The Bar Rises to the Occasion

The Boston Bar Association knows that in times of crisis, lawyers are uniquely positioned to provide assistance to those in need. In the wake of the Boston Marathon tragedy, the Mayor’s Office reached out to the BBA to help provide legal assistance to those small businesses in the Back Bay affected by the bombing. Our members jumped at the opportunity to volunteer their time and talent to their community.

With nearly 200 individual volunteers, 26 law firms and 3 law schools offering assistance, members of the bar have sprung into action and taken dozens of pro bono cases, with more coming in every day. We asked our volunteers about their experiences providing pro bono legal assistance to those affected:

"I wanted an opportunity to give back to the community in a time of need, providing any expertise I could to help those adversely affected by the events," said Richard Heller, Senior Vice President and General Counsel at Legal Seafood. "I believe I provided guidance in directing the client with a roadmap through the insurance maze."

"We believe in the power of the community to rally in difficult times and to support each other,” said Suzanne King, Partner at Schwartz Hannum. "Schwartz Hannum was thrilled to see the BBA step up and take a leadership role in organizing the many law firms who were interested in helping the businesses affected by the Boston Marathon bombings. We are proud of the generosity of the Boston legal community and were happy to do our part."

Along with our members, organizations across Boston heard the BBA’s call to action, including the Mayor’s Office, the One Fund, the Massachusetts Office of Victims Assistance and the Massachusetts Department of Public Safety. These organizations have listed the BBA as a resource for small businesses and individuals affected by the bombings, from offering legal assistance to help filing One Fund claims. For more information regarding those agencies with whom the BBA is working to aid victims and businesses, click here.

Some of the cases accepted by BBA volunteers deal with insurance claims, business continuity, relocation and employee matters, while more complex ones include individuals with whom the FBI has requested to speak and businesses who felt unfairly represented by marathon coverage. As the BBA continues to receive calls for assistance from individuals and businesses affected by the tragedy, we realize that the range of cases is more complex and nuanced than anticipated. We value the willingness of the bar to step up to serve the city, its businesses and its people as we recover from this tragedy. The BBA would like to thank its members for their dedication to our Greater Boston community and for their work to ensure access to justice for those affected by the Boston Marathon tragedy. To offer your assistance in this time of need, contact Katie D’Angelo at kdangelo@bostonbar.org.