Massachusetts Legal Resources

Overview of the Massachusetts Court System

Massachusetts has a three-tiered court system, with the bottom-most tier consisting of seven court departments. These include the Boston Municipal Court, which oversees smaller civil trials, preliminary criminal hearings, traffic infractions and civil protection orders within the city of Boston, and the district courts, which handle the same responsibilities in the various districts throughout the state. The Juvenile Court Department oversees juvenile affairs such as adoption, guardianship and juvenile crime, and the Land Court Department manages real estate and property law matters. The other three departments are the Probate and Family Court Department, the Housing Court Department and the superior courts, which handle major civil and criminal cases through jury trials.

The second and third tier are both appeals courts. Any cases in the bottom-tier courts may be appealed to the Appeals Court, which will weigh it and determine if the judge's decision should stand. Either party may appeal the case further to the Massachusetts Supreme Court, which will make the final decision for the Massachusetts court system. The Supreme Court is also in charge of handling administrative tasks such as bar admission and judicial discipline. It is permitted to provide an advisory opinion to the state's governor.

Massachusetts Attorneys and Lawyers

When faced with a legal issue, contacting an experienced attorney is always the best bet. At LawInfo you can search for a skilled, Lead Counsel Rated Massachusetts attorney by location and by practice area. We have Massachusetts attorneys who dedicate their practice to specific areas of the law, so you will not only find an attorney, but an attorney who is knowledgeable to help you with your particular legal issue.

Massachusetts Legal Forms

LawInfo offers free Massachusetts legal forms and documents to help resolve many of your issues on your own. Whether you need a power of attorney or you want to complete your will, we have you covered. You can click on our most popular forms located in the right column of this page. A user account is required to use the service, but it’s completely free.

For property owners seeking to bring in a little extra cash each month, renting a room or even the whole building can be a smart financial decision. By making the right legal choices, you can protect your assets and maintain your peace of mind. You can find free Massachusetts Residential Lease Agreement at LawInfo to help you draw up a binding agreement with potential tenants. These forms will cover all of your bases and ensure your legal and financial security.

You may also wish to use our free Last Will and Testament forms to protect your assets in the event of your death. If you die without a last will, you are said to be "intestate" and have no ability to choose how your possessions will be split up as the probate courts will do that for you. To protect yourself and your family, file a Last Will and Testament form from LawInfo.

Another way to protect yourself in the event of an injury or major emergency is to file Power of Attorney documents, which are available for free at LawInfo. These documents will confer upon a person of your choosing the right to make important medical, legal and financial decisions on your behalf if you are incapacitated.

Starting a Massachusetts Business

Beginning your business in Massachusetts is an exciting prospect, but there are certain tasks you have to undertake in order to do it properly and in accordance with legal guidelines. The first step is to establish a sound business plan. Make conservative estimates of your company's initial finances and growth potentials as well as your production or service model and your target market. The Massachusetts Small Business Development Center Network can help you through this process with excellent resources, mentorship opportunities and networking connections to help your business idea thrive.

Once you've developed a strong business plan, you need to begin the detailed, paperwork-oriented process. Choose what type of business you want, whether you want to incorporate or not, and file the necessary application for that type of business in Massachusetts. You will also need to file tax paperwork with the state as well as your locality if necessary. You may also need to file for the appropriate licenses to run your business.

Massachusetts Business Statistics

Small business underscores a large part of Massachusetts's commerce and economy. They employ 46.3 percent of the workforce from the private sector, or nearly 1.29 million people. The Massachusetts economy kept pace with the national unemployment rate at about 7.3 percent through 2013. It is home to approximately 607,000 small businesses that account for 97.8 percent of employers in the state.

Real gross state product rose by 3.7 percent in 2011, which was strong compared to about 2 percent for the rest of the United States. Large businesses still play a strong role in Massachusetts, with nearly 3,000 businesses employing more than 500 people each, including Fortune 500 giants Liberty Mutual Group (LMAC), TJX (TJX) and Raytheon (RTN).