The Massachusetts Bar Association’s House of Delegates (HOD) heard a recap of the first two months of the association year and approved two Massachusetts state delegates to the American Bar Association at the Nov. 17 HOD meeting, which was held over Zoom.
MBA President Grace V.B. Garcia began the meeting with a review of recent MBA-related events, including the annual State of the Judiciary Address, where she participated as both a speaker and as moderator for a panel featuring Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Kimberly S. Budd, Trial Court Chief Justice Jeffrey A. Locke and Trial Court Administrator John A. Bello. Garcia told HOD members that she had received positive feedback about the MBA-presented event, which was webcast live from the SJC two days prior to the HOD meeting. She credited the event for providing updates from court leaders on courthouse improvements; access to justice issues; and efforts to improve diversity, equity and inclusion in the court system.
Turning to other events, Garcia shared that, earlier in the day, she had participated in the kick-off event for the MBA’s Tiered Community Mentoring Program, which featured roughly 70 participants – a mix of high school, college and law students, and practicing lawyers. She also recounted the Oct. 24 “cabinet meeting” between MBA officers, Section Council leaders and committee leaders, which featured an active discussion of ways to collaborate and support one another.
MBA President-elect Damian J. Turco said this year’s Leadership Academy class got off to a great start with its first program on building a positive reputation and a strong network. He also highlighted the MBA’s recent presentation of the virtual tour of the National Civil Rights Museum, which was “highly successful” and featured support from virtually every other affiliated bar association in the commonwealth.
Turco also discussed his recent participation in the annual meeting of the New England Bar Association, where he was named president of the regional association. He said the meeting provided an opportunity to hear how other New England states are handling similar issues, from courthouse technology and infrastructure to the polarization of the court system.
Following approval of the minutes from the September HOD meeting, which were introduced by MBA Secretary Samuel A. Segal, MBA Chief Legal Counsel and Chief Operating Officer Martin W. Healy gave a report that focused largely on the work of the Joint Bar Committee (JBC). With over 235 judicial appointments during Gov. Baker’s two terms in office, Healy said the JBC has played an important role in making sure the people appointed to the bench are qualified to be judges.
Lisa Arrowood, the Massachusetts state delegate to the ABA’s House of Delegates, then announced the recommendations of the ABA Nominating Committee to fill two openings in the Massachusetts delegation, which were then put before the HOD for a vote. After Arrowood explained the criteria for the positions, HOD members approved the appointments of attorney Sarah Sousa as the young lawyer delegate and retired U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Frank J. Bailey as the regular delegate; Bailey had previously served as a judicial delegate before his retirement.
For the final report of the meeting, Marianne C. LeBlanc and Amanda Rowan, co-chairs of the MBA’s Lawyer Well-Being Committee, spoke about the committee’s efforts, including a successful panel on addressing addiction, stigma and recovery that featured SJC Chief Justice Budd, a sitting judge and a law school dean, among others. They also noted that the committee has partnered with Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly for the past two years on an ongoing Fighting Stigma series of columns.
The next HOD meeting will be on Thursday, Jan. 19.