MBF Fellow Spotlight

Issue November 2012

Jamie A. Sabino is currently serving as the VAWA STOP Grant Coordinator for the Administrative Office of the Trial Court of Massachusetts, working on how the court handles cases involving domestic violence and sexual assault. She formerly practiced in the law firm of Klibaner and Sabino in Cambridge. Sabino is a past president of the Women's Bar Association and Women's Bar Foundation of MA and remains active on both boards. She is also a past Chair of the Planned Parenthood League of MA and currently sits on board of the Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund.

Why did you decide to become a fellow of the MBF?
As the founding president and continuing board member of the Women's Bar Foundation, an MBF grantee, I have long been aware of the great work of the MBF. In my professional work, I have also had the opportunity to interact with many other MBF grantees across the state. So when a friend nominated me to become a fellow and I learned how, because of the different fellowship tiers, it was so affordable, I felt it was time to put my money where my mouth was - and support access to legal services with my dollars as well as with advocacy.

What do you see as most important about the work of the MBF?
One only needs to imagine a victim of domestic violence facing the person who has been in control of her life, across a courtroom; a father facing a housing court hearing, desperate to keep a roof over his children's heads; an immigrant facing a hearing which will transform his or her future for better or worse - without the assistance of an attorney or advocate to explain the arcane and often frightening ways of the law and to give him or her a voice - to realize the importance of the work of the MBF.

Why is this charity a good fit for members of the legal profession?
As lawyers we are privileged to be able to play a part in a long tradition of legal advocacy. In essence, we hold the keys to the courthouse. The MBF gives us a chance to make sure that others have a chance to enter that courtroom - as advocates and as clients. Not only does MBF makes it possible for the civil legal needs of many of our residents to be met but it allows attorneys and advocates dedicated to providing these legal needs to continue their critical work. I only wish that more attorneys will realize how financially possible becoming a fellow can be. A contribution of $150 a year - less than $3 a week - is a small price for the reward of ensuring that all in Massachusetts have the ability to pursue their legal rights. Think of it as donating a large coffee a week - but instead of giving caffeine, giving hope.

What has been your favorite part about being involved with the MBF?

I have been lucky enough to participate in the grant making process by reviewing grant applications. This has given me the chance to see up close some of the amazing advocacy work being done across the state and to work collegially with other reviewers. Even while making tough decisions, it is a pleasure to serve on the grant review committees with such dedicated attorneys from across the profession.