We write to share several access to justice related events happening next week as well as a new online training for attorneys to assist domestic violence survivors.  Hope all are well.


October 26, 2020 Commission Meeting

The next Massachusetts Access to Justice Commission meeting is scheduled for October 26th from 3-5 pm.  We will begin with a tribute to the memory of Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants, Commission Co-Chair.  Meeting discussions will focus on the eviction moratorium and recent Commission activities.  We look forward to seeing you there.  RSVP here by 10/23.  We will forward a zoom link in advance of the meeting.

October 27, 2020 Question and Answer Session for Community Advocates and Social Services Providers

Tuesday, October 27, 2020 from 10:00 to 11:30: a virtual Question and Answer session for community advocates and social services providers about steps to take to help clients facing eviction now that the Massachusetts eviction moratorium is over.  The event is free, but please register at www.masslegalservices.org/post-moratorium-q-and-a  – register to get the login information

Presenters will give a short overview of key legal issues for you to keep in mind when helping your clients, including:

  • What the court process and timelines will be like — both for cases that were frozen when the eviction moratorium went into effect and for new eviction cases
  • Information about the federal CDC moratorium
  • How to get help if your client has limited English proficiency
  • What resources are available — including legal information and representation, and financial help with back rent from resources such as RAFT 

You will also have a chance to ask questions, although you are encouraged to ask them in advance through the registration form.

Presenters include:
Laura Camara, Justice Center of Southeastern Massachusetts; Iris Coloma-Gaines, Massachusetts Law Reform Institute; Zoe Cronin, Greater Boston Legal Services; Gordon Shaw, Community Legal Aid

Sponsored by the Massachusetts Access to Justice Commission.

Questions?  Contact:
Ben Golden, Suffolk Law School, bkgolden@suffolk.edu; Rochelle Hahn, Massachusetts Law Reform Institute, rhahn@Mlri.org; Jennifer Howard, Rosie’s Place, jhoward@rosiesplace.org

Melanie Rush, Massachusetts Appleseed Center for Law and Justice, melanie@massappleseed.org

October 27, 2020 Access to Justice Fellows Program Kick Off!

Tuesday, October 27, 2020, 5-6. Join the MA Access to Justice Commission and Lawyers Clearinghouse for the 2020-2021 Access to Justice Fellows Program Kick Off!  Since 2012, the Access to Justice Fellows Program has connected over 150 senior and retired attorneys and judges with meaningful pro bono projects on behalf of nonprofits, legal services organizations, and the courts. To date, Fellows have contributed over 100,000 hours of pro bono service, working on matters related to environmental conservation, immigration, criminal justice reform, child welfare, veterans’ issues, the mentorship of new lawyers, and more. Now entering its ninth year, the Fellows Program will mark the commencement of the 2020-2021 Fellows session and welcome the newest class of 15 Fellows with a virtual kickoff celebration on October 27. RSVP: https://forms.gle/i8Bn8sdNYHSPn1rD6

Speakers: Hon. Cynthia J. Cohen (Ret.), 2017-2018 Fellow and Former Associate Justice of the Massachusetts Appeals Court; Susan Finegan, Fellows Program Co-founder and Chair of the Massachusetts Access to Justice Commission

October 28, 2020 SJC Standing Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services Awards

On October 28, 2020, at 4 pm. Supreme Judicial Court Justice Kimberly S. Budd will present awards to four attorneys selected by the Supreme Judicial Court Standing Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services for their exceptional dedication to providing volunteer legal services for persons who cannot afford an attorney for their essential legal needs.   The program will be presented live online at:  https://boston.suffolk.edu/sjc/

Three attorneys will receive Adams Pro Bono Publico Awards and a fourth attorney will receive a special pro bono award named in honor of the late Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants. The Committee will also recognize the achievements of attorneys, law students, and legal organizations who qualified for the Supreme Judicial Court Pro Bono Honor Roll

Please join us in celebrating all the attorneys, including our Commission Co-Chair, Susan Finegan, who is the recipient of the Inaugural Ralph D. Gants Award for Extraordinary Leadership in Pro Bono Service!


New Online Trainings for Attorneys to Assist Domestic Violence Survivors Now Available

The Massachusetts Law Reform Institute (MLRI) and the Massachusetts Legal Aid Websites Project have launched a new free online training for attorneys representing domestic violence survivors in 209A Restraining Order proceedings.  The free one-hour course provides attorneys with an interactive overview of the restraining order process.  A companion online course provides attorneys with strategies to build an effective attorney client relationship with survivors of domestic abuse.  Read more here.