As the Boston Bar Association’s new president, Litigation and Dispute Resolution Partner J.D. Smeallie is passionate about the new initiative he plans to launch to address the crisis surrounding funding for civil legal aid in Massachusetts. Mr. Smeallie is forming a statewide task force that will examine what can be done in Massachusetts to provide legal aid for people who can’t afford to hire a lawyer for cases involving essential human needs such as housing and custody rights.
“One of the things that I think is apparent in Massachusetts and everywhere else is — with regard to certain matters of basic human needs — people need lawyers (for things like) landlord disputes and custody cases,” Mr. Smeallie said. “There’s an overwhelming number of people who appear in court on these kinds of matters without a lawyer. It’s a big disadvantage for them and a huge burden to our courts. We hope to investigate ways to assure that these people have a fair shake in court when matters of basic human needs are at stake.”
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