Thursday, Jan. 28, 2010
From top to bottom:
Top left: Gov. Deval Patrick speaks at the 11th Annual Walk to the Hill for Civil Legal Aid.
Top right: MBA President-elect Denise Squillante stresses the urgency for more legal aid funding.
Bottom: A crowd of hundreds gathers at the Jan. 27 event.
Photos by Evin Luongo and Jennifer Rosinski.
Gov. Deval Patrick makes a surprise appearance at 11th annual Walk to the Hill for Civil Legal Aid
Gov. Deval Patrick released his FY11 budget, including level
funding for legal services, just moments before the start of the
11th Annual Walk to the Hill for Civil Legal Aid. That
positive news was delivered by the governor himself, when he paid a
surprise visit to the Great Hall in the Statehouse and addressed a
standing room only crowd of legal aid supporters.
"I apologize for crashing the party, but I just wanted to come by
and tell you how much I appreciate you being here," Patrick said.
"Everybody in this room shares as I do a commitment to doing
everything we can for people for whom access to justice isn't
The governor announced to the crowd of hundreds that his budget
plan calls for legal services to be level-funded at $9.5 million
dollars. The House and Senate will each vote on their own versions
of the budget in the coming months. A compromise measure will then
be sent to the Governor. "I want you to use today to fight for it,"
Patrick told the audience of his legal aid budget.
MBA President-elect Denise Squillante spoke at the event along
with Boston Bar Association President John J. Regan and former
legal aid client Carmelita T. of Mattapan, whose attorney at
Greater Boston Legal Services won a precedent-setting decision,
affirming that caretakers of children with disabilities may search
for part-time work without affecting their eligibility for
"At the core of our ability to meet the needs for legal assistance
is funding at the state level," Squillante said. "Such funding will
help ensure appropriate legal counsel regardless of the economic
barriers Massachusetts citizens may face."
The event was co-sponsored by the Equal Justice Coalition, Boston
Bar Association , MBA and 29 local and specialty bar associations.
Following the speaking program, the attorneys visited their
legislators and asked them to protect funding for civil legal aid
in the FY11 budget.
Click here for
more information on the FY11 budget.