Posts Categorized: Lawyer Referral Service

Public Service: A Year in Photos

Blizzards and slow public transportation didn’t stop our volunteers from getting out in the community and giving back during 2015. Take a look below for highlights from the BBA’s 2015 public service efforts:

Lawyers braved the snow and marched to the Massachusetts State House for the annual Walk to the Hill. The 2015 Walk to the Hill was more important than ever. As you may remember, the BBA Statewide Task Force to Expand Civil Legal Aid in Massachusetts released its long-awaited report in November called Investing in Justice, which found that the majority of clients seeking legal assistance are turned away and made the business case for an additional $30 million in civil legal aid funding. The Legislature appropriated $17 million to fund civil legal aid, a satisfying increase in a year marked largely by level funding.

Lawyers braved the snow and marched to the Massachusetts State House for the annual Walk to the Hill. The 2015 Walk to the Hill was more important than ever. As you may remember, the BBA Statewide Task Force to Expand Civil Legal Aid in Massachusetts released its long-awaited report in November called Investing in Justice, which found that the majority of clients seeking legal assistance are turned away and made the business case for an additional $30 million in civil legal aid funding. The Legislature appropriated $17 million to fund civil legal aid, a satisfying increase in a year marked largely by level funding.

In January 2014, the John & Abigail Adams Benefit raised over $650,000 to help to fund grants to 23 Massachusetts community organizations providing legal services in areas such as immigration, domestic violence and homelessness.

In January 2014, the John & Abigail Adams Benefit raised over $650,000 to help to fund grants to 23 Massachusetts community organizations providing legal services in areas such as immigration, domestic violence and homelessness.

With the help of PILP 11, the BBA Reentry Education Program expanded to provide civil legal workshops to participants in the CHOICE Program at Boston Municipal Court, Roxbury. Overall, volunteers led 12 sessions with a total of 103 participants to prepare participants to address civil legal issues they may face upon reentry.

With the help of PILP 11, the BBA Reentry Education Program expanded to provide civil legal workshops to participants in the CHOICE Program at Boston Municipal Court, Roxbury. Overall, volunteers led 12 sessions with a total of 103 participants to prepare participants to address civil legal issues they may face upon reentry.

In 2015, over 160 volunteers taught 570 high school students in 12 schools about personal finance and budgeting, credit cards, and buying a car through the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program. As you may remember, the BBA partners with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court to run the program throughout the state.

In 2015, over 160 volunteers taught 570 high school students in 12 schools about personal finance and budgeting, credit cards, and buying a car through the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program. As you may remember, the BBA partners with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court to run the program throughout the state.

The BBF’s popular Casino Night once again drew a large crowd. The event, which supports the BBA Summer Jobs Program by funding paid internships for Boston high school students in nonprofit and government agencies each summer through the program, raised more than $34,000.

The BBF’s popular Casino Night once again drew a large crowd. The event, which supports the BBA Summer Jobs Program by funding paid internships for Boston high school students in nonprofit and government agencies each summer through the program, raised more than $34,000.

The Lawyer for the Day in the Boston Housing Court Program didn’t slow down this year! With the help of 350 volunteers, the program assisted over 1,213 landlords and tenants in the Boston Housing Court.

The Lawyer for the Day in the Boston Housing Court Program didn’t slow down this year! With the help of 350 volunteers, the program assisted over 1,213 landlords and tenants in the Boston Housing Court.

This spring, 77 volunteer taught over 1,000 Boston public school students from kindergarten through seniors in high school about the importance of laws through the BBA’s Law Day in the Schools Program.

This spring, 77 volunteer taught over 1,000 Boston public school students from kindergarten through seniors in high school about the importance of laws through the BBA’s Law Day in the Schools Program.

The BBA presented three public service awards to deserving recipients at the annual Law Day Dinner. Barbara Mitchell, the former Executive Director of Community Legal Services and Counseling Center, received the John G. Brooks Legal Services Award to honor her leadership and commitment to legal services; Al Wallis, the Executive Director of Brown Rudnick Center for Public Interest, received the Thurgood Marshall Award for his leadership in public interest and corporate social responsibility; and Jack Ward, the former Associate Director for Finance & Development at Greater Boston Legal Services, received the President’s Award for this leadership and guidance at Greater Boston Legal Services.

