Posts Tagged ‘“Civil Legal Aid”’
Breakstone, White & Gluck Supports the Equal Justice Coalition’s Walk to the Hill 2019
Breakstone, White & Gluck was pleased to support and participate in the Equal Justice Coalition’s Walk to the Hill, seeking increased funding for civil legal aid in Massachusetts. Attorney David W. White joined hundreds of lawyers at the Massachusetts State House, urging legislators to help fund free legal services to residents who cannot afford an attorney on their own. Many Massachusetts residents are not familiar with the coalition until they need help with a landlord dispute, consumer fraud or another non-criminal matter. Then the coalition’s services become critical because when someone faces criminal charges, they have the right to an attorney. But those who need representation in a civil matter are on their own. If they can’t afford a lawyer, the person could suffer devastating losses, personally and financially. With more funding for civil legal aid, the coalition and other legal aid organizations can help more individuals and families stay on track, in their homes, working, receiving medical treatment or going to school without interruption.
The Equal Justice Coalition was created in 1999 by the Boston Bar Association, the Massachusetts Bar Association and the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation. Representatives from these programs participated in a speaking program in the Great Hall at the State House, before attorneys began visiting lawmakers’ offices. Speakers included Louis Tompros, chair of the Equal Justice Coalition; Lynne M. Parker, Executive Director of the Mass. Legal Assistance Corporation; Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph Gants; Christopher Kenney, President of the Massachusetts Bar Association and Jacquelynne Bowman, Executive Director of the Greater Boston Legal Services.
Lobbying for Civil Legal Aid in Massachusetts
The lawyers of Breakstone, White & Gluck lobbied their state legislators on Beacon Hill today in support of increased funding for civil legal aid as part of the annual Walk to the Hill 2014. The event, sponsored by the Equal Justice Coalition, draws lawyers from across the Commonwealth for a day of lobbying for the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation, which provides legal aid for the poor and underserved.
“The amount of funding for civil legal aid has suffered a decline in the last ten years; some sources of funding have dried up, costs have increased, and the legislature has been slow to fill the gap. We are asking our legislators to increase funding from $13 million in the last fiscal year to $17 million this year,” said David White. Governor Patrick has recommended only $14 million in his budget request.
Marc Breakstone explained that investing in legal aid actually saves the state money in the long run. “For example, legal service agencies can help find available Federal benefits which people are already entitled to, and can prevent people from being wrongfully evicted and becoming homeless,” he explained. “For example,” Breakstone added, “in Fiscal Year 2012, legal aid organizations unlocked over $70 million in new revenue and cost savings, all on a modest budget of $10.5 million.”
However, caseloads are increasing, staff is being cut, and the number of people who need legal services, but cannot receive them because of budget limitations, continues to increase.
“Massachusetts needs to continue its commitment to the poor and disabled,” said Ronald Gluck. “Considering the return on investment in legal aid, the issue should be a no-brainer,” he added.
For more information, visit the website of the Equal Justice Coalition, or the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation.