The Massachusetts Bar Association House of Delegates (HOD) voted
to support increased funding for civil legal aid at its November
2014 meeting. Supporting civil legal aid is a yearly priority of
the MBA through its work with the Equal Justice Coalition. With the
vote, the MBA officially backed an October 2014 report by the
Boston Bar Association's Statewide Task Force to Expand Legal Aid
The vote was one of several items on the agenda for the Nov. 20
meeting, which was held at the Andover Country Club. MBA President
Marsha V. Kazarosian started the meeting by praising several recent
MBA programs, including two successful MBA "firsts": the October
2014 Consumer Advocacy Symposium and Pinnacle Awards and the
kick-off reception for the Complex Commercial Litigation Section
(ComCom), the MBA's newest section. Kazarosian also provided
updates about her recent meetings with the chief justices of
various court departments and spoke briefly about her work as MBA
representative on several state commissions. The MBA president also
encouraged everyone to participate in the judicial evaluations this
MBA Vice President Jeff Catalano announced that the MBA was
preparing to unveil an annual scholarship for law students - an
initiative that was started during the MBA's 100th Anniversary
year. While parameters are still being worked out, Catalano said
the goal was to award a scholarship to a law student starting with
this year's annual dinner on May 7.
The HOD heard good news on the membership front from MBA Secretary
Christopher P. Sullivan, who is also chair of the Membership
Committee. Noting that "membership is growing every day," Sullivan
credited the creation of ComCom and the Workers' Compensation
Section for helping to attract new members. He also pointed to the
MBA's strong numbers among law schools.
MBA Chief Legal Counsel and Chief Operating Officer Martin W.
Healy's report included an update about the MBA's recent amicus
filings, including one in the Supreme Judicial Court case of
Reckis, et al v. Johnson & Johnson, et al. where the
MBA opposed the expansion of federal preemption of tort liability
in failure-to-warn cases.
Looking ahead to the MBA's upcoming legislative priorities, Healy
cited the MBA's push for higher criminal justice attorney salaries.
In particular, he said the bar needs to speak loudly for bar
advocates seeking higher rates for their work. "I'll be advocating
strongly for that and I ask for your help," Healy said. "Be vocal
with your legislators and local leaders you bump into."
Guest speaker Glenn Mangurian, chair of the Court Management
Advisory Board, gave a detailed account of the board's role in
court reform at a time he called "a historic moment for the
courts." As a non-attorney, Mangurian described how he brings a
unique perspective to his leadership role, and how he's been
inspired by the court workers he sees during his visits.