The Equal Justice Coalition advocates for expanded access to civil legal aid for low-income Massachusetts residents. The Coalition includes bar associations, law firms, law schools, legal aid organizations, and social service agencies who work together to protect and increase 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 serious civil legal problems—such as domestic violence, housing, health care, employment, government benefits, bankruptcy, and elder issues—do not have the right to an attorney, in most cases. Legal aid organizations provide essential representation and advice to help vulnerable people protect basic human needs for health, safety, and housing.
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
Despite the promise of “equal justice for all” embedded in the Massachusetts Constitution, many low-income families in the Commonwealth are denied access to justice every day because they cannot afford attorneys to help them navigate the complex civil legal system.