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

From Issue Spot: Advocacy Skills In Action

Monday, February 04, 2013

Thank you to our members who took the time out of their busy schedules to gather at the State House for yesterday’s 14th annual Walk to the Hill.  BBA members were among the 650 attorneys who put their advocacy skills into action in support of civil legal aid.  Walk to the Hill 2013 was a great success, but our work to ensure adequate funding of civil legal aid is only just beginning.

A real life example of how civil legal aid helps people was described by South Coastal Counties Legal Services client, Daniele Bien-Aime.  Through no fault of her own, this mother of two young children lost her job, and then her health insurance and came close to being evicted from her apartment — while undergoing a bilateral mastectomy and follow-up treatment for breast cancer. A legal aid attorney helped her get her job back, continue her treatment and stay in her home.

A surprise visit from Governor Patrick provided an opportunity for us to thank him for recognizing the importance of civil legal aid.  Last week, House 1 proposed $15.5 million for Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation (MLAC).

Gov and BBA Banner

The most important part of the morning followed the pep talks from Chief Justice Roderick Ireland, BBA President James D. Smeallie and others, when attendees headed toward the offices of their lawmakers to continue the conversation about the need for civil legal aid funding.  As we described in Issue Spot before, making a personal connection and building a relationship with your own state senator and state representative is key to effective advocacy.

Ellen Kief, a member of the BBA’s Solo & Small Firm Section and a resident of Weston, met with her legislators, Senator Michael Barrett and Representative Alice Hanlon Peisch. She shared her perspective on civil legal aid as a constituent and an attorney. In particular, Ellen emphasized her experience with immigration law and the positive impact that civil legal aid has had on her own clients.

Ellen Kief with Rep. Peisch

Meeting with a key staffer is just as important.  As Issue Spot has said in earlier posts, staff often makes recommendations and it’s a great way to get to know what’s important to your legislator.  BBA President J.D. Smeallie sat down with an aide to his state representative, Jerald Parisella. This was an opportunity for President Smeallie to make a direct connection with the person who advises the lawmaker.

JD and House aide 2

It was great to see advocacy in action as lawyers filled the State House halls.  These conversations will continue throughout the budget process that will run through the end of June.  We need to cultivate these relationships and circle back to our legislators between now and June in order to provide them with additional information and facts, tell stories and keep the dialogue and discussions going.  We need to arm them with the reasons why civil legal aid is important and should be one of their top budget priorities.

- Kathleen Joyce
Director of Government Relations
Boston Bar Association

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

    James B. Peloquin

    Conn Kavanaugh Rosenthal Peisch & Ford, LLP

    (617) 482-8200

    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.

    Contact Information

    Stephen D. Riden

    Beck Reed Riden LLP

    (617) 500-8660

    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.

    Contact Information

    Lauren Guth Barnes

    Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP

    (617) 482-3700

    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.

    Contact Information

    Carolyn Marie Francisco

    Corwin & Corwin LLP

    (617) 742-3420

    Jeff D. Bernarducci

    Holland & Knight LLP

    (617) 854-1408

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

    Contact Information

    Seth Schofield

    Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General

    (617) 727-2200

    Katherine Kimball

    Bingham McCutchen LLP

  • 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.

    Contact Information

    Matthew N. Kane

    Donnelly, Conroy & Gelhaar, LLP

    (617) 720-2880

    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.

    Contact Information

    Kelli Powell

    Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP

    (617) 526-6819

    Dalila Wendlandt

    Ropes & Gray LLP

    (617) 951-7884

    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.

    Contact Information

    Carla Reeves

    Manion Gaynor & Manning LLP

    (617) 670 8800

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

    Contact Information

    Christopher D. Strang

    Desmond, Strang & Scott LLP

    (857) 233-5534

    Alexandra M. Gorman

    Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP & Affiliates

    (617) 573-4852

  • 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.

    Contact Information

    Jonathan Hayden

    McCormack Firm, LLC

    (617) 951 2929

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

    Contact Information

    Victoria Fuller

    Rose, Chinitz & Rose

    (617) 536-0040

    Nigel Long

    Lynch & Lynch

    ((508)) 230-2500

  • 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.

    Contact Information

    Gary M. Ronan

    Goulston & Storrs PC

    (617) 574-3593

    Debra A. Squires-Lee

    Sherin and Lodgen LLP

    (617) 646-2036

  • 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.

    Contact Information

    Sarah G. Kim

    Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General

    (617) 727-2200

    Kathryn Alessi

    Goodwin Procter LLP

    (617) 570-1041

  • 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

    Steve Bolotin

    Morrison Mahoney LLP

    (617) 439-7500

    Eric Asquith

    Todd & Weld LLP

    (617) 624-4769