- Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court
Media Contact for 2018 - 2019 Access to Justice Fellows Announced
Jennifer Donahue and Erika Gully-Santiago
BOSTON, MA — At an event yesterday in the John Adams Courthouse, Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants announced the 2018 - 2019 Access to Justice Fellows, calling the program "a transformative idea". The 20 fellows began working on yearlong pro bono projects in September that will benefit people in need in communities across the state.
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 pro bono legal projects from September through June. The projects must be focused on increasing access to justice for Massachusetts residents or on increasing a nonprofit organization's capacity to accomplish a social justice mission.
This year's fellows will work on a range of projects including bankruptcy, consumer protection issues, environmental, family, and housing law; strategic planning and volunteer management assistance to nonprofits; mentoring lawyers who represent victims of domestic violence and others in need of free or reduced-fee legal services; representing indigent asylum-seekers, detained immigrants, and immigrant workers facing retaliation and discrimination; coordinating representation and advocacy efforts for those claiming innocence; seeking discharge of student loan debt; and a number of other projects.
The 2018-2019 Access to Justice Fellows and their partner organizations are:
- John Achatz - Community Legal Services and Counseling Center
- Michael Altman - Greater Boston Legal Services, Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action
- Janet Aserkoff - Community Legal Services and Counseling Center
- Maryann Civitello - Elizabeth Stone House
- Nolly Corley - Codman Square NDC
- Peter Farrow - Waltham Alliance for Teaching, Community Organizing and Housing (WATCH CDC)
- Michael Felsen - Justice At Work
- Paula Mangum - Women's Bar Foundation
- Will Ogburn - Volunteer Lawyers Project
- Julie Petrini - Massachusetts Access to Justice Commission
- Mark Polebaum - Massachusetts Attorney General's Office
- Karen Quandt - Settlement and Early Resolution Volunteers (SERV) Project, Volunteer Lawyers Project/Senior Partners for Justice
- Irene Scharf - Odd Hoc Group, University of Massachusetts School of Law Dartmouth
- Hugh Scott - Political Asylum/Immigration Representation (PAIR) Project
- Mary Rose Scozzafava - Conservation Law Foundation
- Joel Suttenberg - Justice Bridge Legal Center, University of Massachusetts School of Law Dartmouth
- Judith Tracy - Boston College Innocence Program Clinic
- Jerry Tutor - Saheli, Inc.
- Rom Watson - Political Asylum/Immigration Representation (PAIR) Project
- Harvey Weiner - Massachusetts Bar Foundation
In addition to Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Gants, Hon. Patricia E. Bernstein (ret.), a 2017-2018 Access to Justice Fellow, gave her perspective on the program and on her work as a mentor at Justice Bridge, a law incubator for recent law school graduates who are representing clients with limited budgets. Rosalyn Garbose Nasdor, Director and Pro Bono Counsel at Ropes & Gray LLP, Lawyers Clearinghouse Director, and Access to Justice Fellows Program Committee Chair also delivered remarks at the event.
Founded in 2012 with an initial class of seven fellows, the program has now enrolled a total of 113 Access to Justice Fellows who have provided thousands of hours of pro bono service to 70 partner organizations. This year marks the seventh Access to Justice Fellows event, hosted by the Massachusetts Access to Justice Commission and the Lawyers Clearinghouse. Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Gants and Susan M. Finegan, member at Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C., are co-chairs of the Massachusetts Access to Justice Commission.