We’ve talked about the over-abundance of pro se litigants in housing court, probate and family court. What happens when those cases go on appeal?
Unsurprisingly, many litigants continue to represent their own interests on appeal, contributing to further backup of the court system. That’s why the Volunteer Lawyer’s Project, in partnership with the Appeals Court, nine different law firms and six different legal services organizations, has launched the Pro Bono Appellate Pilot Program in Massachusetts.
The program hosts a weekly Clinic at which volunteer attorneys are available to provide legal assistance to eligible litigants, with the potential for further representation on appeal. The Clinic is currently housed at the Appeals Court Clerk’s Office and operates every Wednesday from 12:30p.m. to 4 p.m.
At a recent training, a panel made up of attorneys, court personnel and Appeals Court Chief Justice Scott Kafker spoke about the benefits of the program.
“As all of you know, there’s nothing more frightening and confusing than being a party in a lawsuit. That fear and confusion is compounded many times when you are without counsel,” Kafker said. “You are going to make the appeals court more fair, more accessible and more efficient. We are incredibly grateful for that.”
Panelists also shared best practices for helping low-income clients and some basic tips for navigating the appeals process.
If you are interested in Pro Bono opportunities, don’t miss out on these upcoming trainings:
Representing Veterans in Discharge Upgrades (Advanced Training)
Wednesday, May 18 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Trying a Case in Housing Court
Tuesday, June 14 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.