The EJC is committed to ensuring that low-income people in Massachusetts have access to legal assistance when facing civil (non-criminal) legal problems. The EJC includes representatives from bar associations, law firms and legal services programs who work together to protect the state appropriation for civil legal aid (budget line item 0321-1600, Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation).
After Congress imposed severe cuts and restrictions on legal aid organizations in the mid-1990s, the Massachusetts Bar Association, the Boston Bar Association and the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation created the Equal Justice Coalition in 1999 to advocate for more legal aid funding at the state level. Over the years, EJC-led funding campaigns successfully protected the civil legal aid appropriation.
Unlike criminal defendants, low-income people facing civil legal problems–involving issues such as child custody, domestic violence, housing, health care, employment, government benefits and elder issues–are not eligible for court-appointed attorneys. They rely on legal aid organizations; this is often the only way their basic human needs for health, safety, and housing can be protected.
Current and Former EJC Chairs
Louis Tompros (current chair) – WilmerHale
John Carroll – Meehan, Boyle, Black & Bogdanow
Samuel Moskowitz – Davis Malm & D’Agostine
Julia Huston – Foley Hoag
Steve Oleskey – Barclay Damon