Interactive training will prepare pro bono attorneys to assist landlords and tenants in Housing Court
The Massachusetts Law Reform Institute (MLRI) and the Massachusetts Legal Aid Websites Project have launched a new free online training for Lawyer for the Day Volunteers in Housing Court. The free one-hour course provides attorneys with an interactive overview of the eviction process.
“Lawyer for the Day volunteers play a critical role to help unrepresented litigants the day of court,” said Annette Duke, Housing Attorney at MLRI. “Over 92% of tenants are unrepresented in eviction cases. Often, the Lawyer for the Day will be the only source of legal help for low-income people in Housing Court.”
The course follows the eviction process from the beginning to the end. It includes links to key forms and relevant court rules. Throughout the course, users are given a series of “knowledge checks” to apply what they have learned. Additional trainings on substantive landlord tenant law are available from Lawyer for the Day programs.
“As coordinator of the Lawyer for the Day Program in Worcester and Springfield, I witness firsthand the important work volunteers do to assist vulnerable clients resolve eviction disputes,” said Gordon Shaw, Director of Client Access at Community Legal Aid. “This online training will prepare more volunteers to serve clients who need help.”
The course arose from discussions during a Lawyer for the Day convening in February 2018 sponsored by MLRI and the Massachusetts Bar Association. Developed by a team at MLRI with support from Volunteers Lawyer Project, Community Legal Aid, the North Shore Community Action Programs, and ThinkingKap, an online curriculum developer, the course is posted on MassLegalServices.org along with links to contacts/coordinators for Lawyer for the Day programs in Housing Court.
“This course enables lawyers to gain an understanding of the eviction process from the comfort of their home or office,” said Joanna Allison, Director of the Volunteer Lawyers Project. “Our hope is that more attorneys access this course and are inspired to provide pro bono services through the Lawyer for the Day program.”
The course can be accessed at www.masslegalservices.org/lfd-housing.