Board of Bar Overseers
The Justices of the Supreme Judicial Court established the Board of Bar Overseers and the Office of Bar Counsel by rule in 1974 (section 5 of Supreme Judicial Court Rule 4:01). The Board of Bar Overseers collects annual registration fees from lawyers and applies them to fund its operations and those of the Office of Bar Counsel, the Clients' Security Board, and Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers. Learn more on the Board of Bar Overseers website
Clients' Security Board
The Justices of the Supreme Judicial Court established the Clients' Security Board (CSB) by rule (Supreme Judicial Court Rule 4:04) in 1974. The Clients' Security Board has the duty to "discharge the collective professional responsibility of the bar." To that end, the CSB reimburses clients who have been the victims of embezzlement or misuse of funds by lawyers. These awards are funded entirely out of registration fees assessed against lawyers in the Commonwealth. Learn more on the Clients' Security Board website
Board of Bar Examiners
The Board of Bar Examiners (BBE) is established by G.L. c. 221 §§35 & 36 to evaluate the qualifications of persons seeking admission to the bar of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The BBE evaluates each bar applicant to determine whether they have the qualifications and acquirements required for admission. The BBE meets its responsibility to ensure that persons admitted to the Massachusetts bar are fully qualified by education, knowledge, and character and fitness through the administration of the semi-annual Massachusetts bar examination; the evaluation and investigation of credentials of attorneys from other jurisdictions seeking admission on motion to the Massachusetts bar; the evaluation of the educational background of applicants educated in foreign jurisdictions; and the investigation of the character and fitness for admission of all applicants. Learn more on the Board of Bar Examiners website
Massachusetts IOLTA Committee
The Supreme Judicial Court's Interest on Lawyers' Trust Accounts (IOLTA) program was created by court order in 1989. Under the IOLTA program, lawyers holding funds on behalf of a client must place the funds either in an account which pays interest to the client or in an IOLTA account.
The IOLTA program is administered by the Massachusetts IOLTA Committee, appointed by the Justices of the Supreme Judicial Court. The Committee consists of nine attorneys appointed to three-year terms. Learn more on the Mass. IOLTA Committee's website
Mental Health Legal Advisors Committee
In 1973, the Massachusetts Legislature established the Mental Health Legal Advisors Committee (MHLAC) to ensure that the rights of persons who are or may be regarded as mentally disabled are recognized and protected (G.L. 221, Section 34E ). MHLAC consists of fourteen judges and lawyers, appointed by the justices of the Supreme Judicial Court. Learn more on the MHLAC website
Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation
The Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation (MLAC) was established by the State Legislature in 1983 (G.L. c. 221A ) to ensure that low-income people with critical non-criminal legal problems would have access to legal information, advice and representation. The board consists of the Chief Justice for the Trial Court (or his/her disignee), and ten attorneys appointed by the Justices of the Supreme Judicial Court serving five year terms. Learn more on the MLAC website
Massachusetts Access to Justice Commission
The Commission was created by the Court on February 28, 2005 in response to a proposal developed by the Massachusetts State Planning Board for Civil Legal Services. The Supreme Judicial Court reconstituted the Commission in February 2010. Twenty-four people serve on the Commission. View the Commission's website to learn more.
Commission on Judicial Conduct
The Commission on Judicial Conduct is responsible for investigating complaints of judicial misconduct against state court judges and for recommending, when necessary, discipline of judges to the Supreme Judicial Court (G.L. c. 211C ). The Commission does not serve as an appellate court to review judges' rulings and cannot review, reverse or vacate a judge's decision. Nor does it have the authority to order a judge to step down from hearing a case or to provide a complainant with a different judge. For more information, go the CJC's website.
Committee for Public Counsel Services
The Committee for Public Counsel Services was established under G.L. c. 211D to oversee the provision of legal representation to indigent persons in the Commonwealth. The Committee, a 15-member body appointed by the governor, the speaker of the House of Representatives, the president of the Senate, and the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, oversees the provision of legal representation to indigent persons in criminal and civil cases and administrative proceedings in which there is a right to counsel. Most representation is provided by approximately 3,000 private attorneys trained and certified to accept appointments. Support for and supervision of these attorneys is provided by the Private Counsel Division (for criminal cases and related matters), the Children and Family Law Division (for child welfare cases), the Youth Advocacy Division (for delinquency, youthful offender, and GCL revocation cases), and the Mental Health Division (for guardianships and mental health/substance abuse commitments). Approximately 500 staff attorneys provide representation to clients in Superior, District, Juvenile, and Probate and Family Court cases and in appeals of those cases. Learn more on the CPCS website.
Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers Oversight Committee
Established under Supreme Judicial Court Rule 4:07, the Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers Oversight Committee oversees the appropriate use of the fund for the operation of Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers, Inc. The committee is comprised of six lawyers appointed by the Justices of the Supreme Judicial Court to serve four-year terms. Learn more on the Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers Oversight Committee website