Issue April 2011

A look ahead toward ABA lobbying event in D.C.

Later this month, I look forward to returning to Washington, D.C., to participate in the American Bar Association's Lobby Day. This year, I am especially honored to represent the commonwealth as the MBA president in the many congressional meetings that take place over this three-day event.

As one can imagine, orchestrating such a trip and coordinating such high-level meetings require tremendous effort. The MBA is well poised throughout this influential trip, thanks to MBA Chief Operating Officer and Chief Legal Counsel Martin W. Healy and MBA Legislative Activities Manager Lee Constantine, who serves as the state captain for the Massachusetts ABA delegation.

DeLeo announces bold court reform plan

House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo wants to transform the management of the state's courts by hiring a professional business administrator -- not a judge -- to handle all of its business aspects.

DeLeo announced his plan at a Boston Chamber of Commerce forum on March 15, where he also stated his preference to keep the scandal-ridden Probation Department under the authority of the courts. Gov. Deval Patrick wants to place it under executive branch control.

Courts, executive branch debate who should oversee Probation Department

The aftermath of the state's Probation Department patronage scandal has fueled debate over which branch of government should manage the troubled agency. On Feb. 17, members of the judicial, legislative and executive branches discussed that issue in front of an overflow crowd at Suffolk University Law School.

"A New Path for Probation" drew more than 175 attendees to the Boston law school, with people lining the walls to listen in on the discussion. The event was presented by MassINC, the publisher of Commonwealth magazine, sponsored by the Massachusetts Bar Association and hosted by Suffolk University Law School's Rappaport Center for Law and Public Service.

SJC’s Judge Gants leads crowd at annual Walk to the Hill

Supreme Judicial Court Associate Justice Ralph D. Gants joined more than 500 people in calling for adequate legal aid funding at the Walk to the Hill for Civil Legal Aid on Feb. 22 at the Statehouse's Great Hall of Flags.

The annual event calls on legislators to protect state funding for programs providing civil legal aid to low-income Massachusetts residents. This year's Walk to the Hill marked the first time a sitting justice on the SJC attended. As co-chair of the Massachusetts Access to Justice Initiative, Gants made a plea to the governor and lawmakers to provide justice for all.

A Q&A with Ron Corbett, Probation commissioner

Ronald P. Corbett Jr., Ed.D., is matter-of-factly looking beyond the troubles of the Massachusetts Probation Department to restore its former practices, when the department was nationally recognized as an innovative leader. No stranger to the legal community or state government, commissioner Corbett is swiftly applying his management know-how to get the fraud-riddled department back on track in the interest of public safety.