Voices of the Bar 10/20/16: What was the highlight of working with the BBA Amicus Committee?

Congratulations to those who have served on the BBA Amicus Committee or authored an Amicus Brief on the BBA’s behalf on their well-deserved honor at today’s Annual Meeting Luncheon. In honor of the occasion, we wanted to hear more about the experiences our volunteers have had authoring briefs on the BBA’s behalf or serving on the BBA Amicus Committee.

For this week’s “Voices of the Bar” column, we’re reaching out to ask:

“What has been the highlight of working with the BBA Amicus Committee?

Jeffrey Pyle – Prince Lobel Tye
“One of the main highlights of working on the Committee is seeing the impact our briefs seem to have on case outcomes.  In one case, the BBA’s brief persuaded the First Circuit that a bar association could not be subjected to liability and an award of attorneys’ fees simply for bringing a non-frivolous claim in state court.  In another, the SJC adopted (almost to the letter) an approach we proposed to reconcile a criminal defendant’s right to a speedy trial and the defendant’s right to discovery.  But the chief highlight of serving as Chair was the opportunity to work with the exceptionally talented and dedicated lawyers who serve on the Committee, and the outstanding brief-writers we somehow manage to recruit.”

J.W. Carney – Carney  & Associates
“I was the only criminal law practitioner on the Amicus Committee during my term, but I never felt out-of-place when we discussed other issues. Most of the briefs addressed policy considerations that were implicated by proposed changes in a law or practice, and we often were deciding if this were the direction we would want society to go. It was fascinating and provocative. I encourage my colleagues to give it a try.”

Julia Huston – Foley Hoag
“My favorite part of serving on the Amicus Committee was working with attorneys who specialize in areas of the law that are unfamiliar to me.  The depth and breadth of talent on the Amicus Committee is amazing, and allows the BBA to weigh in on a wide variety of important legal issues intelligently and with confidence.”

Mark Fleming – WilmerHale
“The BBA’s level of discourse surrounding amicus briefs never failed to impress me.  The Amicus Committee, the Executive Committee, the Council, and Sections and Committees considering an amicus position all took a real interest in making sure that the BBA’s position was sound and well-expressed.  I remember Council meetings where we spent over an hour discussing a draft brief.  The result was really thoughtful advocacy that, in my experience, was very helpful to the courts.”

Michael Fee – Pierce & Mandell
“I am constantly blown away by the amount of energy, time and dedication our chairpersons, Liz  Ritvo and Tony Scibelli, bring to the committee. The issues are always complex, and they synthesize information and guide our discussions masterfully. Truly impressive!”



If you would like to respond to a future Voices of the Bar, make sure you send a headshot, and contact Lauren DiTullio at lditullio@bostonbar.org.