In Memory of Chief Justice Ralph Gants

Chief Justice Gants once said: “There is abundant room for discussions that begin with the words, ‘What if…?'”


This lifelong attitude was part of what made Ralph Gants a true pillar in the legal community.  For him, “What if?” was not just a rhetorical question–it was a challenge.  Chief Justice Gants championed progress and access to justice. He was never afraid to speak up, even if he spoke alone.  Chief Justice Gants spoke out about injustices and corruption, and he inspired hope in a fairer justice system.  It was in that spirit that he helped create the Access to Justice Commission in Massachusetts.  Knowing he was paying attention to citizens with needs, and looking out for any future needs of the Commonwealth, was something we could always count on.  


One of his later decisions was to close the courts statewide back in March. This decision was unpopular, and he faced loud opposition, but it ended up saving lives and it truly embodies his “people first” perspective.  He always said that being the smartest person in the room wasn’t going to help anyone if you were not, first and foremost, a human being.


After the stay-at-home order had been issued, Chief Justice Gants was asked if any measures were being taken to help those dealing with Civil Appeals.  “I’m not sure,” he said.  “Let’s make it happen!”  He saw a need, and he did whatever he could to help make a solution to that need.  


Chief Justice Gants recognized that VLP was a leader, and the right organization to be tasked with the creation of a Civil Appeals virtual clinic.  Chief Justice Gants knew how “agile, imaginative, and persevering our judicial workforce can be,” and therefore he had nothing but faith and confidence in organizations like ours as new realities of the Covid-19 pandemic set in. He once said that “there would be no justice without VLP.”


To mourn a public hero is difficult, but to grieve a friend hurts all the more. Chief Justice Gants was a vocal and active supporter of VLP since being appointed to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, and he has touched so many of our lives professionally and personally. We all can honor Chief Justice Gants’ spirit by continuing to persevere and by holding onto that inspiring voice in the back of our minds which spurs us on even when times are tough.


To quote Chief Justice Gants, we must keep going so that a future generation will say of us, “This was their finest hour.”

Last Chance to RSVP!

Last chance to RSVP for tonight’s Volunteer Appreciation Event and hear all about these folks’ amazing volunteer work—plus 2 guest speakers and more!

 

RSVP 

 

And don’t forget: up to $5,000 in donations associated with VLP’s 2020 Annual Volunteer Appreciation Event will be matched by a generous, anonymous donor!

 

Make your donation by September 22 by going to vlpnet.org and clicking “donate”. 

 

Select the designation “2020 Volunteer Appreciation Event Matching Gift” and your gift will be automatically doubled by our matching donor!

 

Thank you! Stay well!

 

Double Your Impact!

Support Volunteer Lawyers Project Today and Double your Impact!

Up to $5,000 in donations associated with VLP’s 2020 Annual Volunteer Appreciation Event will be matched by a generous, anonymous donor!

 

Make your donation by September 22 by going to vlpnet.org and clicking “donate”. 

 

Select the designation “2020 Volunteer Appreciation Event Matching Gift” and your gift will be automatically doubled by our matching donor!

 

Thank you! Stay well!

You’re Invited!

VLP's logo against a silhouette of the Boston skyline.

Join us for VLP’s 2020 Virtual Volunteer Appreciation Event!

This year, we will be coming to you live on Zoom.  You will still learn about our fantastic awardees and hear from our incredible keynote speakers, but now you can attend from the comfort of your own home!

Please RSVP to the event here.
(You will receive the Zoom link upon registration.)

Keynote Speakers

  • Boston City Councilor Andrea Campbell
  • Ms. Thelma Ajike, J.D.

Join us in celebrating our volunteers and honoring our awardees:

Gideon’s Trumpet Award

  • Hon. Joan Feeney (Ret.)

Denis Maguire Awards

  • Caryn Mitchell-Munevar, Esq.
    New England School of Law
  • Joel Gardiner, Esq.
  • Ryan Rosenblatt, Esq.
    Sullivan & Worcester LLP
  • Samuel Bombaugh, Esq.
    Sullivan & Worcester LLP

We hope you can join us!  Stay happy and healthy!

Call Center Hours During COVID

Our callcenter, ERLI, has new hours!  We will keep you posted if anything changes but the updated hours for Eastern Region Legal Intake are as follows:

 

Monday, Wednesday, Friday: 9AM-12PM
Tuesday & Thursday: 12:30PM-3:30PM

 

Thank you and stay healthy!

Your Rights in Small Claims Court During the Pandemic

Because of the coronavirus COVID-19, the Trial Court, which includes Small Claims Court, has made some new rules:
 
  • POSTPONED COURT DATES: All pending Small Claims cases are postponed until no earlier than Monday, May 4, 2020. 
 
That means if your Small Claims case is currently scheduled for any date before May 4, 2020, you do NOT have to go to court. If a debt collector wants a telephone (rather than in-person) hearing before May 4, 2020, they must file a motion showing why they want an earlier date. You should receive notice of any new court date by mail. If you don’t receive notice of a new date, you can look up your case file online at www.masscourts.org or call the court where your case is scheduled.  
 
  • DO NOT SIGN AN AGREEMENT TO PAY WITHOUT LEGAL ADVICE.
 
The attorney for the company suing you might reach out to you urging you to sign an agreement to pay outside of court. We strongly urge you to get advice before signing any agreement, even one that does not require you to make payments now. You may have defenses in these cases and the company suing you cannot force you to make payments without a court order. 
 
Please do not sign an agreement without consulting an attorney. 


Thank you and stay safe! 

VLP Clinics Update

Please note: in compliance with recommendations from the CDC, our clinics are now scheduled to reopen as of May 4th (5/4/2020). Stay safe and thank you for your patience!

Welcome, Interns!

VLP is proud to host our new Legal Interns! 

For their Alternative Spring Break, these students are spending their time helping underrepresented citizens of the Greater Boston Area.

Thanks to Boston College Law School and New England Law for sharing your talented students with us!