Access to Justice Commission Announces 2014-2015 Pro Bono Fellows
Prominent Members of Legal Community to Work on Yearlong Projects
BOSTON, MA -- The Massachusetts Access to Justice Commission, in partnership with the state Judiciary, has announced the selection of seventeen Access to Justice Fellows who will partner with non-profit, legal service organizations, and the courts on pro bono projects throughout the Commonwealth from 2014 to 2015. This first of its kind program in the state, which has grown from seven fellows since its start in 2012 to seventeen this year, enables experienced and accomplished attorneys who have retired or are transitioning into retirement an opportunity to work for a year or longer providing critically needed legal assistance to underserved populations.
A program introducing the fellows will be held on Thursday, October 2 at 5:30 p.m. at the John Adams Courthouse. Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants, who co-chairs the Access to Justice Commission, will deliver opening remarks in the Seven Justice Courtroom.
"This extraordinary program has continued to grow over the past three years, with more than double the number of fellows this year than when the program began in 2012," Chief Justice Gants said. "This year, retired Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Herbert Wilkins will be one of seventeen prominent fellows working on pro bono projects that will have a positive and lasting impact on the individuals they will be serving."
The program is structured by partnering fellows with a legal services provider, non-profit organization, or court department of their choice. The non-profit will provide training and support while law firms will provide resources, such as administrative support and office space. Each fellow is expected to devote between 10 to 20 hours per week to individual pro bono projects from September 2014 to June 2015.
The kinds of projects the fellows will be doing include: working with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children on the growing problem of Internet sex trafficking of children; designing and implementing a volunteer court advocates program that will assist survivors of domestic violence; working with veterans in the Boston Veterans' Treatment Court to help them get much-needed services to aid them in their recovery; working on an archivist project in the SJC's Division of Archives and Records Preservation; the development of a pilot program that will provide pro bono representation of self-represented litigants in the appellate process; and working with the American Civil Liberties Union on civil liberties issues; among others.
Fellows will meet once a month to share their experiences and ideas to help them better assist the needs of the communities they will be serving.
The 2014 - 2015 Access to Justice Fellows are as follows:
- Richard Allen, Retired Partner, Casner & Edwards
- Michael Angelini, Chairman, Bowditch & Dewey
- Carolyn "Nicki" Famiglietti, Regional Counsel, Child Support Enforcement Division, Massachusetts Department of Revenue
- Ruth Ellen Fitch, Retired President and CEO, The Dimock Center and Retired Partner, Palmer & Dodge
- Myra Green, Retired Senior Vice President and General Counsel, DentaQuest and Health Dialog Corporation and Retired Partner Choate, Hall & Stewart
- Michael Haroz, Director, Goulston & Storrs
- Hon. Leila Kern, Retired Associate Justice, Massachusetts Superior Court
- Jordan Krasnow, Retired Director and Current Of Counsel, Goulston & Storrs
- Erik Lund, Retired Senior Partner and Current Senior Counsel, Posternak, Blankstein & Lund
- Hon. D. Lloyd Macdonald, Retired Associate Justice, Massachusetts Superior Court
- Hardin Matthews, Retired Partner, Ropes & Gray
- John Montgomery, Retired Partner, Ropes & Gray
- Richard Neumeier, Partner Morrison Mahoney
- Vickie Rothbaum, Retired Solo Practitioner
- Allan Taylor, Retired Partner, Taylor Duane Barton & Gilman and Current Of Counsel, Peabody & Arnold
- Hon. Herbert Wilkins, Retired Chief Justice, Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court
- Jeffrey Wolf, Former Staff Attorney/Current Consulting Attorney, Massachusetts Law Reform Institute and Former Legal Director/Current Consulting Attorney, Community Legal Services and Counseling Center
The Access to Justice Fellowship was conceived in 2012 in response to severe cutbacks in funding that forced legal services programs and non-profit organizations to reduce staff and restrict services despite the increasing need among populations they serve. Members of the Access to Justice Commission sought to address this problem by mining the talents of experienced lawyers approaching retirement age who wish to remain active members of their communities and help people in need of legal services. Attorneys Susan Finegan and Martha Koster, partners at the law firm of Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C., led the Access to Justice Fellows Working Group in designing the program. This year, through funding from the Lawyers Clearinghouse, Mia Friedman will work alongside the Working Group as the Access to Justice Fellows Program Director.