Get fired up over hot legal topics in MBA's new 'Briefings' series

Issue January 2005

A highlight of the MBA's Annual Conference 2005 will be a new series of programs under the heading of "Briefings" that will bring together experts to address individual "hot topics" in an open discussion format to let attendees explore subjects of critical concern in several key areas of the law. The conference takes place March 3-5 at the Marriott Copley Place Hotel in Boston.

In addition to the annual "Recent Developments in the Law" survey programs that are a mainstay of each conference, the "Briefings" sessions will focus on a single subject, allowing for in-depth discussion and exchange of ideas between panelists and participants.

In all, the conference will offer 24 educational programs on Friday, March 4, with another 10 seminars set for Thursday, March 3 under the heading "Managing Your Practice and Career."

Among the "Briefings" topics currently planned are:

Summary Judgment in Employment Law

This panel discussion will involve the treatment of Summary Judgment in employment-related cases, comparing state and federal laws and practices. Program chair: Patrick Bannon, Esq., Gadsby & Hannah, Boston.

Uniform Probate Code Legislation

Learn and understand about the bar's legislative effort to modernize our estate administration and guardianship process. This important discussion will cover speedier estate administration, new intestacy provisions, pay-on-death bank accounts, testamentary trust accountings, limited guardianships, mandated guardian reporting and much more. Don't miss this informative seminar! Panel: Mark A. Leahy, Esq., Whittum & Leahy, Quincy, program chair; Raymond H. Young, Esq., Young & Bayle, Boston; Loretta S. O'Brien, Esq., Norwood; and Thomas J. Carey, Esq., Hingham.

Highlights and Pitfalls of the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004 for Small Business

The American Jobs Creation Act of 2004 contains a number of provisions that impact small businesses. This seminar will include a discussion of selected provisions, including S corporation reform, the new manufacturer's deduction and new rules impacting deferred compensation arrangements. The panel will include speakers from the tax community and the Internal Revenue Service. Panel: Jennifer Gugliotti, Esq., KAF Financial Group, Braintree; and Patricia Metzer, Vacovec Mayotte & Singer, Newton.

How Much Equity Power Does the Probate Court Have?

The use of reproductive technology by married and unmarried partners, and the advent of countless same-sex couples having children together, have ushered in new classes of parents and children with legal issues never before imagined. The phenomena of children raised by a de facto parent, or of a woman acting as a gestational carrier for a child's genetic parents, thereby making it necessary for the genetic parents to adjudicate their maternity and paternity, are just a few examples. Appellate Courts are called upon to revisit traditional definitions of who is a parent and who is responsible for a child's support, because the legislative process has not caught up with the realities of today's modern families. This, in turn spurs controversy over the extent of the Probate Court's power to "fill in the blanks." Split SJC opinions are not uncommon, as litigants increasingly rely on equitable and parens patriae powers when a parent-child relationship falls outside of the existing statutory framework. Equity cases - old and new - illustrate this point from C.C. v. A.B. to E.N.O. v. L.M.M. and T.L. v. B.F. in 2004. This panel examines where the law may or should be going. Panel: Susan Crockin, Esq., The Chatham Center, Newton; and Bennett Klein, Esq., Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, Boston.

What to Do When They Don't Pay: Understanding and Handling Health Insurance Denials

Panel members will discuss reasons that health insurers deny claims, the patient's rights when a health insurer has denied payment and the appeal process. Panel: Kimberly Winter, Esq., White, Freeman & Winter, Weston; and Paul Keane, Esq., McCarthy Kenney & Reidy, PC, Boston.

Web Commerce: A Decade Young - Some Things Your Client Needs to Know

Topics presented at this program include: Using another's trademark on your client's Web site: When is it OK?; You click it, you own it: Enforceability of online terms; and Here, there, everywhere: Current status of jurisdiction. Panel: Peter McDermott, Esq., program chair, Banner & Witcoff, Ltd., Boston; Steven Chow, Esq., Perkins Smith & Cohen LLP, Boston; and Stanley Kay, Esq., Law office of Stanley B Kay, Wellesley Hills.

Taking it to the Limit: Contact with Opponent's Present and Former Employees

This program will concentrate on the current state of the law as well as the practical applications of Rule 4.2 and the SJC's decision in Clark v. Beverly Health and Rehabilitation Services, Inc. (October 2003). When can employees be contacted ex parte about issues in pending litigation? What are the potential pitfalls? What do you need to know in order to navigate this still evolving area of civil litigation practice? Panel: Charlotte Glinka, Esq., Keches & Mallen PC, Taunton; Barbara Robb, Esq., Perkins Smith & Cohen LLP, Boston; Michael Conley, Esq., Kenney & Conley, P.C., Braintree; and Francis Lynch, Esq., Lynch & Lynch, Easton.

Life after Commonwealth v. DeGiambattista

This program will focus on interpretations of the Supreme Judicial Court's recent decision in Commonwealth v. DeGiambattista and how it affects the taking of a defendant's statement. Panelists will explain the what, where, when and how of recording statements and the ramifications of not recording.

Panel: Jeanmarie Carroll, Esq., program chair, Norfolk District Attorney's Office; panelists to be announced.


The Massachusetts Bar Association's Annual Conference 2005 takes place March 3-5, 2005, at the Marriott Copley Place Hotel in Boston.