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Attorneys urge legislators to support increased funding for civil legal aid at 'Walk to the Hill'

Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015
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Photo Credit: Mike Vigneux
MBA President Marsha V. Kazarosian speaks about the need for increased funding for civil legal services throughout the commonwealth at the Jan. 29 Walk to the Hill for Civil Legal Aid.

Hundreds of attorneys participated in the 16th annual Walk to the Hill for Civil Legal Aid at the State House on Thursday. The Massachusetts Bar Association, the Equal Justice Coalition (EJC) and the Boston Bar Association asked participants to urge their legislators to support increased state funding for civil legal aid.

The EJC is calling on state lawmakers to adequately fund the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation (MLAC) line item in the state budget. MLAC is requesting $25 million in the FY16 budget. Despite a state funding increase last fiscal year from the Massachusetts Legislature, overall funding for civil legal aid in Massachusetts has declined in recent years.

"This is not a legal issue, it is a universal issue," said MBA President Marsha V. Kazarosian in her remarks at the event. "And so as we meet with legislative leadership and the key members of Governor Baker's administration, we will continue to address the dire need for increased funding for legal aid as we stand with the many bar organizations who have worked to support legal aid for the poor."

In addition to Kazarosian, Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants, Attorney General Maura Healey and Boston Bar Association President Julia Huston also addressed the importance of funding for civil legal aid in their remarks. Two speakers also shared their experiences about how they were helped by legal-aid funded attorneys.

Walk to the Hill was co-sponsored by the Equal Justice Coalition, MBA, Boston Bar Association and many local and specialty bar associations. Attorneys from several Boston-area law firms and organizations participated.