|2013 News Coverage
2013 Press Releases
Fair housing enforcement grants (Worcester Telegram)
9/29/2013 - Community Legal Aid of Worcester received two grants from the Department of Housing and Urban Development to help enforce the Fair Housing Act.
Workers at Bar-Way Farm in Deerfield sue owner Stephen Melnik for alleged violations and providing inadequate housing (Gazettenet)
9/18/2013 - With the help of Community Legal Aid, two workers at a Deerfield dairy farm are suing a farmer for allegedly violating the state health code and not providing adequate housing. The Department of Labor is spearheading a separate investigation for federal wage violations.
Arbella Insurance will give $1.25 million to 25 NE charities (Boston Business Journal)
9/10/2013 -Arbella Insurance donated $1.25m to 25 New England charities in honor of its 25th anniversary. Greater Boston Legal Services is among the organizations that received $50,000 from the insurance company.
Melrose resident elected VP of the Mass. Bar Association (Wicked Local)
9/7/2013 - Martha Rush O’Mara was elected vice president of the Massachusetts Bar Association for its 2013-14 year. In addition to operating a law office focusing on juvenile and family law, O’Mara donates a significant amount of time to legal volunteer work through pro bono projects and mentoring law school students and recent graduates.
Status of Medicare patients can result in huge bills (Boston Globe)
8/25/2013 - Patients who receive seemingly routine treatment but are classified as under “medical observation” rather than “admitted” to a hospital may be forced to foot the bill without help from Medicare. Diane Paulson, a senior attorney at the Medicare Advocacy Project of GBLS, plans to appeal Medicare on behalf of a woman whose husband has been required to pay the full $7,859 cost of his rehabilitation and medications.
Activists rally in Lexington against accused wage withholders (Wicked Local)
8/9/2013 - Non-profit Centro Presente held a small demonstration outside the homes of two restaurant owners, accused of owing workers unpaid wages. Greater Boston Legal Services filed a case in federal district court in October 2012.
Banks in Mass. Accused of violating foreclosure rules (Boston Globe)
8/5/2013 - Housing attorneys say that banks are not adhering to certain foreclosure practices, specifically a 2007 state law, amended in 2010, that gives homeowners 150 days to meet a missed mortgage payment and requires banks and mortgage companies to send a “right-to-cure” notice informing borrowers of basic foreclosure information, including whom to contact and who holds the mortgage.
Register Investigation: Youths Isolated and 'forgotten' at the Iowa Juvenile Home (Des Moines Register)
7/21/2013 - The state-run Iowa Juvenile Home has confined hundreds of youths to isolations cells for months at a time. Youths with serious behavioral issues receive treatment, schooling and housing at the home. Attorney Bob Fleischner of the Center for Public Representation examined the building and found “control rooms” similar to solitary confinement cells for the young girls.
City denies request for teacher ratings (Boston Globe)
7/14/2013 - The Boston School Department refused to release even aggregate ratings of teacher performances at individual schools conducted under a new job evaluation system. Kim Janey, senior project director for Massachusetts Advocates for Children, said: “Students and parents are very interested in knowing how teachers and principals are performing.”
State lawmakers introduce bill to limit solitary confinement (WWLP)
6/20/2013 - State lawmakers are introducing a bill to limit inmate solitary confinement to 15 days, saying isolation is costly, worsens mental illness and does not reduce prison violence. Attorney Bob Fleischner of the Center for Public Representation said that solitary confinement is psychologically harmful.
Melrose man honored at Lesley University (Wicked Local Melrose)
6/17/2013 - Melrose resident Shawn MacMaster was honored by the Community Legal Services and Counseling Center. He was awarded the Dr. Brenner Award for his commitment to domestic violence survivors and their children through legal and community programs.
Legal aid kept him truckin' (Telegram)
6/05/2013 - A Dudley resident who was repeatedly denied fair pay and unemployment insurance got help from an attorney at Community Legal Aid, enabling him to pay rent and find a good trucking job..
