House of Delegates addresses new section, officers and ethics opinions

Issue June 2014

The Massachusetts Bar Association's House of Delegates (HOD) voted to add the MBA's newest section - Complex Commercial Litigation - and elected the slate of officers and delegates for the 2014-15 membership year at its May 8 meeting in Boston. The Complex Commercial Litigation Section is the second new section to be added this year, joining Workers Compensation, which the HOD approved last September. (See related story, page 1.)

The HOD also adopted the report of the Blue Ribbon Commission on Criminal Justice Attorney Compensation. MBA Chief Legal Counsel Martin W. Healy noted that the recommendations in the report include raising assistant prosecutor and public defender salaries, and looking at the caps on bar advocate reimbursement to give these attorneys a living wage. (See related story, page 1.)

Following a report from Ethics Committee Chair Andrew Kaufman, HOD members approved for publication five opinions, including one that allows attorneys to "friend" an unrepresented adversary on social media.

HOD members also took up several measures brought by representatives from the Juvenile Law, Access to Justice and Family Law section councils. The HOD voted to:

  • Support, in principle, the Statement of Principle on Fair Sentencing of Youth Convicted of First Degree Murder (as amended);
  • Support, in principle, legislation relative to the proposed expansion of the Housing Court to other areas of the commonwealth; and
  • Support proposed changes to Supreme Judicial Court Rule 3:03 allowing law students to represent clients on a pro bono basis in civil court under mentor supervision.

The May HOD meeting was the last one of the 2013-14 membership year.