MBA volunteers provide free legal advice to Western Mass. residents

Thursday, April 19, 2018
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Top: MBA volunteer attorney Susan A. McCoy discusses the Western Mass. Dial-A-Lawyer program on the Mass Appeal TV show in Springfield. Bottom: MBA members answer callers' questions.

Residents of Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden and Hampshire counties received free legal advice courtesy of 17 volunteer attorneys who participated in the Massachusetts Bar Association’s semiannual Dial-A-Lawyer call-in program on April 12, hosted by Western New England University School of Law.

Over a span of three hours, MBA representatives fielded 178 calls on matters related to family law, elder law, consumer law, real estate law, employment law and tax law, among others. Thanks to the generosity of member attorneys specializing in various practice areas, the MBA continued a public service tradition begun 24 years ago in Western Massachusetts.

Earlier in the day, longtime Dial-A-Lawyer volunteer Susan A. McCoy promoted the program as a guest on the Mass Appeal TV show, which airs Monday through Friday on WWLP in Springfield. 

“It’s a great opportunity for [lawyers] to give back to the community, and give back a lot,” said McCoy, noting that she expected to answer as many as 15 calls in an hour and a half. “[We] have an opportunity to give those people peace of mind on whether they need to find a lawyer of their own, in which case we will give them resources,” she said. 

Similar to McCoy, Springfield attorney Juan Rivera takes part in Dial-A-Lawyer out of concern for individuals whose work commitments prevent them from accessing legal services during the day. “It’s a good service to help those people, especially elders, who wouldn’t have a way of getting advice otherwise,” he said. 

Volunteer Dorothy Varon, also based in Springfield, said the program “is a way of helping people who think there’s no hope.”

Dial-A-Lawyer is co-sponsored by Western New England University School of Law, The Republican, El Pueblo Latino, the Massachusetts Association of Hispanic Attorneys and the Hispanic National Bar Association.

The MBA thanks the following members for donating their time and expertise to this important public service effort:
• Hon. Henry Boroff (ret.), Western New England University School of Law, Springfield
• Mark Cress, Bulkley, Richardson & Gelinas, LLP, Springfield
• Michele Feinstein, Shatz, Schwartz and Fentin PC, Springfield 
• Carol Klyman, Shatz, Schwartz and Fentin PC, Springfield
• Erin J. Meehan, Doherty, Wallace, Pillsbury & Murphy PC, Springfield
• Jessica McArdle, Committee for Public Counsel Services - Children and Family Law Division, Northampton
• Susan A. McCoy, Cooley Shrair PC, Springfield
• Thomas O'Connor Jr., Thomas D. O'Connor Jr., Attorney at Law, Springfield
• David W. Ostrander, Ostrander Law Office, Northampton
• Edward Pikula, City of Springfield - Law Department, Springfield
• Sanjiv Reejhsinghani, Law Office of Sanjiv Reejhsinghani, Longmeadow 
• Juan Rivera, Juan M. Rivera Esq., Springfield
• Michael Siddall, Siddall & Siddall, P.C., Springfield
• Stephen Smith, Law Offices of Stephen A. Smith, Millis  
• Dennis E. Tully, Atty. Dennis E. Tully, East Longmeadow
• Dorothy Varon, MassMutual Financial Group, Springfield 
• James B. Winston, James B. Winston Law Office, Northampton