In the News - Archives
November 17, 2018
Boston schools agree to change policies on suspensions—Boston Globe
“'We need to solve this problem and not just remove kids from school,' said Elizabeth McIntyre, an attorney for Greater Boston Legal Services, which represented the parents as part of its School to Prison Pipeline Intervention Project…Parents who filed the lawsuit said Friday they hoped the agreement will result in students missing fewer days of classes and that procedures will be followed, including providing students and families their due-process rights for hearings when a suspension is recommended along with necessary information."
Please click here to read the Boston Globe story.
November 16, 2018
Proposed public charge rule causes fear incommunity, even though nothing has changed—Sampan
“I met Dong at the legal clinic that I staff each Tuesday morning at South Cove Community Health Center. Working in the Asian Outreach Unit of Greater Boston Legal Services, I interact with low-income Asian immigrants on a daily basis. The newest issue raising fear and confusion in the Asian American community is the Trump administration’s proposal of a “public charge” regulation.
Please click here to read GBLS Paralegal Li Fan’s op-ed in Sampan.
Please click here to read GBLS’ statement regarding the public charge proposed rules.
November 16, 2018
GBLS clients and Boston Public Schools reach settlement to end unlawful suspensions of youngest students and focus on alternatives for all students—Sampan, WBUR
GBLS clients and Boston Public Schools Interim Superintendent Laura Perille have signed a settlement agreement wherein BPS agrees to: 1) no longer suspend kindergartners, first graders, or second graders; 2) to suspend third, fourth, and fifth graders only for very serious offenses; and 3) agrees to create, in collaboration with community groups, professional development trainings designed to increase the use of non-exclusionary, alternative discipline. Please click here to read GBLS’ press release.
October 31, 2018
Workers sue Happy Lamb Hot Pot for hundreds of thousands in pervasive wage theft — Sampan
“Happy Lamb Hot Pot ignored wage and hour laws and even after workers complained, many violations continued,” said Ting Chiu, Staff Attorney at Greater Boston Legal Services. “These workers deserve the wages and tips that they have earned.”
Please click here to read the Sampan story.
October 29, 2018
Increases in public funding to legal aid providers protects tenants — Wicked Local Cambridge
Cambridge City Councilor Sumbul Siddiqui: “Cambridge and Somerville Legal Services (CASLS), a division of Greater Boston Legal Services, provides free legal services to low-income families and individuals...As a legal aid attorney myself, I understand how critical these services are to helping people stay in their homes, and why they’re a necessary component of our city’s housing plan.”
Please click here to read Councilor Siddiqui’s column in Wicked Local Cambridge.
April 25, 2018
Boston City Councilor wants to help residents repay back taxes — Metro US
"Today, too many elderly and low-income Boston residents face increasing property tax bills that they cannot afford," said GBLS Senior Attorney Todd Kaplan. "By offering these residents more flexible payment plans to pay their back taxes with the opportunity to reduce accrued interest, we can help homeowners get current on their taxes and take real steps to ensuring Boston is a city for people of all ages and income levels."
Please click here to read the Metro US story.
March 29, 2018
As ICE deports higher numbers of Asian immigrants, a Dorchester family is left without a mother — Spare Change News
“More people are being told to get their travel documents in order before heading to their ICE check-ins, particularly those in the Southeast Asian community,“ said GBLS Senior Attorney Bethany Li. “It’s hard to generalize and there’s no need to create lots of fear but people should go talk to a lawyer [if called in early]. This is true for immigrants generally, that everyone and anyone is a target and that’s certainly a widening of the policies previously used to consider who would be targeted for deportation. And Southeast Asians haven’t been targeted in this way maybe ever … it’s only last fall that people started questioning whether they would be able to continue to live here.”
Please click here to read the Spare Change News story.
March 29, 2018
Somerville aldermen hope to encourage affordability through right of first refusal — Tufts Daily
Trying to find affordable housing is one of the most difficult issues every Boston-area resident faces — and it's even more challenging if you want to buy a home. Somerville is trying to do something about it, as GBLS Senior Attorney Ellen Shachter explains.
Please click here to read the Tufts Daily story.
March 23, 2018
Repeal Sought for Child Welfare Cap — Boston Neighborhood Network News
GBLS Senior Attorney Naomi Meyer and Massachusetts Law Reform Institute Senior Staff Attorney Deborah Harris explain the need to lift the child welfare cap in Massachusetts.
Please click here to watch Boston Neighborhood Network News interview by host Chris Lovett.
