For Immediate Release - December 18, 2012

Supreme Judicial Court Appoints Members to SJC Standing Advisory Committee on Professionalism

The Justices of the Supreme Judicial Court recently appointed the members of the SJC Standing Advisory Committee on Professionalism. The Committee is charged with overseeing the implementation of new SJC Rule 3:16 on Practicing with Professionalism, which requires a mandatory course on professionalism for new lawyers admitted to the Massachusetts bar. The rule is effective on September 1, 2013. See Supreme Judicial Court Rule 3:16: Practicing with Professionalism Course for New Lawyers

The Committee's duties and responsibilities include the following: designating approved course providers; making recommendations to the Court regarding the fees to be charged for the course and any circumstances under which the fees may be waived; evaluating the course providers; reporting to the Court on at least an annual basis on the implementation of the course and an assessment of whether the program is accomplishing its intended goals and outcomes; and overseeing the administration of all aspects of SJC Rule 3:16. The Committee plans to issue a Request for Responses in January to continuing legal education providers, bar associations, law schools and other potential course providers.

The members of the Standing Advisory Committee on Professionalism, who will serve staggered terms of one to three years, are as follows:

Hon. Nonnie S. Burnes, Chair, Superior Court Justice (ret.)

Linda G. Bauer, Assistant Bar Counsel, Office of Bar Counsel

Jeffrey N. Catalano, Todd & Weld

Beth D. Cohen, Associate Dean, Western New England School of Law

Rodney Dowell, Executive Director, Mass LOMAP, LCL

Clerk Maura S. Doyle, SJC Clerk for Suffolk County

Michael A. Fredrickson, General Counsel, Board of Bar Overseers

Ingrid C. Schroffner, Assistant General Counsel, Executive Office of Health and Human Services

Marilyn J. Wellington, Executive Director, Board of Bar Examiners

In 2011, on the joint recommendation of the Board of Bar Examiners and the Board of Bar Overseers, the Justices appointed a Working Group to consider how to help new lawyers deal with difficult issues that can generate complaints to the Board of Bar Overseers. The Working Group, which was chaired by retired Superior Court Justice Burnes, recommended that there be a required education course for new lawyers admitted to the bar. Topics would include law office management, professionalism and civility, professional ethics, the bar discipline system, managing the attorney-client relationship, the do's and don'ts of social media, the availability of mentoring and continuing legal education, an introduction to general and affinity bar associations, and the importance and availability of pro bono opportunities.

The Justices agreed with the Working Group's recommendation of SJC Rule 3:16 requiring the education course and last summer sent a notice for public comment. On November 20, 2012, the Justices approved the new rule.