News Releases
May 23, 2024

Policy and News from the Courts, Week of May 20


New BBA Comments Raise Concerns About Rule 3:03 Proposal

Today, the BBA submitted comments to the SJC, raising concerns about its proposal to revamp Rule 3:03 of the Massachusetts Rules of Professional Conduct, governing the practice of law by students currently in law school. The concerns expressed in the comments first emerged from our Delivery of Legal Services section, and the comments were adopted by the BBA Council as a formal position because of the significant negative impact the proposed changes could have on access to justice and low-income communities. The BBA’s comments set forth several concerns, as follows:

  • Because Rule 3:03-certified law students are critical to the delivery of legal services to low-income community members, Rule 3:03 should not be revised in a way that would decrease the number of law students who can help address our access to justice crisis.
  • Rule 3:03 should not be revised in a way that would create two classes of litigants, one whose chosen representative is subject only to a tribunal’s general discretion to manage trials and attorney conduct and the other whose chosen representative is also subject to a unique exclusionary rule directed solely at Rule 3:03-certified team members.
  • Rule 3:03 should not be revised in a way that would diminish experiential learning opportunities for students, thereby making the Commonwealth a less attractive jurisdiction for students to attend law school, develop their lawyering skills, and join a practicing bar committed to pro bono ideals and access to justice.

You can read the comments in full here.

BBA Leaders Obtain Conviction in 1971 Murder

BBA Councilmember David Solet and Criminal Law Section co-chair Jamie Charles, both of the Middlesex County District Attorney’s Office, led the successful prosecution of a 78-year-old Salem man for the 1971 murder of Natalie Scheublin, 54. As Middlesex DA Marian Ryan said in welcoming the conviction, “Not only are our prosecutors committed to solving these cases, but that we can and will hold people accountable, regardless of the passage of time.”

The defendant had been eyed by investigators for decades, based on a fingerprint match through an FBI database not available until the late ‘90s. But after the DA’s Cold Case Unit, led by ADA Solet, re-examined the case starting in 2019, detectives identified a new witness with information critical to making the case, which helped the prosecutors obtain an indictment for first-degree murder.

Along the way, a plot by the defendant to suborn perjury was thwarted by investigators, and last week the jury found him guilty of both charges. Sentencing is expected next week.

BBA Leadership Meets with Chief Justice Horan

BBA President Hannah Kilson and President-Elect Matt McTygue sat down recently with Housing Court Chief Justice Diana Horan to talk about mutual priorities. This was our first opportunity to meet with the Chief, who was appointed last year, though she did share her goals with the Boston Bar Journal last fall. Chief Justice Horan told us that she has been learning what works and what doesn’t in terms of policies introduced by her predecessor, Chief Justice Timothy Sullivan, at the start of the pandemic, with an eye toward achieving consensus and not making many changes.

She expressed pride in her court’s leadership position on embracing new technologies, such as e-summonses, e-filing, and text messaging to litigants. The next project in that regard is e-access, allowing self-represented litigants to review their case files remotely like any attorney can. She noted that there is funding for this through the recently enacted IT bond bill for the courts, but that it will take time; for now, she’s trying to expand courthouse Zoom rooms. Chief Justice Horan is also focused on expanding the diversity of the Housing Court bench and staff, and on best practices for handling mental-health issues that arise in the courthouse.

Nominees for Probate & Family Court Bench Include BBJ Editor 

Governor Maura Healey announced four new nominees for judgeships in the Probate & Family Court yesterday, including Jessica Dubin, a partner at Lee & Rivers, LLP, and Harvard Law grad who currently sits on the Boston Bar Journal’s Board of Editors and previously served as both a member of the BBA Council and a co-chair of the Family Law Section. Other nominees include:

  • Alexandra Flanders, who has served in the Court since 2013, first as an assistant judicial case manager and since 2020 as a judicial case manager, where she is responsible for providing legal expertise to judges and responding to questions from staff, attorneys and the public. She graduated from NYU School of Law.
  • Mikalen Howe, currently an Assistant Judicial Case Manager for the Court in Bristol County after spending more than 15 years in private practice, first as a partner at Rubin and Rudman LLP and then as a founding member of a domestic relations firm, Walsh & Howe, LLC. She holds a J.D. from Northeastern University School of Law.
  • Carla Salvucci, the lead attorney and owner of Salvucci Law, LLC, which specializes in all aspects of family law. She had been a Litigation Associate at Brown Rudnick, LLP, and Todd & Weld, LLP, after graduating from BC Law School.