MBF Awards $2.5 Million to Legal Aid Programs

August 21, 2019

The Massachusetts Bar Foundation (MBF) recently awarded $2.5 million to 91 programs conducted by 58 different nonprofit organizations through its annual IOLTA grants program.

“The MBF grant recipients are working hard every day to make justice a reality for thousands of vulnerable and marginalized individuals and families across the state,” said President Harvey Weiner of Boston’s Peabody & Arnold. “We couldn’t be more proud to support their important efforts.”

MBF IOLTA grants support projects that either offer civil legal services to people who could not afford them, or improve the administration of justice in the Commonwealth. Grants providing direct legal services include support to domestic violence programs, special education advocacy, humanitarian immigration assistance, and homelessness prevention. Grants to improve the administration of justice support efforts such as court-connected mediation and lawyer of the day programs.

The Massachusetts Bar Foundation is one of three charitable entities in Massachusetts that distributes funds from the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court’s Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts Program. The MBF also relies heavily on the donations it receives from its various giving initiatives, including the MBF Society of Fellows and the MBF Law Firm & Corporate Partnership Program.

Click here to view a complete listing of the 2019/2020 IOLTA grant recipients.

Longtime MBF Executive Director to step down

A message to the MBF community

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Dear Friends:

After more than nineteen wonderful years at the MBF, I am writing to share that I will be stepping down from my position and starting a new job as executive director of the Cabot Family Charitable Trust in August.

Words cannot express how much I have loved working with the Foundation, Mass. Bar Association, and the legal services community. It has been an extraordinary opportunity.

A search committee has been formed to identify the next MBF Executive Director. If you have any recommendations or interest in being considered for this role, please contact the search committee via email: mbfpresident@massbar.org. Click here to review the position description.

I would like to express my profound gratitude to the MBF Trustees, Grantees, and Friends who helped make my time here so rewarding. It has been a great privilege to share this experience with you.

Sincerely,

Beth Lynch


MBF Grants $24,000 to Law Students for Public Interest Internships

The MBF Trustees proudly announce that four exceptional law students were recently selected to receive a stipend of $6,000 each for their unpaid summer internships at non-profit legal aid organizations in Massachusetts.

The grants are provided through the MBF’s Legal Intern Fellowship Program (LIFP), which is funded by the MBF Fellows Fund and the Smith Family Fund and has two concurrent goals: to give talented students the experience and encouragement they need to continue in the public interest law sector and to provide legal aid organizations with much-needed additional staff capacity for the summer. 

“Once again, the LIFP applicants exhibited exceptional talent and represented diverse backgrounds,” said LIFP Committee Chair Angela McConney Scheepers. “The Mass Bar Foundation is thrilled with this year’s awardees, and look forward to following their legal careers.”

This year’s award recipients are:

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Eric Davey
Northeastern University School of Law
Greater Boston Legal Services
(Supported by MBF Fellows Fund)

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Chloe Meade
Boston University School of Law
Kids In Need of Defense (KIND)
(Supported by Smith Family Fund)

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Krista Oehlke
Harvard Law School
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Massachusetts
(Supported by MBF Fellows Fund)

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Ashley Zink
Boston University School of Law
MetroWest Legal Services
(Supported by MBF Fellows Fund)

MBF honors Sue Finegan; elects officers & trustees at Annual Meeting

President Harvey Weiner presents Sue Finegan with the 2019 Great Friend of Justice Award

President Harvey Weiner presents Sue Finegan with the 2019 Great Friend of Justice Award

At the Massachusetts Bar Foundation’s recent Annual Meeting, Attorney Susan M. Finegan, who as chair of Mintz’s Pro Bono Committee leads groundbreaking cases and manages pro bono matters for the firm, was honored with the Great Friend of Justice Award. Over 140 MBF Fellows, grantees and friends attended the event, held on March 5, at the Federal Reserve Building in Boston.

The MBF’s Great Friend of Justice Award is presented annually to an individual who has demonstrated extraordinary commitment to justice, consistent with the MBF’s values and mission of increasing access to justice in the state. Sue Finegan’s commitment and dedication to access to justice exemplifies the spirit of this award.