March 16, 2018
Welfare cap, disability services are focus of final Massachusetts state budget hearing — MassLive
"$100...means the difference between whether a mom can afford enough diapers to keep her baby clean and healthy, and the difference between whether she can afford bus fare to go to the supermarket and buy what her kids need," said Naomi Meyer, GBLS Senior Attorney, on the importance of lifting the financial assistance cap on struggling families.
Please click here to read the MassLive story<
March 15, 2018
Advocates Ask SJC to Block Immigration Arrests at Mass. Courthouses — WBUR
“U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials are targeting courthouses in the state and arresting undocumented immigrants who are showing up for scheduled court dates. [GBLS, the Committee for Public Counsel Services Immigration Impact Unit, the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice] filed a petition in Supreme Judicial Court seeking an injunction against such arrests, saying the fear of deportation is preventing some immigrants who are in the country without documentation from showing up for court business.”
Please click here to read the WBUR story
February 5, 2018
Ministering To Puerto Rico's Pain: Civil Legal Aid Lawyers Assisting Those Seeking Mass. Refuge — WGBH
GBLS Executive Director Jacquelynne Bowman and Mass. Legal Assistance Corporation Executive Director Lonnie Powers: “Five months after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, the situation on the island remains dire, and states throughout the nation have welcomed Puerto Rican refugees — who are U.S. citizens — to the mainland.” “…These new residents will also require civil legal assistance. Civil legal aid attorneys have long played a critical role in helping people recover from natural disasters.”
Please click here to read the WGBH opinion piece.
January 25, 2018
Gov. Charlie Baker's budget would let welfare recipients keep more benefits while working — MassLive
“Advocates for poor people say they have some concerns about what will happen to people after those six months are up. Naomi Meyer, a senior attorney at Greater Boston Legal Services, said if for example someone is working part time and their pay does not increase in the first six months,‘they're still going to need that supplemental bit of benefits for awhile longer.’
Please click here to read the MassLive story.
December 3, 2017
Protect low-wage workers from sexual harassment — Boston Globe
Evidence suggests sexual harassment of low-wage workers is pervasive, and they often feel unable to speak out. "The barriers to justice for these women are considerable. Many don’t speak English. Some fear being reported to immigration authorities if they complain. And the risk of job loss is particularly acute for the poor." GBLS Senior Attorney Audrey Richardson said, “[GBLS] could put a meaningful sexual harassment program in place with just a $300,000 annual budget — a tiny fraction of the state’s $40 billion in annual spending.”
Please click here to read the Boston Globe editorial.
December 2, 2017
Felony or misdemeanor? Massachusetts may change larceny laws — boston.com
"The $250 threshold has been in effect in Massachusetts since 1987 and is low enough to make the theft of a winter coat, video game console or a pair of pricier sunglasses a felony, leaving a mark on a person’s record that could hinder employment options for years.
'With young people, they grow up poor and they make mistakes,' said Pauline Quirion, director of the CORI and Re-entry Project for Greater Boston Legal Services, and an advocate for the change."
Please click here to read the boston.com story.
November 29, 2017
How civil legal aid assists older adults — Huffington Post
“In Massachusetts and around the country, many legal services organizations have units dedicated exclusively to addressing the legal needs of the elder population. For example, Greater Boston Legal Services’ (GBLS) Elder Abuse Prevention Project, in addition to providing direct services to elder clients, provides training for care providers, community members, and seniors to raise public awareness of the forms such abuse can take. GBLS is playing a role in assisting the increasing number of elders who are falling victim to abuse by opioid addicted family members, a side effect largely overlooked until recently."
Please click here to read the opinion piece in the Huffington Post.
October 18, 2017
State legislators produce sweeping criminal justice reform bill — Bay State Banner
The goal of the Massachusetts Senate's much-needed criminal justice reform bill is to reduce unnecessary incarceration. “No one of us could imagine being unemployed for ten years,” said Pauline Quirion, director of GBLS' CORI and Re-entry Project. “Studies show employers will not hire you with a CORI even for a dismissed case.”
Please click here to read the Bay State Banner article.
October 12, 2017
Mandatory sentences targeted in plan to change drug laws — Gloucester Times
Proposed criminal justice reforms by the Massachusetts legislature would help individuals with criminal records to get their lives back on track as well as keep more people out of prison. GBLS Lead Attorney Pauline Quirion, director of GBLS’ CORI and Re-Entry Project, said reducing the years it takes to seal a criminal record and lowering probation fees will help. "We have a system that supposed to allow people to move forward by sealing their cases, but the waits are simply too long," she said. "If you have that mark on your record, you can't get a job or housing, so you're not going to be able to move forward."
