Lawyers for Affordable Justice, a group of collaborative, independently practicing attorneys in Massachusetts offers helpful guidance and resources for panel members.
Finding work that aligns with our values is important to our happiness. We’re all different of course, but a common challenge we run into in our society is that we value helping those who need it the most but we need to pay our own bills to survive. Fortunately, lawyers in Massachusetts seeking to address the gap in access to justice, which is growing due to the pandemic, can find support with Lawyers for Affordable Justice. As explained on their website,
According to a recent study by Clio, 77% of the people with legal problems can not afford legal assistance. In other words, only 23% of the people with legal problems are receiving legal help. Thus the access to justice gap.
And for those needing legal help, it can seem as if there is an insurmountable mountain that they cannot climb. They don’t meet the legal services guidelines and yet they have serious legal problems. COVID has exacerbated the number of legal issues for lower income people and that situation is likely to expand.
From the other side of the gap, 80% of practicing lawyers say they want more clients. Lawyers can choose to see the access gap as an opportunity to serve more clients, contribute to the profession and expand their market.
Lawyers for Affordable Justice offers important guidance for its members. For new attorneys, an unguided transition from training to practice can be stressful to anticipate, let alone experience. While the legal profession lacks a mandated apprenticeship mechanism common to so many other professions, lawyers can find a range of resources for mentorship, including LAJ, which originally formed in 2016 when three of Boston’s top law schools worked together to help their students by forming an incubator program that’s now an independent group of attorneys open to alum from any law school.
Lawyers for Affordable Justice offers its panel attorneys a range of benefits beyond mentorship, and is accepting resumes from attorneys interested in joining. Mentorship covers starting a practice, including a nonprofit, with a focus on immigration, tenant landlord, small business, employment, family, or criminal law. In addition to substantive and business mentors, members receive access to Clio and LexisNexis, case referrals, MBA and BBA memberships. Benefits are listed here.
Choosing Service: Advocating for Underserved Populations through a Career in Public Service — a Free BBA Webinar, Live on March 9th.