Court and Community News

Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021
SJC Standing Committee on Lawyer Well-Being releases First-Year Report; Land Court chief title examiner issues registered land memorandum; USDC issues General Order 19-4 regarding relief under Rehaif v. United States; Judiciary addresses cybersecurity breach; Job openings: Attorney vacancies at the U.S. Department of Justice


SJC Standing Committee on Lawyer Well-Being releases First-Year Report

The Supreme Judicial Court Committee on Lawyer Well-Being last week released its First-Year Report, which provides a summary of significant activities and milestones accomplished by the committee to date. 

Established in January of 2020, the SJC Standing Committee on Lawyer Well-Being is charged with planning and overseeing efforts to enhance the well-being of lawyers, judges and law students in the commonwealth. As the committee began its work, its goal was to implement the recommendations set out in the final report of the original SJC Steering Committee on Lawyer Well-Being, which was submitted to the SJC in July 2019. In its first year, the committee moved forward to implement a series of the report’s recommendations while also responding to the many new challenges posed by COVID-19 and prioritizing diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts to address systemic racism and oppression of underrepresented and historically excluded communities. 

The committee is currently composed of 16 members and two co-chairs, appointed by the SJC. Co-chairs are Hon. Margot Botsford, former associate justice of the SJC, and Massachusetts Bar Association President Denise I. Murphy. Committee members represent various perspectives in geography, legal practice, gender identity, sexual orientation, and racial and ethnic diversity, as well as one physician with experience in physician well-being work and services. The committee also has an appointed group of advisors whose members are the executive director of Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers, bar counsel, general counsel of the Board of Bar Overseers, and the executive director of the Board of Bar Examiners. 

In March 2020, the committee hired its first full-time director, attorney Heidi Alexander, former deputy director of Massachusetts Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers, to lead implementation of the report. In November 2020, attorney Gavin Alexander, one of the original committee members, began a fellowship sponsored by Ropes & Gray LLP. As the first full-time committee fellow, he supports the work of the committee as a whole while focusing on the intersection of well-being and DEI in the Massachusetts legal profession. 

For more information about the committee’s work, visit its website at


Land Court chief title examiner issues
registered land memorandum 

A registered land memorandum regarding form of acknowledgments and powers of attorney has been released by the Land Court. This memorandum addresses the requirements concerning notary acknowledgments, and the Massachusetts forms of acknowledgment required by state law, as those requirements pertain to certain documents presented for registration, including powers of attorney.

Click here to review the memorandum.


USDC issues General Order 19-4 regarding relief under Rehaif v. United States

The U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts has issued "General Order 19-4: Amended Standing Procedural Order RE: Appointment of Counsel and Motions for Relief Under Rehaif v. United States."

The order states that, pursuant to the provisions of the Criminal Justice Act, Title 18, U.S.C. § 3006A(a)(1) and (c), and the discretion of the court, the Office of the Federal Public Defender for the District of Massachusetts is appointed to develop a list of defendants who may be eligible for relief under the Supreme Court’s decision in Rehaif v. United States, 139 S.Ct. 2191 (2019).

Click here to read the full order.


Judiciary addresses cybersecurity breach

The Administrative Office (AO) of the United States Courts recently provided notice of a national data breach of the Case Management/Electronic Case Files (CM/ECF) system and has called upon courts to implement new security procedures to protect highly sensitive documents.

Because Massachusetts Local Bankruptcy Rule 9018-1 already provides comprehensive procedures for the filing and storage of sealed documents outside the CM/ECF system, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Massachusetts has preliminarily concluded that no changes are required to the local rules. Additionally, in accord with guidance from the AO and practices of other courts, the court does not intend to review its dockets to determine if filings under seal contain “highly sensitive documents.”

The court will continue to monitor and evaluate ongoing developments around these issues for impact on its systems and CM/ECF users.

Click here for the full announcement.


Job Openings

Attorney vacancies at the U.S. Department of Justice 

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has numerous attorney and legal intern vacancies. Click here to view a current list of available positions.

The DOJ places a high value on diversity of experiences and perspectives and encourages applications from all qualified individuals from all ethnic and racial backgrounds, veterans, LGBT individuals, and persons with disabilities.  

To learn more about the DOJ and its legal careers, click here