Court and Community News

Thursday, March 12, 2020
U.S. District Court issues coronavirus orders; Dowell named BBO's chief bar counsel


U.S. District Court issues coronavirus orders

The U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts issued the following orders today, Thursday, March 12, regarding court access and operations following the governor's declaration of a state of emergency in Massachusetts over the coronavirus (COVID-19): 

General Order 20-1 In Re: Coronavirus Public Emergency Order Concerning Access to Court FacilitiesThis order restricts courthouse access from anyone who has traveled to a country with a Centers for Disease Control level two or level three travel advisory (China, Italy, Iran, Japan and South Korea), has had contact with such travelers or is displaying symptoms. This order will be implemented district-wide.   

General Order 20-2 Order Concerning Jury Trials and Other Proceedings: This order continues all jury trials scheduled to begin before April 27, 2020, until further order of the court.  


Dowell named BBO's chief bar counsel

The Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) announced last week that the Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers (BBO) recently named Rodney S. Dowell, Esq., as the chief bar counsel, effective Dec. 2, 2019. He fills the position following the retirement of Constance Vecchione, Esq. 

A founding partner at the Boston litigation firm of Berman & Dowell, Dowell joined Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers (LCL) in 2007 and started its Law Office Management Assistance Program as the founding director. Dowell became LCL's executive director in 2011 and has worked full time on alternative dispute resolution since 2017. 

Dowell has been an active leader in the solo and small firm and law practice sections of the Massachusetts Bar Association and the Boston Bar Association. He has served on the SJC Standing Advisory Committee on Professionalism and the SJC Working Group Regarding Online Publication of Lawyer Disciplinary Decisions, and currently serves as an adviser to the Standing Committee on Lawyer Well-Being. He is currently the chair of the American Bar Association's Law Practice Division and is also a board member of LCL. 

The BBO was established by the SJC in 1974 as an independent administrative body to investigate and evaluate complaints against lawyers. The activities of the board are governed by SJC Rule 4:01 and the Rules of the BBO.