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Organization DBA --
Former Names --
Organization received a competitive grant from the Boston Foundation in the past five years No

Summary

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Mission StatementMORE »

The mission of the Volunteer Lawyers Project of the Boston Bar Association is to increase access to justice by delivering high quality pro bono civil legal services to eligible clients in the Greater Boston area.

 

Mission Statement

The mission of the Volunteer Lawyers Project of the Boston Bar Association is to increase access to justice by delivering high quality pro bono civil legal services to eligible clients in the Greater Boston area.

 


FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year Jan 01, 2017 to Dec 31, 2017
Projected Income $2,340,417.00
Projected Expense $2,341,992.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • Boston Housing Court Lawyer for the Day Clinics
  • Eastern Region Legal Intake
  • Guardianship Clinics

Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2013 (%)

For more details regarding the organization's financial information, select the financial tab and review available comments.


Overview

Mission Statement

The mission of the Volunteer Lawyers Project of the Boston Bar Association is to increase access to justice by delivering high quality pro bono civil legal services to eligible clients in the Greater Boston area.

 


Background Statement

Established as a pilot project of the Boston Bar Association in 1977, VLP’s mission is to increase access to justice by delivering high quality pro bono civil legal services to eligible low-income clients in the Greater Boston area.  To effectively serve as many clients as possible, VLP uses a variety of strategies including court-based clinics that provide legal information and advice, assistance with forms, and limited assistance representation (LAR) court appearances; full representation in court and administrative proceedings; and community based clinics and legal education. Through a Memorandum of Understanding, VLP coordinates with its regional partners – Greater Boston Legal Services (GBLS), Community Legal Services and Counseling Center (CLSCC) and MetroWest Legal Services (MWLS)  – with respect to funding and service delivery. VLP subcontracts with MWLS for pro bono services in the western part of its service area.  VLP provides low-income residents of Greater Boston with civil legal services that have a profound effect on their economic stability and basic quality of life. VLP can serve clients with household incomes up to 200% of the Federal Poverty Level who are in the United States legally (with some exceptions for victims of domestic violence and human trafficking). VLP serves clients with legal problems including consumer issues and debt relief, housing eviction and foreclosures, child support, guardianship protection for children and disabled adults, and unemployment benefit appeals. In 2015, VLP provided legal assistance to over 6500 clients and provided information, education, and self-help materials to approximately 6000 additional members of the community.

Impact Statement

In the past year, VLP has; 1) set up the Eastern Region Legal Intake (ERLI), intake, advice and referral line which has lowered wait times for callers seeking legal advice and referral for a legal aid attorney; 2) established clinics in small claims courts for debt collection pro se defendants; 3) naming an Executive Director with 25 years of experience in the field of Legal Aid; 4) established a clinic in partnership with the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office to provide advice and legal representation for Massachusetts workers who have not been paid wages.
Goals for the current year include; 1) moving to a new case management system  with appropriate technical support; 2) creating online intake to decrease wait times for legal intake, advice and referral; 3) looking for affordable office space that is also accessible to our clients. 

Needs Statement

1.  Financial need.  As federal funding is expected to decrease by up to 10% VLP's greatest need is to diversify funding resources to be able to maintain its high level of effectiveness.
2.  Increasing volunteers in the areas where the courts are stretched from too many pro se clients.
3.  Updating to a new case management system that has technical support.
 

CEO Statement

The Volunteer Lawyers Project is a unique legal aid organization.   VLP's model provides access to justice through pro bono services of private attorneys.  VLP's pro bono-centered service delivery model is a force multiplier: VLP's staff of 22 leverages a panel of more than 1000 volunteer attorneys and law students to provide legal assistance to several thousand low-income clients in essential legal matters.

