2021 Anderson & Kreiger Pro Bono Highlights
Anderson & Kreiger is committed to providing pro bono legal services to those most in need and in cases that make a wide impact. While attorneys are free to select pro bono projects of personal significance, our pro bono efforts during the past year have focused on the following areas:
- Children’s Health
- Civil Rights
- Community Development
- Environmental Protection and Renewable Energy
- Immigration & Asylum
- Professional Responsibility
Our pro bono victories during the past year include the following:
- Eastie Farm: Anderson & Kreiger helped a community-based non-profit agricultural organization, Eastie Farm, acquire land from the City of Boston to continue its operations. Jennifer Platt and Dana Wooten took the lead in the real estate issues for the client, while Mina Makarious worked with the client to address potential environmental issues. Jennifer and Mina recently began similar work with Groundwork Somerville, helping another urban agriculture organization work with the City of Somerville to keep a permanent home in the City.
- Nationwide Injunction Against HUD: On October 25, 2020, the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts issued a stay and nationwide preliminary injunction against Secretary Ben Carson and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), halting the roll-back of housing discrimination protections under the Fair Housing Act (FHA). Anderson & Kreiger attorneys Scott Lewis, Mina Makarious, and Annie Lee, working with our partners from Lawyers for Civil Rights, sought the stay and injunction on behalf of housing rights groups. Click here for more on the case. Following the case, the new HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge has initiated rulemaking to restore the protections in place under the previous rule, relying in part on the District Court’s decision.
- Board of Bar Overseers: Anderson & Kreiger attorneys David Mackey and Austin Anderson have defended several lawyers on a pro bono basis in bar discipline matters before the Board of Bar Overseers. Dave was the Chair of the BBO from 2010 – 2013, and he and Austin now serve on the BBO’s panel of attorneys who represent lawyers in bar discipline matters on a pro bono basis.
- Boston Bar Association’s CORI Sealing Clinic (https://bostonbar.org/in-the-community/public-service/cori-sealing-project): Anderson & Kreiger attorneys volunteered at the Boston Bar Association’s CORI (Criminal Offender Record Information) Sealing Clinic Pilot Project, which was held the first Wednesday of the month at the Boston Municipal Court. Anderson & Kreiger volunteer attorneys helped low-income clients get a copy of their CORI, understand what’s on their CORI, and seal or expunge their CORI if possible. A criminal record can make it harder to get a job or find housing. However, a CORI record may contain charges that can be sealed or expunged so that employers or housing providers cannot see those charges, and the client can make a fresh start.
- Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids: Representing the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK) and many allied public health organizations, Anderson & Kreiger lawyers Scott Lewis and Jessica Wall obtained a federal court order in Boston requiring the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to require cigarette manufacturers to display graphic warnings on cigarette packs and in cigarette advertising. FDA issued its graphic warnings rule in March 2020, and Big Tobacco promptly challenged the new rule on First Amendment and other grounds in two federal lawsuits, one in the Eastern District of Texas and one in the District of Columbia. Anderson & Kreiger lawyers Scott Lewis and Christina Marshall worked closely with CTFK in preparing amicus briefs in support of FDA that have been filed in both Texas and the District of Columbia, where the industry challenges to FDA’s rule are still pending.
Scott Lewis, Melissa Allison, and Christina Marshall continue to work with CTFK and many other public health intervenors who are working with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to obtain a court order in the District of Columbia against Big Tobacco, requiring the cigarette manufacturers to display certain court-ordered “corrective statements” at retail points-of-sale throughout the country, to prevent and restrain the manufactures from continuing to deceive the public about the adverse health effects of cigarettes in violation of the RICO statute. Anderson & Kreiger recently filed a hotly contested motion seeking an order from the court in DC that Philip Morris post on its website millions of pages of documents that Philip Morris and its parent, Altria, have produced under a restrictive protective order in a massive case pending in California. That case involves allegations that Philip Morris and Altria have engaged in an unlawful RICO enterprise with respect to the marking of Juul e-cigarettes.
- EdLaw Project (http://www.edlawproject.org/): Anderson & Kreiger works with the EdLaw Project to help further their mission of providing educational advocacy for Massachusetts’ highest-risk youth. Since January 2000, EdLaw Project attorneys have directly advocated for the educational rights of over 1,800 low-income youth in Massachusetts. Prevention and intervention are the best ways to keep children out of the School-to-Prison Pipeline. The EdLaw Project is the primary initiative of the Youth Advocacy Foundation, a 501(c)(3) legal services non-profit arm of the Committee for Public Counsel Services, Youth Advocacy Division.
The EdLaw team of six attorneys offers direct advocacy for court-involved youth in cases of:
- school exclusion;
- unmet special education needs;
- other challenges to education rights, including access to education during COVID-19 school closures; and
- school stability issues facing children involved in the child welfare system.
In addition, EdLaw responds to hundreds of calls for advice each year and also trains the statewide juvenile bar in education advocacy.
Over the past year, Anderson & Kreiger volunteer attorneys have provided direct representation for a client experiencing difficulties obtaining proper services and placement. They have participated in numerous Team Meetings with the school district and school, navigated the three-year re-evaluation process, obtained a new placement, and successfully negotiated necessary amendments to the client’s Individualized Education Plan. Anderson & Kreiger continues to work with the client to ensure they obtain the education they deserve.
- Jackson Municipal Airport Authority: The City of Jackson, Mississippi, through the Jackson Municipal Airport Authority, has owned and operated the Jackson-Medgar Evers International Airport for many years. (The airport is named after an iconic leader of the Civil Rights Movement who was assassinated by a member of the KKK during the 1960s.) Shortly after the City put an African-American Board of Commissioners in charge of the Authority and hired an African-American CEO for the Airport, the State of Mississippi passed a law that would usurp control of the Airport from the City and give control to the state and surrounding communities. Scott Lewis and Austin Anderson from Anderson & Kreiger are representing individual members of the Authority Board in a lawsuit in federal court in Jackson, where they are asserting that the airport takeover bill should be enjoined because it was enacted on the basis of race and violates their constitutional rights. Anderson & Kreiger is working closely with local counsel in Jackson who represent the Commissioners, the JMAA, various city councilors, and the City of Jackson. Discovery disputes in the case have already been in the Fifth Circuit twice, and Austin will soon be arguing key issues of standing and legislative privilege in the Court of Appeals in New Orleans, as the plaintiffs continue to seek crucial information on the intent of the government officials who drafted and passed the bill, and the defendants and non-party state legislators assert various forms of privilege to block that discovery.
- KIND (https://supportkind.org/) Anderson & Kreiger is working with Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) to represent a minor who was forced to flee her home country, where she was facing a number of violent and threatening circumstances. We are helping our client obtain legal immigration status in the United States so she can continue to thrive here with her family.
- Y2Y Network, Inc. (https://www.y2ynetwork.org/): A Safe Place For Homeless Young Adults: Anderson & Kreiger continued its work with Y2Y Network. Mina Makarious and others at Anderson & Kreiger assisted Y2Y on a number of contracting, governance and insurance issues to allow Y2Y to continue to provide homeless services throughout the pandemic, even as its normal volunteer base of college students became unavailable. In addition, we continue to advise Y2Y Network, Inc. on its goals to open up its first out-of-state shelter in New Haven, Connecticut. Mina Makarious has served as Y2Y’s “lawyer on call” and in 2020 joined the organization’s board.