Practicing with Professionalism course prepares new attorneys

Thursday, May. 29, 2014
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Photo Credit: Mike Vigneux
MBA Secretary Christopher A. Kenney welcomes newly admitted attorneys to the Massachusetts Bar Association's Practicing with Professionalism class on May 22

Newly admitted attorneys made their way to UMass Medical School in Worcester on May 22 for a full day of training and networking as part of a required one-day Practicing with Professionalism course.

With the implementation of Rule 3:16 by the Supreme Judicial Court's (SJC) Standing Committee on Professionalism, all newly admitted Massachusetts attorneys must attend the course within 18 months of being admitted to the bar in order to maintain their good standing. The rule applies to anyone newly licensed to practice law in Massachusetts on or after September 1, 2013.

The MBA is the only SJC approved provider to offer the course statewide. Beginning in January 2014, the MBA has partnered with the University of Massachusetts to host the one-day course on UMass campuses in Boston, Worcester and Dartmouth. The course will also be offered at UMass Lowell on September 18 and UMass Amherst on October 27.

Some general themes of the day included building a good reputation, finding a mentor, making ethical decisions, giving back through pro bono work and the importance of continuing legal education.

The highlight of the course was keynote speaker Superior Court Judge Shannon Frison, who spoke about hidden bias within the legal profession and strategies to combat it.

"This is really a conversation to be had by our larger society, not just in the law," Frison told the new attorneys. "We're all subject to it. It doesn't matter what your race or gender is."

The afternoon sessions covered topics such as navigating social media, time management, and introductions to law office management, managing client fund accounts and trust account recordkeeping, the bar disciplinary system, the Massachusetts court system and bar associations.