The BBA presented three public service awards to deserving recipients at the annual Law Day Dinner. Barbara Mitchell, the former Executive Director of Community Legal Services and Counseling Center, received the John G. Brooks Legal Services Award to honor her leadership and commitment to legal services; Al Wallis, the Executive Director of Brown Rudnick Center for Public Interest, received the Thurgood Marshall Award for his leadership in public interest and corporate social responsibility; and Jack Ward, the former Associate Director for Finance & Development at Greater Boston Legal Services, received the President’s Award for this leadership and guidance at Greater Boston Legal Services.

The BBF held the second annual Passports to Pairings event, where 100 % of the proceeds supported the BBA Public Service Programs. The event raise nearly $34,000, featured food and beverage pairings, and gave attendees an opportunity learn more about the BBA and BBF’s work in the community.

The BBF held the second annual Passports to Pairings event, where 100 % of the proceeds supported the BBA Public Service Programs. The event raise nearly $34,000, featured food and beverage pairings, and gave attendees an opportunity learn more about the BBA and BBF’s work in the community.

The BBA continued to step up its commitment to the Mayor’s Summer Jobs Program by placing a record-breaking 65 Boston high school students in paid internships at Boston law firms, legal departments, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations through the BBA Summer Jobs Program. The BBF also increased its commitment to the program by funding 15 of these paid positions at non-profit community organizations, government offices and courts.

The BBA continued to step up its commitment to the Mayor’s Summer Jobs Program by placing a record-breaking 65 Boston high school students in paid internships at Boston law firms, legal departments, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations through the BBA Summer Jobs Program. The BBF also increased its commitment to the program by funding 15 of these paid positions at non-profit community organizations, government offices and courts.

While October is officially Pro Bono Month, the BBA celebrated pro bono all year-round. Since January 2015, the BBA has trained over 400 attorneys to take pro bono cases in a range of areas, including landlord tenant law, veterans discharge appeals, and debt collections.

While October is officially Pro Bono Month, the BBA celebrated pro bono all year-round. Since January 2015, the BBA has trained over 400 attorneys to take pro bono cases in a range of areas, including landlord tenant law, veterans discharge appeals, and debt collections.

The BBF held an inaugural Society of Fellows Appreciation Breakfast at the Liberty Hotel in Boston this November. The Breakfast was an opportunity to recognize members of the Society for their support of the BBF and to celebrate what their generosity has allowed the BBF to accomplish in the last year.

The BBF held an inaugural Society of Fellows Appreciation Breakfast at the Liberty Hotel in Boston this November. The Breakfast was an opportunity to recognize members of the Society for their support of the BBF and to celebrate what their generosity has allowed the BBF to accomplish in the last year.

The Claflin Center was packed on November 12th for the Veterans Day Reception, which featured a lively speech and Q & A with Congressman Seth Moulton, a former Marine Corps Captain who served four tours in Iraq. This event aimed to build a community for servicemembers in the legal field to share common experiences and challenges.

The Claflin Center was packed on November 12th for the Veterans Day Reception, which featured a lively speech and Q & A with Congressman Seth Moulton, a former Marine Corps Captain who served four tours in Iraq. This event aimed to build a community for servicemembers in the legal field to share common experiences and challenges.

BBA President Lisa Arrowood spent the morning observing a humanities teacher meeting, greeting students, and visiting classrooms at the Frederick Pilot Middle School in Dorchester through BPE’s Principal for a Day Program.

BBA President Lisa Arrowood spent the morning observing a humanities teacher meeting, greeting students, and visiting classrooms at the Frederick Pilot Middle School in Dorchester through BPE’s Principal for a Day Program.

The BBA Lawyer Referral Service participated in a number of community events this year, including the Massachusetts Conference for Women which drew a crowd of nearly 10,000. These events help to raise awareness of about the largest public service program of the Boston Bar Association, which fielded over 7,700 calls last year.

The BBA Lawyer Referral Service participated in a number of community events this year, including the Massachusetts Conference for Women which drew a crowd of nearly 10,000. These events help to raise awareness of about the largest public service program of the Boston Bar Association, which fielded over 7,700 calls last year.

BBA Lawyer Referral Service Connects with Boston Community

The BBA LRS spent last Wednesday and Thursday doing outreach at the Massachusetts Women's Conference.

The BBA LRS spent last Wednesday and Thursday doing outreach at the Massachusetts Women’s Conference.

