Pierce & Mandell, P.C.

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Boston, Massachusetts 02108-3002

Phone: (617) 720-2444
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Pierce & Mandell Attorneys Sponsor BBA Annual Meeting and Receive President’s Award

William M. Mandell - Thursday, October 27, 2016

Pierce & Mandell was a proud sponsor of the Boston Bar Association’s (“BBA”) Annual Meeting on October 20th at the Copley Westin Hotel, at which Pierce & Mandell partner, Michael C. Fee received the President’s Award from BBA President Carol Starkey in recognition of his work as a member of the Association’s Amicus Committee.

For more than twenty years, through the work of the Amicus Committee, the BBA has had a voice in some of the most important legal issues of our time. Most recently, the BBA filed an amicus brief in the case of Bridgeman v. District Attorney, urging the Commonwealth’s highest court to vacate all outstanding drug convictions in which disgraced lab employee Annie Dookhan was the primary or secondary chemist. The BBA argued that the SJC should now impose a global remedy that secures access to justice and the fair administration of justice for each of the defendants in these cases and, critically, takes a significant step toward bringing the Dookhan scandal to a final resolution.

Pictured from right to left, at the Annual Meeting, are Fee, Dennis Lindgren, Tom Kenney, Bill Mandell, Jessica Long from the Conference of Boston Teaching Hospitals, and Zachary Badore, Northeastern student and P&M intern.

Michael C. Fee Helps Boston Bar Association's Zoning Reform Bill Become Law

William M. Mandell - Friday, August 12, 2016

Pierce & Mandell, P.C. partner, Michael C. Fee, a member of the Council of the Boston Bar Association, recently participated in the BBA's efforts to pass a zoning reform measure that the organization has championed since 1995.  House Bill 3611 was signed into law by Governor Baker on August 5, 2016 and provides much needed clarification to the Massachusetts Zoning Act, G.L. c. 40A, § 7.

Most do not realize that the Massachusetts zoning statute was first enacted into law in the 1920's. While it underwent significant overhaul in both the Fifties and Seventies, in many ways it remains today an historical anachronism, full of dense language and land use principles perhaps better suited to less complicated times.  Every legislative session in recent memory has seen efforts to promote comprehensive zoning reform, however, there is rarely consensus among the most highly interested stakeholders. Neither, developers, builders, housing advocates or municipalities appear able to agree on what is right, and what is wrong with G.L. c. 40A.

Consequently, the more effective approach, and the one pursued by the BBA in this instance, is to propose legislation that tackles the most glaring ambiguities in the zoning statute, section by section. House Bill 3611 amends G.L. c. 40A, § 7, which requires municipalities to bring enforcement actions against non-compliant structures or uses no later than ten years after the inception of such structure or use. The problem with the old provision was that it was silent as to the legal status of those structures which survived the applicable statute of limitations. One would think that such structures would automatically become pre-existing, non-conformities, subject to the grandfather rights explicitly detailed in G.L. c. 40A, § 6. However, G.L. c. 40A, § 7 omitted any such explicit reference, and left non-compliant structures that had survived the statutory limitations period in a kind of legal limbo.

The issue came to the forefront recently, as several appeals court panels issued inconsistent rulings regarding the status of such surviving structures. The newly enacted legislation cures the section's ambiguity by granting these structures recognized legal status as a preexisting non-conformities protected under G.L. c. 40A, § 6. The change will provide greater clarify to owners, buyers and lenders that participate in transactions involving these types of property rights. To read the BBA's press release regarding the recent enactment of H3611, click here.

House and Senate Pass BBA Bill Promoting Development

William M. Mandell - Monday, May 16, 2016

Michael C. Fee recently assisted the Boston Bar Association’s lobbying efforts in support of House and Senate Bills designed to clarify the scope of General Laws Chapter 40A, § 7, and codify the principle that non-compliant structures and uses that survive applicable statutes of limitations should be granted the status of a pre-existing, non-conforming structure or use, subject to the protections of G.L. c. 40A, § 6.

Michael testified before the Judiciary Committee, worked with Senate Ways and Means Committee staff, and conferred with Senator Keenan in an effort to move the bills forward.

The Senate version, S. 2259, passed last week, and the legislature is currently in the process of reconciling it with a House version (H. 3611) which passed last June. Click here to read the BBA’s press release on these endeavors.

Bill Mandell will be Boston Bar Association Featured Panelist

William M. Mandell - Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Health Law Practice leader, Bill Mandell, will be a featured panelist on April 28, 2016 at the Boston Bar Association’s seminar entitled: “New DOI Guidance on Direct Primary Care Practices in Massachusetts.”

Pierce & Mandell partner Michael C. Fee Appointed to Boston Bar Association Council

William M. Mandell - Monday, July 27, 2015

Michael C. Fee was recently appointed to a four-year term, commencing in September, as a member of the Council of the Boston Bar Association (BBA).  The BBA is one of the oldest bar associations in the United States and the hub of the legal profession in Boston.  Its mission is to advance the highest standards of excellence for the legal profession, facilitate access to justice, and serve the community at large. Headquartered at 16 Beacon Street in the historic Chester Harding House, the BBA has more than 12,000 members drawn from private practice, corporations, government agencies, legal aid organizations, the courts, and law schools. The 34 member Council, headed by incoming President Lisa Arrowood, governs the activities of the BBA and its more than 100 sections and committees, dedicated to the study of substantive areas of law, improving the delivery of legal services, and promoting diversity and inclusion in both the profession and our courts.


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