News from the courts/agencies

Thursday, Jun. 1, 2017
Supreme Judicial Court Standing Committee now accepting nominations for 2017 Adams Pro Bono Publico Awards
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On Friday, April 7, Trial Court Chief Justice Paula M. Carey will host the opening ceremony of the Franklin County Justice Center. In addition to Chief Justice Carey, speakers will include Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, Senate President Stanley C. Rosenberg, Trial Court Administrator Harry Spence, Commissioner of the Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance Carol Gladstone, Representative Stephen Kulik of the 1st Franklin District, Representative Paul Mark of the 2nd Berkshire District, Representative Susannah Whipps of the 2nd Franklin District, Northwestern District Attorney David E. Sullivan, Franklin County Bar Association Chair John Stobierski, and Greenfield District Court First Justice William F. Mazanec. Franklin County Register of Probate John F. Merrigan will deliver welcoming remarks.
The renovation of the Franklin County Justice Center began in 2014. The new courthouse incorporates the historic 1932 façade of the original building with a 104,000 square foot, three-story addition. The Justice Center's six courtrooms include updated technological capabilities to allow for hearings to be conducted by video conference and newly installed recording equipment for court proceedings. The courthouse will also offer WiFi for visitors. The expanded building houses five court departments: Juvenile, Superior, District, Housing, and Probate and Family Courts, as well as the Law Library, Court Service Center, and Registry of Deeds.
Franklin County Justice Center
43 Hope Street, Greenfield, MA 01301
Friday, April 7, 2017
2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

The Supreme Judicial Court's Standing Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services is seeking nominations for the 2017 Adams Pro Bono Publico Awards, which recognize those in the legal community who have shown outstanding and exceptional commitment to providing unpaid legal services to those in need. The deadline for nominations is June 30.

Named in honor of attorneys John Adams and John Quincy Adams, the Adams Pro Bono Publico Awards are presented annually by the Supreme Judicial Court Standing Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services to honor those Massachusetts lawyers, law students, small and large law firms, government attorney offices, corporate law departments, law schools or other institutions in the legal profession that have improved the lives of clients in need by committing an extraordinary amount of their time and energies to provide volunteer legal services.

The Standing Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services will select awardees from among those who have excelled in providing volunteer services in one or more of the following ways:

  • participated in an activity or pro bono program that resulted in satisfying previously unmet needs or in extending services to underserved segments of the population;
  • successfully litigated pro bono cases that favorably affected the provision of other services to those in need; and/or
  • successfully achieved legislation that contributed substantially to legal services for the disadvantaged

Nominations should be submitted by mail to E. Abim Thomas, Esq., The 2017 Adams Pro Bono Publico Awards, c/o Goodwin, 100 Northern Avenue, Boston, MA 02110. Please contact Chip Phinney at the Supreme Judicial Court with questions at 617-557-1131. Nominations submitted in 2016 remain active for consideration in the 2017 awards program provided that the nominating party submits a letter restating the intent to nominate the candidate and updating the narrative with any relevant information. For more information about how to submit a nomination, please visit the court's Adams Pro Bono Publico Awards web page.

The 2017 Pro Bono Publico Awards will be presented in a ceremony at the John Adams Courthouse on October 18, 2017.  In addition to the awards program, the Supreme Judicial Court Standing Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services also administers the Pro Bono Honor Roll, a voluntary program that recognizes those law firms, solo practitioners, in-house corporate counsel offices, government attorneys offices, non-profit organizations, law school faculties, and law students which certify that, in the relevant time period, they have performed a certain number of hours of pro bono legal work. Certifications are still being accepted for pro bono worked performed in calendar year 2016.

Established in 1999, the Standing Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services works to promote volunteer legal work in Massachusetts to help people of limited means who are in need of legal representation, in accordance with SJC Rule 6.1. Attorney Kathleen McGrath of Liberty Mutual Insurance Company chairs the Committee.