Along with a crowd of nearly 10,000 individuals, staff from the BBA’s Lawyer Referral Service (LRS) exhibited at the 11th Annual Massachusetts Conference for Women last week at the Boston Convention Center.

The Massachusetts Conference for Women is the largest community outreach and marketing event of the year for the BBA’s Lawyer Referral Service.  For the LRS staff, this day is a rare opportunity to meet with members of the public face-to-face, rather than on the other end of a phone call, and a great opportunity to raise awareness about the LRS and the resources it has to both members of the public and other lawyers

“This conference is an event I look forward to each year,” said Solana Goss, LRS Intake Coordinator.  “The LRS program speaks to nearly 8,000 individuals per year, entirely on the phone or through our online request function.  It’s nice to meet people directly who end up calling a day or two later. Throughout the conference we also met BBA members, new lawyers, law students, and members of the legal community we hope will come through the doors at 16 Beacon!”

BBA LRS Celebrates Boston Pride

The theme of this year’s festivities was “Wicked Proud,” evidenced by the city draped in rainbow flags.

The theme of this year’s festivities was “Wicked Proud,” evidenced by the city draped in rainbow flags.

This past Saturday, the BBA Lawyer Referral Service (LRS) joined thousands of participants and spectators at the 45th Annual Boston Pride Parade to support the LGBTQ community.

The festival is part of “Pride Week,” 10 days of events, parades and live performances organized by the nonprofit, Boston Pride. More than 200 companies, schools and other institutions participated.

A number of public officials took part in the festivities, including Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, and Attorney General Maura Healey.

BBA staff set up their booth at City Hall Plaza to reach out to Boston’s diverse community, informing attendees how to obtain legal assistance through the LRS.  The LRS attends outreach events throughout Boston year round to spread the word about the services offered to public.

BBA employees set up shop at Government Center’s City Hall Plaza.

BBA employees set up shop at Government Center’s City Hall Plaza.

 

For more information on the BBA’s Lawyer Referral Service, please contact Solana Goss, LRS Intake Coordinator, at [email protected].

BBA LRS Makes Connections at Victim Rights Conference

Attorney General Maura Healy welcomes conference attendees with remarks about victim services throughout the state.

Attorney General Maura Healy welcomes conference attendees with remarks about victim services throughout the state.

Last Friday, BBA Lawyer Referral Service staff attended the 2015 Victim Rights Conference hosted by our friends at the Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance (MOVA).  This annual conference brings together individuals and agencies that promote victim rights and services, and is held every April in honor of Victim Rights Month in Massachusetts. For the second year in a row the BBA was there as an exhibitor to highlight services offered by the Lawyer Referral Service (LRS) by informing providers how to connect clients with legal resources. This is part of the community outreach the LRS does throughout the year in order to connect with the public.

Although we made many great connections, the highlight of the day was listening to an inspiring panel of survivors who have taken action to help empower victims and prevent crime.  The conference kicked off with a welcome from Liam Lowney, the Executive Director of MOVA, and Attorney General Maura Healey (who will also be the Keynote speaker at the BBA’s Law Day Dinner next month!).  Survivors and providers shared their stories and were honored for their service, including Congresswoman Niki Tsongas for her work to address military sexual assault, and Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley who has dedicated her career to addressing violence and poverty in the city.

If you would like more information about the Lawyer Referral Service please contact Solana Goss at [email protected].

LRS staff connect with conference attendees, and explain the referral process to those looking for legal help.

LRS staff connect with conference attendees, and explain the referral process to those looking for legal help.

A Year in Photos: BBA Public Service

The BBA had another year full of public service. For a look back at our members’ work in the community, take a look at the photos below:

The John & Abigail Adams Benefit raised over $640,000 last January to help fund grants to 23 Massachusetts community organizations providing legal services in areas, such as domestic violence and homelessness.

The John & Abigail Adams Benefit raised over $640,000 last January to help fund grants to 23 Massachusetts community organizations providing legal services in areas, such as domestic violence and homelessness. The BBF honored Former Boston Mayor Thomas Menino with the Public Service Award for his commitment to the City of Boston, including his efforts to find employment for thousands of Boston teens each summer.

The M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program celebrated its 10th anniversary this past year by providing financial education to students in 18 high schools statewide.

The M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program celebrated its 10th anniversary this past year by providing financial education to students in 18 high schools statewide.

