If you're fortunate enough to hit the jackpot in Massachusetts, you'll quickly find that winning the lottery is more than just a question of numbers. There are several considerations to think about before you're able to enjoy your winnings. Who claims the prize? Who signs the winning ticket? Should you take a lump sum or installment payments? Should you go public with your good news? In this episode, Nancy Weissman, an attorney whose practice includes representing lottery winners, talks with host Jordan Rich about what to expect if you win the lottery in Massachusetts.
In this episode, host Jordan Rich talks with new Massachusetts Bar Association President Christopher A. Kenney about his goals for the 2018-19 year, including the MBA's role in promoting civics and civic education. Kenney also unveils plans for the MBA Trial Academy, which will train the next generation of trial lawyers and encourage them to provide limited assistance representation (LAR)to unrepresented individuals in court. The MBA's Leadership Academy and the association's work with the courts on lawyer well-being are also discussed.
Do you need a license to drive a boat? Can you swim on a private beach? Are you allowed to have a fire pit or serve alcohol at your backyard BBQ? In this episode, host Jordan Rich talks with Boston attorney Samuel A. Segal, chair of the Massachusetts Bar Association's Young Lawyers Division, about the Massachusetts laws governing everyone's favorite summertime activities.
The Massachusetts Bar Association has released a new MassBar Beat podcast episode in English and Spanish that discusses the language resources for non-English speakers who are looking for a lawyer or going to court in Massachusetts.
Host Jordan Rich speaks with attorney and MBA Executive Management Board member Melissa A. Juárez about the multilingual resources offered by the Massachusetts Bar Association's Lawyer Referral Service, and the translation services offered by the courts. You'll also learn about some new ideas for increasing access to justice in Massachusetts, including Spanish-language drug courts.
La Asociación de Abogados de Massachusetts ha lanzado un nuevo episodio de podcast de MassBar Beat en Inglés y Español que analiza los recursos de idiomas para personas que no hablan Ingles y necesitan un abogado ó necesitan ir a la corte con un intérprete.
La anfitriona, Iliana Burton, habla con la abogada Melissa Juárez sobre los recursos multilingües ofrecidos por el Servicio de Referencia de Abogados de la Asociación de Abogados de Massachusetts, y los servicios de traducción que ofrecen las cortes. También aprenderá sobre algunas ideas nuevas para aumentar el acceso a la justicia en Massachusetts, incluídos Las cortes de drogas en Español.
¿Cómo puede encontrar un abogado que hable su idioma cuando su inglés es limitado? ¿Qué pasa cuando va a la corte? En éste episodio, que también está disponible en Español, conozca los recursos disponibles para ayudar a los que no hablan inglés a tener éxito en los tribunales de Massachusetts. La anfitriona, Iliana Burton, habla con la abogada Melissa A. Juárez sobre los recursos multilingües ofrecidos por el Servicio de Referencia de Abogados de la Asociación de Abogados de Massachusetts, y los servicios de traducción que ofrecen las cortes. También aprenderá sobre algunas ideas nuevas para aumentar el acceso a la justicia en Massachusetts, incluídos Las cortes de drogas en Español. (This podcast is also available in English.)
April 2018 will be remembered as the month when lawmakers introduced the most ambitious reform of Massachusetts’ criminal justice system in decades. Signed into law by Gov. Charlie Baker, the sweeping legislation was the result of a bipartisan compromise between Democrats and Republicans, with additional support from prosecutors, attorneys and advocacy organizations, including the MBA.
“Criminal Justice Reform: The Latest on the New Law” educates legal professionals and the public about specific provisions contained in the bill, with expert analysis by MBA member attorneys Anthony J. Benedetti of the Committee for Public Counsel Services and Lee J. Gartenberg of the Middlesex County Sheriff’s Department. Hosted by Jordan Rich, the podcast examines fundamental changes related to the treatment of juvenile offenders, major reforms to the bail system, and the elimination of mandatory minimums for certain low-level offenses, among many other topics.
The second of a two-part series, attorney Thomas M. Bond, chair of the Massachusetts Bar Association's Judicial Administration Section, talks with host Jordan Rich about appearing as an attorney in state court (Superior Court, in particular) in Massachusetts. You'll learn about the benefits of having your case in state court, get an overview of some of the most important rules, and hear insights on courtroom etiquette. Massachusetts Bar Association members can also access related materials on the topic in the Judicial Administration library on My Bar Access: is.gd/MBA_CourtRules.
