Pro Bono

2023 Anderson & Kreiger Pro Bono Highlights

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 pursue pro bono projects of personal significance, our pro bono efforts during the past year have focused on the following areas:
• Children’s Health and Rights
• Civil Rights
• Community Development
• Environmental Protection and Renewable Energy

Our pro bono victories and ongoing work during the past year include the following: 

• Commonwealth v. J.F., 491 Mass. 824 (2023): in this decision, the Supreme Judicial Court held that the records of criminal defendants who win on the merits must be sealed automatically. This decision helps shield former criminal defendants from employment, housing, and other consequences that can flow from their records. Paul Kominers and Tamara Wolfson, working with co-counsel and students at Harvard Law School’s Cyberlaw Clinic, filed an amicus on behalf of Upturn, Inc., urging this result in order to protect former criminal defendants from data brokers who collect and disseminate criminal-record information to landlords and employers.
• Aster v. City of Cambridge: on behalf of leaders in Cambridge Bicycle Safety, a local advocacy organization, Paul Kominers, Marissa Grenon, and Christina Marshall filed an amicus in support of the City’s efforts to construct infrastructure to protect bicyclists. The case is currently under advisement.
• CORI Sealing Clinic: Paul Kominers and Kristen Gagalis represented individual clients through the CORI Sealing Clinic organized by GBLS and the BBA. The clinic helps clients submit petitions for the sealing or expungement of their criminal records so that old convictions or charges do not interfere with employment, housing, and other matters. Paul, Tamara Wolfson, and Xavier Lawrence also helped a client who had received an expungement order ensure that the agencies that maintain records of encounters with the criminal justice system complied with the order.
• Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids: Melissa C. Allison, Scott P. Lewis, and Christina S. Marshall represent the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and other allied public health organizations who have been working with the Department of Justice to require cigarette manufacturers to display certain court-ordered “corrective statements” at retail points-of-sale throughout the country. The corrective statements were ordered as part of the landmark legal decision in the federal government’s RICO case against the tobacco industry and are meant to prevent and restrain the manufacturers from continuing to deceive the public about the adverse health effects of cigarettes. A&K worked with our counterparts at DOJ to negotiate a settlement with the tobacco manufacturers that requires nearly 225,000 stores to display corrective statement signs from October 1, 2023, until June 30, 2025. We continue to work with DOJ to monitor the industry’s compliance with the consent order, and we designed a tip line to allow public health advocates to report noncompliance. Our work with our public health and tobacco control clients in the past year also includes work on amicus briefs in numerous federal cases involving tobacco industry challenges to FDA’s regulation of e-cigarettes and a pending case before the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts concerning the power of towns in this state to ban the sale of tobacco products.
• Children and Family Law (CAFL) Appeals: Anderson & Kreiger attorneys, led by Sean Grammel, regularly serve as court-appointed appellate counsel for parents and children involved in the foster care system. Associates at A&K advocate for these clients through a range of appellate proceedings, including single justice petitions, full panel appeals, and requests for further appellate review. This work provides a voice to and advocacy for children who otherwise would have little or no say in critical issues such as whether they should be united with their biological parents or be eligible for adoption.
• EdLaw Project ( Anderson & Kreiger works with the EdLaw Project to help secure appropriate educational services for children with special education needs who have been denied appropriate placements and services and to advocate for the educational needs of high-risk youth. Over the past year, Anderson & Kreiger volunteer attorneys Annie Lee, Kristen Gagalis, and TJ Roskelley have provided direct representation for clients experiencing difficulties obtaining proper services and placement for children struggling in schools that don’t have adequate supports to meet their emotional and physical needs. They have participated in numerous Team Meetings with the school districts and schools, navigated the three-year re-evaluation process, obtained a new placement for one student, and successfully negotiated necessary amendments to a client’s Individualized Education Plan. Anderson & Kreiger continues to work with the families to ensure the child obtains the education she deserves and is entitled to under state law.
• 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. A&K attorneys Scott P. Lewis and Austin P. Anderson represented the individual Commissioners of the Jackson Municipal Airport Authority, who have brought an Equal Protection Clause challenge to a Mississippi state law that attempts to take control of the Jackson Medgar-Evers Airport away from the majority-Black City of Jackson and giving it instead to a new, majority-white board controlled by the state and the surrounding suburban counties. A&K attorneys allege that the law was motivated by racial bias against the Commissioners: essentially that the state took control of the City’s most valuable asset because it did not want people of color running the airport. The case has been pending for more than 7 years because it has been tied up in appeals of discovery disputes. A&K’s clients sought documents from certain state legislators involved in passing the bill, looking for evidence that the law was racially motivated. They have refused to turn any documents over, claiming that they are protected by legislative privilege, and have appealed the District Court’s order requiring them to produce a privilege log to back up their claims of privilege. They also claim that our clients do not have standing to bring their Equal Protection claim. Austin P. Anderson argued the appeal before a panel of the Fifth Circuit back in December 2021. The court finally issued a decision ruling in our clients’ favor in May 2023, but the state legislators successfully sought further review from the full, en banc Fifth Circuit, meaning the panel decision was vacated and A&K attorneys will brief and argue the case again before the whole appeals court.
