Issue November/December 2017

Standing Firm Against Harassment

Workplace harassment is not a new phenomenon, but this issue may finally be getting some of the attention it deserves. Recently, thanks to social media awareness campaigns, such as #MeToo, as well as the courageousness of high-profile and public complainants, sexual harassment in the workplace has garnered the attention of media and businesses alike. Indeed, even Congress is taking action to mandate sexual harassment training for its members; up until now training was optional.

See the MassBar refreshed on our new website

The Massachusetts Bar Association unveiled a new and easier-to-navigate website in October. Our refreshed site more effectively highlights the programs and benefits that are important to our statewide members and others who are interested in what the MBA has to offer. As an added bonus, we are now mobile-friendly, so you can easily review our website on the go.

Judicial Education in the Trial Court

As the chief justices of the Trial Court and its seven departments, among our highest priorities is to encourage outstanding lawyers from diverse professional and personal backgrounds to apply for appointment to the bench. In the course of that effort, we sometimes hear potential applicants question whether they are qualified, because their experience does not include all aspects of the work of any Trial Court department. We respond that each department’s work is so varied that virtually no new judge brings experience with all of it; all new judges learn on the job, as do all judges throughout their careers.

Massachusetts Attorney’s Oath of Office

January 17, 1977, was a bitter cold winter day in Boston. I had come here on that day to be sworn in as a brand new member of the Massachusetts bar. As I entered the “New Courthouse” that housed the Supreme Judicial Court, I wasn’t thinking about all the many outstanding lawyers who so skillfully practiced their craft in the courts of this commonwealth. That list is far too long to fit in this limited space, but includes greats, such as John Adams, who wrote the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights, which was the model for the United States Constitution; Daniel Webster; Rufus Choate; Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., the United States Supreme Court Justice who famously defended First Amendment rights against criminal prosecution; and, of course, Louis D. Brandeis, the “People’s Lawyer” who helped develop the concept of the right to privacy before he, too, became a Supreme Court Justice. Brandeis and Holmes were critically important founding fathers who helped create the Massachusetts Bar Association. As Massachusetts lawyers we should take pride in the history of our profession in the commonwealth.

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