The Massachusetts Bar Association’s House of Delegates (HOD) held its first meeting of the new calendar year over Zoom on Thursday, Jan. 19, where they received updates on MBA initiatives as well as previews of upcoming events.
In her report, MBA President Grace V.B. Garcia recapped recent Leadership Academy activities, including a program on Leadership in Crisis: a program on crisis communication that was moderated by MBA Secretary Samuel A. Segal. Garcia also noted that Leadership Academy fellows have been engaged and working together to put on various programming this year.
The MBA president also spoke highly of the three-part series on microaggressions in the workplace, which is being presented by the MBA’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee (DEIC). The first program on how to develop and maintain a diverse workforce was held on Jan. 11. Part two (race) will take place on Feb. 9, and the third part (gender identity) will be held on June 7. “If the first program was any indication, these are fabulous programs,” she said.
After encouraging HOD members to participate in the annual Talk to the Hill (see related story), Garcia announced that the MBA will be holding its Annual Dinner on May 11 at the Westin Boston Waterfront. The keynote speaker will be Juliette Kayyem, faculty chair of the Homeland Security Program at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. Kayyem previously served as President Barack Obama's assistant secretary at the Department of Homeland Security and as Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick’s Homeland Security Advisor.
Next, MBA President-elect Damian J. Turco gave his report, which included praise for the MBA’s DEIC and for how the MBA has been working collaboratively with affinity bar associations. Segal then followed and presented the minutes from the November HOD meeting, which were approved by voice vote.
In his report, MBA Chief Legal Counsel and Chief Operating Officer Martin W. Healy recounted the MBA’s strong working relationship with former Governor Charlie Baker’s administration and said he looked forward to a strong relationship working with Governor Maura Healey’s administration, citing the MBA’s ongoing work through the Joint Bar Committee. He also discussed the MBA’s involvement on two amicus briefs related to the Supreme Judicial Court’s finding that a sentence of life without parole for juveniles age 17 and under was unconstitutional. The new briefs support the argument that a sentence of life without parole should not apply to anyone age 20 and under.
Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation (MLAC) Executive Director Lynne Parker and Equal Justice Coalition Director Laura Booth were then invited to speak about the need for legal aid funding. They encouraged HOD members to support MLAC’s budget request for FY 2024 by participating in the Jan. 26 Talk to the Hill, noting that demand for legal aid has increased since the start of the pandemic.
The next HOD meeting will be held on March 30.