Kafker sworn in as next chief justice of the
Massachusetts Appeals Court
On July 22, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito administered the oath of
office to the Hon. Scott L. Kafker, who was sworn in as the sixth
Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Appeals Court in a small,
private ceremony at the State House. Gov. Charlie Baker appointed
Kafker to fill a vacancy created by the retirement of former
Appeals Court Chief Justice Phillip Rapoza.
"Justice Kafker is a brilliant jurist, who is considered by both
peers and lawyers alike to be one of the premier constitutional
scholars on the Appeals Court bench," said Massachusetts Bar
Association Chief Legal Counsel and Chief Operating Officer Martin
W. Healy. "Governor Baker's outstanding choice for his first
judicial nomination shows his commitment to selecting intelligent
court leaders who are capable of steering the court through
changing times while maintaining a strong commitment to
SJC announces appointment of BBO
The Justices of the Supreme Judicial Court have appointed
Margaret K. Carlson as executive director of the Massachusetts
Board of Bar Overseers, effective July 6, 2015.
The Board of Bar Overseers was established by the Supreme
Judicial Court in 1974 as an independent administrative body to
investigate and evaluate complaints against lawyers. The 12-member
board is comprised of volunteers appointed by the SJC to four-year
terms. Eight of the members are lawyers; the other four are public
members. The board acts as an administrative tribunal to consider
disciplinary charges brought by bar counsel. When a lawyer is found
guilty of misconduct, the board either imposes discipline or
recommends to the Supreme Judicial Court that more serious
discipline be imposed.
For the past four years, Carlson has worked as vice president of
Administration of Pathfinder International in Watertown, where she
led and managed operations of the global organization, including
corporate governance, information technology, knowledge management,
global safety and security, global leasing and facilities, and
contracts and legal matters, among other responsibilities.
The activities of the board are governed by Supreme Judicial
Court Rule 4:01 and the Rules of the Board of Bar Overseers.
Although it is an official body subject to the supervision of the
SJC, no public funds are spent to support it. The board's expenses
come solely from the annual registration fees paid by lawyers.
Board of Bar Overseers members include:
- Donna Jalbert Patalano, chair
- Vincent J. Pisegna, vice chair
- Paul F. Hanley
- Erin K. Higgins
- Thomas A. Kenefick III
- Francis P. Keough
- David B. Krieger M.D.
- John J. Morrissey (MBA Vice President)
- Regina Roman
- David A. Rountree
- Kevin P. Scanlon
- Michael G. Tracy
Comments sought on proposed revisions
to Rules 5.4 and 5.5 of the Rules of Professional
Revisions to Rule 5.5 of the Rules of Professional
The Standing Advisory Committee on the Rules of Professional
Conduct has proposed changes to Rule 5.5 of the Rules of
Professional Conduct to permit lawyers from foreign countries who
are in good standing in their home countries to act as in house
counsel to an employer in Massachusetts.
The American Bar Association recently revised its Model Rule 5.5
to authorize foreign lawyers in good standing to act as in house
counsel without being formally admitted to the bar of the state
where the in house counsel practices. The committee deferred
consideration of this change as part of the substantial revisions
to the Rules of Professional Conduct recommended to the court and
which the court reviewed and adopted with revisions effective July
1, 2015. The deferral permitted the committee to consult with the
Board of Bar Overseers to confirm that it was willing to propose
any necessary corresponding amendments to its rules relating to the
registration of in house counsel.
Upon consideration, the committee has adopted most of the
changes proposed by the ABA in its Rule 5.5, with the exception of
the ABA revision to Rule 5.5(d)(1) that would require the foreign
lawyer to associate with or be supervised by a locally admitted
lawyer when addressing matters of U.S. law. The committee
understands the concern that a foreign lawyer may be less familiar
with relevant U.S. law than lawyers admitted in another U.S. state,
who are not required to be associated or supervised by locally
admitted counsel. However, the committee views this issue of
competence as one that can be adequately addressed by the lawyer's
employer in the definition of the foreign lawyer's
responsibilities. The committee also believes that in appropriate
circumstances the foreign lawyer may be competent to address
particular local issues involved and need not be subject to a
requirement to associate with or locally admitted counsel. The
comments were correspondingly revised to correspond to the proposed
changes in Rule 5.5.
Revisions to Rule 5.4 of the Rules of Professional
The Standing Advisory Committee has also proposed a change to
Rule 5.4(a)(4) to delete subclauses (i), (ii) and (iii) as
redundant with the definition of qualified legal assistance
organization and unnecessarily burdensome. The proposed changes to
Rule 5.4(a)(4) require no changes to the comments to the rule.
The committee will make its recommendation with respect to Rules
5.4 and 5.5 to the Justices of the Supreme Judicial Court following
receipt and review of public comments. Comments are due by
September 30, 2015, and should be directed to the Standing Advisory
Committee on the Rules of Professional Conduct c/o Senior Attorney
Barbara Berenson, John Adams Courthouse, One Pemberton Square,
Boston MA 02108.
Housing Court chief to retire
Housing Court Chief Justice Steven D. Pierce has announced he
will retire on Sept. 30, 2015. First named chief justice in 2006,
he was reappointed to a second five-year term in January 2011.
Pierce became a Housing Court judge in 2003 after serving as
executive director of the Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency and
in varied positions for the Executive and Legislative branches.
Pierce has led the Housing Court as it has become more widely
recognized for its expertise and resources, such as housing court
specialists who mediate cases. Bills are currently under
consideration in the Legislature to expand the Housing Court to the
entire state as 30 percent of the state's population is not served
by the Housing Court. Statewide access to Housing Courts is a
critical component of access to justice for court users across the
The Housing Court Department is comprised of five divisions with
10 authorized judicial positions across the commonwealth. The
Massachusetts Trial Court includes seven court departments with 379
judges who deliver justice in 100 courthouses across the state.