• Y2Y Network, Inc. ( A Safe Place for Homeless Young Adults: Anderson & Kreiger continued its work with Y2Y Network. Mina Makarious and others at Anderson & Kreiger assisted Y2Y on a few contracting, governance, and insurance issues to allow Y2Y to continue to provide homeless services. In addition, we continue to advise 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 in 2020 joined the organization’s board.
• Reid v. Doe Run Resources Corp. ( Sean Grammel and Paul Kominers helped Professors William S. Dodge and Maggie Gardner, experts in transnational law, file an amicus brief in an Eighth Circuit case arguing that U.S. courts should continue hearing a case concerning allegations that Missouri defendants caused environmental contamination in Peru.
• Police and School Misconduct: In March 2023, the Town of Walpole Police handcuffed a nine-year old special needs student having a mental health crisis during class, Anderson & Kreiger attorneys Matthew Bowser and Colin Van Dyke, Sophia Hall, and Erika Richmond from Lawyers for Civil Rights (LCR), and Liz McIntyre from EdLaw responded to help the student and the family. The team secured a new academic placement and obtained an appropriate Individual Educational Plan (IEP) for the student. The team conducted extensive negotiations with the town, resulting in a favorable settlement that includes mandatory bias and IEP training for police and school personnel, a personal apology to the mother and son, a sit-down with the mother and the school and police to discuss the incident, and recovery of attorneys’ fees directed to LCR.
• Bromley Health Tenant Issues: A team of lawyers from A&K (Scott Lewis, Annie Lee, Mina Makarious and Matt Bowser) worked with the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization to advocate for the Boston Housing Authority to provide decent, livable units for its tenants – and, in particular, to address problems of mold and pest infestation that plague tenants in the Mildred Hailey Homes project in Roxbury. They helped one tenant, whose uninhabitable unit was full of mold, mice, and roaches, obtain a new home from the BHA, and are currently pursuing a claim against the BHA on her behalf for personal injuries and the costs of her many possessions destroyed by the mold. The team continues to support GBIO’s efforts to increase state funding for public housing.
• Civic Action Project: A&K Attorneys Mina Makarious and Matt Bowser have advised the Civic Action Project in developing the Commonwealth Development Compact, which seeks to integrate diversity, equity, and inclusion principles into both public and private sector development. A&K’s work included advising on options for considering and addressing these issues in local land use permitting and zoning and real estate development considering federal and state legal principles. The work of the Compact is underway in Boston, Cambridge, Lynn, Salem, and Somerville. For more on the Compact see:
• Clemency: Anderson & Kreiger partnered with The Women’s Bar Foundation, which pairs firms with opportunities to represent women in need. Ezra Dunkle-Polier, Michelle Kalowski, and Matt Bowser are assisting a woman incarcerated at MCI-Framingham in her (second) petition to the Parole Board seeking a commutation of her sentence, including drafting a new petition for clemency.
• Community Labor United: A&K has assisted Community Labor United in the drafting and analysis of legislation to provide increased opportunities for child-care funding and access for low-income families.
• Bar Discipline Proceedings: At the request of the Board of Bar Overseers, Anderson & Kreiger attorneys David Mackey and Austin Anderson have provided pro bono representation to lawyers to attorneys who are unable to afford an attorney when faced with bar discipline matters before the Board of Bar Overseers. They help their clients respond to client complaints, guide them in discussions with Bar Counsel and in seeking a favorable and fair outcome to any disciplinary charges.
• Nubian Square evictions: Attorneys Martell Johnson, Annie Lee, Scott Lewis, Mina Makarious, and Nina Pickering-Cook have worked with six African immigrant small business owners in Nubian Square to fight an improper eviction and unsafe conditions within the leased space. The A&K team obtained a dismissal of the original eviction action filed over a year ago, and now are fighting the landlord’s second attempt to evict these tenants, whose businesses are important to the Nubian Square community. The team is also working to help find them more appropriate and secure space.
• Phillips Brooks House Association: Anderson & Kreiger has served as outside counsel on several matters to the Phillips Brooks House Association, Inc. (“PBHA”). PBHA’s dual mission is to provide leadership development for students at Harvard and elsewhere along with programming throughout greater Boston in 80+ programs including adult services, advocacy, afterschool, in-school, health, housing, mentoring, and summer. A&K’s support of PBHA involves being “on-call” legal support for all kinds of matters, ranging from contract issues, compliance, and employment. We have been proud to help grow PBHA’s capacity through our work, as well as by leveraging our connections to other lawyers throughout Boston.
• Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo ( Loper Bright is a challenge to the Chevron doctrine, a doctrine of deference to expert administrative agencies. Scott Lewis, Michael Pineault, Austin Anderson, and Paul Kominers filed a friend-of-the-court brief in defense of the Chevron doctrine on behalf of prominent public health organizations including the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, the American Lung Association, the National Health Law Program, and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. In a joint statement, the public health organizations wrote: “In a shared mission to advance and protect public health, our groups urge the Supreme Court to continue deferring to the expert authority of federal executive agencies entrusted by Congress to interpret and implement vital public health programs and complex patient protections.”


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