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December 3, 2021
 
Lawyers Clearinghouse Raises $178K via Virtual Annual Meeting
Lawyers Clearinghouse

October 8, 2021 — Lawyers Clearinghouse, a Boston nonprofit that provides pro bono legal services to Massachusetts nonprofits, recently announced it raised $178,000 at its annual meeting, which was held virtually, surpassing its goal.

The funds will support pro bono programs offered by Lawyers Clearinghouse, including those connecting pro bono attorneys with Bay State nonprofits, as well as to people in need of civil legal assistance.

Susan Gedrick, executive director of Lawyers Clearinghouse, said, “We greatly appreciate that our supporters recognize the importance of our pro bono programs, especially as the pandemic highlights the need for stronger safety nets for vulnerable people and the nonprofits that serve them.”

The event, held last month for the second consecutive year, aimed to raise $170,000 from 90 sponsors and attract 100 participants, and finished attracting 94 sponsors and just over 100 attendees. The in-person event typically attracted 150 – 200 people.

The amount raised represents about 25% of fund raised annually.

Lawyers Clearinghouse, which traditionally held its annual meeting in June, pushed it back to September with the idea of meeting in person, which turned out not to be possible.

Hilary Vaught, communications manager for the organization, “We were able to maintain a fundraising process that is very similar to what we did traditionally: our Leadership Committee still reaches out to sponsors via phone and email in the months leading up to the event. We do miss being able to connect and network with supporters and friends in person, but feel fortunate to still have such a high level of support.”

Key sponsors included Ropes & Gray LLP, Eastern Bank; Kirkland & Ellis LLP; Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.; Rockport Mortgage Corporation; TD Bank; Trinity Financial, Inc.; and Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP.

Kenan Bigby, managing director of Trinity Financial, Inc., recipient of the 2021 Nolan Leadership Award, noted, "Now, perhaps more than ever before, a light has been shined on the importance of the work that we all do. The impacts of the COVID pandemic, the racial justice awakening, have really exposed some fault lines in our society, and with that increased exposure comes an increased obligation to keep working towards a solution one client, one resident, one project, one neighborhood at a time.

Lawyers Clearinghouse was founded in 1988 by the Boston Bar Association and Massachusetts Bar Association to fight homelessness. Since then, it has served as a model used by bar sponsored pro bono groups throughout the country in establishing similar programs, including the District of Columbia, Rhode Island, and Maryland.

During its 2019 fiscal year, the organization reported that, with five staffers and 500 volunteer attorneys, it facilitated legal assistance for 231 homeless clients and187 nonprofit organizations.

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