On September 29, 2016 the Boston Bar Association published a lengthy article about the goals of new Commission and the accomplishments of previous iterations of the Commission. The article begins:
The start of the BBA’s program year and the new SJC session also coincide with the new seating of the Massachusetts Access to Justice Commission. Now in its third iteration, the Commission is looking to build on its substantial work. Last year alone, the Commission accomplished the following (and more!):
Legal Services Funding: Supported an increase in appropriations for the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation (MLAC), helping achieve a $1 million increase. The BBA was also instrumental in this push, led by the work of Past-President and Chair of the BBA Statewide Task Force to Expand Civil Legal Aid in Massachusetts, D. Smeallie. The Commission also explored alternative funding sources, especially from federal grants.
Increasing Pro Bono: Supported the state’s participation in a new pro bono website, Mass Legal Answers online, org. The Boston Bar Foundation (BBF) is proud to be helping out with funding and the Association is doing its part to educate the bar about the initiative, which promises lawyers the opportunity to provide “pro bono in your PJs.” The concept is simple: in brief, individuals with legal questions who meet certain requirements, such as income limits, can create an account and enter their legal questions into an online database. Licensed lawyers interested in pro bono work can also create an account where they can log in to the question repository and select questions to answer. Check out the site and volunteer!
The Commission also continued to promote pro bono representation, such as through its Access to Justice Fellows Program, which helps facilitate pro bono work by senior and retired attorneys and by expanding the pilot appellate pro bono program statewide.