The first of a two-part series, attorney Thomas M. Bond, chair of the Massachusetts Bar Association's Judicial Administration Section, talks with host Jordan Rich about appearing as an attorney in federal court in Massachusetts. You'll learn about the benefits of having your case in federal court, get an overview of some of the most important rules, and hear insights on courtroom etiquette. Massachusetts Bar Association members can also access related materials on the topic in the Judicial Administration library on My Bar Access: is.gd/MBA_CourtRules.
Elder law is more than just estate planning. As the population ages and people live longer, many will encounter important legal issues that can affect their home, health and financial well-being. In this episode, host Jordan Rich and attorney Alex L. Moschella, the chair of the Massachusetts Bar Association's Elder Law Advisory Committee, answer some commonly asked questions and discuss the MBA's Elder Law Education Program (www.massbar.org/elderlaw). From wills and trusts to health care proxies, powers of attorney, reverse mortgages and long-term care options, learn which documents and strategies are available to help you take control of your future.
Each day people facing life-changing legal issues are going to court alone because they don't qualify for legal aid or cannot afford a lawyer. It's created a justice gap. But there are efforts under way to address these unmet legal needs. Host Jordan Rich talks with attorneys Len Zandrow of UMass School of Law's Justice Bridge Legal Center (www.justice-bridge.org) and Damian Turco of Lawyers for Affordable Justice (www.lawyers4aj.org) about how legal incubators like theirs are working to close the justice gap by pairing newer attorneys, or lawyers committed to representing clients at discount, with modest-means clients.
New Massachusetts Trial Court Administrator Jonathan S. Williams talks with host Jordan Rich about the latest court technology and infrastructure improvements, self-represented litigants, and how he's working with other court leaders and the bar to advance the Trial Court's strategic mission to deliver "justice with dignity and speed."
From New York City cab driver to complex civil litigator, attorney Christopher P. Sullivan of Robins Kaplan LLP in Boston brings a variety of life experiences to his new role as president of the Massachusetts Bar Association. In this interview with guest host Jordan Rich, hear about Sullivan's initiatives for the coming year and why he believes attorneys are needed in the community more than ever.
The Massachusetts Bar Association's 2017 Access to Justice Awards honor seven attorneys and one law firm for their their exemplary legal skills and service to the community. Honorees include Rebecca Jacobstein, Committee for Public Counsel Services (Defender Award); Kevin J. Curtin, Middlesex District Attorney’s Office (Prosecutor Award); Andrew Troop, Pillsbury Winthrop (Pro Bono Publico Award); Christopher Mirick, Harvest Power Inc. (Pro Bono Publico Award); Brian Flynn, Greater Boston Legal Services (Legal Services Award); K&L Gates, Boston (Pro Bono Award for Law Firms); Weayonnoh Nelson-Davies, Community Legal Aid (Rising Star Award); and Claire Valentin, Children’s Law Center of Massachusetts (Rising Star Award).
Summary: Under Rule 8.3, Comment 3, a lawyer
"has knowledge of a violation [requiring reporting to Bar Counsel]
when the lawyer possesses supporting evidence such that a
reasonable lawyer under the circumstances would form a firm opinion
that the conduct in question had more likely occurred than
Rule 8.3's requirement to report misconduct to Bar Counsel's
Office is triggered by a lawyer's discovery (in litigation
involving breakup of a law firm) of a document indicating that an
attorney, a former partner of the client and an opposing party in
the litigation, intentionally omitted mentioning a conviction for
fraud in his letter recommending an applicant for admission to the
bar. The discovered document may constitute client's "confidential
information," as newly defined in Comment 3A to Rule 1.6. If so,
the reporting requirement would be excused unless client consents
to a report. Lawyer also needs to advise his client, who is a
lawyer, about the latter's own reporting obligation under Rule
Learn about "Defamation," an interactive courtroom drama that encourages its audience to examine stereotypes and perceptions of bias in the play, the legal system and beyond. Hear from Boston-area high school students and lawyers who watched the play last fall during the Massachusetts Black Lawyers Association's annual presentation of "Defamation." The Massachusetts Bar Association was a sponsor of the MBLA's program, and more recently has begun presenting a series of CLEs on eliminating bias in the legal system. Learn more about "Defamation" at www.defamationtheplay.com.
Summary: Where no personal representative or
other fiduciary of an estate has been appointed, a lawyer may not,
in the absence of a court order or the appointment of a personal
representative or other fiduciary, release her file concerning the
execution of the will of a deceased client to a proponent of the
will when a will contest is pending.
Summary: A lawyer asked to represent multiple
plaintiffs against the same defendant, whether or not on the same
claim, will need to consider and discuss with potential clients
whether confidentiality or conflict problems exist before
undertaking requested representation. The appropriate response will
turn on the factual circumstances of each situation.
