Update from the Judicial Administration Section

Issue January/February 2018 By Thomas M. Bond and Michael H. Hayden
Judicial Administration Section Review

The Judicial Administration Section Council (“JAC”) has continued its outreach and developed and held seminars and programs across the Commonwealth in counties outside of Boston. We are the Massachusetts Bar Association.

View from the Bench, Western New England School of Law, Springfield

In June, the JAC put on a “View from the Bench” program in Springfield on the new Superior Court rules at the Western New England School of Law. Many thanks to Judge Mark D Mason, who led a panel of judges, including Judges Michael Callan, John Ferrara, and Mary-Lou Rup. Nearly 50 people were in attendance.

Norfolk Superior Court, Dedham

The JAC travelled to Norfolk Superior Court in October to put on a practical demonstration on panel voir dire. Judge Peter Krupp presided over the program. Four attorneys demonstrated panel voir dire before a panel of mock jurors. Over 100 people attended this program. Much thanks to Judge Krupp, Joe Hurley and Lori Cianciulli, who put this program together.

View from the Bench, Plymouth Superior Court, Brockton

The JAC, led by member Jack Eklund, held a seminar on the new Superior Court rules and practice at the Plymouth Superior Court in Brockton. We appreciate the efforts and participation of Judges Richard Chin, Sharon Donatelle, Mark Gildea and Raffi Yessayan.

View from the Bench, Essex Superior Court, Salem

In conjunction with the Essex County Bar Association, the JAC held another View from the Bench program in January 2018, at the Essex Superior Courthouse in Salem. Many thanks to Judge Timothy Feeley, and to the panel of judges, consisting of Judges Peter Lauriat, Thomas Dreschler, Hélène Kazanjian and Salim Tabit. Clerk Carlotta Patten was instrumental in developing the materials and agenda for this program.

The JAC has also developed and held programs at MBA headquarters in Boston. We began our new season with Christopher Sullivan at the MBA presidential helm. In September, we welcomed Dean Frank Talty to present to our council on the new MPA/JA program at UMASS Lowell. We hit the ground running in October with a program in Boston:

View from the Bench program on the new Superior Court rules at the MBA, Boston

The panel was comprised of Judges Douglas Wilkins, Heidi Brieger, Anthony Campo, Mitchell Kaplan and Hélène Kazanjian. We had a packed house, with over 100 people in attendance.

Representing Deaf and Hearing Impaired Clients

JAC member Nick Carter has organized a program with Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (MCDHH) that will discuss recent updates and developments in this area. During this interactive program, attorneys will receive advice and practical training on how to meet the communications, access and accommodations needs of their clients.

Judicial Administration Diversity Committee

MBA President Christopher P. Sullivan organized a committee within the Judicial Administration Council, chaired by Tom Bond, to study the lack of diversity on the bench and develop ways to address the problem. Several meetings have been held with Chief Justice Judith Fabricant, Chief Justice Angela Ordoñez, and members of the Black Lawyers, Hispanic Lawyers, Asian Lawyers, Women Lawyers and LGBTQ bar associations. We are gathering statistics on the number of minority judges currently on the bench, and will present the following resolution to the MBA House of Delegates in January:

“Legal giants Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., Louis D. Brandeis, Moorfield Story and other renowned Massachusetts attorneys founded the Massachusetts Bar Association on the principle of inclusion and invited lawyers of all races, colors and creeds to be members of the association. Long ago, the MBA’s House of Delegates adopted policy positions strongly in favor of equal opportunity and increasing diversity within the legal profession in our commonwealth. The MBA has always advocated that our state court bench should reflect the diversity of the citizens of our commonwealth. Although much progress towards this goal has been made, the goal has not yet been achieved. In fact, sadly, over the last decade, some of those hard fought gains have eroded despite the strong efforts to diversify the bench made by the current governor and several of his predecessors. Anecdotal evidence suggests that our judicial community is less diverse today than it was just 10 years ago.

"As members of the legal community and as citizens of our commonwealth, the members of the MBA and its affinity bar associations resolve to take pro-active steps in both the short term and the long term to increase the diversity of our state court bench so that it will more accurately reflect the diversity of our citizens. To accomplish this goal, the MBA is establishing a Judicial Diversity Task Force that will examine the status of diversity of the justices of the Trial Court, investigate the causes inhibiting diversity and explore potential solutions for increasing diversity while maintaining the highest standard of excellence in the Trial Court. We invite our brother and sister bar associations to join us on the task force in our critical quest to explore and address this problem.”

JAC vice chair Michael Hayden and JAC member Nick Carter have been an enormous help on this committee. We appreciate the support of Chief Justice Fabricant, Chief Justice Ordoñez and President Chris Sullivan, who has taken the laboring oar in this endeavor.

In 2018, we plan to have programs on electronic discovery, probate and family practice, panel voir dire, and an open forum on promoting diversity on the bench. Stay tuned!