Among the few budget amendments that passed when the House of
Representatives wrapped its budget this week, was a Massachusetts
Bar Association drafted amendment sponsored by House Leader Garrett
Bradley (D-Hingham) raising bar advocate pay in the District and
Juvenile Courts effective July 2016. The rates will be raised from
$50 to $53 for those privately appointed practitioners. Those
handling Children and Family Law Cases and Care and Protection work
will see an hourly rate increase from $50 to $55.
The Trial Court received an additional $2 million over the
original House appropriation. They will be seeking an additional $6
million in the Senate to raise the appropriation to $628 million to
avoid staff layoffs. The Supreme Judicial Court received an
additional $200,000, which will let the highest court avoid
disruption in court operations.
Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation (MLAC) did not get
the additional $5 million in funding sought in the House of
Representatives and will now turn to the Senate seeking the $22
million in funding for MLAC to begin to bridge the justice gap in
The MBA will continue to push aggressively for appropriate
funding for legal practitioners, the court and legal services as
the Senate begins its budget debate in May. Following passage of
the Senate budget, a conference committee will be appointed from
both branches to mete out a compromise budget before sending it to
Gov. Charles D. Baker for approval.