Board of Bar Overseers announces mandatory online registration
The Board of Bar Overseers (BBO) has announced that all
attorneys admitted to practice in Massachusetts are required to
submit their registrations online at www.massbbo.org,
effective Sept. 1.
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court approved the new
requirement on Oct. 20, 2015. Currently, approximately half of
Massachusetts attorneys register online, and all other
registrations are processed manually with paper forms.
Margaret Carlson, executive director of the BBO, said that the
agency has not increased its registration fees since 2007, and a
goal of the new requirement is to help keep administration costs
low, ensuring that registration fees remain level.
"The new requirement will help us continue to run the agency at
the current fee structure," Carlson said. "In addition, we are
looking at a number of ways to streamline our processes in order to
keep overhead low and use funds toward the mission of the
The change brings the registration process for attorneys in line
with other professional boards that require online registration,
including the Board of Registration in Medicine, said Donna Jalbert
Patalano, chair of the BBO and Chief of Professional Integrity
& Ethics at the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office. "For
attorneys, online registration should make their registration
process more efficient," Patalano said.
The new requirement doesn't apply to newly admitted attorneys
and attorneys who are registered as "pro bono inactive" and "pro
bono retired" statuses. Certain other categories of attorneys are
also exempt, including those who are not admitted to practice in
Massachusetts, but must register with the BBO. Otherwise, the Board
will handle requests to be excused from the requirement on a
case-by-case basis, such as attorneys who do not have computer
"Any special dispensation from online registration should be
granted by the Board, and the Justices ask that the Board liberally
dispense with the online requirement when lawyers have a legitimate
reason for being unable to register online," SJC Justice Francis X.
Spina said when approving the requirement.
The BBO has four cycles for attorneys to register throughout the
year: September, December, March and June. Attorneys who typically
register in the December, March or June cycles will be required to
register online when they next renew.
Family Court Judge David Sacks
appointed chair of ADR Committee
Trial Court Chief Justice Paula M. Carey has announced the
appointment of Probate and Family Court Judge David G. Sacks as
Chair of the Trial Court's Standing Committee on Alternative
Dispute Resolution. The committee includes representatives from all
seven departments of the Trial Court, as well as private dispute
resolution groups and the Boston and Massachusetts Bar
Judge Sacks has served on the bench of the Hampden County
Probate and Family Court in Springfield since 1986. Chief Justice
Carey said he has "established a reputation as an innovative
supporter of Alternative Dispute Resolution and served as a
dedicated member of the ADR Standing Committee for many years."
Judge Sacks has co-chaired the Probate and Family Court's Steering
Committee on Alternative Dispute Resolution, and is overseeing the
Trial Court's first-ever mandatory mediation pilot in the Hampden
Probate and Family Court.
Chief Justice Carey commended outgoing Chair, Superior Court
Judge Mark D Mason, for six years of "outstanding leadership." Over
recent years with limited resources, the Standing Committee has
expanded ADR options in the Trial Court by forming Departmental ADR
Committees in each department, creating Departmental ADR Plans,
distributing ADR bench cards and posters, and expanding
The Standing Committee is charged with advising the Chief
Justice of the Trial Court on the implementation of the Supreme
Judicial Court's Uniform Rules on Dispute Resolution, including
oversight of court-connected programs providing mediation and