Finegan is a nationally recognized pro bono pioneer with a passion for helping underserved. She helped to defeat President Trump’s first immigration travel ban in early 2017, to engineer the passage of a Massachusetts restraining order law for sexual assault survivors, and to create several innovative statewide model pro bono programs in Massachusetts.

As member and current co-chair of the Massachusetts Access to Justice Commission for several years, Sue has been a tireless and innovative advocate for low income people in Massachusetts and beyond. She has spearheaded creative funding mechanisms to support legal aid organizations and developed the statewide civil appellate pro bono program for self-represented litigants. Five years ago, she co-founded the Access to Justice Fellows program, in which over 100 retired and retiring lawyers have devoted over 70,000 pro bono hours at legal services organizations, nonprofits, and the courts.

2019 MBF Board of Trustees

2019 MBF Board of Trustees

Also at the event, the MBF honored fifteen lawyers and judges who recently completed philanthropic pledges to the MBF Society of Fellows, and listened to remarks by MBF grant recipient Alexandra Peredo Carroll, interim managing attorney for Kids in Need of Defense (KIND), who shared about her work assisting unaccompanied immigrant children.

Elections were held for the coming year, and the MBF elected the following officers and trustees:

Officers

President Harvey Weiner, Peabody & Arnold, LLP, Boston
Vice President Richard J. Grahn, Law Office of Richard J. Grahn, Mattapoisett
Treasurer Angela C. McConney Scheepers, Division of Administrative Law Appeals, Boston
Secretary David C. Henderson, Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP, Boston

Trustees

Corey M. Carvalho, Hampshire Probate & Family Court, Northampton
John T. Lynch, Davis, Malm & D’Agostine PC, Boston
Hon. Scott D. Peterson, Mass. District Court, Hingham
Kimberly E. Winter, McLaughlin, Richards, Biller, Schindel & Winter LLP, Natick
G. Perry Wu, Law Office of G. Perry Wu, Wellesley
Iris Taymore Schnitzer, Law Office of Iris Taymore Schnitzer, Boston

MBF celebrates grantees and honors two with President's Awards

The Massachusetts Bar Foundation (MBF) recently hosted two receptions, in Boston and Springfield, to celebrate and honor its current grant recipients and recognize leading supporters of the foundation. MBF donors, friends, and representatives from many of the 90 programs currently funded by the MBF were in attendance.

This year, the MBF awarded $2.3 million in grants through its annual Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts (IOLTA) Grants Program. These programs help thousands of individuals and families in Massachusetts who have legal issues relating to domestic violence, housing, access to special education services, healthcare, discrimination, and many more.

 Anna Richardson, Esq., co-director and chief counsel of Veteran’s Legal Services, and Nora Grais-Clements, Esq., staff attorney at the Victim Rights Law Center and former MBF Legal Intern Fellowship recipient, served as this year’s grantee speakers.

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 Also at the receptions, the MBF presented President’s Awards to Albert Zabin, Esq., of Greater Boston Legal Services in Boston, and to Larry Farber, of Farber and Lindley in Amherst. Given annually, the MBF President’s Award recognizes exceptional MBF supporters for their commitment to increasing access to justice for the most vulnerable in our state.

 At the Boston reception, which was held at the Mass. Bar Association, MBF President Harvey Weiner, of Peabody & Arnold, highlighted Zabin’s extensive pro bono work and long-time support and dedication to the mission and work of the MBF.  Zabin has volunteered to serve on MBF grant application review committees for more than twenty years. Following his retirement after 54 years of private practice, Zabin began volunteering as a staff attorney at Greater Boston Legal Services.

 In his remarks, Zabin praised his fellow legal services colleagues noting, “You make it possible for the poor and the abused to have a shot at justice…[regardless of case outcome] we’ve given those litigants some measure of self respect that they know they are important, that a lawyer really devotes time to their problems and listens to them and works for them.”

At the Springfield reception, which was held at Bulkley Richardson, both Weiner and MBF Trustee Hon. Robert Fields lauded Farber’s many years of service to the MBF, including service on the Board of Trustees, as well as on the MBF grant application review committee for the region. They also applauded his long career as a housing attorney practicing in Western Mass.

 In presenting the award, Judge Fields said, “It is a sincere pleasure for me, and I bet for all of here, to pause and recognize you for your wonderful and plentiful contributions to our community.”

Click here to see the event photos