Mass. prisons rely too much on solitary confinement (Boston Globe)
6/5/2013 - A Boston Globe editorial argues that Massachusetts prisons rely too heavily on solitary confinement, citing data from Prisoners’ Legal Services.
Solitary confinement comes under new scrutiny (Boston Globe)
5/7/2013 - The use of segregation units in Massachusetts prisons has come under increased scrutiny over the last year, with court rulings limiting their use and their both their effectiveness and humaneness being questioned. Leslie Walker of Prisoners’ Legal Services said, “It’s literally lock them up and throw away the key—at a very expensive cost.”
Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation Makes Its Case (massnonprofit.org)
4/17/2013 - MLAC’s analysis showed that civil aid programs generated an estimated $48 million in new revenue and cost savings for the state while operating on a $10.5 million budget. “Civil legal aid provides crucial resources for low-income Massachusetts residents and a substantial economic boost for the Commonwealth,” executive director Lonnie Powers said.
Facing questions, DAs suspend outsourcing of bad check cases (Boston Globe)
4/14/2013 - Until recently, six of the state's district attorneys were engaged in contracts that allowed private companies to send "official" letters from the DA to people who sent bad checks. "I would be surprised if there were not a disproportionate number of low-income, less sophisticated people who get these letters," Nadine Cohen, managing attorney of the consumer rights unit at GBLS said.
Industry responds to massive drop in funding (Boston Business Journal)
4/12/2013 - Funding reductions have nearly crippled civil legal aid in Massachusetts, and local lawyers are attempting to fill the gaps. One project is the SJC’s decision to allow attorneys who work as corporate lawyers in Massachusetts, but are not licensed in the state, to provide pro bono service.
Massachusetts House leaders face fire over proposed budget cuts; UMass, local aid get top priorities (Springfield Republican)
4/11/2013 - Supporters of early education, civil legal assistance and other state services condemned the budget cuts proposed by the House in a budget released Wednesday. MLAC said the committee’s budget cut $1 million from its current funding of $12 million. “If MLAC doesn’t get this critical increase in funding, far fewer federal dollars will come into the commonwealth and even more vulnerable residents will be denied access to justice…” executive director Lonnie Powers said.
Dedham families struggle to buy food; district rates third in food hardship (Wicked Local Dedham)
4/9/2013 - Dedham, as well as cities and towns across the state, are experiencing an increase in food hardship as a result of the lingering recession. Georgia Katsoulomitis, executive director of the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute, condemned efforts in Congress to cut programs such as SNAP. “These numbers show that we must make our nation’s safety net stronger, not weaker. We can’t afford to leave these vulnerable people behind.”
Framingham's MetroWest Legal Services gets grant (MetroWest Daily News)
4/3/2013 - The MutualOne Charitable Foundation awarded $6,500 to MetroWest Legal Services.
Tenants at CHA Up in Arms over McLaughlin Plea Agreement (Chelsea Record)
3/22/2013 - Chelsea Housing Authority tenants are organizing what they say is a lenient deal given to former Executive Director Michael McLaughlin. “The tenants are going to be submitting something to the U.S. Attorney, but with an eye on sending something to the judge as well,” said Jay Rose, the managing attorney for the housing unit of Greater Boston Legal Services.
Visitors could soon face random narcotics dogs sniff at state prisons (Boston Globe)
3/22/2013 - A plan to conduct random searches of visitors with drug-sniffing dogs at state prisons to stem the flow of illegal substances to inmates. Leslie Walker, executive director of Prisoners’ Legal Services, says this practice, if implemented, should not be limited to visitors: “It’s also coming in through staff. And if you are going to subject children and the elderly to this kind of humiliating treatment, then I think they should be subjecting staff to it, as well.”
1 in 6 Boston specialist physicians can't accommodate disabled patients (Boston Globe)
3/18/2013 - More than one in six Boston doctors offices refused to schedule appointments for disabled patients in wheelchairs. Dan Manning, director of litigation for Greater Boston Legal Services, which provided legal advice to the Boston center for Independent Living in pursuing its initiative with two Boston hospitals, said that such a practice “would be a clear violation of the federal law.”
