Winter 2017: Pro Bono Spotlight - The WBA and the WBF—Sister Organizations, Still Fighting for Women

By Rebecca Cohen

At the Women’s Bar Association’s (WBA) annual gala, 500+ WBA members and leaders in the legal community heard Nina’s story. Nina came to the Women’s Bar Foundation (WBF) frightened for her young daughter, Daniela. Daniela’s father had a long criminal record and Nina needed to keep her daughter safe from him. Nina had been to court by herself three times to try to reduce his parenting time, to no avail. That’s when the WBF stepped in, providing her with a volunteer attorney. Walking into court with a WBF attorney by her side, Nina was armed with invaluable resources: an expert to help her navigate a complex justice system and an advocate who would not rest until Nina and her daughter found the safety they needed. Nina’s attorney proved to the court that Daniela’s father was abusing drugs, engaging in criminal activities, and failing to show-up for his allotted parenting time. The court suspended parenting time. Three months later, Daniela’s father was indicted for murder. Thanks to the hard work of Nina and her WBF volunteer attorney, it was neither Nina nor Daniela who had been harmed by Daniela’s father.

Every year the Women’s Bar Foundation recruits, trains, and mobilizes volunteer attorneys to provide pro-bono legal assistance to 2,000 low-income individuals throughout the Commonwealth. We support our volunteer attorneys by providing them with a network of volunteer mentors—experienced practitioners who serve as an “on-call” panel of experts and provide one-on-one guidance to our attorneys. Through targeted pro-bono projects, we work to end the cycle of domestic violence, prevent homelessness, support incarcerated women as they work to rebuild their lives, and help elders maintain peace of mind and personal autonomy as they age.

Founded in 1993 by a group of WBA members, the WBF is grateful for its longstanding relationship with the WBA and would like to thank those who attended the Women’s Bar Association gala and supported the work of the WBF.

To learn more about the WBF, become a volunteer or mentor, or find out about how else you can help low-income women, families, and elders in need, contact the Women’s Bar Foundation’s Director of Strategic Partnerships at 617-973-6666 extension 2211 or rcohen@womensbar.org.