- Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court
- Massachusetts Court System
Media Contact for Supreme Judicial Court Pro Bono Committee Honors Attorneys and a Recent Law School Graduate with Awards for Pro Bono Work
Jennifer Donahue and Erika Gully-Santiago
BOSTON, MA — At a ceremony today in the Seven Justice Courtroom of the John Adams Courthouse, Supreme Judicial Court Justice Kimberly S. Budd presented Adams Pro Bono Publico Awards to four attorneys and a recent law school graduate in recognition of distinguished service and outstanding commitment to providing pro bono legal services for those in need. The annual awards are named in honor of John Adams and John Quincy Adams.
Selected by the SJC's Standing Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services, the following received awards:
- Rhonda L. Bachrach, for her exemplary record as a volunteer attorney for the family law, small claims, and housing lawyer-for-the-day programs administered by Community Legal Aid (CLA) and the Worcester County Bar Association, for CLA's medical-legal partnership with UMass Memorial Health Care, and for taking private pro bono cases from these agencies as well.
- Douglas L. Fox and Lawrence E. Cohen, for their extraordinary dedication to providing pro bono legal services for more than 30 years to the residents of Jeremiah's Inn, a residential recovery program in Worcester, on a wide range of issues -- from bankruptcy to driver's license reinstatements to housing and unemployment compensation. Attorneys Fox and Cohen provide these services in collaboration with the Honorable Harry Zarrow Homeless Advocacy Project, a special program of Community Legal Aid, which receives funding from the Massachusetts Bar Foundation.
- Robert P. Sherman, for his exceptional commitment to pro bono service, devoting nearly 500 hours of volunteer legal work in 2018 alone on a variety of legal projects such as reuniting immigrant families, and providing leadership and support for DLA Piper's pro bono partnerships with the Lenny Zakim Fund and the National Center for State Courts.
with a special student award to:
- Lauren Victoria Rossman, a 2019 graduate of Boston College Law School, for dedicating hundreds of hours to volunteer work over the course of her law school career, including most significantly her extensive and successful efforts with the Boston College Innocence Program to win reversal of the murder conviction of Christopher "Omar" Martinez, leading to his release from prison after nearly 20 years of incarceration.
Certificates were also presented to those listed on the SJC's Pro Bono Honor Roll. The Honor Roll each year recognizes law firms, solo practitioners, in-house corporate counsel offices, government legal offices, non-profit organizations and law school faculties that certify that they have performed a minimum number of hours of approved pro bono legal services during the previous calendar year, and law students who have done so during their law school careers.
The SJC's Standing Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services works to promote volunteer legal work in Massachusetts to help people of limited means in need of legal representation, in accordance with SJC Rule 6.1. The awards ceremony is one of many activities celebrating and building support for pro bono legal work in Massachusetts during the month of October.