Please click here to read the Gloucester Times article.
September 25, 2017
Proposed law aims to protect low income residents from burdensome debt collection — WWLP-22 News
Dozens of people came to the State House for the Committee on Financial Services' public hearing on bills dealing with banking and debt settlement.
Please click here to read the WWLP-22 News story and listen to GBLS Consumer Rights Unit fellow attorney Matthew Brooks testifying in support of the bill.
July 25, 2017
South End Renters Hope Legal Fight Stops Eviction – The Boston Globe
GBLS is advising low-income Harrison Avenue tenants in the South End as they fight eviction following the sale of their building.”
Please click here to read the Boston Globe article
June 13, 2017
Experts worry criminal-records law violations aren’t being caught – Boston Globe
"Just 10 people or organizations in the past five years were found to have flouted the state law that regulates access to and use of personal criminal records, prompting concerns that companies are getting away with violations.
'It’s hard to believe it’s only just a few people a year that are violating the law,' known as the Criminal Offender Record Information, or CORI, law, said Pauline Quirion, director of the CORI and Re-entry Project at Greater Boston Legal Services."
Please click here to read the Boston Globe article
March 7, 2017
Greater Boston Legal Services: Carrying on Boston’s Long-Held Tradition of Serving the Poor – Lawyers Clearinghouse
Take a look at this guest post written by Access to Justice Fellow John Carroll, who is working with The Equal Justice Coalition to compile a comprehensive history of civil legal aid organizations in Massachusetts. This fascinating piece details the creation and history of Greater Boston Legal Services.
Please click here to read the Lawyers Clearinghouse article
February 11, 2017
Lawmakers looking to lower prison recidivism
Pauline Quirion, a lawyer and director of the criminal records sealing project at Greater Boston Legal Services, said reducing the number of years it takes to seal a criminal record and lowering probation fees will also help ex-convicts adjust to life on the outside.
“Asking someone who is indigent to pay $60 a month in probation fees, you may as well be asking them to pay $1 million,” she said. “They’re not going to be able to comply, and the sad thing is they will end up incarcerated again because they can’t pay it.”
Please click here to read the Gloucester Times article
February 5, 2017
Homeless Families Turn To Emergency Rooms For Shelter – WGBH News
"According to a complaint [GBLS] filed this January, one of the named plaintiffs, a mother of two girls, aged 7 and 9 and who is pregnant, was denied emergency assistance after the family was told they had to leave a friend’s house where they’d been staying. After spending the night sleeping on the floor of an un-named nonprofit, the complaint alleges, the family re-applied for state assistance.
'They still didn’t place her then, so the next night she went to the emergency room, having no other place to go, and stayed there,' says Ruth Bourquin a senior attorney at GBLS."
Please click here to read the WGBH News article
January 3, 2017
Prepare to dig in to preserve civil legal aid - Huffpost
"Civil legal aid is a powerful...tool that helps people living in poverty build a foundation of stability so they can create a better future for themselves, their families, and our communities. Any attempts to weaken or dismantle federal civil legal aid must be met with principled advocacy and resistance by the legal community, social justice activists, and civil rights organizations."
Please click here to read the Huffpost article
December 15, 2016
Baker administration accused of denying shelter to homeless mothers – The Boston Globe
Especially difficult to comprehend on frigid winter days like today. “Everybody agrees that it would be good to ensure that homeless families are in better placements than motels. But what’s happening is that they end up in places that are worse — not in shelter at all, or in far-flung places where their lives are further disrupted,” said Ruth A. Bourquin, one of the Greater Boston Legal Services lawyers who filed the suit. “It’s just getting to a real crisis point,” she said.
Please click here to read the Boston Globe article
December 11, 2016
How many evictions are there in Boston? No one really knows. – Boston Globe
Some tenant advocates were among those arguing against the court’s giving out bulk data in recent hearings on public access.
Mac McCreight, lead attorney for housing at Greater Boston Legal Services, which represents renters who face eviction, cautioned that aggregated court data is not always accurate or up-to-date. Moreover he worries some landlords might use it to “blacklist” tenants who have had a case filed against them, even if the eviction never wound up happening.
