Western Mass. Dial-A-Lawyer offers free legal advice to callers

Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018 By Cameron Woodcock
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Photo Credit: Cameron Woodcock
Top: MBA members answer callers' questions at the semiannual MBA Dial-A-Lawyer event in Springfield on Oct. 30.
Bottom: MBA volunteer attorney Susan A. McCoy discusses the Western Mass. Dial-A-Lawyer program on the Mass Appeal TV show in Springfield.

Residents of Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden and Hampshire counties kept the phone lines busy as they took advantage of free legal advice during the Massachusetts Bar Association’s semiannual Western Mass. Dial-A-Lawyer call-in program on Oct. 30.

Twelve MBA attorneys fielded 106 calls, all received in quick succession, during the three-hour event at Western New England University School of Law in Springfield. Several callers reported hearing about the free public service on WWLP’s Mass Appeal TV show, where longtime Dial-A-Lawyer volunteer Susan A. McCoy appeared as a guest earlier in the day. 

McCoy described the program as an ideal preliminary resource for people with all manner of legal questions, such as landlord/tenant issues, employment and family law matters, estates and trusts, neighbor disputes and other forms of encroachment, and real estate concerns. 

“Anybody in Western Mass. can pick up the phone, you’ll get a real-live lawyer on the other side, and for free, we’ll help you figure out where to go,” McCoy told Mass Appeal host Danny New. “Maybe we answer your question, maybe we direct you somewhere else, but it’s a great place to start.”

McCoy added that Dial-A-Lawyer holds similar value for participating MBA attorneys, who view the program as a welcome and rare opportunity to support their local community. 

The MBA held its first Western Mass. Dial-A-Lawyer in 1994, three years after establishing a monthly call-in program that continues to serve residents statewide. The two programs complement a wide array of MBA public-service offerings, including the Lawyer Referral Service, statewide High School Mock Trial Tournament, Tiered Community Mentoring and the Elder Law Education programs.

Dial-A-Lawyer is co-sponsored by Western New England University School of Law, The Republican, El Pueblo Latino, the Massachusetts Association of Hispanic Attorneys and the Hispanic National Bar Association.

The MBA thanks the following members for donating their time and expertise to this important volunteer effort:

  • James E. Angell, James E. Angell, Attorney at Law

  • Michelle Bugbee, Eastman Chemical Company

  • Michele Feinstein, Shatz, Schwartz and Fentin PC

  • Lan Kantany, Connor & Morneau LLP

  • Kimberly Klimczuk, Skoler, Abbott & Presser PC

  • David Lawless, Robinson Donovan PC

  • James E. Martin, Robinson Donovan PC

  • Susan A. McCoy, Cooley Shrair PC

  • Erin J. Meehan, Doherty, Wallace, Pillsbury & Murphy PC

  • Sanjiv Reejhsinghani, Law Office of Sanjiv Reejhsinghani

  • Daniel M. Rothschild, Bulkley, Richardson & Gelinas LLP

  • Dorothy Varon, MassMutual Financial Group