At a reception today at the John Adams Courthouse, Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants and Appeals Court Chief Justice Scott L. Kafker delivered remarks and honored three volunteers - Kimberly Parr, Daniel Goodrich, and Conlan Orino - for their outstanding pro bono work in the Civil Appeals Court Clinic run out of the Appeals Court Clerk\u0027s Office.\n\nSince 2015, volunteer attorneys from the Volunteer Lawyers Project and Boston-area law firms have helped at least 230 low income litigants who are representing themselves in civil appellate court matters on a number of issues, ranging from housing to family law.\n\u201cThe Access to Justice Commission\u2019s study found that, every day, upwards of forty litigants who do not have a lawyer sought help from the Appeals Court clerk\u2019s office as they try to navigate the complexities of the appellate process on their own,\u201d said Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants. \u00a0\n\u201cI am pleased that the Appeals Court has been able to host this innovative program, which is an important step in helping unrepresented people to get the assistance they need in appellate cases,\u201d said Appeals Court Chief Justice Scott L. Kafker. \u00a0\n\u201cThis project has been a terrific example of collaboration among the courts, legal services, and the private bar to fill a gap in legal services. The Volunteer Lawyers Project has been particularly fortunate to be assisted by numerous other legal services organizations from across the Commonwealth whose specialists have vetted these cases,\u201d said Joanna Allison, Executive Director of the Volunteer Lawyers Project.\nVolunteer pro bono attorneys meet with self-represented litigants to assess whether they qualify for assistance, and if they do, provide general advice concerning appellate issues and assist with self-help materials. Where a litigant presents a case that involves a potentially meritorious appellate issue, has broad-based implications for low-income people, or constitutes a legal error, the volunteer attorneys will refer the case to a panel of experienced appellate and legal services attorneys, who will refer cases for full appellate representation to the participating law firms.\n\nSeveral years ago, under the leadership of then-Supreme Court Justice Gants, the Access to Justice Commission developed the concept of a pro bono appellate clinic and formed a committee to study pro bono appellate programs around the country and analyze whether Massachusetts would benefit from such a program. \u00a0\n\nThe committee determined that there was a need for pro bono legal assistance for low income litigants at the Appeals Court and Supreme Judicial Court. The clinic, run out of the Appeals Court Clerk\u0027s Office, initially started in May of 2015 as a pilot program at the Court Service Center located in the Edward W. Brooke Courthouse in Boston.\n\nThe success of that program led to the permanent implementation of the Civil Appeals Court Clinic starting in December of 2015 that is available every Wednesday at the clerk\u0027s office with the support of Appeals Court Chief Justice Kafker, Appeals Court Clerk Joseph Stanton, the Supreme Judicial Court Clerk for the Commonwealth, several local law firms, and the Volunteer Lawyers Project, which manages the clinic. The clinic also has support from law firm volunteers, legal services organizations throughout the state, and bar associations. \u00a0\u00a0\n\nThe law firms participating in the pro bono program include Mintz Levin; Foley Hoag; Goodwin Procter; Nutter McClennen \u0026 Fish; Ropes \u0026 Gray; Sugarman Rogers, and WilmerHale. Since May 27, 2015, 131 pro bono attorneys have volunteered. The Boston chapter of the Association of Pro Bono Counsel helped to launch the pilot program.\nLitigants who have questions about whether they qualify for assistance can get more information on the Volunteer Lawyer\u0027s Project website, or can call (617) 603-1700.