“Someone looking at an online system might make conclusions that are not accurate,” McCreight said. “And we hear reports about landlords who’ll say, ‘If I see someone’s name on the list, that’s it. I’m not going to rent to them.’ ”
Please click here to read the Boston Globe article
October 31, 2016
Precedent-Setting Win for Low-Income Tenants Creates 59 Affordable Housing Units in Boston – Yahoo! Finance
Affordable Housing Victory Achieved in Boston
A coalition including GBLS, City Life/Vida Urbana, pro bono law firms Goulston & Storrs, Jones Day, and Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, the Department of Neighborhood Development, CEDAC, and the Boston Public Health Commission not only saved 59 families from being displaced from their homes, but also created 59 new permanently-affordable housing units in Dorchester and Mattapan. Through the sale of properties at Orlando and Waldeck streets from the bankrupt landlord to the Codman Square Neighborhood Development Corporation, the tenants are no longer at risk of displacement and homelessness and the affordable units have been preserved for the future.
Please click here to read the Yahoo! Finance article.
October 28, 2016
Mismanaged Dorchester, Mattapan properties secured as affordable housing through non-profit purchase – Dorchester Reporter
Please click here to read the Dorchester Reporter article.
October 28, 2016
Bankruptcy sale of five buildings preserves home for tenants - Boston Herald
Please click here to read the Boston Herald article
July 28, 2016
Dorchester, Mattapan tenants have had it with landlord who lets them live in squalor - Dorchester Reporter
These tenants have been living in deplorable conditions including “[m]ice and cockroach infestation, pervasive mold caused by leaks, no heat in the winter, no electricity, jammed doors, open gasoline canisters”. The landlord has failed to maintain his properties and is now in bankruptcy proceedings, which puts them at risk of eviction with no place to go because of the lack of affordable housing in Greater Boston. GBLS is representing them with the pro bono assistance of GBLS board member Andrew Troop of Pillsbury and John Hanify of supporting law firm Jones Day.
Please click here to read the August 3, 2016 Dorchester Reporter article
July 14, 2016
Advocates rip cuts in disability funding - the Boston Herald
Funding cuts by Governor Baker for poor people with disabilities, if not overidden by the Legislature, will have a devastating effect on thousands of vulnerable families across Massachusetts. GBLS attorney Sarah Levy and her client, a grandmother caring for her disabled granddaughter, are quoted in today's Boston Herald article.
"We're terribly worried because in our experience, SSI isn’t enough to meet the needs of a person who is disabled let alone subsidize the needs of the family,” said Attorney Levy.
Please click here to read the July 14, 2016 Boston Herald article
July 1, 2016
Advocates mystified as proposal to tighten nursing home oversight killed - the Boston Globe
“It’s a slap in the face to vulnerable nursing home residents and their families, and advocates,” said Wynn Gerhard, GBLS elder law Senior Attorney, after state lawmakers rejected a proposal to substantially raise maximum fines on troubled nursing homes.
Please click here to read the July 1, 2016 Boston Globe article
June 30, 2016
'Pam family scams' spawning new revelations - the Boston Globe
An update to the circumstances surrounding the Globe investigation we posted on June 12, 2016 - "Making it Big, the Pam Family Way"
Please click here to read the June 30, 2016 Boston Globe article
June 29, 2016
State calls out 5 Boston schools for disparate & excessive suspensions - the Bay State Banner
As to the intangible consequences of these suspensions, GBLS fellow attorney Elizabeth McIntyre says, “Kids start to label themselves as ‘problems,’ as kids where school is not going to be a thing that they’re good at.”
Please click here to read the June 29, 2016 The Bay State Banner article
June 12, 2016
Making it big, the Pam family way - the Boston Globe
Senior Attorney and Elder Law specialist Betsey Crimmins speaks to The Boston Globe in the first part of an article in the paper.
Please click here to read the June 12, 2016 Boston Globe article
June 8, 2016
Spaulding Rehab Network plan to close 2 nursing homes - the Boston Globe
"Spaulding believes it is not subject to a mandatory public hearing because the North End facility is being transferred, not closed," but GBLS senior attorney Wynn Gerhard disagrees, commenting that the nursing home closings "should be subject to mandatory public hearings."
Please click here to read the June 8, 2016 Boston Globe article
June 1, 2016
When Legal Assistance Can Imporve Health - the Huffington Post
Lonnie Powers, Executive Director of the Mass. Legal Assistance Corporation, writes in the Huffington Post about the significant impact of legal assistance, including medical-legal partnerships, on public health. He references GBLS' two victories "that enhance the health, safety, and independence of disabled people."
Please click here to read the June 1, 2016 The Huffington Post article
April 28, 2016
Boston gets fed grant to help young ex-cons find ‘road to redemption’ - the Boston Herald
GBLS is excited to be sharing a federal grant with the Boston Housing Authority that will help us to assist young people seeking affordable housing and jobs after having been involved with the justice system. Thank you to the U.S. Department of Justice who funds the Juvenile Reentry Assistance Program and to partner the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for their support on this important program. We look forward to working with the BHA to help juveniles as they embark on a fresh new start!
