The Massachusetts Access to Justice Commission (ATJ) has convened a COVID-19 Task Force to identify the emergent legal needs of the community and to address newly arising barriers to justice as the result of the ongoing health crisis. The Task Force is working rapidly to tackle Chief Justice Gants’ call for coordination in addressing evolving challenges to court access and relief in a time when being physically present in court is impossible. To that end, the Commission is also focused on disseminating clear and accurate court information while ensuring that there is equal access to the court while it operates remotely.
Former BBA President J.D. Smeallie is serving as the BBA’s liaison to the Task Force, and is identifying ways the BBA can further support the ATJ Commission’s goals of strengthening the civil legal services community and increasing the number of attorneys providing pro bono representation. Last week, the Task Force partnered with the BBA to distribute a survey to all Boston Bar Foundation grantees to help understand the needs of these legal service organizations, and how the private bar can help. This was part of a larger coordinated effort between the BBA, MBA, and MLAC.
Once this data is collected, the BBA will be able to offer ways for its members to best connect with available opportunities that assist the community during this time.
Look out for future updates on the important work of the ATJ COVID-19 Task Force.