The Massachusetts Legislature handles thousands of bills every session, and the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts frequently solicits amicus briefs. In addition there are countless opportunities for comments on rule making and rules changes at the state and federal level. Making a meaningful impact demands that we focus our public policy efforts.
We trace our roots back to the John Adams who defended the British soldiers charged in the Boston Massacre, and have tried to remain true to those roots. Hence we focus our public policy efforts on issues directly relating to access to justice, the administration of justice, the practice of law, and improving the quality of laws in the Commonwealth.
Admittedly, we often field requests to lend the prestige of the Boston Bar Association to groups dealing with worthy issues unrelated to our mission. While providing such an “endorsement” might win us a pat on the back from people we admire or even make us feel good about ourselves, the reality is that such activities can dilute our message and squander our political capital.
We want to be known as the bar association that steps forward to advocate for adequate funding for legal aid, our State Courts, District Attorneys’ Offices, and indigent criminal defense services. We also want to be known as the bar association that cares about drafting legislation that will work the way it was intended. So it is that even after the formal session has ended, we continue to advocate zealously for technical changes to the soon-to-be enacted Massachusetts Uniform Probate Code.
We have a volunteer talent pool as wide as it is deep, and are uniquely positioned to lend our expertise on issues where we as lawyers can make a unique contribution based on our skill sets and experience. But we want to leverage this talent wisely in ways that can provide the greatest value.
Government Relations Department
Boston Bar Association