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Talk to the Hill

Talk to the Hill is an annual event for attorneys, law students, and advocates to urge Massachusetts legislators to provide increased funding for civil legal aid in the budget. Originally “Walk to the Hill,” the event has moved online during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is its 24th year.

Unlike criminal defendants, low-income people facing serious civil legal problems—such as domestic violence, housing, health care, employment, government benefits, bankruptcy, and elder issues—do not have the right to an attorney, in most cases. Legal aid organizations provide essential representation and advice to help vulnerable people protect basic human needs for health, safety, and housing.

Equal Justice Coalition

The Equal Justice Coalition is a partnership of the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation, Boston Bar Association, and Massachusetts Bar Association that advocates for expanded access to civil legal aid for low-income Massachusetts residents. It includes bar associations, law firms, law schools, legal aid organizations, and social service agencies that work together to protect and increase the state appropriation for civil legal aid (budget line item 0321-1600, Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation).

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Talk to the Hill 2022

With COVID-19’s disproportionate impact on low-income residents intensifying the need for civil legal services, more than 800 lawyers, law students and advocates gathered online on January 27, 2022, urging legislators to include $41 million for civil legal aid in the FY23 state budget. Assistant Speaker to the U.S. House of Representatives Katherine Clark, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, and Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Kimberly Budd headlined the event. Clients helped by legal aid organizations shared their stories of how legal aid lawyers fought to keep them safely housed and financially secure during the pandemic.

“Just as we strive to provide necessary medical assistance to all who are affected by COVID, so we should strive to provide necessary legal assistance to all who are affected by COVID.”

—Chief Justice Budd

“Every day, we rely on legal aid attorneys to take on cases to help protect residents in our communities—representing workers who didn’t get paid what they were owed, preventing families from being foreclosed upon or evicted, helping people navigate the unemployment claims process, working with survivors of domestic violence and that’s just the beginning.”

—Former Attorney General and Governor Healey

Watch or read more about Talk to the Hill 2022.

Past Client Speakers

In 2022, Carol spoke about how legal aid helped reinstate SNAP benefits after decades-long denial.

In 2022, Ed, Jean, Fred, and Kathryn shared their stories about how civil legal aid helped them fend off unjust evictions.

In 2021, Malensky spoke about how legal aid secured her the unemployment benefits she had been denied during the pandemic.

In 2021, Raymond shared how his legal aid lawyer helped prevent an eviction and harassment from his landlord.

In 2020, Kenda spoke about how legal aid lawyers helped her leave an abusive marriage.
In 2019, Fred talked about how his legal advocate saved his home from foreclosure.
In 2018, Danielle shared how her legal aid attorney secured health care for her daughter.