Practice Resources

November 2011

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From left to right: Access to Justice Section Chair Charles E. Vander Linden of Starr Vander Linden LLP in Fitchburg and Access to Justice Section Vice Chair Isabel Sara Raskin of the Suffolk University Law School's Education Advocacy Clinic in Boston.

Note from Access to Justice leadership

Welcome to our monthly newsletter, containing information about CLE programs, meetings, hot legal developments and other section news.

Please contact either of us at [e-mail jstevens] if you have comments or suggestions for the newsletter, or wish to post a notice.

Charles E. Vander Linden, chair, Starr Vander Linden LLP, Fitchburg
Isabel Sara Raskin, vice chair, Suffolk University Law School's Education Advocacy Clinic, Boston

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MBA seeks 2011-12 Access to Justice Award nominations

The MBA is is seeking nominations for its 2011-12 Access to Justice Awards.

The MBA annually recognizes the efforts of attorneys and law firms who have made significant strides in enhancing access to justice. To recognize an unsung hero of the legal profession, or a law firm that has made a significant difference for low income litigants interfacing with the justice system, please fill out the form below and submit your nomination by 5:00 p.m. by Friday, Dec. 9, 2011 to:

Massachusetts Bar Association
Access to Justice Awards
20 West St., Boston, MA 02110

We encourage nominations from local and affiliated bar associations, government agencies and/or legal services organizations.

Click here for a nomination form.

The Access to Justice Awards are:

Legal Services Award
An attorney employed by a public or nonprofit agency to provide civil legal services to low-income clients, and who has made a particularly significant or meaningful contribution to the provision of low-income legal services, above and beyond the requirements or his or her position.

Pro Bono Award for Law Firms
A law firm of two or more attorneys, with one or more offices in the commonwealth, whose pro bono activities are particularly noteworthy in relation to the firm's size and which has performed significant or meaningful pro bono activity or which has been particularly instrumental in developing, implementing and/or supporting a pro bono program or pro bono services within Massachusetts.

Pro Bono Publico Award
An individual who has been instrumental in developing, implementing and supporting pro bono programs for the Massachusetts Bar Association or for a local county bar association, or a pro bono program of a law firm, or has developed a pro bono program sponsored or organized through an agency in the commonwealth, or has performed significant or meaningful pro bono activity.

Defender Award
An attorney who is employed or retained by a public or nonprofit agency to provide criminal legal services to low-income clients, and who has made a particularly significant or meaningful contribution to the provision of low-income legal services above and beyond the requirements of his or her position.

Prosecutor Award
A state or federal prosecutor who has distinguished himself or herself in public service and whose commitment to justice and serving the communities where he or she lives or works is particularly praiseworthy.

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Upcoming Access to Justice section council meeting

As a member of the Access to Justice section, you are invited to attend the Access to Justice Section Council meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 22 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the MBA, 20 West St., Boston.

Click here to R.S.V.P.

As a member of this section, you can keep abreast of the meeting dates and other important information here.

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Technology grant will create statewide pro bono website

MBA gave “unqualified support” to Volunteer Lawyers Project

The Volunteer Lawyers Project of the Boston Bar Association will create a statewide pro bono website with a $68,000 grant from the Washington, D.C.-based Legal Services Corp. The Massachusetts Bar Association strongly endorsed the group's grant application.

The Volunteer Lawyers Project will use the Technology Initiative Grant, which will run from January 2012 through June 2013, to expand the availability of quality pro bono representation for low-income Massachusetts residents by creating a website that increases the efficiency and productivity of pro bono programs and helps match up clients with volunteer attorneys.

"Busy attorneys want and will appreciate this one-stop, coordinated approach to pro bono," Denise Squillante wrote to LSC when she was MBA president in 2010. She noted the MBA's "unqualified support" for the project, saying that the online resource would help connect lawyers with clients badly in need of help. The grant application had been endorsed by the MBA's House of Delegates in 2009 and 2010.

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MBA House of Delegates supports Access to Justice

Pro Hac Vice proposal passes the MBA’s House of Delegates

On Thursday, Nov. 10, 2011, the MBA's House of Delegates voted to approve and support a proposal from the Access to Justice Commission for submission to the Supreme Judicial Court. The proposal would establish a pro hac vice admission fee for lawyers from other states, who seek to appear in cases before Massachusetts' courts.

This proposal was brought to the House of Delegates by the MBA's Access to Justice Section Council.

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The MBA is on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn

Join the conversation today

The Massachusetts Bar Association now has a presence on three social networking platforms, including Facebook, launched in October 2010, LinkedIn, launched in January 2010, and Twitter, launched in July 2009. All three social media platforms feature information about the MBA including CLE, events and news.

As an MBA member, we encourage you to both post items of interest to you, and the greater legal community, on these pages and comment on items already posted.

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Put your name out there

The goal of section councils is to offer members opportunities for professional growth and development through participation in section activities. One opportunity available to section members is publishing articles which are of interest to fellow practitioners. The MBA provides several forums for articles by section members - Lawyers Journal and the Massachusetts Law Review.  

If you are interested in writing an article for any of these publications or if you have seen articles which you think may be of interest to other Access to Justice Section members, please contact Jean Stevens for more information regarding this opportunity.

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