Improving advocacy and trial skills for litigators who practice in state court, federal court and alternative-dispute venues

From Issue Spot: BBA Budget Advocacy- A Year Long Commitment

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

It’s that time of year again – time to talk about the budget! Governor Patrick will release his budget next Wednesday, January 23rd followed by the House budget in April and the Senate budget in May.  The differences in the various budgets must be reconciled by the start of the new fiscal year on July 1, 2013. Each year the BBA plays a major role in the budget process, advocating for adequate funding for civil legal services, our state courts, district attorneys and CPCS.  Here are a few of the ways we have recently been involved in adequate funding for FY 2013 for the Trial Court and civil legal services–

Trial Court Advocacy

Meeting with the people who make the important decisions is always a big part of any advocacy effort.  This year we took it right to the top.  BBA President-Elect Paul Dacier (EMC Corporation) sat down with Governor Patrick on January 9thto discuss court funding and specifically the Trial Court’s Fiscal Year 2014 maintenance request of $589 million and the $22 million needed for a judicial pay raise. The Governor was sympathetic and appreciated the BBA’s commitment to court advocacy. He also understands the need for fully functioning courts and agreed that our judges are woefully underpaid.

In addition to meeting with the decision makers, we took our advocacy on the road to meet with those directly affected by the Trial Court’s budget.  BBA President J.D. Smeallie hosted his own state representative and state senator at Salem District Court.  This informal meeting also included the Essex County Legislative Caucus, Trial Court Administrator Harry Spence, clerks, judges and other court staff. This meeting offered an open forum to discuss the current state of the understaffed departments within the courthouse and what effect it has had on the administration of justice. Legislators that attended the meeting included Representatives John D. Keenan, Lori A. Ehrlich, Theodore C. Speliotis, Jerald A. Parisella and Senators Kathleen O’Connor Ives and Joan Lovely. Due to the success of this meeting and the impact of having court personnel speak on issues they face on a day to day basis, the BBA will continue to take court advocacy on the road by visiting other courthouses across the Commonwealth.

Civil Legal Services Advocacy

We are co-sponsoring the 14th annual Walk to the Hill for Civil Legal Aid again this year.  This event, one of the largest advocacy events of its kind will take place on January 30th at 11 am at the State House.  Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation (MLAC), the largest funding source for civil legal aid programs in the Commonwealth, will be requesting $15.5 million for legal services, a $3.5 million increase over last year’s budget. This money is needed to avoid further layoffs and service cuts that would force programs to turn away even more residents who need legal help.

We also raise money for legal services through our charitable arm, the Boston Bar Foundation (BBF). In 2012, the BBF made grants totaling $1 million to 24 Massachusetts community organizations providing a wide variety of core legal services – from domestic violence and immigration to housing and homelessness.  Each year the BBF hosts the John and Abigail Adams benefit to raise money to support is mission of promoting justice. The Adam’s Benefit will take place this year on Saturday, January 26 this year. Tickets are still available!

The Boston Bar Association works year round on a variety of fronts to increase legal aid and secure funding for our Courts. We take serious our commitment to ensuring that all citizens of the Commonwealth have access to justice.


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Litigation Committees

  • Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee
    This committee hosts speakers on a wide variety of issues relating to arbitration, mediation and other dispute resolution processes. It strives to offer programs that are of value to individuals who serve as mediators and arbitrators, as well as advocates representing clients in dispute resolution processes, both domestic and international.

    Contact Information

    Catherine E. Shanks

    (401) 862-3798

    William McClare Dunham

    Sherin and Lodgen LLP

    (617) 646-2017

  • Antitrust & Business Litigation Committee
    This committee provides a means of dialogue and learning for members who share an interest in business litigation.

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    David B. Mack

    O'Connor, Carnathan, and Mack LLC

    (781) 359-9005

    Rachel M. Brown

    Shapiro Haber & Urmy LLP

    (617) 439-3939

  • Class Actions Committee
    This committee explores the ever-changing landscape of class action practice and procedure in federal and state courts in a wide variety of areas, including mass torts, environmental law, securities and consumer fraud.

