Knocking on Our Reps’ Doors for Civil Legal Aid
Once a year, the Equal Justice Coalition asks lawyers to knock on their representatives’ doors to request civil legal aid funding. For the past several years, A&K has made its way to the State House to make the case.
At this year’s event, a client described how civil legal aid attorneys had allowed her to escape an abusive husband and gain custody of her children – even guiding her through a harrowing incident in which her husband kidnapped her children to California. The client faced an overwhelming suite of complex issues: domestic violence, custody, even eviction at one point. Low-income people often do not have a right to a lawyer to help face them. In fact, for lack of funds, Massachusetts civil legal aid attorneys turn away over 60% of eligible cases.
This year, the EJC asked for $25m to fund civil legal aid. As Chief Justice Ralph Gants eloquently put it, that’s not a lot: just enough to buy every Massachusetts resident one Dunkin’ Donuts coffee and one bagel. (Without cream cheese!)
This year, Managing Partner Scott Lewis participated along with Stephen Anderson, George Hall, Amy VanHeuverzwyn, Naree Chan and Eugenia Schraa Huh. It feels great to get directly involved in democracy!