Last night, Judge Jeffrey Winik was honored with a Citation of Judicial Excellence for his leadership as the First Justice of the Boston Housing Court. In this role, Judge Winik has dedicated himself to advancing the Lawyer for the Day in the Boston Housing Court Program, which he describes as “access to justice in action.” Volunteer attorneys help provide legal advice and representation to landlords and tenants. Approximately 90 percent of tenants and 50 percent of landlords are unrepresented. Since the program began 14 years ago, 12,000 volunteers have helped more than 14, 500 individuals. However, the sheer volume of cases—the housing court can see about 200 eviction cases on a single day—calls for additional volunteer attorneys.
Here’s how Judge Winik described the volunteer experience:
I guarantee you, you will come away from the experience knowing you have done something important and have helped people who would have been far worse without your assistance.
Lawyer for the Day in the Boston Housing Court is the epitome of a meaningful pro bono opportunity. Just a few hours on a Wednesday or Thursday can make the difference between a family losing their home or a landlord being foreclosed on.
Volunteers can participate individually or with their firm. Volunteers will be trained and supported by staff attorneys from the Volunteer Lawyers Project, Greater Boston Legal Services and Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School during the volunteer session. Interested volunteers should contact Katie D’Angelo, Public Service Programs Coordinator, at [email protected] for more information about ways to get involved.