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