBA Taxation Section. The section requested that the delegates
rescind their vote taken in November to support in principle, the
filing of legislation amending the Massachusetts Uniform Probate
Code to add provisions relative to spousal elective share. After
vigorous debate with input from representatives from the tax,
probate and other MBA sections, as well as members of the ad hoc
committee who brought the issue to the floor at the November
meeting, the delegates voted against rescinding their original vote
in November on the legislation.
The group also voted to support in principle the resolution and
report relative to the powers of federal bankruptcy judges and to
advocate for passage by the American Bar Association. The
delegation voted unanimously in favor of this.
The next meeting of the MBA House of Delegates will take place
on March 21 in Framingham.