As part of our commitment to provide quality legal services to all of our clients, Bowditch lawyers have historically devoted significant time and resources to pro bono activities. We consider pro bono service an important professional responsibility.
Our pro bono policy comports with Rule 6.1 of the Massachusetts Rules of Professional Conduct and it strongly encourages each lawyer to commit annually a minimum of 25 hours of legal services to persons of limited means or to organizations serving persons of limited means. Because of the focus on providing pro bono legal services directly to persons of limited means, we have committed to three legal aid referral sources. These agencies are Community Legal Aid in Worcester, MetroWest Legal Services in Framingham and Lawyers Clearinghouse in Boston.
This commitment does not mean that other sources of pro bono work cannot be considered; only that these agencies are our primary focus. Our firm demonstrates a commitment to pro bono work through the following representative matters:
- Medical-legal partnership between Community Legal Aid and UMass Memorial Medical Center. Our attorneys regularly participate in this project by providing legal assistance to low-income patients, which addresses their health-harming legal needs. For its efforts in this area, Bowditch was honored with the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Outstanding Medical-Legal Partnership Pro Bono Advocacy Award in 2019.
- Pro bono contract review service to the African Food & Peace Foundation, which supports the work of the Uganda Rural Development and Training Programme (URDT) and African Rural University (ARU), which assist women and marginalized populations in Uganda
- Sophie C. Currier, et al v. National Board of Medical Examiners — a number of lawyers in the firm devoted countless pro bono hours to a case involving the rights of women who are nursing. On April 13, 2012, a unanimous Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that breast-feeding mothers are entitled to special accommodations to allow them sufficient time to pump milk during lengthy testing for medical licensure.
- Pro Bono review of and revisions to employee handbook and business agreement forms for the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, an organization which has provided a wide variety of support and counseling services to children, young parents and prospective foster and adoptive parents throughout the state since 1878.
- “Lawyer for the Day” program at Worcester District Court, co-sponsored by the Worcester County Bar Association and Community Legal Aid. Our attorneys regularly participate in this program, providing advice and litigation assistance to low-income and disadvantaged individuals facing claims in the Small Claims Session of the District Court.
- Pro Bono corporate entity formation and successful 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status application for Massachusetts Junior Academy of Science, an organization providing the opportunity for high school students who have distinguished themselves in the field of scientific research to attend the annual American Junior Academy of Science symposium.
Our lawyers and staff lead civic, charitable, educational, social and political projects and activities in the communities in which we live and work. We sit on boards of directors, volunteer our time and enthusiasm to committees and fundraisers and lend our expertise to nonprofit organizations. We hold leadership roles in scores of nonprofit organizations throughout New England.
Representative examples of community partnerships:
- Boston’s Annual Lawyers Have Heart 5K Road Race & Summer Celebration to benefit the American Heart Association
- United Way of Tri-County’s Pearl Street Cupboard & Cafe serving food to those in need
- Legal Civil Aid’s Annual Walk to the Hill for Legal Aid in Boston
- Participation in and sponsorship of the Annual YWCA’s Stand Against Racism
- Bottom Line’s Go Far Forum, an annual mock interview event and job fair
- United Way’s Day of Caring in Worcester
- Planting bulbs on the Rose Kennedy Greenway in Boston
- Book drive for a local school
- Internal holiday projects:
- Firm-wide United Way fundraising campaign
- Toys for Tots collection in Boston
- South Middlesex Opportunity Council’s Adopt a Family – Holiday Assistance Program in Framingham (more than 20 years of participation)
- Food and gift drive for Worcester County Food Bank and You, Inc. in Worcester