Access to Justice Update – January 20, 2017

MAURA KELLY HIRED AS TRIAL COURT SENIOR MANAGER FOR ACCESS TO JUSTICE    

Hon. Dina Fein, long the Special Advisor to the Trial Court on Access to Justice initiatives, announced at yesterday’s meeting of the Access to Justice Commission that The Trial Court has hired Maura Kelly for the position of Senior Manager for Access to Justice. Kelly comes to the Court from a position as Assistant Dean for Northeastern’s Co-op Program. She will start in February. I

ACCESS TO JUSTICE HAS A FULL AGENDA

   If the projects discussed at the Commission meeting all come to fruition, Maura will be extremely busy.

    Judge Fein described to the Commission the Access to Justice “domain” in the Trial Court’s Strategic Plan 2.0 – a comprehensive plan featuring improvements in every corner of court interaction with litigants.

    The Justice for All Grant work described by the grant consultant Marc Lauritsen involves developing more efficient and effective ways that all court stakeholders can contribute to providing effective assistance to self-representing litigants with essential legal problems.     

    A panel discussion prompted by the recent issuance of proposed amendments to Mass.R.Civ.P. 8.1 and 55.1 suggested that fundamental problems in credit card debt collection procedures needed attention 

    Boston Mayor Walsh is pushing a bill in the legislature for statewide right to counsel for low-income tenants facing eviction; it will be a difficult proposition even after landlords without resources are given the same rights. 

    An impressive legislative task force report from Connecticut proposed creation of rights to counsel in three substantive areas; several Commissioners suggested that we consider such a task force.

 

FIRST HINT OF TRUMP POSITION ON LSC IS DISCOURAGING

The news was expected but still came as a shock. First signs of the Trump administration’s budget for the Legal Service Corporation is for elimination of the agency. In prior decades that was the recommendation of President Reagan and House Speaker Newt Gingrich. In 1981 and again in 1995-96, the House and Senate refused to go that far — cutting funding and imposing restrictions  on the use of the money that remained.

 

MISSING COAT – DO YOU HAVE IT?’

The coat rack in the crowded corridor outside the meeting room made it difficult to find one’s coat at the end of the meeting. Someone accidentally walked off with the wrong coat, leaving behind their perfectly fine coat in exchange.. The left behind coat has no identification in it. Neither did the missing coat. Please check out what coat you came home with last night and give me a ring at 617-926-0246 if there’s a stranger in our closet. We’d like to reconnect you with your own coat.

 

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