The Massachusetts Bar Association is seeking attorney volunteers for its new statewide Lawyer for the Day Program in the Massachusetts Superior Court. The program, which the MBA will help staff with its volunteers once a week for 52 weeks, is designed to reduce the justice gap by assisting self-represented litigants (SRLs) virtually in civil matters before the Superior Court. It was developed in conjunction with the Superior Court, spearheaded by Judge Valerie Yarashus and with the support and insight of Superior Court Chief Justice Heidi Brieger.
As a volunteer lawyer for the day in the Superior Court, your insight and expertise will be invaluable. While the legal issues will be variable, most SRLs can benefit immensely from organizational assistance, broad legal advice, assistance asking the court for a further date, or connections to other legal assistance organizations. Read the Frequently Asked Questions section below to learn more about this program and how it will work.
If you are interested in volunteering for this program or learning more, please click here or contact MBA President-elect Victoria M. Santoro at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Frequently Asked QuestionsWHO:
Any non-incarcerated self-represented litigant (“SRL”) in a civil Superior Court case. The SRL could be either a plaintiff or a defendant. There are no income-eligibility requirements for an SRL to participate in this program. This program does NOT apply to any litigant who already has the right to counsel.WHAT:
Any civil case brought before the Superior Court. Most frequently, these would be 30A administrative cases, requests for injunctive relief, neighbor disputes, and breach of contract cases. Volunteer lawyers are able to provide a range of services on their volunteer date, from answering specific legal questions, to providing advice and guidance, to providing referrals to legal service entities or other programs and resources. Volunteer lawyers may choose to continue representation on a pro bono basis or through limited-assistance representations. WHERE:
This program is statewide. The volunteer Lawyer for the Day Program is available one day a week to all Superior Courts in Massachusetts. The program is on a first-come, first-served basis each week.WHY:
The Superior Court system is burdened with a heavy caseload, and a substantial percentage of litigants are unable to afford an attorney. As a result, self-represented litigants experience unfortunate and sometimes unjust outcomes and also create efficiency bottlenecks for our judiciary. It is a lawyer’s ethical duty to provide pro bono services in their practice but, moreover, the MBA has seen time and time again how many of our members are keen to serve our Massachusetts community through volunteer and pro bono service. Under this program, there are slots for 52 volunteer attorneys to provide a whole host of services to an underserved population.HOW:
The MBA will assist in staffing the Lawyer for the Day Program, once a week, through Zoom. The Lawyer for the Day Program will take place every Thursday, except for federal holidays. The Superior Court will provide notices in every Clerk’s Office and online of LFD Zoom availability and provide logon information to eligible SRLs. Volunteer lawyers will be provided logon credentials separately.