The BBF’s popular Casino Night had a new twist this year—100 percent of the proceeds supported the BBA Summer Jobs Program. As you may remember, the BBF funds paid internships for Boston high school students in nonprofit and government agencies each summer through the program. The event raised more than $35,000 for the M. Ellen Carpenter Fund to benefit the Summer Jobs Program.

The BBF’s popular Casino Night had a new twist this year—100 percent of the proceeds supported the BBA Summer Jobs Program. As you may remember, the BBF funds paid internships for Boston high school students in nonprofit and government agencies each summer through the program. The event raised more than $35,000 for the M. Ellen Carpenter Fund to benefit the Summer Jobs Program.

http://www.bostonbar.org/in-the-community/public-service/housing-court-lawyer-for-the-day-program

The BBA Lawyer for the Day in the Boston Housing Court Program celebrated its 15th year anniversary of providing legal assistance to pro se landlords and tenants at the Boston Housing Court. Since the program began, over 12,000 volunteers have helped more than 15,000 landlords and tenants navigate complicated legal issues.

In April, Boston commemorated the one year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings. The following month, the BBA honored the volunteers who stepped up to offer pro bono legal assistance to over 80 small businesses and individuals affected by the bombings at the Law Day Dinner through the BBA’s Marathon Assistance Project.

In April, Boston commemorated the one year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings. The following month, the BBA honored the volunteers who stepped up to offer pro bono legal assistance to over 80 small businesses and individuals affected by the bombings at the Law Day Dinner through the BBA’s Marathon Assistance Project.

The BBA’s Law Day in the Schools Program took off this year. Ninety-four attorneys taught over 1,300 Boston public school students from kindergarten through seniors in high school about voting rights.

The BBA’s Law Day in the Schools Program took off this year. Ninety-four attorneys taught over 1,300 Boston public school students from kindergarten through seniors in high school about voting rights.

In addition to honoring the volunteers for the Marathon Assistance Project, the BBA honored the Boston Private Industry Council (PIC) at the Law Day Dinner. The BBA and PIC have partnered for the past 21 years to place more than 700 Boston public high school students in paid legal internships each summer.

In addition to honoring the volunteers for the Marathon Assistance Project, the BBA honored the Boston Private Industry Council (PIC) at the Law Day Dinner. The BBA and PIC have partnered for the past 21 years to place more than 700 Boston public high school students in paid legal internships each summer through the BBA Summer Jobs Program.

In June, the BBF unveiled its newest fundraising event, called Passports to Pairings, where 100 % of the proceeds supported the BBA Public Service Programs. The event raise nearly $37,000, featured food and beverage pairings, and gave attendees an opportunity learn more about the BBA and BBF’s work in the community.

In June, the BBF unveiled its newest fundraising event, called Passports to Pairings, where 100 % of the proceeds supported the BBA Public Service Programs. The event raise nearly $37,000, featured food and beverage pairings, and gave attendees an opportunity learn more about the BBA and BBF’s work in the community.

The BBA continued to step up its commitment to the Mayor’s Summer Jobs Program by placing a record-breaking 64 Boston high school students in paid internships at Boston law firms, legal departments, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations through the BBA Summer Jobs Program. The BBF also increased its commitment to the program by funding 14 of these paid positions at non-profit community organizations, government offices and courts.

The BBA continued to step up its commitment to the Mayor’s Summer Jobs Program by placing a record-breaking 64 Boston high school students in paid internships at Boston law firms, legal departments, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations through the BBA Summer Jobs Program. The BBF also increased its commitment to the program by funding 14 of these paid positions at non-profit community organizations, government offices and courts.

On September 1, 2014, the BBA celebrated the one year anniversary of the Military & Veterans Help Line’s move to the BBA Lawyer Referral Service, connecting 161%more servicemembers to legal assistance. Later in the fall, the BBA announced that four firms—Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP, Nixon Peabody LLP, Morgan, Lewis, & Bockius, and Nutter McClellen & Fish LLP—had stepped up to offer pro bono assistance to servicemembers who do not qualify for traditional free legal services, but cannot afford the fees of attorneys.

