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August 19, 2003

Governor’s Pay Promise Ends Boston Lawyer Boycott

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 11:57 pm

Update II:  Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney announced through a press release today that he would sign supplemental budget legislation to assure that assigned counsel are paid for work performed in Fiscal Year 2003.   Romney said that the prospect of state criminal court sessions grinding to a halt is a public safety issue and he expected assigned counsel to “get back to work immediately to assure the administration of justice.”


In response to Romney’s promise, Suffolk Lawyers for Justice, which called for the boycott of new cases last Thursday, announced it would begin assigning lawyers to cases in Suffolk County criminal matters; that it was “pleased with the prompt action taken by both the Legislature and the Governnor;” and that “it took tremendous courage on the part of individual attorneys to decline cases and take a stand on an issue that is crucial to the adequate representation of the indigent.”


The Boston Herald online, posted an Associated Press dispatch this afternoon, stating that “The 335-member Suffolk group ended its day-and-a-half protest at 2 p.m. after Romney said the $15.4 million would not be vetoed from the bill when he signs it.”


  • Your Editor is pleased that further damage to the judicial process is avoided.    Howerver, the coercive tactics used by the Bay State bar advocates were unjustified and unethical, and took far less courage when done as part of a conspiracy than if each lawyer had indeed made an individual decision.   Let’s hope that this quick success does not motivate the assigned counsel to try another group boycott — or implicit threat of such — to get its primary goal of significantly raised fees.   Raising the fees is a worthwhile goal, but the means used by officers of the court need to be lawful and ethical from now on.

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