Legal services program to help prevent evictions in region (MetroWest Daily News)
3/5/2013 - The HomeCorps Homelessness Prevention Project will provide free representation to low-income tenants and landlords in Worcester Housing Court and Framingham District Court.
Legal-aid group helps Brockton woman (Boston Globe)
3/2/2013 - After she was diagnosed with breast cancer, Daniele Bien-Aime lost her job, her health insurance, and the ability to pay for her rent. After contacting MLAC, Bien-Aime got help from a South Coastal Counties Legal Services attorney and eventually got her job and insurance back and avoided eviction. She also spoke at Walk to the Hill.
MetroWest legal aid braces for sequestration cuts (MetroWest Daily News)
3/1/2013 - Sequestration’s potential cuts to MetroWest Legal Services could cause a reduction in services. “It’s really awful when you have to choose between a battered woman, or someone who’s about to be evicted from their house,” Executive Director Elizabeth Soule said.
Committee approves a plan that would restrict choice (Boston Globe)
2/25/2013 - A special committee proposed a new student-assignment system in Boston that would allow more children to attend school in their neighborhoods while allowing an element of choice. Massachusetts Advocates for Children expressed disappointment, saying in a statement “Under the current model and the proposed models, the disparities between those neighborhoods that have access to quality schools and those that in many cases only have access to underperforming schools are large and significant especially when accounting for race and socio-economic status.”
Mass. AG's Services Aid in Foreclosure Crisis (Go Local Worcester)
2/16/2013 - The new HomeCorps program will provide struggling Massachusetts homeowners with foreclosure-prevention efforts including legal services, financial counseling and eviction prevention.
For Legal Assistance, He's Doing "The Right Thing" (Boston Business Journal)
2/1/2013 - Boston Business Journal profiles MLAC Executive Director Lonnie Powers and highlights the crisis of legal aid funding. Powers said of his job: “It allows me to try to help improve the process and services that go into the legal aid system, not just maintain it.”
Lawyers advocate for civil legal aid funding at the 14th Annual Walk to the Hill on Jan. 30 (Mass. Bar Association)
1/31/2013 - More than 650 lawyers assembled at the State House on January 30 to call for funding of MCAC at $15.5 million, in line with Governor Patrick’s FY14 budget recommendations.
Top judge in Mass. to call for hike in legal aid (Boston Globe)
1/30/2013 - The chief justice of the SJC, Justice Roderick Ireland, will take part in the annual Walk to the Hill for Civil Legal aid.
Judges, lawyers seeking more funding for legal aid (WWLP)
1/30/2013 - Lawyers, judges and advocates called for legislatures to match Governor Patrick’s proposal to fund legal aid at $15.5 million in the FY14 budget.
Boston Officials Release Student-Assignment Proposals (WBUR)
1/22/2013 - Boston Public Schools officials announced three proposals to overhaul how students are assigned to city schools. “The concern continues to be that there just isn’t enough of quality schools to go around,” said Kim Janey, senior project director of Massachusetts Advocates for Children. “And so it’s really important to have a plan that ensures equitable access to quality.”
Sen. Stanley Rosenberg wins award for assisting low-income residents with civil legal issues (Hampshire Gazette)
1/20/2013 - Senator Stanley Rosenberg was awarded the Beacon of Justice Award by the Equal Justice Coalition for his dedication to equal access to the justice system for all. "Sen. Rosenberg has been a consistent supporter during the budget process," MLAC spokesman Tom Brant said.
SJC rules bank had no right to take home (Boston Globe)
1/14/2013 - The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that mortgage lenders must prove they have legal authority to begin the foreclosure process, a ruling Nadine Cohen, managing attorney for the consumer rights unit of GBLS called a "victory for homeowners".
MLAC Congratulates Recipients of 2013 Top Women of Law Awards
10/31/2013 - The Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation is pleased to congratulate five civil legal aid attorneys who received the Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly "Top Women of Law" award at a reception held Oct. 31.