On September 1, 2014, the BBA celebrated the one year anniversary of the Military & Veterans Help Line’s move to the BBA Lawyer Referral Service, connecting 161% more servicemembers to legal assistance. Later in the fall, the BBA announced that four firms—Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP, Nixon Peabody LLP, Morgan, Lewis, & Bockius, and Nutter McClellen & Fish LLP—had stepped up to offer pro bono assistance to servicemembers who do not qualify for traditional free legal services, but cannot afford the fees of attorneys.

The BBA welcomed Congresswoman Niki Tsongas, who discussed her work and commitment to combating military sexual trauma. This program is part of the BBA’s ongoing commitment to addressing the needs of military personnel, veterans, and their family members.

The BBA welcomed Congresswoman Niki Tsongas, who discussed her work and commitment to combating military sexual trauma. This program is part of the BBA’s ongoing commitment to addressing the needs of military personnel, veterans, and their family members.

October, proclaimed Pro Bono Month, once again brought a flurry of trainings and events to 16 Beacon. The lineup included the annual Landlord Tenant Law and Practice Training, the CORI Training, the Pro Bono Recruitment Fair, and the Representing Survivors of Human Trafficking: An Introduction for Attorneys Program.

October, proclaimed Pro Bono Month, once again brought a flurry of trainings and events to 16 Beacon. The lineup included the annual Landlord Tenant Law and Practice Training, the CORI Training, the Pro Bono Recruitment Fair, and the Representing Survivors of Human Trafficking: An Introduction for Attorneys Program.

The BBA Statewide Task Force to Expand Civil Legal Aid in Massachusetts released its long-awaited report called Investing in Justice, which found that the majority of clients seeking legal assistance are turned away and made the business case for an additional $30 million in civil legal aid funding.

The BBA Statewide Task Force to Expand Civil Legal Aid in Massachusetts released its long-awaited report called Investing in Justice, which found that the majority of clients seeking legal assistance are turned away and made the business case for an additional $30 million in civil legal aid funding.

The BBA kicked off the Community Reentry Readiness Program once again this November. The program, which was originally started by PILP 9, aims to reduce the risk of recidivism by sending volunteer attorneys to deliver civil legal education workshops to federal probations in the CARE/RESTART Program on issues that they may face upon reentry.  The pilot program was such a success that the BBA and Federal Court once again teamed up to continue the program.

The BBA kicked off the Community Reentry Readiness Program once again this November. The program, which was originally started by PILP 9, aims to reduce the risk of recidivism by sending volunteer attorneys to deliver civil legal education workshops to federal probations in the CARE/RESTART Program on issues that they may face upon reentry. The pilot program was such a success that the BBA and Federal Court once again teamed up to continue the program.

In November, BBA President Julia Huston spent the morning shadowing the headmaster of Mary Lyon Pilot High School in Brighton through BPE’s Principal for a Day Program. As a former teacher in special education, Julia found the program particularly interesting because every single class at the Mary Lyon Pilot High School is fully inclusive, incorporating both general education and students with emotional and behavioral impairments.

In November, BBA President Julia Huston spent the morning shadowing the headmaster of Mary Lyon Pilot High School in Brighton through BPE’s Principal for a Day Program. As a former teacher in special education, Julia found the program particularly interesting because every single class at the Mary Lyon Pilot High School is fully inclusive, incorporating both general education and students with emotional and behavioral impairments.

The BBA Lawyer Referral Service participated in a number of community events this year, including the Massachusetts Conference for Women which drew a crowd of nearly 10,000.  These events help to raise awareness of about the largest public service program of the Boston Bar Association, which fielded over 7,900 calls last year.

The BBA Lawyer Referral Service participated in a number of community events this year, including the Massachusetts Conference for Women which drew a crowd of nearly 10,000. These events help to raise awareness of about the largest public service program of the Boston Bar Association, which fielded over 7,900 calls last year.

In December, the BBA geared up to kick off an exciting new pilot program in the Land Court with a training on assisting homeowners facing tax foreclosure.  . Now that a number of attorneys are up to speed on the issue, they can volunteer to be on call to assist homeowners at the Land Court’s Thursday Tax Title Sessions and help homeowners hold onto their property.

In December, the BBA geared up to kick off an exciting new pilot program in the Land Court with a training on assisting homeowners facing tax foreclosure. Now that a number of attorneys are up to speed on the issue, they can volunteer to be on call to assist homeowners at the Land Court’s Thursday Tax Title Sessions and help homeowners hold onto their property.