Please click here to read the April 28, 2016 Boston Herald article
April 10, 2016
Evictions rise as Boston gentrifies – the Boston Globe
"In a place like East Boston, it’s not uncommon for a landlord to raise the rent three or four times in a single year”, says Matt Nickell, a GBLS attorney Fellow, about the "epidemic" of evictions and displacement among lower-income Boston residents.
Please click here to read the April 10, 2016 Boston Globe article
April 7, 2016
School suspension numbers causing concern for parents, city council – Fox 25 news
Elizabeth McIntyre, who initiated the School to Prison Pipeline Intervention Project at GBLS, described the distress and frustration of parents in this interview. Liz McIntyre is an Equal Justice Works Fellow Attorney, sponsored by WilmerHale and Staples.
Please click here to read the April 8, 2016 Fox 25 article
March 20, 2016
Should all voter addresses by publicly listed? – the Boston Globe
“We shouldn’t live in a society where survivors of domestic and sexual violence are forced to avoid voting for their physical safety,” said Valenda Applegarth, a senior attorney and director of Relocation Counseling Project at Greater Boston Legal Services.
Please click here to read the March 20, 1016 Boston Globe article.
March 9, 2016
In Mass., small theft is big crime, and lawmakers notice – the Boston Globe
“If you have a felony on your criminal record, it makes a big difference for applying for jobs: You probably won’t be hired. That conviction is going to create barriers for all kinds of opportunities,” said Pauline Quirion, director of the criminal records sealing project at Greater Boston Legal Services. “A young person who swiped some expensive sunglasses, more than $250? Felon. It makes felons out of people who have committed only minor offenses.”
Please click here to read the March 9, 2016 Boston Globe article
March 9, 2016
What Discipline Looks Like at a Boston School with 325 Suspensions - Learning Lab
This story about public school suspensions of very young students features interviews with GBLS attorney Fellow Elizabeth McIntyre and her client Jayden, 8, who was continually disciplined for behavior attributable to trauma-related disabilities.
Please click here to read the March 9, 2016 Learning Lab article
March 4, 2016
Bunker Hill Tenant Task Force Retains GBLS - Charlestown Patriot-Bridge
Bunker Hill Tenant Task Force voted unanimously to retain Greater Boston Legal
Services (GBLS) to represent them and the residents of Bunker Hill during the ongoing effort to revitalize the public housing community into a mixed-income community.
Please click here to read the Charlestwon Patriot-Bridge article
February 14, 2016
In East Boston, pinched between progress and pain - The Boston Globe
Read about the work of East Boston residents together with City Life/Vida Urbana and GBLS attorneys Matt Nickell and Lauren Song to stabilize their neighborhood amid dramatic upheaval.
Please click here to read the February 14, 2016 Boston Globe article
February 11, 2016
State officials move to tighten oversight of nursing homes - The Boston Globe
Great news for nursing home residents! A coalition of advocates, including GBLS Senior Attorney Wynn Gerhard, for years have been advocating for improvements in the quality of care and quality of life for Mass. nursing home residents
Please click here to read the February 11, 2016 Boston Globe article
February 10, 2016
Victims in TelexFree pyramid scheme can expect some money back, bankruptcy official says - Telegram.com
Consumer Rights Unit Managing Attorney Nadine Cohen - quoted in the article - has been working with the Chelsea Collaborative and the Brazilian Workers Group to assist the victims of this scam in filing claims against TelexFree.
Please click here to read the February 10, 2016 Telegram.com article
February 3, 2016
Mass. Had Hundreds Of Suspensions Last Year — In Kindergarten And Pre-K - Learning Lab
WBUR 90.9 FM's compelling story about the suspensions of low-income pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students, particularly those with trauma histories, highlights the story of a young GBLS client. Dashon is represented by Elizabeth McIntyre, an Equal Justice Works attorney Fellow who staffs GBLS' School to Prison Pipeline Intervention Project.
