BOSTON, January 17 – As the Commonwealth awaits release of Governor Healey’s FY’25 state budget later this month, 58 attorneys who are General Counsels or In-House Lawyers at Massachusetts-based corporations signed a letter to the Governor supporting the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation’s (MLAC) FY’25 budget line-item request for civil legal aid services.
MLAC is the largest funder of civil legal aid in the Commonwealth. Civil legal aid is a lifeline for Massachusetts residents at or below 125% of the poverty level who need legal assistance to solve problems related to safety, housing, and economic security. Financially eligible clients can receive free representation from a legal aid attorney in a wide variety of legal issue areas, including family law, workers’ rights, tenant protections and more.
The letter’s signatories represent a diverse array of attorneys from the Massachusetts business community. All of them agree that civil legal aid is a critical investment that uplifts the individuals and families that receive services, and entire communities as well. Soaring housing costs, inflation, and the lingering effects of the pandemic have disproportionately impacted people and families with low incomes.
“It is my opinion that it is crucial we uphold the promise that our justice system is fair and open to everyone,” says Bill Gabovitch, General Counsel of Primark US and long-time supporter of increased civil legal aid. “Massachusetts has an impressive and impactful network of legal aid organizations that are changing lives every day. Having access to a legal aid attorney can mean the difference between housing and homelessness, or financial stability and extreme poverty.”
The letter arrived at the Governor’s desk just weeks before the Equal Justice Coalition’s annual “Walk to the Hill” event, which many of the signers will attend on January 25. “Walk to the Hill” (now in its 25th year) is an annual tradition that brings private bar attorneys, law students, and advocates for justice from across the state to the Massachusetts State House to lobby their legislators for increased funding for civil legal aid. The Equal Justice Coalition sponsors the event every year as part of its mission to expand access to civil legal aid for Massachusetts residents with low incomes.
You can read the general counsels’ letter in its entirety at equaljusticecoalition.org/letter-campaign. The January 25 event is free and open to the public. Media are welcome and encouraged to attend. Speakers will include Massachusetts Attorney General Andrea Campbell, leaders from the Massachusetts and Boston Bar Associations, and a client who benefited from civil legal aid last year.
About the EJC
The Equal Justice Coalition is a collaboration of the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation, Boston Bar Association, and Massachusetts Bar Association working to increase state funding for civil legal aid.