For Immediate Release - September 23, 2016

Supreme Judicial Court Justice Geraldine S. Hines Speaks at Event Announcing Pro Bono Fellows

BOSTON, MA -- At a ceremony Thursday at the John Adams Courthouse hosted by the Massachusetts Access to Justice Commission and the Lawyers Clearinghouse, Supreme Judicial Court Justice Geraldine S. Hines announced the nineteen Access to Justice Fellows who will partner with non-profit, legal service organizations, government entities, and the courts on pro bono projects throughout the Commonwealth.

"What we are doing here today represents a commitment to do what we can right now to close the access to justice gap," Justice Hines said in remarks delivered in the Seven Justice Courtroom. Justice Hines is co-chair of the Massachusetts Access to Justice Commission.

"We are all privileged to be a part of a legal community where the pursuit of equal access to justice is a calling, not merely an aspiration," Justice Hines said. "We understand all too well that providing legal services to the poor is much more than the simple act of pairing an attorney with a client in need; we are making a difference in the lives of the people we serve by making it possible for our clients to have access to the basic human needs that most of us take for granted:  shelter, food, jobs, personal security, medical care and family integrity."

The Access to Justice Fellows Program, a project of the Massachusetts Access to Justice Commission and the Lawyers Clearinghouse, provides senior lawyers and retired judges the opportunity to work on yearlong pro bono legal projects. This year's Fellows will work on a range of projects involving environmental law, racial justice work, corporate assistance to nonprofits, and educational advocacy within the Boston public school system, among others.

Since the start of the program in 2012, more than 70 Access to Justice Fellows have provided nearly 45,000 hours of pro bono service to over 40 partner organizations. The program's aim is to provide Access to Justice Fellows an avenue to pursue engaging pro bono work, remain active members of the legal community, and help people and groups in need.

The 2016-2017 Access to Justice Fellows are:

  • Susan Anderson, Medical-Legal Partnership | Boston
  • David Bono, Conservation Law Foundation
  • Hon. Bettina Borders (Ret.), Justice Bridge Legal Center
  • John Carroll, Equal Justice Coalition
  • Hon. Paul Chernoff (Ret.), Veterans Legal Services
  • Jason Cotton, Justice Bridge Legal Center/Lawyers Clearinghouse
  • Gene Dahmen, Discovering Justice
  • Jinanne Elder, Volunteer Lawyers Project/Senior Partners for Justice
  • Ken Felter, Greater Boston Legal Services
  • Charley Glerum, Justice Bridge Legal Center
  • Lee Glickenhaus, Rosie's Place
  • Steve Greenzang, Volunteer Lawyers Project/Senior Partners for Justice
  • Fredie Kay, Women’s Suffrage Celebration Coalition of Massachusetts
  • Barbara Oro, Massachusetts Law Reform Institute/Volunteer Lawyers Project/Senior Partners for Justice
  • Jeffrey Petrucelly, National Lawyers Guild, Massachusetts Chapter
  • Arthur Pressman, Catie's Closet
  • Elizabeth Ritvo, Massachusetts Access to Justice Commission
  • Hon. James Wexler (Ret.), American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts
  • Peggy Wiesenberg, Quality Education for Every Student (QUEST)

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.