Please click here to read the February 3, 2016 LearningLab article
September 6, 2015
For some domestic workers, a life of isolated servitude - The Boston Globe
Some domestic workers are subjected to mistreatment, underpaid or not paid at all, and kept in social isolation by unscrupulous employers. Abuses by employers often go unchecked; many workers are “too fearful to confront their employers or go to the authorities”, according to a Boston Globe article. In Massachusetts, protections have been in place since July 2014 when the Domestic Workers Bill Rights was signed into law after advocacy efforts by GBLS, on behalf of the Massachusetts Coalition for Domestic Workers, and several other organizations. Lydia Edwards, now a Fellow in GBLS’ Employment Unit, was one of the advocates who worked to get the bill passed and she continues to represent domestic workers whose rights were violated. She is quoted in the article: “What’s to stop employers from just perpetually bringing someone over here and not paying them at all, or paying them very little?” “And saying, ‘Well, if you don’t like it, go back to Brazil.’”
Please click here to read the September 6, 2015 Boston Globe story.
May 27, 2015
Massachusetts comp bill would assist lowest-paid workers - Business InsuranceThe Massachusetts legislature’s Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development held a hearing on a bill that would improve access to medical care and increase benefits for injured workers. For some employees, workers comp "is their only lifeline," said Greater Boston Legal Services Senior Attorney Brian Flynn during the hearing. According to Senator James Eldridge, who filed the bill, “The hearing provided a valuable opportunity to listen to various perspectives on the need for continued investment in workers compensation benefits".
Please click here to read the May 27, 2015 Business Insurance article.
May 8, 2015
Revere attorney allegedly discriminated against Latino homeowners - The Boston Globe
Represented by GBLS Managing Attorney Nadine Cohen, seventeen Latino homeowners who paid money to an attorney for loan modifications they never received won a discrimination case at the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination. The support of the Chelsea Collaborative, a community organization dedicated to improving the lives of people in the Chelsea community, was invaluable in achieving justice for these homeowners who were awarded compensatory and emotional distress damages.
Please click here to read the May 8, 2015 Boston Globe article.
April 1, 2015
Mass.Lead on protecting rights for domestic workers - The Boston GlobeA new law that affords basic labor protections to Massachusetts domestic workers went into effect in April 2015. GBLS' Employment Law Unit represented its client the Massachusetts Coalition for Domestic Workers in a successful campaign that led to this achievement, working in collaboration with the campaign co-founders, the Executive Directors of the Brazilian Immigrant Center, Matahari Eye of the Day, the Dominican Development Center, and the Brazilian Women’s Group, and campaign coordinator Lydia Edwards, a GBLS Equal Justice Works Fellow since fall 2014.
Please click here to read the related April 1, 2015 Boston Globe article.
February 9, 2015
Dementia care lacks oversight in Mass., data show - The Boston Globe
Vulnerable patients with dementia in nursing homes are not receiving the protections and care they need, and new rules intended to remedy this don't appear to be working. GBLS Elder, Health and Disability Unit Senior Attorney Wynn Gerhard is quoted in a Boston Globe article saying, “Any deception about that, whether it’s intentional or not, is a violation of consumer protection laws.”
Please click here to read the February 9, 2015 Boston Globe article.
December 17, 2014
GBLS attorney and local community groups help hundreds of low-income scam victims in TelexFree case - The Boston Globe
Nadine Cohen, Managing Attorney of GBLS’ Consumer Rights Unit, along with the Chelsea Collaborative, the Brazilian Women’s Group, and the Brazilian Workers Group, have been helping over 1,500 low-income people defrauded in a scam by bankrupt TelexFree, Inc. GBLS and the community groups are providing the victims with information on the bankruptcy case and assisting them to file claims with the Bankruptcy Court and the Secretary of State. They have been working with Stephen Darr, the bankruptcy Trustee responsible for distribution claims payments. These Boston-area claimants are among over 2.1 million people worldwide who made small investments in the company after being promised generous returns that never materialized. It is estimated that all the victims are owed over $1 billion.
Please click here to read the related December 17, 2014 Boston Globe article
November 12, 2014
GBLS Elder Abuse Prevention Project attorney is featured speaker at forum highlighting elder abuse - Needham Times
Senior Attorney Betsey Crimmins of GBLS’ Elder Abuse Prevention Project spoke at a recent forum led by Olin College Professor Caitrin Lynch. Elder abuse "... can happen to anyone who is vulnerable, especially those with mental health issues,” Attorney Crimmins said. "We know, for example, that 90 percent of elder abuse victims know their perpetrators – it’s their family, friends, neighbors, caretakers.”
Please click here to read the November 12, 2014 Needham Times article.
