SJC hosts annual meeting with bar leadership

Issue June 2012 By Tricia M. Oliver

On April 23, the Supreme Judicial Court and Trial Court leaders hosted 50 leaders of statewide, county and local bar associations to provide updates on funding and the long range strategic planning process.

Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Roderick L. Ireland welcomed the bar leaders and thanked them for their continued support of the judiciary's efforts to obtain needed resources and enhance the delivery of justice. He highlighted the leadership of the Massachusetts Bar Association and the Boston Bar Association on the issue of court funding.

At the meeting, Robert L. Holloway Jr., president-elect of the MBA, and Lisa C. Goodheart, president of the Boston Bar Association, shared personal experiences on ways court understaffing has affected them and urged their colleagues to take action this week during the House budget debate.

Chief Justice for Administration & Management Robert A. Mulligan provided an overview of the status of Trial Court funding for Fiscal Year 2013. He outlined operational challenges in providing security and full public access at many court divisions as a result of staffing shortages. He thanked bar leaders for their assistance through the fiscal crisis and asked them to advocate on behalf of the courts as the FY13 budget process continues in the Legislature.

"E-mail legislators with what you see," Mulligan said. Newly appointed Court Administrator Harry Spence also addressed the bar leaders.

Shifting focus, Supreme Judicial Court Associate Justice Robert J. Cordy updated the group on the recently launched court strategic planning process. He indicated that input from the bar will be important in assessing the current state of the courts and identifying a realistic future vision. He encouraged meeting participants to engage their members in providing input throughout the process.

"This is not a time to back away from the challenges that lie ahead," Cordy said. Cordy explained that Cynthia Robinson-Markey, the legal counsel to the chief justice of the Boston Municipal Court, was serving as the court's project manager.