Issue March 2012

Governor recommends level funding for courts in 2013 budget

In late January, Gov. Deval L. Patrick led his budget recommendations for fiscal 2013. Recognizing the tremendous cuts already endured by the court system, Patrick recommends level funding for the courts and grants transferability among Trial Court accounts.

When the law school bubble finally bursts

The law economy in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts annually suffers the introduction of 2,500 newly minted lawyers competing for approximately 720 identifiable paying jobs. Those new lawyers come to the commonwealth from nine law schools resident in the state1 and another seven law schools resident in the contiguous New England states.2

With the exception of three law schools that tend to place their graduates in large national law firms, federal government agencies and academic positions, 3 most graduates of the New England law schools direct their job searches to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.The math is both incontrovertible and depressing. Each year, these 16 law schools churn out more than 1,500 graduates who will not have jobs as practicing lawyers when they pass the bar and likely will never have satisfactory careers as fulltime practicing lawyers able to financially support themselves and a family.

MBA co-hosts March 19 court funding Advocacy Day

In January, the Massachusetts Bar Association launched a high-profile awareness campaign on the effects of underfunded courts through a series of videos, billboards and other outreach. The campaign launched shortly before Gov. Deval Patrick released his proposed fiscal 2013 budget and will continue leading up to the House and Senate budget debates in April and May, respectively.

As part of this campaign, four public service announcement-style videos have been produced and released so far. The videos highlight the negative impact of inadequate court funding through the perspective of judicial leadership, attorneys, academic leaders and court staff. The four videos debuted in January and February and can be found at or YouTube. Two more videos will be posted in the weeks ahead.

MBA hosts Gateway Cities forum at UMass

Members of the legal community, elected officials and other community leaders convened at the University of Massachusetts School of Law in Dartmouth on Jan. 26.

Leading voices on Massachusetts' Gateway Cities served as featured forum panelists, including Rep. Antonio Cabral (D-New Bedford) and Sen. Benjamin Downing (DPittsfield), chairs of the Gateway Cities Caucus; Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development Undersecretary for Business Development Michael Hunter; and MassINC Research Director Benjamin Forman, among others.

Much of the discussion focused on the New Bedford community, a designated Gateway City. Common themes were the need for improving educational attainment in gateway communities and collaboration among groups with common interests and goals to bring about positive change