BOSTON (November 14, 2019) – Holland & Knight Partner James D. "J.D." Smeallie was among four attorneys and nine legislators recognized by the Equal Justice Coalition with Beacon of Justice Awards at the Massachusetts State House on Nov. 12. The honorees were selected for their significant support of state funding for civil legal aid through the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation (MLAC).
The Equal Justice Coalition is a collaboration of the MLAC, Massachusetts Bar Association and Boston Bar Association. MLAC is the largest funding source for civil legal aid organizations in Massachusetts and aids nonprofits that provide critical legal assistance to low-income residents facing serious legal problems.
"Through their efforts to increase funding for civil legal aid, these legislators and lawyers have shown tremendous leadership in their support for access to justice for all residents of the Commonwealth," said Lynne Parker, MLAC executive director. "Legal aid can have profoundly positive effects on people facing eviction, domestic violence, lack of access to benefits, and other serious civil legal issues. We're grateful to these award winners for their commitment to legal aid, which boosts not just individuals, but also their families and communities."
Mr. Smeallie is a partner in Holland & Knight's Boston office, concentrating his practice on business litigation with particular emphasis in litigation involving education, employment, professional liability, intellectual property and unfair competition. He has served in firm leadership positions as executive partner of the Boston office, chair of the Education Team, member of the Directors Committee and current member of the firmwide Practice and Operations Committee. Mr. Smeallie is a trustee of the Massachusetts Equal Justice Fund and a fellow of the American Bar Foundation and the Boston Bar Foundation, where he serves on the Grants Committee. He also is a past president of the Boston Bar Association, where he led a task force which issued the groundbreaking report "Investing in Justice: A Roadmap to Cost-Effective Funding of Civil Legal in Massachusetts."
"I am truly honored to receive this award from the Equal Justice Coalition and salute its commitment to ensuring that those in need throughout the state have access to legal information, advice and representation," said Mr. Smeallie.
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