UMass Law Features: For Fourth Consecutive Year, UMass Law Wins Talk to the Hill Civil Legal Aid Advocacy Award

Equal Justice Coalition recognizes outstanding law school participation as UMass Law participates for seventh year

UMass law students have participated in Walk to the HIll for Civil Legal Aid funding for seven consecutive years, furthering the law school’s mission to pursue justice.

UMass Law has done it again. . . and did it very well. In the law school‘s seventh year of participation in Talk to the Hill for Civil Legal Aid, UMass Law received the award for highest attendance for a law school for the fourth time.

“UMass Law has demonstrated an enthusiastic and longstanding commitment to Walk to the Hill for civil legal aid,” said Lynne Parker, executive director of the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation. “Students have participated in the event for seven consecutive years, earning the highest participation award for the past four years. This speaks volumes about the law school’s commitment to the public interest and to our neighbors. served by legal aid. We look forward to welcoming UMass law students back this year and every year!”

Walk to the Hill for Civil Legal Aid is an annual day to lobby for increased funding for civil legal aid organizations through the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation Action Line. Last January, the event was virtual and renamed “Talk to the Hill”. Nearly 1,000 lawyers and law students participated in the virtual lobby day to demand lawmakers increase state appropriations for civil legal aid. The Commonwealth eventually included the requested increase of $6 million, allocating $35 million for civil legal aid in FY22. Legal representation is not guaranteed in civil or criminal matters.

“Expanding access to justice is central to our identity as a law school, so it is heartening to see our students again advocating for civil legal aid in such a deep and vigorous way” , said Eric Mitnick, dean of law at UMass. “We do this because it’s one thing to have fair rules, but it’s another thing for members of our communities to be able to access that justice, to be able to afford the legal representation necessary to obtain justice. “

UMass Law Participates in This Year’s Virtual Event with State Officials

This year’s captain, Madeline Paquette, JD ’23 nominee, led the UMass Law team during the virtual event Thursday during the award presentation.

“Attending this event is so important for UMass law students because it allows all of us to get a taste of what the pursuit of justice really means,” said Paquette. “We can see those being helped by this civil legal aid funding, and it really makes a lasting impression on all of us.”

The speaking program included U.S. Representative Katherine Clark, Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Kimberly Budd and Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey. Clients have shared how civil legal aid has helped them overcome difficult circumstances during the COVID-19 pandemic. Lawyers, attorneys, and law students had the opportunity to speak with their legislators to lobby for $41 million in civil legal aid funding in FY23.

Paquette hopes the event will return to an in-person format next year. “During the Zoom breakout sessions, the attorneys praised UMass Law and how they loved seeing our students arrive by bus when we were in person,” she said.

The 2021 winners are:

UMass Law Winner of Highest Attendance Award for a Law School
Morgan Lewis, Highest Attendance Award Winner
WilmerHale, Outstanding Supporter Award Winner
Meehan Boyle, Nancy King Award Winner
Wilmer Hale, Team Advocacy Award Winner

About the EJC

The Equal Justice Coalition is a collaboration of the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation, the Boston Bar Association, and the Massachusetts Bar Association, which works to increase state funding for civil legal aid.

Departments Faculty of Law, Faculty of Law, Faculty of Law – Home