The Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants Access to Justice Fund supports initiatives to advance access to justice, racial equity and criminal justice reform in the legal system. This fund is a collaboration between the Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants Access to Justice Fund Advisory Committee (made up of Chief Justice Gants’ family and close friends), the Massachusetts Bar Association (MBA) and the Massachusetts Bar Foundation (MBF).
Until his unexpected passing in September 2020, Gants had devoted his six years as chief justice to ensuring that the court system worked for people of all backgrounds and income levels. A longtime co-chair of the Massachusetts Access to Justice Commission, Gants led many efforts to expand the availability of counsel for individuals unable to afford representation, and to demystify the legal process for pro se litigants.
As head of the Massachusetts judiciary, Gants was also deeply committed to ending racial disparities in criminal justice, an issue recently brought to the forefront in a Harvard Law School study that he commissioned four years ago. In addition, after the May 2020 death of George Floyd sparked a nationwide movement for racial justice, Gants and his SJC colleagues issued a letter urging legal professionals to help eliminate systemic barriers to universal equity under the law.
Known for his unwavering compassion, Gants believed in a holistic approach to reducing recidivism and in taking steps to enable a successful transition for people leaving the prison system and reentering society. Notably, through his work with the executive and legislative branches on the Justice Reinvestment Initiative, he played a major role in the state’s 2018 enactment of sweeping criminal justice reform.
To learn more about the fund and make a donation, visit www.massbar.org/gantsfund.