Supreme Judicial Court Announces Newly Reconstituted Access to Justice Commission
BOSTON, MA -- The Supreme Judicial Court has appointed 24 members to the third Massachusetts Access to Justice Commission, co-chaired by Supreme Judicial Court Justice Geraldine S. Hines and Susan M. Finegan, Esq., of Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky & Popeo, PC. The first meeting of the new five-year commission was on May 21.
The goal of the Massachusetts Access to Justice Commission is to achieve equal justice for all persons in the Commonwealth by providing leadership to, and coordination with, the many organizations involved in and improving access to justice for those unable to afford an attorney. The members of the second Access to Justice Commission just completed its five-year tenure, and in April released a final report outlining the goals and achievements of that commission from 2010 to 2015. That report is available on the court's website here: http://www.mass.gov/courts/docs/sjc/docs/massachusetts-access-to-justice-commission-final-report-april-2015.pdf
"I am proud of what we have accomplished in the second iteration of the Access to Justice Commission and look forward to the work of the third commission," said Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants, a co-chair of the second Access to Justice Commission. "We met many of our outlined goals in the past five years, though there is still a great deal of work ahead on access to justice issues."
The newly reconstituted commission has outlined a series of priorities to meet these goals, including strengthening the civil legal aid community currently providing legal services for those unable to afford counsel; enlarging the number of attorneys providing pro bono civil legal services and limited assistance representation; and improving access to justice in administrative proceedings.
"Ultimately, the commission hopes that through our work on a number of initiatives in the coming years, not only will more people have access to legal advice and assistance before going to court, but also that those without an attorney will be in a better position to present their claims and defenses in the courts and before administrative agencies," said Justice Hines.
Reporting annually to the Supreme Judicial Court, the commission aims to work closely with the Chief Justices of the Supreme Judicial Court and the Trial Court, the Trial Court Administrator, and the Special Advisor to the Trial Court on Access to Justice Initiatives to broaden access to justice within the court system. It will also work outside the court system to achieve its goals.
"Through the coordination of the efforts of broad networks of legal, social service and administrative organizations and interested persons who seek to improve access to justice, we hope to achieve the goals we've outlined in our mission statement," said Attorney Finegan. "I am sure we can do so with the impressive membership of this new commission."
The Access to Justice Commission members are listed below:
- Honorable Geraldine S. Hines, Co-Chair, Supreme Judicial Court
- Susan M. Finegan, Esq., Co-Chair, Pro Bono Partner, Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky & Popeo, PC
- Shannon M. Barnes, Esq., Partner, Barnes and Leighton
- Mary Lu Bilek, Esq., Dean, University of Massachusetts School of Law
- Amy Blumenthal, Blumenthal & Associates
- Martha Born, Esq., Chief Litigation Counsel, Biogen Inc.
- Jacquelynne J. Bowman, Esq. , Executive Director, Greater Boston Legal Services
- Marijane Benner Browne, Esq., Director of Lateral Partner Recruiting, Ropes & Gray LLP
- Anthony M. Doniger, Esq., Partner, Sugarman, Rogers, Barshak & Cohen, P.C.
- Russell Engler, Esq., Professor of Law and Director of Clinical Programs, New England Law | Boston
- Joel H. Feldman, Esq., Partner, Heisler, Feldman, McCormick & Garrow, P.C.
- Reginald Fuller
- Honorable Lisa Ann Grant, Boston Municipal Court - Dorchester Division
- Honorable Kathryn E. Hand, Barnstable District Court
- Daniel J. Hogan, Esq., Clerk Magistrate, Boston Municipal Court
- Sheila Hubbard, Esq., Executive Director, Volunteer Lawyers Project
- Georgia Katsoulomitis, Esq., Executive Director, Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
- Ann Bailey Leavenworth
- Jonathan L. Mannina, Esq., Executive Director, Community Legal Aid
- Sue Marsh, Executive Director, Rosie's Place
- Honorable Maureen H. Monks, Middlesex Probate and Family Court
- Honorable MaryLou Muirhead, Boston Housing Court
- Arthur L. Pressman, Esq., Partner, Nixon Peabody LLP
- James T. Van Buren, Esq., James T. Van Buren Law Office
- Wendy S. Wayne, Esq., Director, Immigration Impact Unit, Committee for Public Counsel Services
- David W. White, Jr., Esq., Partner, Breakstone, White and Gluck, PC
Ex Officio members:
- Honorable Ralph D. Gants, Chief Justice, Supreme Judicial Court
- Honorable Dina E. Fein, Special Advisor for Access to Justice Initiatives, First Justice, Housing Court - Western Division
- Kathleen E. McGrath, Chair, Supreme Judicial Court’s Standind Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services, Senior Corporate Counsel, Liberty Mutual Group Inc.
- David Rosenberg, Esq., Of Counsel, Englander, Leggett, & Chicoine
- Honorable Steven D. Pierce, Chief Justice, Housing Court Department
- Navjeet K. Bal, Esq., Counsel, Nixon Peabody LLP
- Lee H. Glickenhaus, Esq., T Lex
- Allan G. Rodgers, Esq.
- Jay T. Thiel, Esq., Jay T. Thiel Law Office