 

BBA LRS Reaches 10,000 at the Massachusetts Conference for Women

The BBA staff explained the role of the BBA and the Lawyer Referral Service in the community for both attorneys, law students, and the public.

The BBA staff explained the role of the BBA and the Lawyer Referral Service in the community to attendees, including attorneys, law students, and the general public.

Drawing a notable crowd of nearly 10,000, the 10th Annual Massachusetts Conference for Women took place last Thursday at the Boston Convention Center.

The BBA’s Lawyer Referral Service (LRS) participated in this event as an exhibitor, raising awareness about the largest public service program of the Boston Bar Association.  For those who aren’t familiar with the LRS  – last year the program connected more than 8,000 members of the public with quality legal assistance, and became the permanent home of the Military & Veterans Legal Helpline.  For more than 50 years, the LRS has been a trusted resource for those looking for legal help.

This year’s conference culminated in a keynote address from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. She discussed the importance of continued progress for women socially and economically, mentioning equal pay for women and paid leave, and remarking about justice for all individuals across the globe.

The Massachusetts Conference for Women is the largest community outreach and marketing event of the year for the BBA’s Lawyer Referral Service.  Here is what the LRS Intake Coordinator Solana Goss had to say about the Conference:

“This is my 3rd year attending the conference with the BBA/LRS.  I am always impressed with the sheer number of attendees who are there to acknowledge and celebrate the accomplishments of women not just in the city we live in, but nationally and internationally.  As an exhibitor participating in grassroots community outreach to those needing legal assistance, I was compelled to hear the real life stories of those in our community who need to access our services. It’s been a little over a week since the conference, but we have already had a few people call and specifically mention they met us at the conference. It’s gratifying knowing that we can make real connections with individuals in our community.”

Take a look below for more images from the event:

The BBA set up shop as an exhibitor.  This is the 5th year that the LRS has participated.

The BBA set up shop as an exhibitor. This is the 5th year that the LRS has participated.

The 10th Annual Massachusetts Conference for Women drew nearly 200 exhibitors and 10,000 attendees.

The 10th Annual Massachusetts Conference for Women drew nearly 200 exhibitors and 10,000 attendees.

For more information on the Lawyer Referral Service, please contact Solana Goss, LRS Intake Coordinator, at [email protected].

Veterans Face Challenges Navigating the System – How You Can Help

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This Veterans Day, we remember the past and ongoing sacrifices of the men, women and their families who have served our nation.

That’s why we wanted to share this Boston Globe article that sheds light on just how difficult navigating the VA system can be not only for clients, but for lawyers as well.

The article tells the story of a 59-year old Vietnam Veteran, and his difficulty communicating with the VA about his benefits.  Despite serving his country bravely and honorably during a time of war, the veteran has encountered hurdles that would leave many too frustrated to overcome.  Along the way, he has been helped by a pro bono attorney Steve Veenema, who now works at Murphy & King.  Despite being proactive and communicating to the VA that he was receiving Social Security benefits for an automobile accident, the veteran was penalized for a VA error that was not his fault.  Even his lawyer had difficulty being acknowledged by the VA in several instances, and found that the way that his client was treated by the VA system caused needless frustration and suffering.   For the full story, we encourage you to read the whole article.

So what can you do to help?  We receive calls daily though the BBA Military & Veterans Legal Help Line though the Lawyer Referral Service.   If you or your firm is interested in receiving referrals from this line, please contact Solana Goss at (617) 778-1978 or [email protected].    You may have seen last week that 4 BBA sponsor firms have volunteered to accept pro bono referrals through the Help Line – hear from them why they stepped up to help military members, veterans and their families.

To read about the BBA’s impact with the military & veterans community over this past year, click here.

 

One Year Later: The BBA Military & Veterans Legal Help Line

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Solana Goss – Lawyer Referral Service Intake Coordinator

For the past year, I have had the opportunity to work firsthand expanding the BBA’s Lawyer Referral Service’s reach to service members, veterans and their families through the Military & Veterans Legal Help Line. September marks the one year anniversary that the Lawyer Referral Service (LRS) has housed the help line, which was developed in 2011 to connect this underserved population with the legal resources they need.  As the Intake Coordinator of the BBA’s Lawyer Referral Service, I connect hundreds of callers per week with attorneys, legal services, and community organizations. Whenever I pick up the phone and the caller identifies as a disabled veteran struggling to pay their mortgage, or an active duty military member facing family law disputes, I am reminded of the strength, courage, and dedication that these individuals put forth to serve our country.  That this need exists so prevalently in our society helps motivate me to do what I can to improve access to legal services for the individuals and their families who served our nation.  I leave each call remembering that there is more than we can do for veterans. Instead of just thanking veterans for their service, I am fortunate enough to show my thanks by offering and connecting them with assistance. The legal community has the opportunity to show their thanks and appreciation for the sacrifices of service members in another way – by agreeing to take cases on their behalf.

