Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants spoke at the sixth annual Access to Justice Fellows event at the John Adams Courthouse, hosted by the Massachusetts Access to Justice Commission and the Lawyers Clearinghouse on October 12. Chief Justice Gants is co-chair of the Massachusetts Access to Justice Commission.
"Since the start of the program in 2012, there have been 95 Access to Justice Fellows who have devoted more than 70,000 hours of pro bono service to 60 partner organizations," Chief Justice Gants said. "It is an extraordinary contribution to the pro bono effort, and moreover has changed the vision of what it means to be transitioning from one practice to another. These fellows are accomplished and talented individuals who are leaving practices in law, including several jurists."
The Access to Justice Fellows Program, a project of the Massachusetts Access to Justice Commission and the Lawyers Clearinghouse, provides senior lawyers and retired judges the opportunity to work on year-long pro bono legal projects. This year's fellows will work on a range of projects involving environmental, bankruptcy and consumer protection law, legal guardianship aid for Boston Public School students with special needs, accessibility of court forms increasing access to justice in the trial courts for pro se litigants, corporate and strategic planning assistance to nonprofits, work to reduce recidivism of young men on the South Shore, and representation of indigent asylum-seekers and detained immigrants, among others.
Access to Justice Fellow Victoria Rothbaum also spoke at the event to give her perspective on the program as a continuing fellow from the class of 2014-2015. As part of her fellowship she works with Senior Partners for Justice to expand the Settlement and Early Resolution Volunteers (SERV) project.
The program continues to support all Access to Justice Fellows as they perform important pro bono work, remain active members of the legal community, and help people and groups in need.
The 2017-2018 Access to Justice Fellows are:
- Arlene Bernstein - Volunteer Lawyers Project
- Hon. Patricia Bernstein (ret.) - Justice Bridge Legal Center
- Stephanie Biggs - Volunteer Lawyers Project
- Margaret Brill - Citizen Schools
- Hon. Cynthia Cohen (ret.) - Massachusetts Access to Justice Commission
- Nina Crimm - Massachusetts Appleseed Center for Law and Justice
- Mike Elefante - SouthCoast Chamber of Commerce
- Irene Freidel - PAIR (Political Asylum/Immigration Representation) Project, Massachusetts Access to Justice Commission, Massachusetts Rivers Alliance
- Hon. Rudolph Kass (ret.) - Greater Boston Legal Services
- Lisa Lopez - KIND (Kids in Need of Defense)
- Paul Newman - Volunteer Lawyers Project/SERV (Settlement and Early Resolution Volunteers) Project
- Kathleen Parker - Justice Bridge Legal Center
- Steve Parker - Veterans Legal Services
- Diane F. Paulson - Jewish Family & Children's Service
- Win Quayle - Conservation Law Foundation
- Sarah Reynolds - Greater Boston Legal Services
- Stephen Richmond - MetroWest Legal Services
- Tom Shapiro - Justice Bridge Legal Center
- Paul Stanzler - Justice At Work
- Evelynne Swagerty - Boston CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children)
- Toni Wolfman - Greater Boston Legal Services