Monthly Archives: March 2020

Massachusetts Access To Justice Commission Forms COVID-19 Task Force

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. 

Law Day in the Schools – Classroom Sign Up Now Available

The Boston Bar Association is excited to kick off our 2020 Law Day in the Schools program! We are now signing up classrooms for this Spring. This year’s timely theme is entitled: “Your Vote. Your Voice. Our Democracy: The 19th Amendment at 100” and will introduce students to the topic of voting rights, and will demonstrate the importance of exercising those rights to effect change.  Elementary students will learn about women’s suffrage in the United States, while middle school and high school students will participate in an interactive debate on the topic of lowering the voting age.

This program will take place from May 1st – May 31st across the city and is open to all Boston public schools, grades kindergarten through 12th. If you know a Boston public school teacher who may be interested in participating, or would like to get your child’s school involved, please have them complete the Teacher Request Form and return it to Doug Newton at dnewton@bostonbar.org. Stay tuned for volunteer slot openings, which we will open in April.

Any questions? Reach out to Doug Newton at dnewton@bostonbar.org.

Carolyn Marcotte (Barclay Damon) and Leanne Scott (Baker Newman Noyes) volunteer at the Hurley School