Goss_Solana2The BBA and the Lawyer Referral Service has made considerable progress through the Legal Help Line this year. Since September 2013, we have connected 340 active-duty military, veterans, and their families to lawyers and legal services, a 161% increase in the amount of individuals that we were able to serve than the year prior. The LRS maintains a panel of attorneys who are trained to understand the nuances of representing this population, and our Active Duty, Family Members and Veterans Committee is ready to address new challenges in the year ahead.  Despite this great success, we still need more attorneys to take cases. If you are an attorney who wants to help support the BBA’s Military & Veterans Legal Help Line, contact me at [email protected], or the BBA’s Public Service Manager Sonia Shah at [email protected].

The BBA has an ongoing commitment to support service members and their families…so what’s next? On September 23rd the BBA will host the first part of a two-part series to raise awareness about the critical issue of military sexual assault.  U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas will be lending her expertise on the issue and her highlighting her work fighting against sexual assault in Congress.  For more information and to register, click here.

BBA LRS Joins the Party – Celebrates Diversity at Cambridge Carnival

BBA staff set up shop in Kendall Square along with other non-profits and vendors.

BBA staff set up shop in Kendall Square along with other non-profits and vendors.

This past Sunday, the BBA Lawyer Referral Service (LRS) joined in the festivities at the 21st annual Cambridge Carnival International, a celebration rooted in African traditions that brings together the area’s diverse community. This year’s festival drew an estimated 150,000 people, making it the largest festival in Cambridge.

Carnival attendees who stopped by the BBA’s booth learned about the BBA and how to receive a referral from the BBA LRS, only ABA-approved lawyer referral service in the greater Boston area.  This is the 4th year that the BBA staff had a booth at this event.  Attending events around greater Boston is one way that the LRS reaches out to the public about services available to them, including reduced-fee referrals, attorneys who practice Limited Assistance Representation, and the Military Legal Help Line.

Take a look below for more images from the day:

The colorful parade is a highlight of the annual Cambridge Carnival International.

The colorful parade is a highlight of the annual Cambridge Carnival International.

 

Parade participants draw from African & Caribbean roots with their costumes.

Parade participants draw from African & Caribbean roots with their costumes.

To refer clients to the BBA Lawyer Referral Service, please have them call (617)742-0625 or (800)552-7046 Monday through Thursday, 8:30 am to 5:30 pm and Friday from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm.  Clients can also visit us on our bilingual English/Spanish website at www.bostonbarlawyer.org to submit a request online.

 

BBA LRS Expands Reach to Hispanic Community

LRS ESPANOL Last week, the BBA Lawyer Referral Service (LRS) launched a new Spanish-language website.   The website provides all of the same features found on the main site, and has a fully responsive design to mobile and tablet technologies. The BBA LRS has been committed to connecting historically underserved populations with lawyers and legal resources for over 50 years.  The LRS has a bilingual staff member and developed the site in response to the increase of Spanish callers over the years.

Beyond the Billable reached out to Solana Goss, the coordinator of the Lawyer Referral Service, to learn more about the website expansion. Here’s what she had to say: “We have recognized the language barrier gap for many Spanish speaking callers seeking legal assistance.  Ensuring the Spanish-speaking population has access to our information on how to connect with legal resources is vital to our goal of increasing access to justice.  I think it is important that we empower people from the public to stick up for their legal rights by making them aware of their options and how to access help.”

Check out the Lawyer Referral Service’s new Spanish site directly at www.bostonbarlawyer.org/es or through the language toggle option located at the top of www.bostonbarlawyer.org.

If you are a bilingual attorney interested in joining the BBA Lawyer Referral Service, please email LRS Intake Coordinator, Solana Goss at [email protected].   Members from the public can call the LRS at 617-742-0625 or request an attorney online at any time through the website.