SJC appoints 22 members to expanded Access to Justice Commission

Issue May 2010

The Supreme Judicial Court announced the appointment of 22 members to the Access to Justice Commission, having reconstituted the commission following its initial five-year term. The commission is co-chaired by the Hon. Ralph D. Gants, associate justice of the Supreme Judicial Court, and attorney David W. Rosenberg, of Rosenberg, Schapiro, Englander, Chicoine and Leggett PC. Its first meeting was held in late March.

The former commission was chaired by retired Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Herbert P. Wilkins.

Chief Justice Margaret H. Marshall said, "The Access to Justice Commission will provide leadership, vision and coordination to all entities involved in providing and expanding access to justice, especially to those unable to afford counsel. Both the legal community and the community at large have a responsibility to achieve equal justice for all persons in the commonwealth. The membership on the commission is therefore being expanded to include members of the business, medical and technological communities, and the executive branch. Other members will represent the judiciary, law schools, bar associations and bar foundations, and legal services and clients."

In addition to Gants and Rosenberg, the members appointed to serve three-year terms on a staggered basis are:

Navjeet K. Bal, Esq., commissioner, Massachusetts Department of Revenue, and former chair of the Legal Advocacy and Resource Center;

Jacquelynne J. Bowman, Esq., deputy director, Greater Boston Legal Services Inc., Eastern Legal Services Region representative and a member of the former commission;

Hon. Cynthia J. Cohen, associate justice, Appeals Court, and chair of the former SJC Steering Committee on Self-Represented Litigants;

Hon. Pamela M. Dashiell, justice of Boston Municipal Court;

Anthony M. Doniger, Esq., Sugarman, Rogers, Barshak & Cohen PC, Boston, former president of the Boston Bar Association, representative of the Boston Bar Association/Boston Bar Foundation, and a member of the former

Russell Engler, Esq., professor of law and director of Clinical Programs, New England School of Law;

Hon. Dina E. Fein, special advisor to the Trial Court on Access to Justice Initiatives, first justice of the Western Division Housing Court, Springfield, and a member of the former commission;

Joel H. Feldman, Esq., Heisler, Feldman, McCormick & Garrow PC, Springfield, Central/Western Legal Services Region representative;

Robert B. Foster, Esq., Rackemann, Sawyer & Brewster PC, Boston, representative of Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corp., and a member of the former commission;

Hon. Kathryn E. Hand, justice, Region 1, Southeast, District Court Department;

Brent L. Henry, Esq., vice president and general counsel, Partners Health Care System;

Sandra L. Jesse, Esq., chief legal officer and executive vice president, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts Inc., former president, Boston Bar Foundation;

Ann Bailey Leavenworth, office administrator, Holy Family Catholic Church, Springfield, client representative to the commission, and former commission member;

Sue Marsh, executive director of Rosie's Place and a member of the former commission;

Richard McMahon, Esq., executive director, South Coastal Counties Legal Services Inc., Southeast Legal Services Region representative, and a member of the former commission;

Hon. Angela M. Ordoñez, associate justice, Probate and Family Court, Norfolk Division, Canton;

Hon. Steven D. Pierce, chief justice, Housing Court Department;

Allan G. Rodgers, Esq., executive director, Massachusetts Law Reform Institute;

Jay T. Thiel, Esq., Northeast Legal Services Region representative;

James T. Van Buren, Esq., representative of the Massachusetts Bar Association/Massachusetts Bar Foundation, and a member of the former commission.