Joan Kenney/Charlotte Whiting
Probate and Family Court
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
July 15, 2008
Probate and Family Court Expands GAL Pro Bono Service Program
In Partnership with Senior Partners for Justice
Based on the overwhelming success of the Probate and Family Court Department’s Guardians Ad Litem pro bono service pilot program in partnership with Senior Partners for Justice, Chief Justice Paula M. Carey today announced that the program is being expanded to include the Norfolk Division, effective immediately. The pilot projects are currently active in the Court’s Middlesex and Suffolk Divisions. Chief Justice Carey anticipates that the program may include Worcester and Essex Divisions in the fall.
In January 2008, Retired Judge Edward M. Ginsburg and the Senior Partners for Justice developed with the Probate and Family Court Department a pro bono service by lawyers affiliated with Senior Partners to accept appointments as Guardians Ad Litem in adult guardianship cases involving mentally and physically disabled individuals, including the elderly. Presently, 33 attorneys have volunteered to participate in the pro bono program.
The volunteer attorneys accept GAL appointments in temporary guardianship matters only and in cases where the Court has no authority to appoint counsel. These cases include, for example, a temporary guardianship for the purpose of admitting an elderly person to a nursing home. The expectation is that these volunteer GALs will be available solely at the temporary stage and would not continue with the case unless ongoing involvement is coordinated between the Court and the appointed GAL.
Chief Justice Carey said, “The attorneys from Senior Partners have demonstrated extraordinary public service in helping some of the most vulnerable people who appear in the Probate and Family Court. The judges in our Court are enormously grateful for the help of Senior Partners Lawyers in ensuring that the best information possible is available to judges before they make the important decision of whether a guardianship is necessary.”
Judge Ginsburg said, “Senior Partners is happy and honored to be involved in this worthy project and looks forward to working with the Court to serve the public in this important endeavor.”
Attorneys interested in signing up for the project should contact Attorney Barbara Siegel, Project Manager, Senior Partners for Justice at (617) 423-0648, ext. 123. The contact person at the Probate and Family Court Administrative Office is Attorney John Cross at (617) 788-6607.