35th anniversary  
                                                                                                                                   February 5, 2013
  
Dear Attorney    ,

        

          Congratulations on becoming a new member of the Massachusetts Bar! This is truly a momentous and exciting time in your life and one that will be filled with new challenges and goals. While many of those undertakings will include the pursuit of individual career objectives, it is my hope that as the pro bono coordinator at MetroWest Legal Services,  you will aspire to volunteer your time and energies by participating in pro bono legal activities to help those in need. I am confident that by giving a small amount of your time to MWLS, you will feel more connected to your profession and your community and feel personally enriched by having helped  impoverished families with your expertise.

 

          MetroWest Legal Services is a non-profit organization that provides free legal representation to low-income, disabled and elderly individuals  and families in 36 communities in the MetroWest area. The staff at MWLS represents battered women, tenants in eviction cases, advocates for children, provides services for homeless individuals, and helps elderly and disabled individuals obtain benefits (to name just a few areas.) In 2012, the eight attorneys and two paralegals at MWLS represented and assisted more than 2,000 clients. Unfortunately, about 3000 eligible clients were turned away because we lacked the resources to assist them. This is where you and your commitment to the law and your community can make a real difference. Many of the Commonwealth's most successful attorneys give of their time in this way and we are hoping that you will too.

          Our office operates a Private Bar Volunteer Program in cooperation with the local bar associations in our service area. Volunteer attorneys help low-income clients in a variety of situations ranging from assisting custodial parents obtain divorces, helping abuse victims with restraining orders, assisting impoverished and indebted clients with bankruptcy issues, helping children receive special educational services, assisting  individuals in unemployment cases, and drafting wills for the elderly (just to name a few).  Our volunteer attorneys are dedicated to helping individuals who would otherwise be denied representation. The legal work they provide often dramatically changes the lives of those they aid.
 
          While we welcome you to volunteer in areas in which you are most familiar, your general understanding of the law and ability to learn will allow you to be useful in any legal arena. MWLS offers training seminars in several different subject matters including divorce, restraining orders, bankruptcy and wills (again, just to name a few). These seminars will give you a detailed overview of the law in that particular area as well as give you a solid foundation for representing clients. This spring we have a Bankruptcy Basic Training Seminar, Wednesday, March 6th from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. at the US Bankruptcy Court in Worcester, MA. We are also scheduling a Divorce Basics Seminar,  Alimony Update and Judicial Bankruptcy Forum  for late spring/early summer.  The seminars and the materials are free. In lieu of a registration fee, we ask that you commit to handling one/two pro bono cases from MWLS in your trained area within the year. If you are interested in obtaining more information about our seminars or other services we offer to our pro bono panel, please call me at 508-620-1830  ext 243 or email me at cpalmieri@mwlegal.org.
          Becoming a volunteer is EASY! Just complete this form or visit our website at www.mwlegal.org. By registering and joining our team of volunteer attorneys you will be making a real investment in your community, yourself and in the lives of those in need. The success of our program depends on the generosity and commitment of attorneys like you, who are willing to represent indigent clients on a pro bono basis. I look forward to working with you in the future.

Sincerely, 

 

Cheryl A. Palmieri

 

Cheryl A. Palmieri

Pro Bono Coordinator/Attorney