November 3, 2014
Boston City Council considering increase to relocation fees property owners must pay to displaced renters - Boston Herald
Mac McCreight, GBLS Housing Unit lead attorney, was quoted in a Boston Herald article regarding Boston City Council's upcoming debate about doubling the relocation fees that property owners are required to pay displaced renters whose units are being converted to high-priced condos or cooperatives. The intent of the proposed revisions to the city ordinance is to prevent displacement of low-income, disabled, and elderly tenants and help to mitigate the affordable housing crisis. GBLS’ Housing Unit worked on the proposed revisions with Boston city councilors including Josh Zakim, who formerly assisted clients with housing issues as an attorney in GBLS’ Consumer Rights Unit.
Please click here to read the November 3, 2014 Boston Herald article.
October 15, 2014
Thousands of civil legal cases go undefended due to lack of funding - The Boston Globe
A statewide task force found that nearly two thirds of low-income Massachusetts residents seeking legal assistance with civil (noncriminal) matters were turned away in the last year due to a lack of funding for legal aid. Thousands of residents facing domestic violence, eviction, or foreclosure, or dealing with a range of other legal matters including employment and consumer issues, go unrepresented as legal aid organizations struggle with the impact of funding cuts caused by the economic downturn.
Please click here to read the related October 15, 2014 Boston Globe article.
September 29, 2014
GBLS and Chelsea Collaborative receive generous gift
Unaccompanied children fleeing gang-related violence will benefit - Chelsea Record
Immigration and higher education advocate Robert Hildreth has made a $40,000 gift to Greater Boston Legal Services (GBLS) and the Chelsea Collaborative to assist unaccompanied immigrant children now living in Chelsea, Mass. The majority of these children fled gang violence in Central America over the last two years, and some are seeking to reunite with their parents already in the U.S.
This very generous gift will support legal services, sheltering, and feeding the estimated 600 unaccompanied minors who traveled across the U.S. border and ended up in Chelsea. Mr. Hildreth called on others to also support these efforts.
Please click here to read the related September 29, 2014 Chelsea Record article.
September 7, 2014
GBLS Immigration Unit attorneys achieve legal victory for victim of persecution and asylum seeker - The Boston Globe
On July 23, 2014, GBLS Immigration Unit Managing Attorney Nancy Kelly and Lead Attorney John Willshire Carrera, co-managing directors of the Harvard Law School Immigration and Refugee Clinic at GBLS, achieved a groundbreaking victory in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit on behalf of a Mayan client who had fled persecution in his native Guatemala. The client, a Mayan Quiche man, was one of the workers detained in the U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raid on the Michael Bianco factory in New Bedford, Mass. in March 2007. He was one of more than 200 people flown to detention facilities in Texas, without the opportunity to consult legal counsel, in the days following the raid. A team of GBLS attorneys traveled to Texas and found the client, almost completely deaf and unable to fully communicate in either English or Spanish, having waived his legal rights and been ordered deported without legal representation.
With the assistance of attorney Harvey Kaplan acting in a pro bono capacity, GBLS attorneys were able to reopen the client’s case and conduct a full asylum hearing. Represented by John, the client presented evidence documenting the genocide against the Mayan communities of Guatemala during the country’s civil war, the attacks against his own Mayan village and family, the fact that, at the age of 5 or 6, he was rendered almost completely deaf as a result of government bombing of his village, and the ongoing racial mistreatment he suffered as a Mayan in Guatemala.
After more than seven challenging years representing this client in his asylum case, during which he was denied asylum by both the Immigration Court and the Board of Immigration Appeals, Nancy and John obtained a positive First Circuit asylum decision that explicitly addresses genocidal military policies historically targeted against the indigenous people of Guatemala, and recognizes that harm to an indigenous man when he was a child during the Guatemalan genocide can constitute persecution on account of race and therefore a basis for asylum. The case specifically acknowledges the significance of harm inflicted on a child, the long-lasting effects of that harm, and that persecution must be analyzed in a context which views harm through the perspective of the child.
Please click here to read the related September 7, 2014 Boston Globe column.
To read the July 23, 2014 First Circuit decision, please click here.
July 15, 2014
On July 15, 2014 in Boston’s Chinatown, Governor Deval Patrick signed into law House Bill 4089, “An Act Relative to the Preparation of Certain Bilingual Ballots in the City of Boston.” The law permanently mandates that Chinese and Vietnamese ballots be available for all elections in the City of Boston. GBLS’ Asian Outreach Unit (AOU) along with a coalition of community organizations including the Chinese Progressive Association (CPA) and Chinatown Resident Association (CRA) worked for years to implement and maintain bilingual ballots.