Board Chair Statement

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Geographic Area Served

GREATER BOSTON REGION, MA
Acton, Arlington, Ashland, Bedford, Bellingham, Belmont, Boston, Braintree, Brookline, Cambridge, Canton, Carlisle, Chelsea, Cohasset, Conconrd, Dedham, Dover, Everett, Foxborough, Framingham, Franklin, Hingham, Holbrook, Holliston, Hopkinton, Hudson, Hull, Lexington, Lincoln, Malden, Marlborough, Maynard, Medfield, Medford, Medway, Melrose, Millis, Milton, Natick, Needham, Newton, Norfolk, Northborough, Norwell, Norwood, Plainville, Quincy, Randolph, Revere, Scituate, Sharon, Sherborn, Somerville, Southborough, Stoneham, Stow, Sudbury, Wakefield, Walpole, Waltham, Watertown, Wayland, Wellsley, Westborough, Weston, Westwood, Weymouth, Winchester, Winthrop, Woburn, Wollaston, Wrentham.

Organization Categories

  1. Crime & Legal - Related - Legal Services
  2. -
  3. -

Independent research has been conducted on this organization's theory of change or on the effectiveness of this organization's program(s)

No

Programs

Boston Housing Court Lawyer for the Day Clinics

VLP uses volunteer attorneys to advise and represent low-income tenants and landlords at the Boston Housing Court two days a week.  This project is a joint effort of VLP and the Real Estate Section of the Boston Bar Association.  The volunteers assist pro se landlords and tenants at Boston Housing Court, primarily in matters involving eviction.  The volunteers:
- provide brief advice
- assist in preparing pleadings or motions
- represent clients in medication or negotiation
- represent clients on a Limited Assistance Representation (LAR) basis in court hearings.  
Budget  $100,000.00
Category  Crime & Legal, General/Other Legal Services
Population Served Elderly and/or Disabled Families Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent
Program Short-Term Success  Providing representation or advice to pro se tenants and landlords at the Boston Housing Court that allows them to stay in their homes or find appropriate housing through pro bono volunteers.
Program Long-Term Success  Providing representation or advice to pro se tenants and landlords at the Boston Housing Court that allows them to stay in their homes or find appropriate housing through pro bono volunteers. 
Program Success Monitored By  Clients and attorneys are sent surveys at the conclusion of the case to evaluate the effectiveness of the representation.  Case statistics and outcomes are kept with VLP's case management system.
Examples of Program Success  A limited English speaking client was not given an appropriate interpreter at a hearing at the housing court and was not represented by a lawyer.   As a result, the tenant and his family were evicted even though the apartment they were living was in bad condition and the landlord had refused to fix it.  When a VLP lawyer became involved, the tenant was able to stay in the home and have the bad conditions fixed.  

Eastern Region Legal Intake

Eastern Region Legal Intake (ERLI) is a new project by the Volunteer Lawyers Project that began in October 2016.   ERLI provides intake, advice and referral services to low-income callers in the eastern region of Massachusetts.  To maximize efficiency, clients are screened in a two tier system to ensure that eligible callers speak with an advocate as soon as possible.  Clients in need of legal advice are scheduled for telephone advice sessions with pro bono attorneys.  
Budget  $200,000.00
Category  Crime & Legal, General/Other Legal Services
Population Served Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent People/Families with of People with Disabilities Elderly and/or Disabled
Program Short-Term Success  ERLI aims to provide high quality legal advice and referral to low-income callers and is specifically focused on keeping wait times down for callers so that ultimately more callers can speak to advocates.
Program Long-Term Success  ERLI would like to provide high quality advice and referral to all callers and will eventually expand to include online intake so that callers do not need to be on hold.  The caller will then be called back by an appropriate advocate. 
Program Success Monitored By  ERLI conducts client surveys after the advice or referral to determine whether the advice was helpful for the legal issue.  
Examples of Program Success  ERLI has begun using advice panels in housing, family law, employment and probate.  Callers can be scheduled for a 30 minute telephone legal advice session with experienced pro bono attorneys.  While these sessions are meant to be limited, many attorneys have been moved by the conversation with the client and have decided to take on the case for full representation. 

