Issue September 2011

Reform bills, court closings dominate legislative summer

Historic court reform legislation was signed into law, but two other issues championed by the Massachusetts Bar Association were left unresolved as a busy legislative summer ended.

As this issue went to press, alimony reform legislation was awaiting action by the Legislature, having adopted technically different versions. Also, tensions over the adequate funding of the court system promised to remain a contentious issue into the fall. The states top judges asked Patrick to stop appointing judges until there was enough money allocated to support them. They also warned of layoffs and released plans for closing courthouses, highlighting the impact that substantial, ongoing budget cuts have had on the Trial Court Department.

Making an impact 
in the courtroom 
and out

A few things surprised Kathi Sullivan about Richard P. Campbell, whose term as Massachusetts Bar Association president began Sept. 1, when they met in early 2009. Sullivan's 17-year-old daughter, Taylor Meyer, had drowned in two feet of water in a Norfolk swamp after getting lost in the woods at an underage drinking party on Oct. 17, 2008.

program launched

The Massachusetts Bar Association has launched a new professional development program that is intended to benefit both mentors and mentees. The MBA is currently looking for members at all professional levels to form one group in each of the 14 Massachusetts counties, of eight to 12 persons each, to meet quarterly beginning this month.

MBA Mentoring Circles will combine varying professional levels together, providing all members, whether experience or recently graduated, with the 
resources they need to develop and improve their management and leadership skills and grow within the profession. The desired professional mix of an individual group would include two to three senior level attorneys, one retired judge or attorney, and five to eight attorneys who have practiced for 10 years or less.

ABA honors Tiered Community Mentoring Program for diversity

The American Bar Association honored the Massachusetts Bar Association's Tiered Community Mentoring Program with the 2011 ABA Partnership Award at an Aug. 5 awards luncheon in Toronto. The program was selected because of its commitment to diversity.