The Massachusetts Bar Association's House of Delegates (HOD)
tackled a full agenda and more at its Jan. 21 meeting in Boston,
which featured guest speakers and votes on several proposals,
including the 2016 Access to Justice Award winners.
To start the meeting, MBA President Robert W. Harnais opened the
floor to Superior Court Judge Janet Sanders, who urged attorneys to
complete judicial evaluations, stressing that the responses were
anonymous. Harnais then gave an update on the recently launched
Section 35 Helpline, which is up and running in Norfolk County.
MBA President-elect Jeffrey N. Catalano spoke about the MBA's
newly created Civility Committee. MBA Vice President Christopher A.
Kenney and Catalano also discussed their collaboration on an MBA
leadership institute, which will be designed to nurture and develop
future leaders at the MBA. A curriculum is currently being
developed, Kenney said.
Catalano returned to the podium later in the meeting, along with
his Todd & Weld LLP colleague Eric Asquith, to discuss a
proposed Amendment related to the state's lodging house statute,
which would expand the definition of what constitutes a "lodging
house," triggering additional safeguards for tenants. Catalano said
he would bring it to section councils for comments.
Each year the MBA's Access to Justice Section Council offers
nominees for the Access to Justice Awards, which are presented at
the MBA's Annual Dinner. The HOD voted to support this year's slate
of nominees, which includes:
Rising Star: Margaretta H. Kroeger,
Legal Services Attorney: Valerie Fisk,
Pro Bono Law Firm: Nutter, McClennan & Fish
Pro Bono Publico Attorney: Charles R.
Casartello Jr., Springfield; and Ingrid Martin, Boston
Defender: Benjamin H. Keehn, Boston
Prosecutor: Ellen Berger, Springfield
Lifetime Achievement Award: T. Richard
McIntosh, South Coastal Counties Legal Services (awarded
The HOD also took up several other proposals, voting to:
- Approve a Juvenile & Child Welfare Section Council proposal
urging certain "pillars" (principles) be included in any
legislation involving expungement of a juvenile's record.
- Approve a proposal by the Civil Rights & Social Justice
Section Council seeking support for a resolution and the American
Bar Association's letter to Congress urging the enforcement of
immigration laws that do not restrict the resettlement of refugees
on the basis of a person's origin, race or religion.
After voting to suspend notice rules, the HOD weighed in on two
proposals submitted by the MBA's Family Law Section Council. The
HOD voted to approve opposition to Senate bill 834, which would
rewrite the state's custody laws. Members also voted to support
commenting on a proposed standing order on parent coordinators