Guardianship Clinics

Senior Partners for Justice and VLP offer two important types of guardianship assistance in court-based clinics.  Our volunteer attorneys and law students help low-income petitioners for guardianship complete and file the guardianship petitions, and help low-income guardians complete their care plans and annual reports.   
Budget  $150,000.00
Category  Crime & Legal, General/Other Legal Services
Population Served Children and Youth (0 - 19 years) Elderly and/or Disabled
Program Short-Term Success  Serving unrepresented guardians using pro bono attorneys.
Program Long-Term Success  Using pro bono attorneys to assist unrepresented litigants in the probate and family court. 
Program Success Monitored By  Client and attorney surveys at the end of a case give VLP feedback on whether the help was effective.
Examples of Program Success  A mother was given guardianship of her daughter who was disabled and had turned 18 so was no longer a child.  

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

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Management


CEO/Executive Director Ms. Joanna Allison Esq.
CEO Term Start Aug 2016
CEO Email [email protected]
CEO Experience Joanna Allison has been a staff attorney at the Volunteer Lawyers Project since 1993 practicing in housing, consumer and bankruptcy law.  Attorney Allison was the interim Executive Director for 11 months before becoming the Executive Director in August 2016.  Previously, she was a fellow at the National Consumer Law Center in Boston and served as a staff attorney at the Legal Aid Society of Northwest North Carolina in Winston-Salem.  She earned a J.D. from the University of North Carolina.
Co-CEO --
Co-CEO Term Start --
Co-CEO Email --
Co-CEO Experience --

Former CEOs and Terms

Name Start End
Sheila Hubbard Feb 2010 Sept 2015
Ms. Mary M. Connolly Esq. -- Jan

Senior Staff

Name Title Experience/Biography
-- -- --

Awards

Award Awarding Organization Year
-- -- --

Affiliations

Affiliation Year
American Bar Association --
Member of state association of nonprofits? No
Name of state association --

External Assessments and Accreditations

External Assessment or Accreditation Year
-- --

Collaborations

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CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

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Foundation Comments

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Staff Information

Number of Full Time Staff 14
Number of Part Time Staff 8
Number of Volunteers 1,000
Number of Contract Staff 0
Staff Retention Rate % 100%

Staff Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 3
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 2
Caucasian: 12
Hispanic/Latino: 5
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): 0
Gender Female: 18
Male: 4
Not Specified 0

Plans & Policies

Organization has Fundraising Plan? No
Organization has Strategic Plan? Yes
Years Strategic Plan Considers 3
Management Succession Plan Yes
Business Continuity of Operations Plan Yes
Organization Policies And Procedures Yes
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistle Blower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy No
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes
State Charitable Solicitations Permit --
State Registration --

Risk Management Provisions

Crime Coverage
Directors and Officers Policy
Disability Insurance
Employee Dishonesty
Employment Practices Liability
General Property Coverage
Professional Liability
Umbrella or Excess Insurance
Workers Compensation and Employers' Liability
Commercial General Liability

Reporting and Evaluations

Management Reports to Board? Yes
CEO Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Non Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually

Governance


Board Chair Mr. Raymond Kwasnick
Board Chair Company Affiliation Goulston & Storrs
Board Chair Term Oct 2016 - Oct 2019
Board Co-Chair Ms. Josephine McNeil
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation CAN-DO Citizens for Affordable Housing in Newton
Board Co-Chair Term -

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Kori Anderson-Deasy Esq. Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Voting
Lynn Barenberg MSW Boston College Law School Voting
Andrew H. Cohn Esq. WilmerHale Voting
Lee Duncan VA Boston Healthcare System Voting
Mary Frierson Raising Our Children's Children Voting
Fanny Johnson Community Volunteer Voting
Joseph M Kaigler Sr., Esq. Massachusetts Port Authority Voting
Raymond M. Kwasnick Esq. Goulston & Storrs Voting
Timothy Lee Advocates, Incorporated Voting
David Mackey Esq. Anderson & Kreiger LLP Voting
Richard McCarthy Esq. Locke Lord LLP Voting
Josephine McNeil Esq. CAN-DO Citizens for Affordable Housing in Newton Voting
Mary Moore Survivors, Incorporated Voting
Michael J Pappone Esq. Goodwin Procter LLP Voting
David Pearson Shawmut Education Voting
Stuart Rossman Esq. National Consumer Law Center Voting
Albert Wallis Esq. Brown Rudnick Voting
Tamara Wolfson Esq. Anderson & Kreiger Voting

