Equal Justice Coalition Appoints New Director

Media Contact:
Catherine Rizos
617-391-5627
crizos@mlac.org

Equal Justice Coalition Appoints New Director

Laura Booth to helm partnership between private bar, legal services

BOSTON, August 30, 2016 – The Equal Justice Coalition (EJC) announces the appointment of Laura Booth as the EJC’s director effective September 14. Laura brings nearly two decades of experience in human services and public policy, most recently serving as campaign manager of the Committee to re-elect State Representative Marjorie Decker. Laura replaces Deborah Silva, who left the EJC in July to become executive director of the Massachusetts Appleseed Center for Law and Justice.

“Laura brings great experience to the EJC,” said EJC Chair Louis Tompros. “She is dedicated to improving the lives of low-income residents of Massachusetts, and her experience in human services, public policy and with the legislative process will play a vital role in expanding our efforts to build new communities of support for legal aid funding.”

“I am thrilled to join the Equal Justice Coalition and look forward to advocating for the critical services provided by legal aid programs and engaging and expanding our circle of partners,” Laura said. “I have long held the EJC in the highest regard and I welcome the opportunity to contribute to ​its important work on behalf of low-income individuals and families. ”

Prior to her work with Representative Decker’s re-election campaign, Laura served as Director of Family Services at Heading Home, Inc., and was the Director of Programs at Women’s Lunch Place. She also worked at Rosie’s Place, the Cambridge Economic Opportunity Committee, and in the office of State Senator Anthony Galluccio. Laura earned a master’s degree in public policy from Tufts University and a bachelor’s degree in human services from University of Massachusetts, Boston.

 

About the Equal Justice Coalition

The Equal Justice Coalition is a collaboration of the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation, Massachusetts Bar Association and Boston Bar Association. The EJC includes representatives from bar associations across the Commonwealth, law firms, and the legal services community, who work together to protect the state appropriation for civil legal aid, which funds programs that provide legal advice and representation to low-income Massachusetts residents facing civil legal problems.

State Senator Bruce Tarr to Visit Housing Court

Media Contact:
Catherine Rizos
617-391-5627
crizos@mlac.org

State Senator Bruce Tarr to Visit Housing Court

BOSTON, August 4, 2016—State Senator Bruce Tarr of Gloucester will visit Housing Court at the Brooke Courthouse in Boston at 9:30am on Thursday, August 11, 2016.

Barbara Zimbel, a civil legal aid attorney from Greater Boston Legal Services, will give the senator a tour of Housing Court, which has jurisdiction over civil and criminal actions relating to the health, safety, or welfare of the occupants or owners of residential housing. They will be joined by Massachusetts Bar Association President Robert W. Harnais, Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation Executive Director Lonnie Powers, and Meehan Boyle attorney John Carroll, who is also a member of the Legislative Committee of the Equal Justice Coalition.

“Most of those appearing in Housing Court cannot afford to hire an attorney to defend themselves in foreclosure or eviction proceedings,” said Powers. “We know that two-thirds of those who are facing eviction and have an attorney are able to keep their housing while only one-third of those without legal representation are able to do so.”

Harnais added: “It’s one thing to read about the incredible difference legal aid makes when it comes to improving access to justice. But seeing is believing, and the unfortunate reality is you can see the effects of inadequate funding for legal aid every day in our courthouses. With so many of our citizens fighting for their homes and their safety without a lawyer, it is clear we need to do better. No one should ever walk into a court alone where their home or their well-being is in jeopardy.”

Earlier this year, the Equal Justice Coalition released a video about the need for civil legal aid in Housing Court. It can be viewed at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ku9EUyY2HZY

About the Equal Justice Coalition

The Equal Justice Coalition, a collaboration of the Boston Bar Association, Massachusetts Bar Association and the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation (MLAC), works to increase the state appropriation for civil legal aid through MLAC (line item 0321-1600).

Equal Justice Coalition Welcomes New Chair

Media Contact:
Catherine Rizos
617-391-5627
crizos@mlac.org

Equal Justice Coalition Welcomes New Chair

WilmerHale Partner Louis Tompros to Helm Partnership Between Private Bar, Legal Services

BOSTON, August 1, 2016 – The Equal Justice Coalition (EJC) today announced that WilmerHale attorney Louis Tompros has been appointed chair of the EJC, effective August 1. Tompros replaces John Carroll, of Meehan, Boyle, Black, & Bogdanow, who served as chair for three years.

Tompros is a partner at WilmerHale, focusing on intellectual property litigation. Tompros has also represented numerous clients on a pro bono basis, including local nonprofit organizations, public housing tenants facing eviction, and employees in unemployment claims and appeals. For the past two years, Tompros has led the EJC’s efforts to engage the private bar, and particularly young attorneys, in the campaign to increase funding for civil legal aid.

“We are thrilled to have Louis step into this new role,” said Catherine Rizos, acting director of the EJC. “He is dedicated to ensuring that the Commonwealth’s low-income residents have access to legal representation when facing life-altering legal issues like eviction, domestic violence, and denial of benefits. Louis brings great energy and experience to the EJC and we are grateful to have his leadership as we continue our work to increase funding for and access to civil legal aid.”

“Because of the energy, enthusiasm, and extraordinary advocacy of lawyers from civil legal aid organizations, bar associations, law firms, and corporate legal departments, the EJC has maintained or increased funding for civil legal aid every year for nearly a decade,” Tompros said.  “But there is still much work to be done: even today, more than half of eligible applicants for assistance are turned away, because there are still not enough resources for civil legal aid.  I look forward to continuing to work with EJC to fight until everyone in the Commonwealth has equal access to justice.”

In addition to his work at WilmerHale, Tompros is a Lecturer on Law at the Harvard Law School, where he teaches a course on patent trial advocacy. Tompros received his B.A. in English from Yale University in 2000, and his J.D. from Harvard Law School in 2003. Following law school, he clerked for the Honorable Robert J. Cordy of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, and for the Honorable Richard Linn of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

About the Equal Justice Coalition

The Equal Justice Coalition is a collaboration of the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation (MLAC), Massachusetts Bar Association and Boston Bar Association. The EJC includes representatives from bar associations across the Commonwealth, law firms, and the legal services community, who work together to protect the state appropriation for civil legal aid, which funds programs that provide legal advice and representation to low-income Massachusetts residents facing civil legal problems.