Click here for full story
August 2, 2014
Immigration Unit attorneys’ 12-year fight for asylum for young Guatemalan victim of persecution featured in Associated Press article
For 12 years, John Willshire Carrera and Nancy Kelly, GBLS attorneys and co-managing directors of the Harvard Law School Immigration and Refugee Clinic at GBLS, have represented a young Guatemalan in his asylum case. Celvyn Mejia Romero fled his country at the age of 10 after being violently attacked and enduring death threats on account of his resistance to gang recruitment and his family’s background and political beliefs. His uncle and step-grandfather were murdered. He fled for his life, seeking to rejoin his mother in the U.S. where she had fled to escape an abusive relationship,
At thirteen Celvyn testified at a merits hearing before the Immigration Court. The Immigration Judge denied the boy’s claim. The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) upheld the Immigration Judge’s decision, and, in April 2010, a First Circuit panel denied the boy’s petition for review. In a petition for rehearing en banc* filed in June 2010, Nancy and John urged the First Circuit to vacate the panel decision, arguing that the BIA, the Immigration Judge, and First Circuit panel had committed legal error by failing to afford child-sensitive treatment to the petitioner’s claim. In August 2010, the First Circuit panel reversed its original decision, vacated the lower decision, and remanded the case to the BIA for reconsideration using child-sensitive techniques and standards. At the time, Nancy Kelly stated, “For Celvyn, the Court’s decision means that his claim has finally been heard and that, after many years, he has real reason to believe that he will not be returned to the hands of his persecutors. For the other children we all represent, we believe that this decision will open the door to the development of clear child-sensitive jurisprudence in the First Circuit.” The case has since been remanded to the Immigration Court and then to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Asylum Office, where a final decision remains pending.
Please click here to read the August 2, 2014 Associated Press article about Celvyn’s case that has been printed or posted online by at least 8 U.S. media outlets, including the Washington Post and U.S. News & World Report.
July 2, 2014
On July 2, 2014, Governor Deval Patrick signed into law Senate 2132, A Bill Establishing the Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights. This is a huge victory for Massachusetts domestic workers, who are now afforded basic labor protections. The signing was an emotional one for the many domestic workers who were there with their children and in some cases, with the children they care for. This achievement is due to the campaign efforts of GBLS Employment Law Unit Lead Attorney Monica Halas on behalf of her client, Massachusetts Coalition for Domestic Workers (MCDW), and campaign cofounders Natalicia Tracy, Executive Director of the Brazilian Immigrant Center and GBLS Board Member, Monique Nguyen, Executive Director of Matahari, Magalis Troncoso, Executive Director of the Dominican Development Center and GBLS Board Member, Heloisa Galvao, Executive Director of the Brazilian Women’s Group, and campaign coordinator Lydia Edwards who joined GBLS as an Equal Justice Works Fellow in fall 2014.
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October 1, 2013
The U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) has resolved a major wage and hour case in which Greater Boston Legal Services and the Chelsea Collaborative, a local grassroots community organizing agency, worked closely with the underpaid Boston-area workers. The case involved the payment of significant back wages and damages, including compensation for retaliation. GBLS and the Chelsea Collaborative gathered evidence and assisted the USDOL in its investigation and litigation.
Click here to read the Boston Globe article.
Click here to read the Chelsea Record article.
August 25, 2013
Status of Medicare patients can result in huge bills. Elderly patients hospitalized but not 'admitted' can face higher costs.
By: Liz Kowakzyk, Globe Staff
LS Medicare Advocacy Project (MAP) clients and Senior Attorney Diane Paulson were interviewed for a Boston Sunday Globe front page article on a very costly problem for more and more Medicare beneficiaries. The article addresses the plight of beneficiaries who are hospitalized under “observation status” and who must pay thousands if they need follow-up care in a skilled facility because “observation” does not fulfill the Medicare prerequisite of three days hospital admission.
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January 26, 2012
Civil Legal Aid Is a Sound Investment For All Of Us
By: Yvonne Abraham, Boston Globe Columnist
Sometimes, the world puts you in a situation so unfair, so absurd, that only a lawyer can get you out of it. But what if you can’t afford a lawyer? People who can’t pay an attorney have a right to a public defender when they face criminal charges.
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November 1, 2011
Chief Justice Marshall Issues Call for More Resources to Represent the Most Vulnerable
In an op-ed piece published in The Boston Globe on October 29, 2011 Margaret H. Marshall, the retired Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, underscored the urgent need for more resources for legal aid lawyers to represent poor residents in civil matters. “The Chief Justice’s eloquence on behalf of indigent clients and the Massachusetts legal aid organizations that represent them cannot be underestimated, and we are very grateful for her advocacy,” said Jacqui Bowman, Executive Director of GBLS.
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