MetroWest Legal Services
Important Message from MWLS Executive Director Elizabeth Soule
December 2010
Dear MWLS Friends,

        As I reflect on 2010 as it comes to a close, I am overwhelmed by the challenges and hardships that we have all endured.

The economic downturn, recession, depression, whatever you want to call it, has continued for far longer than any of us anticipated. Our clients have been hit particularly hard. The record-breaking unemployment rate has caused many thousands of individuals and families in the MWLS area to navigate systems they never even knew existed. State budget cuts and decreased revenue from agencies that provide vital services have resulted in big holes poking through the "safety net"- something that used to be there to assist people in stressful times like these. 


As a result, we have seen a tremendous increase in the number of people coming to us for help with unemployment appeals, evictions, foreclosures, domestic violence, cash assistance and health care access. The list goes on and on. More clients are being forced to make difficult choices like, "Which do I pay first- the heating bill or the rent?", "Do I use my paycheck to buy medication or food?" How could you even decide?

         Despite these enormous challenges, MWLS has achieved great things during 2010. Through the hard work and dedication of the staff, MWLS represented more than 2,500 individuals and families this past year. Our advocates closed 66 education cases, 623 elder cases, 385 family law cases, 718 health care access/income maintenance cases, 358 housing cases, 82 immigration cases and 42 consumer cases. Private attorneys in our PBI program donated 1410 hours of time pro bono to assist clients with divorces, bankruptcies, wills and other legal issues. 

     I have great respect for our clients and all they are facing. I also have great respect for the dedicated staff of professionals that are MetroWest Legal Services.  The attorneys, paralegals, case managers, and support staff are all working incredibly hard to assist as many clients as they can in the best way they can. 


       Calls for assistance have increased a whopping 25% over the past 18 months. In an ideal world, all of these people would receive assistance. The reality is that about half or even less receive assistance due to a lack of funding. 

This leads me to ask you to consider making a donation to MetroWest Legal Services. There is no good answer to the client who calls for help and is told we do not have the resources to assist them. What do you do when the legal representation of last resort cannot help you? Where do you go? The answer is....nowhere. 
You can help us continue our critical work so that fewer low-income and elderly people will have to hear the words, "I'm sorry, we cannot help you and we do not have anywhere else to send you."

If you've already sent in your donation, thank you. If you would like to donate online, please visit Or if you prefer, you can mail us a check or call our office with a credit card donation.


Please know that we are doing everything we can to make the law work for thousands of families and individuals. With your help, we can continue our hard work. 


I wish all of you a restful and peaceful holiday with your families and friends.


Elizabeth Soule

Executive Director