Corporation Counsel William Sinnott on the BBA's Marathon Assistance Project

Earlier this month, we got in touch with William Sinnott, former Corporation Counsel of the City of Boston and past BBA Council member, to get his thoughts on the BBA response to the City’s request for volunteer attorneys to help small business with legal issues. His response was so good that we decided to run it in full.

Here’s what he had to say:

“After receiving your inquiry, I went back and checked my timeline on the launching of this initiative.  I then re-checked it because I couldn't believe how quickly things came into place.  It was unprecedented.
 
On April 16, the day after the Marathon, [BBA Public Service Manager] Sonia Shah called me and offered BBA's complete support for the City and the victims.
 
The following morning, Wednesday, April 17th, at Brigham and Women's Hospital, I briefed Mayor Menino on BBA's offer.  He immediately recognized the value in this and directed me to connect Sheila Dillon, the Director of the Department of Neighborhood Development, with BBA.  By that afternoon, Sheila and Sonia had spoken and by the following morning, they were corresponding over the particulars of how BBA could assist.  In less than a day, BBA had received over one hundred requests to volunteer in response to BBA's [news] release.
 
By Thursday, April 18th, BBA and its Lawyer Referral Service were already organizing and assigning its volunteers to assist Back Bay businesses with insurance claims and leasing questions and were advising individuals on employment, medical treatment payments and other matters.
 
The impact which BBA's staff and members had on the Marathon recovery was enormous.  Victims and businesses were desperate for direction and professional assistance and BBA, partnering with the City, stepped up.  As a runner, I was grateful.  As a City official, I was impressed.  As a lawyer...I was proud.”