Homeless Court is a specialty court in Massachusetts that gives homeless individuals with minor infractions a chance to clear their records and get a new start. Leaders from the Massachusetts Bar Association's Young Lawyers Division had an opportunity to visit this "court of second chances" at the Pine Street Inn shelter in Boston. Listen in as they share observations, interviews and stories of hope from the presiding judge, the Pine Street Inn's Homeless Court coordinator, Homeless Court participants and the president of the Massachusetts Bar Association.
Summary: When lawyers change firms and clients
move with them, new engagement letters should be executed with the
new firms as to hourly matters, and must be executed as to
contingent matters, even when no material terms change. A lawyer
bears the burden of justifying as fair and reasonable to the client
any material change in the terms of the engagement that occurs
after a representation commences. As to clients who want the old
firm to continue to represent them, that firm's actions must comply
with ethical and, where applicable, court rules.
Trial lawyer Richard P. Campbell, one of the co-authors of the Massachusetts Bar Association Lawyers Journal's Privilege to Practice ethics column, relates the tale of a once-prominent attorney's fall from grace as a cautionary reminder about lawyers' ethical obligations to their clients AND their law firm colleagues -- and how you do need to sweat the small stuff.
Listen to highlights and excerpts from the 2016 State of the Judiciary Address, hosted by the Massachusetts Bar Association at the John Adams Courthouse in Boston on Oct. 20. This year's installment of this annual event featured remarks from Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph Gants, Trial Court Chief Justice Paula Carey, Trial Court Administrator Harry Spence and MBA President Jeffrey Catalano. The speakers touched upon recent advances in the judicial branch, improved bench-bar relations and what's next for the courts in Massachusetts.
Veteran trial lawyer Christopher Kenney of Kenney & Sams PC in Boston, discusses how your attire, body language, tone of voice and other nonverbal cues can impact a judge or jury at trial. Kenney, who is also MBA Treasurer for 2015-16, shares practical tips from his own experience and from author Sonya Hamlin's book, "Now What Makes Juries Listen."
A lawyer for a party may "friend" an unrepresented adversary in
order to obtain information helpful to her representation from the
adversary's nonpublic website only when the lawyer has been able to
send a message that discloses his or her identity as the party's
purchase price of the practice of a lawyer taking retirement status
pursuant to Rule 4:02 may include a portion of legal fees earned in
the future from representation of current and former clients of the
retiring lawyer. It may not, however, include a portion of legal
fees earned from representation of new clients referred by the
Massachusetts Rules of Professional Conduct do not prevent a lawyer
from representing a client at a municipal planning agency's land
use hearing when a member of the lawyer's firm is also a member of
the municipality's Board of Zoning Appeals since the BZA has no
interest or jurisdiction with respect to the matter.
Payment by a lawyer to a commercial marketing service only after a
prospective client contacts the lawyer upon receiving a proposal
for services from the lawyer who has learned of the client's need
from the marketing service's website does not violate Rule 7.3(f).
Under the operation of the marketing program the payment is for
permitted "advertising" rather than prohibited "solicitation."
ability of civilian lawyers employed by the Department of the Navy
who have been designated for furlough leave for budget purposes to
give advice to the Navy on matters relating to furlough policy as
well as non-furlough matters is a matter of federal, not
Massachusetts, professional responsibility law.
Summary: A lawyer generally may store
and synchronize electronic work files containing confidential
client information across different platforms and devices using an
Internet based storage solution, such as "Google docs," so long
as the lawyer undertakes reasonable efforts to ensure that the
procedures are compatible with the lawyer's professional
obligations, including the obligation to protect confidential
client information reflected in Rule 1.6(a). A lawyer remains
bound, however, to follow an express instruction from his or her
client that the client's confidential information not be stored or
transmitted by means of the Internet, and all lawyers should
refrain from storing or transmitting particularly sensitive client
information by means of the Internet without first obtaining the
client's express consent to do so.
Summary: When a suit to recover
damages for personal injuries incurred on tribal lands in State
X is contemplated, the ethics rules governing a contingent fee
agreement between a Massachusetts attorney and her Massachusetts
client are those of State X or the tribal court in State X and not
the Massachusetts Rules of Professional Conduct.
Summary: The conduct of an
out-of-state attorney who deliberately misrepresented that he was
representing a client in order to induce Lawyer's client to settle
a matter falls within the requirement of Rule 8.3(a) mandating that
Lawyer report the conduct to Bar Counsel of the Board of Bar
Overseers. On the facts of this inquiry, however, the Lawyer's
information is protected by Rule 1.6, and therefore under Rule
8.3(c) Lawyer needs client consent to make such a report.
