On January 30, Davis Malm shareholder and Chair of the Massachusetts Equal Justice Coalition Sandy Moskowitz led over one third of Davis Malm’s attorneys and over 650 attorneys in the 14th annual Walk to the Hill for Civil Legal Aid. At the Walk lawyers lobby state legislators to increase funding for programs that provide civil legal aid to low-income Massachusetts residents. This year, the lawyers were seeking $3.5 million in increased funding to offset the severe drop in revenue from Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts (IOLTA), the largest non-state funding source for legal aid in Massachusetts, and to prevent further erosion of legal services for the poor.

In his address, Sandy stressed the need for increased funding to protect the critical role civil legal aid plays in ensuring access to justice. “Legal aid programs throughout the Commonwealth have faced severely reduced funding and have been forced to take drastic steps to cut back, including laying off on average a third of their staffs,” Sandy said. “Only additional state funding can protect our civil legal aid system and access to justice for our most vulnerable residents.”

Governor Deval Patrick and Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Roderick L. Ireland both attended and spoke at the event. The Governor, who asked that attorney’s urge their legislators to support legal aid, has recommended $15.5 million for the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation in his fiscal year 2014 budget proposal. This amount, which matches MLAC’s request, is a $3.5 increase from last year’s appropriation.

The Walk to the Hill was co-sponsored by the Equal Justice Coalition, Boston Bar Association, Massachusetts Bar Association, and many local and specialty bar associations. The Davis Malm contingent was led by Dan Janis, and included Neal Bingham, George Chimento, Rob Diettrich, Jim Gallagher, Robert Galvin, Brian Gaudet, Evgenia Goryshina, Josh Grossman, John Lynch, Michael Malm, Kenneth Mickiewicz, Sandy Moskowitz, Michael Serra, and Marjorie Suisman.

For more information contact: Joanne Thorud; (617) 589-3894; jthorud@davismalm.com

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