FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 1/8/2014

Contact: Contact: Eric Fullerton

617-778-1906

BBA Public Interest Leaders Take on Court Service Center Project

As a public policy matter, the Boston Bar Association has long been concerned about the plight of self-represented litigants in the Massachusetts Court System, and even published a report on the issue in 1998. With more such litigants today than ever before, the BBA's Public Interest Leaders have come forward to help.

The Public Interest Leaders have volunteered to help the Edward Brooke Courthouse launch a Court Service Center pilot program designed to better assist self-represented litigants in navigating the legal system and court proceedings without the assistance of counsel. In addition to providing greater access to justice for these litigants, the goal is to ease the workload of the courts – creating a more efficient system for all.

The Public Interest Leaders will focus on providing materials and resources to the pilot program, including a resource guide for self-represented litigants, FAQ sheets, and multilingual cover sheets for legal forms, among other items. The Service Center will not offer legal advice, but rather provide options for the litigants to find appropriate and affordable legal counsel – for example, through the BBA's Lawyer Referral Service or Lawyer for the Day Programs.

This latest initiative of the BBA's Public Interest Leaders was approved by the BBA Council, and will be conducted in close collaboration with Brooke Courthouse Court Service Center Working Group and various BBA Sections. It is expected that the Public Interest Leaders will help to create a workable structure for the Service Center over the next year.

Even as these Public Interest Leaders set out to complete this important initiative, the BBA is preparing to recruit a new group to become Public Interest Leaders starting in May. To learn more about the program, an information session will be held on January 13. Applications for the next class are available here.

The Boston Bar Association is a non-profit, voluntary membership organization of 11,000 attorneys drawn from private practice, corporations, government agencies, legal aid organizations, the courts, and law schools. It traces its origins to meetings convened by John Adams, the lawyer who provided pro bono representation to the British soldiers prosecuted for the Boston Massacre and went on to become the second president of the United States.