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    Elizabeth A. Ryan

    Bailey and Glasser LLP

    (617) 439 6730

    Matthew G. Lindenbaum

    Goodwin Procter LLP

    (617) 570-8318

  • Construction Law Committee
    This committee addresses all aspects of construction law, including contract documents and alternative project delivery systems; construction litigation, arbitration and ADR; public contract law and other legal issues of interest to practitioners who handle matters relating to construction.

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    Rhian M.J. Cull

    Hinckley, Allen & Snyder LLP

    (617) 378-4120

    Michael P. Sams

    Kenney & Sams, P.C.

    (508) 490-8500

  • Environmental Litigation Committee
    This committee focuses on Chapter 21E, CERCLA, insurance, clean air and clean water litigation.

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    Seth Schofield

    Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General

    (617) 727-2200

    Peter F. Durning

    Mackie Shea O'Brien, PC

    (617) 266-5700

  • Federal Practice and Procedure Committee
    This committee concentrates on developments in federal civil procedure and practical issues affecting practice in federal court. Areas covered include changes and proposed changes to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the District of Massachusetts' Local Rules; reports of new and significant decisions interpreting the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the Federal Rules of Evidence; and presentations concerning such practical matters as the District of Massachusetts' mediation program and the use of technology in the courtroom.

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    Christine M. Genaitis

    Collora LLP

    (617) 371-1000

    Benjamin M. Stern

    Holland & Knight LLP

    (617) 305-2022

  • Intellectual Property Litigation Committee
    This is a joint committee between the Intellectual Property and Litigation Sections. This committee provides education concerning the enforcement of patent, trademark, copyright and trade secrets rights as well as the defense of those accused of infringing on such rights, in federal and state courts and before the International Trade Commission.

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    Dalila Wendlandt

    Ropes & Gray LLP

    (617) 951-7884

    Kelli Powell

    Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP

    (617) 526-6819

    Kerry L. Timbers

    Sunstein Kann Murphy & Timbers LLP

    (617) 443-9292

  • Litigation Membership Committee
    This committee aims to increase participation in the Section through outreach activities.

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    Ronaldo Rauseo-Ricupero

    Nixon Peabody LLP

    (617) 345-1071

  • Litigation Public Policy Committee
    The BBA is very active in legislative and regulatory changes. Attorneys are often asked to lend their expertise.

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    David W. Robinson

    Ruberto, Israel & Weiner, P.C.

    (617) 742-4200

    Christopher D. Strang

    Desmond, Strang & Scott LLP

    (857) 233-5534

  • Litigation Public Service Committee
    Each year in recognition of Pro Bono Month, this committee, along with the Rappaport Center for Law and Public Service at Suffolk University Law School holds a pro bono opportunities fair for attorneys and law students. The committee also focuses on pro bono trainings and brown bag programming.

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    Daniel M. Routh

    Ropes & Gray LLP

    (617) 951-7256

  • Massachusetts Practice and Procedure Committee
    This committee concentrates on developments in Massachusetts civil procedure and practical issues affecting practice in Massachusetts courts.

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    Kristin Casavant

    Jones Day

    (617) 449-6907

    Victoria Fuller

    Rose, Chinitz & Rose

    (617) 536-0040

  • Professional Liability Committee
    This committee covers issues involving the liability of accountants, lawyers, physicians, architects and other professionals for malpractice, including liability under federal statutes and consumer protection laws.

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    Debra A. Squires-Lee

    Sherin and Lodgen LLP

    (617) 646-2036

    Christopher R. Conroy

    Peabody & Arnold LLP

    (617) 951-2079

  • Securities Enforcement and Litigation Committee
    This committee aims to foster dialogue among the legal and investigatory staff of securities regulators, lawyers who represent companies and persons involved in regulatory investigations/enforcement proceedings and lawyers who represent plaintiffs in private securities litigation and shareholder derivative actions.

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    Sarah G. Kim

    Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General

    (617) 727-2200

    Richard Rosensweig

    Goulston & Storrs PC

    (617) 482-1776

  • Steering Committee
    The leadership committee of the Section organizes programs and discusses policy. To inquire about opportunities, please contact the Section Co-Chairs.
  • Tort Committee
    This committee addresses all matters relating to injury and damage to persons and property.

    Contact Information

    Michael Robert Brown

    Peabody & Arnold LLP

    (617) 951-2072

    Eric Asquith

    Todd & Weld LLP

    (617) 624-4769