Summary: Some information acquired by
a lawyer in the course of briefly representing the residuary
beneficiary under a will that she drew for the decedent is not
protected confidential information because it is "generally known."
Other information, not "generally known," is confidential
information that may not be revealed. However, the attorney who
drew the will has the right to disclose to specific legatees that
they are named beneficiaries so that they may take steps to see
that the decedent's wishes are carried out. Such disclosure is
"implicitly authorized" by Rule 1.6(a) of the Rules of Professional
Conduct to carry out the wishes of the decedent, lawyer's former
Summary: As a general proposition it
is not a violation of Rules 4.2 and 8.4(a) for a lawyer to advise
her client to urge another person to release an attachment on the
client's property, even though the other person is represented by
counsel. The lawyer would, however, violate Rule 4.2 if she handed
the other person a release of the attachment without first
obtaining the permission of the other person's lawyer.
Summary: If a lawyer appointed by the
court to represent an indigent criminal defendant comes to know
that his client filed an intentionally false affidavit of
indigency, the lawyer may choose to serve without compensation. If
he chooses not to do so, and the client refuses to rectify the
fraud, the lawyer must seek to withdraw in accordance with the Rule
3.3(e) procedure and disclose the fraud in connection with his
Summary: An attorney who cannot
perform the terms of an escrow arrangement because of the failure
of his client, who has cut off communication, to deliver all the
items promised has good cause to notify his client of his intention
to withdraw. He should also notify both parties that because of the
failure to consummate the settlement, unless the parties instruct
him jointly concerning disposition of the items he is holding, or
unless one party takes action to obtain court instructions, the
attorney shall decide whether to file a bill of interpleader
himself or take such other action as seems appropriate at the
An attorney may not accept a second appointment
as guardian ad litem of an incompetent if the appointment would require the attorney
to approve prior payments made by the incompetent’s estate for previous
services rendered by the attorney as guardian ad litem. The availability of
other arrangements for reviewing the attorney’s prior invoices, however, may
make it possible for the attorney to accept the appointment.
Summary: A lawyer who has provided legal advice to a state agency while in private practice is not automatically precluded by Massachusetts Rule of Professional Conduct (MRPC) 1.11(c)(1) from participating in matters about which she had previously provided legal advice and services should she be named commissioner of the same agency.
Summary: A lawyer who represents a client in a real estate transaction that is adverse to a party who has offered to retain the lawyer with respect to a separate, future transaction involving the same property faces a potential ethical dilemma. Under Rule 1.7, the lawyer may agree to undertake the representation of both parties only if the lawyer reasonably perceives no risk of an actual or potential conflict in her present engagement and both sides consent after disclosure of all of the facts necessary to permit the client to appreciate the significance of the matter in question. In all other circumstances, the Committee believes that the lawyer should decline the proposed representation because of its potential adverse effect on the lawyer’s ability to zealously represent her existing client. Regardless of the course of action that the lawyer ultimately takes, she may not later represent the currently-adverse party in a dispute with the lawyer’s original client concerning the subject matter of her representation of that client without the original client’s express consent, nor may she disclose or utilize any confidential information received from the original client for the benefit of the adverse party without obtaining the original client’s specific authorization.
Summary: A request that a judge instruct jurors that they are free to speak to participating lawyers after the case is concluded would be improper if the proposed instruction does not describe completely the restrictions contained in Rule 3.5(d). In any event, the Rule forbids the request if the lawyer’s purpose in requesting the instruction is to encourage the juror to talk about the deliberation process.
Summary: While there is no outright bar to Massachusetts lawyers’ drafting wills naming themselves as fiduciaries and, as such, retaining themselves as counsel to the fiduciaries, ethical rules require that these steps be taken only when in a client’s best interests.
Next, Lawyer must consider whether bringing suit against B might impair her ability to represent AB in the pending litigation by undermining her ability to obtain B’s cooperation in the suit. Lawyer must also consider whether pursuing C’s claim might require attachment of B’s interest in AB and thus involve impermissible use of AB’s confidential information. Finally, Lawyer must consider whether C’s lawsuit against B might have such an impact on the financial interests of AB or A that her representation of C would be materially limited. If any of these possibilities seem likely, Lawyer cannot undertake the proposed representation without meeting the consent and reasonableness requirements of Rule 1.7(b)(1) and (2).
A participating lawyer's payment of a modest administrative fee to an insurance company which maintains a panel of participating lawyers to serve its insureds under a prepaid legal services plan does not violate DR 2-103 (E) when the insurance company meets the requirements of a "qualified legal assistance organization" under that Rule.