Notable & Quotable: MBA members in the media

Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014

Notable & Quotable

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Wiretap charges


Notable Elikann

"It's kind of regrettable that the First Circuit wasn't more specific ... The First Circuit didn't even mention the distinction between secretive and non-secretive recordings. It basically said that at anytime in whatever fashion, citizens are allowed to record public officials carrying out their public duties."

Former MBA Criminal Justice Section Chair Peter Elikann, Herald News, Feb. 17

According to The Fall River Herald News, since 2008, six people in Greater Fall River have been arrested on wiretap charges. The Herald News' analysis of arrest reports in Fall River District Court indicates police officers have arrested people for video- and audio-recording them, on the basis that those recordings were done without the officers' knowledge and violates Massachusetts' wiretap law. However, a 2011 federal court ruling appears to allow the public to record officers on the street, as long as the recordings are done in an open and public manner. While "it seems the First Circuit ruling nullifies the SJC decision since federal law trumps the state trial court," in speaking with The Herald News, Elikann said "it would be helpful if Massachusetts clarified this on their own law books, once and for all, either by the Supreme Judicial Court or by the Massachusetts Legislature."

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Conflict of interest

Healy for Notable

"This is a textbook case of conflict of interest. It is riddled with potential, if not actual, conflicts ... It's in the best interest of the administration of justice that Judge Saylor step aside."

MBA Chief Legal Counsel Martin W. Healy, Boston Herald, Feb. 16

Prosecutors in the criminal trial of former Probation Department Chief John J. O'Brien have renewed their request for Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV to recuse himself, citing a list of people tied to the case that have been friendly with the judge in the past. Former MBA Criminal Law Section Chair Peter Elikann also spoke to the Boston Herald about the renewed request for Saylor to recuse himself, saying "It's sort of the perfect storm ... There are so many relationships here. Each and every one of them is not a problem, it's the sheer weight and the number of relationships that could create the appearance of a lack of impartiality."

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Paid legal internships

Notable Tocci

"I think it's absolutely a step in the right direction. It's the right thing to do."

MBA Labor & Employment Law Section Co-Chair John F. Tocci, Boston Business Journal, Feb. 14

An American Bar Association Committee has recommended a change to its policy that prohibits law students from being paid for externships and internships when they are receiving school credit. The Department of Labor allows for unpaid interns if their work is "not of significant value to the employer." When speaking to the Boston Business Journal Tocci favored a change to the rule that would allow for paid internships, noting that "law firms typically want their interns to produce work of value so they can judge the interns' capabilities ... and the interns typically want to produce valuable writing samples that they can use in their job searches."

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Tax policy

Notable Sullivan

"It's really bad tax policy and it's really harmful to lawyers and other people in professional services ... The way the law practice works ... a lot of the work gets done before it gets paid for. Or it never gets paid for. So you have huge write offs."

MBA Vice President Christopher P. Sullivan, Boston Business Journal, Feb. 7

Draft federal legislation has proposed a change to the way law firms account for revenue. If passed, the new legislation would change how law firms, with gross revenue of more than $10 million, report and pay taxes. With the proposed change, firms would report on their tax filings the amounts they have billed, even if the bills haven't been paid. Currently, most law firms only pay taxes on the profits they have received.