Anderson & Kreiger is committed to providing pro bono legal services to those most in need and in cases that make a wide impact. While attorneys are free to select pro bono projects of personal significance, our pro bono efforts during the past year have focused on the following areas:
- Children and Health Services
- Civil Rights
- Community Development
- Green Initiatives
- Immigration & Asylum
- Land Preservation
- Professional Responsibility
Our pro bono victories during the past year include the following:
As a Result of Anderson & Kreiger Lawsuit, FDA Proposes New Graphic Warnings For Cigarette Packs
In accordance with an order by the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given notice of a proposed rule requiring tobacco companies to include new textual warnings and graphic images on cigarette packs and in cigarette advertising.
Many studies have shown that graphic warnings are more effective than the verbal warnings that have long been on cigarette packs and can significantly reduce the number of children who begin to smoke and help existing smokers to quit. More than 120 countries require graphic warnings on packs of cigarettes, but the United States has yet to do so.
In 2016, Scott Lewis and Jessica Wall at Anderson & Kreiger LLP and Dennis Henigan and Mark Greenwold at the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids brought suit against the FDA on behalf of a group of public health advocates alleging that the agency had violated its legal duty to promulgate a graphic warnings rule. In September 2018, the Court agreed with the plaintiffs, finding that FDA had “unlawfully withheld” and “unreasonably delayed” promulgating a graphic warnings rule, as mandated by Congress in 2009. The Court ordered the FDA to submit its notice of proposed rulemaking for publication in the Federal Register by August 15. The FDA complied with this requirement. The Court has also ordered the FDA to complete its rulemaking process and submit the final rule for publication by March 15, 2020.
- Board of Bar Overseers: Anderson & Kreiger attorneys David Mackey and Austin Anderson have defended several lawyers on a pro bono basis in bar discipline matters before the Board of Bar Overseers. Dave was the Chair of the BBO from 2010 – 2013, and he and Austin now serve on the BBO’s panel of attorneys who represent lawyers in bar discipline matters on a pro bono basis.
- Boston Bar Association’s CORI Sealing Clinic: Anderson & Kreiger attorneys volunteered at the Boston Bar Association’s CORI (Criminal Offender Record Information) Sealing Clinic Pilot Project, which was held the first Wednesday of the month at the Boston Municipal Court. Anderson & Kreiger volunteer attorneys helped low-income clients get a copy of their CORI, understand what’s on their CORI, and seal or expunge their CORI if possible. A criminal record can make it harder to get a job or find housing. However, a CORI record may contain charges that can be “sealed” or expunged so that employers or housing providers cannot see those charges.
- Jackson Municipal Airport Authority: The City of Jackson, Mississippi, through the Jackson Municipal Airport Authority, has owned and operated the Jackson-Medgar Evers International Airport for many years. (The airport is named after an iconic leader of the Civil Rights Movement who was assassinated by a member of the KKK during the 1960s.) Shortly after the City put an African-American Board of Commissioners in charge of the Authority and hired an African-American CEO for the Airport, the State of Mississippi passed a law that would usurp control of the Airport from the City and give control to the state and surrounding communities. Scott Lewis and Austin Anderson from Anderson & Kreiger are representing individual members of the Authority Board in a lawsuit in federal court in Jackson, where they are asserting that the airport takeover bill should be enjoined because it was enacted on the basis of race and violates their constitutional rights. They are working closely with local counsel in Jackson who represent the Commissioners, the JMAA, various city councilors and the City of Jackson.
- KIND (https://supportkind.org/) Anderson & Kreiger is working with Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) to represent a minor who was forced to flee her home country, where she was facing a number of violent and threatening circumstances. We are helping our client obtain legal immigration status in the United States so she can continue to thrive here with her family.
- Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations (MACDC): Anderson & Kreiger is working with MACDC to help MACDC draft legislation to help Community Development Corporations (“CDCs”), municipalities, and non-profit entities address problems associated with vacant and underutilized properties.
- PAIR (https://www.pairproject.org) : Anderson & Kreiger is working with the Political Asylum/Immigration Representation (PAIR) project to obtain political asylum for a client who fled her home country after being subjected to threats, kidnapping and intimidation due to her support of opponents of the ruling party.
- Y2Y Network, Inc. – A Safe Place For Homeless Young Adults: In 2014, two recent Harvard alums, Sarah Rosenkratz and Sam Greenberg, approached Anderson & Kreiger to ask for legal help for a novel idea. Using what they learned through work with the Phillips Brooks House Association (PBHA), a student-led non-profit with over 70 social service programs, including the Harvard Square Homeless Shelter (and a long-term partner of Anderson & Kreiger), Sarah and Sam proposed to open a shelter for homeless youth in Cambridge. The shelter would immediately double the number of beds available to 18-24 year olds in Boston and Cambridge, and help provide a safe space for this especially vulnerable segment of the homeless population. Sam and Sarah asked us to provide our expertise on zoning, real estate, construction, and governance matters to help lease and construct space for the shelter, and by Fall of 2015, their wild idea was a reality. Since the shelter’s opening, Anderson & Kreiger has continued to provide advice to Sam, Sarah, and their growing staff on a number of issues. We helped them create a new non-profit organization to grow their shelter services, draft a framework for collaborative work with PBHA and other stakeholders going forward, and implement privacy and security policies to protect guests. Most recently, we have been advising the newly formed Y2Y Network, Inc. on its goals to open up its first out-of-state shelter in New Haven, Connecticut. Mina Makarious has served as Y2Y’s “lawyer on call” and has worked with David Wiener, Art Kreiger, and Austin Anderson on leasing, non-profit formation, permitting, and contract issues for Y2Y.
New Pro Bono Relationships
Anderson & Kreiger’s Construction practice, headed by Nina Pickering-Cook and Jon Elder, have joined the Building for Good network, a newly created non-profit designed to help link qualifying non-profits and charities with construction lawyers willing to donate their expertise. The construction area is an area of the law that has lacked pro bono opportunities and help, despite the need. We are excited to be an ambassador to the program and help them get started in Boston.