Sherin and Lodgen to receive MBA Access to Justice Award for Pro Bono Legal Work
Sherin and Lodgen will receive the 2018-2019 Massachusetts Bar Association’s (MBA) Access to Justice Award for the firm’s exemplary delivery of pro bono legal services. The award, which recognizes the efforts of attorneys and law firms that have made significant strides in enhancing access to justice, will be presented to Sherin and Lodgen on May 9, 2019, at the MBA Annual Dinner in Boston.
Sherin and Lodgen was nominated by a number of organizations recognizing the firm’s pro bono legal services to immigrants seeking asylum. For example, over the last 10 years, the firm has donated over 800 hours of attorney time to the Political Asylum/Immigration Representation Project (PAIR). Successful asylum cases include:
- Representing a woman who fled severe domestic violence with her two young daughters; and
- Assisting a man who was forced to flee Uganda after being targeted for political activism, ultimately helping him to obtain US citizenship.
One PAIR nominator stated, “This commitment is especially notable since Sherin and Lodgen does not have an immigration practice. Their volunteer attorneys have had to familiarize themselves with the substantive law and procedures for immigration cases, greatly adding to their time commitment to their pro bono clients.” The PAIR team is led by Jessica Gray Kelly, partner and chair of the firm’s pro bono practice.
Sherin and Lodgen’s pro bono legal representation extends beyond PAIR. The firm has also successfully:
- Prolonged the life of a death row inmate in Alabama by two decades. As the smallest firm in the country overseeing a death penalty case, Sherin and Lodgen has ensured equal access to justice and contributed to a re-examination of Alabama’s execution protocol (led by John C. La Liberte and Matthew C. Moschella),
- Partnered with the Massachusetts Employment Lawyers Association (MELA) and civil rights organizations to submit amicus briefs in support of expanding anti-discrimination work (led by Nancy S. Shilepsky); and
- Collaborated with Kids In Need of Defense (KIND) to represent a teenager from El Salvador in probate and immigration proceedings (led by Beth A. Goldstein and Charlotte Drew).
Most recently, members of the firm, led by Sander A. Rikleen and David A. Michel, represented the First Parish Church of Bedford, Massachusetts, to file a complaint to the Middlesex Superior Court. This resulted in the approval of a previously denied plan to install rooftop solar panels, in order to reduce the building’s carbon footprint as part of its broader work to mitigate the effects of global climate change.
Reverend John Gibbons, Senior Minister of First Parish, stated that the Sherin and Lodgen team worked patiently and persistently to unify the church’s pursuit of installing the panels. “They are not mere legal technicians, but they are passionate and superb strategizers and tacticians,” he said. “Sherin and Lodgen’s attorneys have worked cooperatively, not only with our First Parish Solar Team, but – by treating the court as an ally in the cause of justice – they carefully laid out a roadmap of decision-making that clarified, eased, and guided the work of the court.”
The Massachusetts Bar Association (MBA) is a non-profit organization that serves the legal profession and the public by promoting the administration of justice, legal education, professional excellence and respect for the law. The annual MBA Access to Justice Awards recognize the efforts of attorneys and law firms who have made significant strides in enhancing access to justice in Massachusetts.