Hundreds of attorneys participated in the 16th annual Walk to
the Hill for Civil Legal Aid at the State House on Jan. 29. 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
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 fiscal year
2016 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
In addition to Kazarosian, Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice
Ralph D. Gants, Attorney General Maura T. 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. EJC Chair John J. Carroll Jr. gave opening
remarks and introduced the speakers.
Walk to the Hill was co-sponsored by the Equal Justice Coalition,
MBA, BBA and many local and specialty bar associations. Attorneys
from several Boston-area law firms and organizations participated.
Each year, Walk to the Hill is one of the largest lobbying events
at the State House.