Constituent Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Youth Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Advisory Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Board Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 7
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 1
Caucasian: 12
Hispanic/Latino: 1
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 9
Male: 12
Not Specified 0

Board Information

Board Term Lengths 2
Board Term Limits --
Board Meeting Attendance % --
Written Board Selection Criteria No
Written Conflict Of Interest Policy Yes
Percentage of Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions --
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes

Standing Committees

  • Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
  • Executive
  • Finance
  • Nominating
  • Personnel

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

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Foundation Comments

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Financials


Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2013 (%)

Fiscal Year Jan 01, 2017 to Dec 31, 2017
Projected Income $2,340,417.00
Projected Expense $2,341,992.00
Form 990s

2015 Form 990

2014 Form 990

2013 Form 990

Audit Documents

2015 Audit

2014 Audit

2013 Audit

IRS Letter of Exemption

IRS Letter of Determination

Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Total Revenue $2,311,174 $2,201,143 $2,152,279
Total Expenses $2,278,593 $2,324,705 $2,189,421

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
-- -- --
Government Contributions $1,904,711 $1,918,325 $1,850,816
    Federal -- -- --
    State -- -- --
    Local -- -- --
    Unspecified $1,904,711 $1,918,325 $1,850,816
Individual Contributions $406,146 $282,103 $300,648
Indirect Public Support $0 $0 $0
Earned Revenue $0 $0 $0
Investment Income, Net of Losses $317 $715 $815
Membership Dues $0 $0 $0
Special Events $0 $0 $0
Revenue In-Kind -- -- --
Other $0 $0 $0

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Program Expense $1,964,179 $1,992,423 $1,852,120
Administration Expense $172,756 $233,042 $292,109
Fundraising Expense $141,658 $99,240 $45,192
Payments to Affiliates -- -- --
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 1.01 0.95 0.98
Program Expense/Total Expenses 86% 86% 85%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 6% 5% 2%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Total Assets $536,242 $515,782 $644,341
Current Assets $525,608 $512,239 $639,778
Long-Term Liabilities $0 $0 $0
Current Liabilities $153,130 $165,251 $170,248
Total Net Assets $383,112 $350,531 $474,093

Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
1st (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
2nd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
3rd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --

Financial Planning

Endowment Value --
Spending Policy Income Only
Percentage(If selected) --
Credit Line No
Reserve Fund Yes
How many months does reserve cover? 2.00

Capital Campaign

Are you currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Purpose --
Campaign Goal --
Capital Campaign Dates -
Capital Campaign Raised-to-Date Amount --
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? --

Short Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities 3.43 3.10 3.76

Long Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Long-term Liabilities/Total Assets 0% 0% 0%

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

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Foundation Comments

Financial summary data in charts and graphs are per the organization's IRS Form 990s. Contributions from foundations and corporations are listed under individuals when the breakout was not available.

Documents


Other Documents

No Other Documents currently available.

Impact

The Impact tab is a section on the Giving Common added in October 2013; as such the majority of nonprofits have not yet had the chance to complete this voluntary section. The purpose of the Impact section is to ask five deceptively simple questions that require reflection and promote communication about what really matters – results. The goal is to encourage strategic thinking about how a nonprofit will achieve its goals. The following Impact questions are being completed by nonprofits slowly, thoughtfully and at the right time for their respective organizations to ensure the most accurate information possible.


1. What is your organization aiming to accomplish?

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2. What are your strategies for making this happen?

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3. What are your organization’s capabilities for doing this?

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4. How will your organization know if you are making progress?

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5. What have and haven’t you accomplished so far?

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