Press Release

Press Release Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Kimberly S. Budd Delivers Remarks at Talk to the Hill for Civil Legal Aid Event

For immediate release:
1/27/2022
  • Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court
  • Massachusetts Court System

Media Contact for Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Kimberly S. Budd Delivers Remarks at Talk to the Hill for Civil Legal Aid Event

Jennifer Donahue and Erika Gully-Santiago

BOSTON, MAIn remarks delivered today at Talk to the Hill for Civil Legal Aid, Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Kimberly S. Budd spoke of the need for increased state funding for organizations that provide civil legal aid to vulnerable and low income Massachusetts residents, a need that has grown due to the pandemic. Walk to the Hill, an annual event in its 23rd year, was renamed Talk to the Hill last year and held virtually again this year due to the pandemic.

“This event is always important, because it gives us an opportunity to address the challenges faced by people who are too often forgotten in our society – those who cannot afford legal counsel to assist them with their most basic civil legal needs,” said Chief Justice Budd. “But it is especially important this year, because of the ongoing problems caused by the pandemic.”

Organized by the Equal Justice Coalition, the event called for increased funding for the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation (MLAC), the largest funding source for civil legal aid organizations in the state, by $6 million in the Fiscal Year 2023 state budget, for a total appropriation of $41 million. 

According to MLAC, although civil legal aid organizations have been able to help more people who need assistance due to increases in the state appropriation over the past five years, more than 50% of people who qualify for legal aid are still turned away due to insufficient resources.

Speaking of the pain and disruption caused by the pandemic, Chief Justice Budd said: “With the loss of family members and jobs, many families have been under enormous financial pressure, facing the potential loss of their homes. And they have been under great psychological stress as well. Given that reality, it is not surprising that during the past two years, legal aid organizations funded by the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation have seen significant increases in cases involving employment rights, unemployment benefits, housing, and family and juvenile matters.”

In addition to SJC Chief Justice Budd, speakers included: Assistant Speaker to the U.S. House of Representatives Katherine Clark; Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey; Massachusetts Bar Association President Thomas M. Bond; Boston Bar Association President Deborah J. Manus; Lynne M. Parker, Executive Director of Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation; Jacquelynne Bowman, Executive Director of Greater Boston Legal Services; and civil legal aid clients who received assistance during the pandemic. The event was hosted by Louis Tompros, Chair of the Equal Justice Coalition.

Following the speaking portion of the event, lawyers and advocates spoke with state legislators in virtual breakout rooms to encourage them to increase funding in the Fiscal Year 2023 state budget for the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation.

The Equal Justice Coalition is a collaboration of the Boston Bar Association, Massachusetts Bar Association, and the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation. The Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation was established by the state legislature in 1983 to ensure that low income residents with critical, non-criminal legal matters would have access to legal information, advice and representation. Civil legal aid organizations provide support to individuals in cases related to housing, employment, family law, domestic violence, health care, education, immigration, and protection of seniors, among other civil matters.

Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Kimberly S. Budd Remarks at Talk to the Hill - Jan. 27, 2022

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Media Contact for Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Kimberly S. Budd Delivers Remarks at Talk to the Hill for Civil Legal Aid Event

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court 

The Supreme Judicial Court is the Commonwealth's highest appellate court.

Massachusetts Court System 

The Massachusetts court system consists of the Supreme Judicial Court, the Appeals Court, the Executive Office of the Trial Court, the 7 Trial Court departments, the Massachusetts Probation Service, and the Office of Jury Commissioner.
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