Bridging the gap to affordable legal services with Justice Bridge

By LIFT on June 1, 2015

Categories: News

We are pleased to announce LIFT-Boston’s newest partnership with Justice Bridge, an organization that is dedicated to providing low-cost legal services for community members in the Greater Boston area.

Justice Bridge is working to fill a gap for two parties: LIFT Members who don’t qualify for free legal services but cannot afford full-cost attorneys, and lawyers who have graduated law school and passed the bar but do not yet have full-time employment. A handful of attorneys will be meeting with Members in both the Somerville and Roxbury offices on a rotating basis.

We could not be more excited to offer our Members a chance to meet with attorneys from Justice Bridge from the comfort of our own office. LIFT is committed to providing holistic services for our Members, and when we cannot address an area of concern for a Member, we work our hardest to connect them with a quality resource in the community. To give you an idea of how enthusiastic our Members were for this service, we called four Members on a Friday and they all eagerly said they could make a Monday appointment – such short notice, but such excitement!

So far, Members have come in with questions related to child custody, immigration status, security deposits that were never returned, and a paycheck being cancelled before it could be cashed. The initial meeting is an intake with the attorney and any subsequent meetings will take place in Justice Bridge’s office in Boston. Justice Bridge practices “limited assistance,” meaning they will accompany a Member to a court date, file papers, or do other intermittent tasks rather than take on the Member’s whole case. This keeps the price down, and the price point is determined by the attorney and the Member depending on how involved the attorney will be.

Len Zandrow, the Executive Director of Justice Bridge, expresses just how excited Justice Bridge is to be working in the LIFT-Boston offices. “LIFT is a natural partner for us,” he explains. “Its mission of lifting people from poverty links so closely with our goal of empowering new attorneys to launch vibrant practices serving persons of modest means. Thus far, the staff at LIFT could not possibly have been more helpful, and we feel so privileged to be working with them and their members.”

Similarly, the staff at LIFT-Boston is thrilled to have a trustworthy legal referral for our members. In the past, Advocates and Members have faced barriers due to overburdened free legal services in the Boston area, the limits on the types of cases these organizations can take on, as well as some Members not even qualifying for free legal services. Now, Advocates can easily set up an appointment for their Members to meet with an attorney. With the attorneys from Justice Bridge working out of our offices, our Members feel much more comfortable setting up an appointment; they know where to go and how to check in, and they know the LIFT staff will be here to support them.

We are eager to see this partnership grow as LIFT continually strives to provide holistic services to our members.

This post was co-authored by Jennifer Giffels and Shaylin Perez.