Access to Justice Updates

Thursday, April 19, 2012

SJC APPROVES PRO HAC VICE FEE

The Supreme Judicial Court announced today that it had adopted a new Rule 3:15, establishing a fee for admission pro hac vice.  The fees will be given to the IOLTA Committee for distribution through normal channels to legal assistance projects for low-income individuals and families.  The new rule takes effect September 4, 2012.

The Access to Justice Commission proposed the rule to the Court in February.

The final rule provides that a lawyer admitted to practice in another jurisdiction, but not in Massachusetts, shall pay a $301 registration fee to the Board of Bar Overseers for permission to practice in Superior Court, the Land Court or any appellate court.  The fee for registration in a case in the other departments of the Trial Court is only $101.  Once the fee is paid, a Massachusetts lawyer moves the admission of the unadmitted lawyer. 

Click here to view the order establishing the rule. 

RAPPAPORT CENTER FOR LAW AND PUBLIC SERVICES HONORS JUSTICE GANTS

Suffolk Law School's Rappaport Center will present Justice Ralph D. Gants, Commission Co-Chair, with its Public Service Award during its April 25 Annual Pro Bono Award Ceremony and Reception.  The program begins at 5:30 P.M. at the law school, 120 Tremont Street. To RSVP, click here.

STRONG EDITORIAL SUPPORT FOR MLAC APPROPRIATION

Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly has published a ringing endorsement of MLAC's legislative request for an appropriation of $14.5 million for FY 2013, a $4.0 million increase over FY 2012.  In its edition for the week of April 9, the paper cites the decline of IOLTA revenue (down 78% since 2008), the lay-offs of lawyers, and the inability of pro bono lawyers to take up the slack.  The editorial also points out that legal aid lawyers save the state money by preventing evictions and homelessness and make a contribution to the state's economy by establishing eligibility of clients for federal benefits.

MASS LAW REFORM INSTITUTE: TOUGH ADVOCACY FOR TOUGH TIMES

A year after Georgia Katsoulomitis took the reins as Executive Director, MLRI is a leaner organization because of lay offs due to reduced funding, but it is stronger than ever in its determination to bring high quality advocacy to systemic problems that hurt low-income clients.  So reported Director Katsoulomitis at a Panel Discussion convened at the Boston Bar Association to bring the access to justice community up to date on MLRI developments.

Both direct client representation and support for regional program staff are going well.  The long-term financial soundness of MLRI is being assured; 2011 was a good fund raising year and 2012 should bring MLRI back to full fiscal health.

A panel of three distinguished MLRI advocates certainly bore her out.  Iris Gomez, Judith Leban and Ruth Bourquin reported on their current efforts to bring justice to low-income families.  Combining negotiation with federal and state agencies, advocacy in the legislature and litigation where necessary, they have been achieving policy changes and enforcing legal rights for immigrants seeking work, tenants facing eviction and  families caught in the inadequate homeless shelter program. 

ACCESS TO JUSTICE NEWS FROM OTHER STATES

New Apps for iPhones.  Two new apps, "Legal Aid News" and "Legal Aid Finder" have been created by Maine's Pine Tree Legal Assistance with an LSC TIG grant.  The provide state and national news, and contact information, and are available in the Apple App store and the Android Marketplace.

An Arkansas pro bono iphone app allows Arkansas attorneys to review potential pro bono opportunities and request assignment to a case.  The attorneys can get the app at iTunes.

Law School for Interpreters.  The South Carolina Access to Justice Commission has convened its first training program for interpreters.  77 interpreters attended and learned about the court system and legal process and terminology.  The goal of the session is to recruit interpreters.

Corporate Attorneys Permitted To Do Pro Bono.  Nebraska has adopted a rule allowing corporate counsel admitted in another state to provide pro bono services in the Nebraska courts as long as they do it under the aegis of an authorized program.