Recordings, Trainings, and Going Virtual
Up and Running!

To continue meeting the needs of clients and volunteers, VLP has created a library of virtual trainings and set up remote legal clinics.

From Housing, to Family & Guardianship, to Consumer, and more--VLP has recorded trainings for nearly every unit of law we handle. Whether you're a new volunteer, or an experienced Pro Bono attorney looking to see how COVID-19 has impacted our legal system, these trainings are terrific resources that you can access at any time from the comfort of your own home.

VLP has made another exciting leap: with the collaboration and hard work of our staff attorneys, paralegals, interns, and volunteers, we have been able to offer our clinics virtually! In addition to folks volunteering their expertise on our telephonic Advice Panels, VLP's clinics help ensure our clients' seamless transition to receiving legal aid remotely.

If you would like access to any of these remote trainings, or would like information about volunteering at our virtual clinics, don't hesitate to reach out to Pro Bono Manager Miranda Black at [email protected]!
Our Impact During the Pandemic
Since our last day in the office (March 13th), we've been able to help hundreds of low-income folks from the Greater Boston area. Our call center Eastern Region Legal Intake (ERLI), our volunteers, our Staff Attorneys, and everyone in the VLP family continue to make tremendous differences in people's lives.
Civil Appeals Clinic Training
The Boston Bar Association is hosting a training September 25 all about the Civil Appeals Clinic! The Civil Appeals Clinic is a partnership between VLP and the Association of Pro Bono Counsel (APBCo) with the goal of providing pro bono appeals advice and information to litigants across the state. It runs remotely every Wednesday from 12:30 - 4 PM.

The training will explain the history and purpose of the program and will provide new volunteers the information and resources they need to get started.

Sign up to learn more about the project and get involved!
A Movement, Not a Moment

VLP's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee has challenged us to keep growing and learning by offering presentations on Implicit Bias, statistics and data regarding Diversity & Hiring Practices, and more.

We are so grateful for the vulnerability our staff has shown during these sometimes difficult conversations.

If you haven't already, feel free to check out VLP's Black Lives Matter page. There you will find lists of mental health resources for people of color, local and online shops owned by people of color, as well as Staff Picks for films, books, and other content focused on the Black experience. You will also find VLP's official statement regarding the BLM movement, included below:
Statement from Executive Director Joanna Allison:

VLP staff and our volunteers see firsthand the disparate and negative impact that the economic and justice systems have on communities of color.
Our clients come to us facing seemingly insurmountable odds as they attempt to get fit and habitable housing, as they try to stay afloat in an economy driven by the high income and wealth of the few. Daily we work to equalize that impact and, through advocacy, give our client community the stability and tools to live the life they deserve.
Today, we want to acknowledge and shout that the murdering of Black citizens by law enforcement, the people who are hired to protect and defend, is a scourge of epic proportions. The pain and heartache of the families, the loss of valuable lives, the seething soul robbing anger, the death of trust, the stark realization that justice is not available to you, your friends, your sons and daughters; all of this robs our communities of their opportunities to realize their value and unique contribution.
VLP stands firm beside our Black colleagues, friends, family, and neighbors in the fight for safety, justice, and peace. We take this stand because Black Lives Matter. We commit to advocating for access to justice. We commit to quality representation.
We commit to the belief that with an expectation that justice will be served, the Black community can come also to expect and demand that no more die at the hands of racism fueled brutality. VLP demands the same.
–Executive Director, Joanna Allison
VLP Case Win
VLP’s Housing Unit recently kept a young couple expecting their first child from becoming homeless. The couple moved into a friend’s apartment at the friend’s invitation. They lived there for several months and paid rent like any other tenant. The issue began when the friend moved out. The landlord claimed the clients were illegal trespassers and asked the Housing Court for an emergency order to evict them. The judge agreed that they were not tenants and that the Massachusetts eviction moratorium did not apply to their situation. The judge gave them one week to leave. With a pandemic happening and a baby to be born in just a couple of months, the parents-to-be were worried.

They contacted VLP, where they found help from VLP Housing Attorney Colin Harnsgate. Attorney Harnsgate was determined to keep this young couple from being evicted in the middle of a pandemic with a baby on the way. Attorney Harnsgate asked the judge to reconsider the previous decision. VLP briefed the issue of whether an occupant who entered at the invitation of a lawful tenant is entitled to summary process and, thus, the protection of the eviction moratorium.

At the hearing, the judge decided to reconsider the previous decision. Just one day away from being evicted, the judge ruled the couple was entitled to summary process and the protection of the moratorium! The extra time granted under the moratorium allowed the couple time to find new housing, which they successfully did!

Even during the troubling times we are living in, VLP’s work continues and we hope to keep helping our clients find access to justice.
COVID-19 Portal Update
Covid Pro Bono

The Pro Bono Committee of the Massachusetts Access to Justice Commission’s COVID-19 Task Force, VLP's Director of Compliance & Technology Barbara Siegel, and Communications Coordinator Arden Barlow are proud to share the progress and success of our COVID-19 Portal.

Since our official launch in late June, MPB's COVID-19 landing page has been featured on, and over 1,000 new members and organizations have joined us in our efforts to help those hit hardest by the pandemic.

Legal professionals and students can search for events, projects, and cases pertaining to COVID-19. Organizations similarly can now post opportunities specific to the coronavirus pandemic.

If you haven't already, check out our page today and be sure to keep an eye on the hashtag #MassCOVIDProBono on Social Media!
Staffing Updates
We are thrilled to announce that Staff Attorney Natasha Lewis accepted a promotion and is now the Call Center Supervising Attorney! Natasha has been an integral voice at VLP with her dedication and passion, and we know she is going to knock her new responsibilities out of the park!
Seamus Macneil
Cate Brams
Derek Di Nardo

VLP is fortunate to have continuous good luck when it comes to our AmeriCorps! This year we had the pleasure of getting to know and work with Cate Brams, Derek Di Nardo, and Seamus Macneil.

Seamus has taken the next step in his legal journey and has accepted a position as a Paralegal Specialist at the Department of Justice's Antitrust Division in DC! We couldn't be more proud!

While most AmeriCorps work with us for one year of service, we are thrilled to announce Cate and Derek are staying on with us for another year!

If you ask anyone who's had the privilege of working alongside any of these three folks, they'll tell you how hardworking these Legal Advocates are and how lucky we are to have two of them stay part of the VLP family.
Save the Date
We can't ensure the high-quality access to justice our clients deserve without the tireless efforts of our volunteers. Now more than ever, VLP is so grateful for everyone who has offered their time, energy, and hard work to ensure our clients in the Greater Boston Area have their rights defended. We want to celebrate you!

Join us on Tuesday, September 15, for our
Virtual Volunteer Appreciation Event!
Thank you for all that you do!

Stay happy and healthy, VLP family!
Thank You to Our Partners and Sponsors: