Pro Bono Assistance
Conn Kavanaugh believes that each of its attorneys has a professional obligation to contribute legal services on a pro bono basis to the Greater Boston community. The firm has enacted a pro bono policy that comports with Rule 6.1 of the Massachusetts Rules of Professional Conduct, and encourages each lawyer to provide annually at least 25 hours of legal services to persons of limited means or to organizations serving persons of limited means.
Conn Kavanaugh's attorneys have demonstrated their commitment to pro bono work through their work with the following organizations and on the following matters:
Massachusetts Advocates for Children
Conn Kavanaugh's attorneys have worked with attorneys from Massachusetts Advocates for Children (MAC) to represent the interests of children with special needs in obtaining equal access to educational and other opportunities. In 2006, the firm's attorneys assisted MAC in negotiating with the Department of Mental Health and the Executive Office of Health and Human Services to ensure that state agencies complied with legislative mandates requiring that funds be directed to intensive in-home services for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. In 2007, the firm's attorneys assisted a Boston family in negotiating an appropriate private school placement for a young boy with special needs.
Victim Rights Law Center
Conn Kavanaugh represents clients referred by the Victim Rights Law Center, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing free legal representation to victims of domestic violence in civil matters arising out of the assaults. Conn Kavanaugh's attorneys have assisted clients in obtaining and extending civil restraining orders against their assailants. Conn Kavanaugh's attorneys also have represented victims of sexual assault in negotiating changes to their housing, employment, and custody arrangements in the wake of traumatic assaults.
Women's Bar Foundation
Conn Kavanaugh's lawyers are actively involved with the Women's Bar Foundation (WBF), the pro bono affiliate of the Women's Bar Association. The WBF runs five pro bono programs in Massachusetts, providing free legal services to some of our most vulnerable and underserved populations. Erin K. Higgins served as President of the Women's Bar Foundation for the 2009 term, and Conn Kavanaugh lawyers regularly represent clients referred by the WBF.
Volunteer Lawyers Project
Conn Kavanaugh's lawyers regularly take cases referred by the Volunteer Lawyers Project (VLP). Recently, Conn Kavanaugh's lawyers represented VLP clients in the following matters:
Conn Kavanaugh successfully represented a married couple who formerly worked in the kitchen at a South Shore banquet facility in a claim for back overtime wages. Conn Kavanaugh invested over 170 hours of attorney time on the matter. After three years of litigation, Conn Kavanaugh tried the case jury-waived to the Superior Court in September 2010. The Superior Court awarded Conn Kavanaugh's clients over $60,000 in back overtime wages, prejudgment interest, and punitive damages;
Conn Kavanaugh assisted a low-income, working mother in obtaining Social Security Disability benefits for her disabled daughter, who will now be able to receive intensive care and support in after-school hours while her mother is at work;
Conn Kavanaugh filed a complaint in Land Court on behalf of a low-income property owner in Roxbury, seeking to clear her title to the property. The case was tried before a Land Court judge in early 2007, and the firm's client currently is awaiting a decision;
Conn Kavanaugh currently is representing another low-income, elderly property owner in Dorchester, and has assisted the client in negotiating a division of interests with a co-owner, in forestalling a scheduled foreclosure sale on the property, and in negotiating a sale of the property to a third party. Conn Kavanaugh's lawyers also prepared a will and other end-of-life documents for the client, ensuring that his interest in the property will pass without incident to his daughter;
Conn Kavanaugh's lawyers assisted an elderly woman in Boston public housing in eviction proceedings resulting from an inadvertent failure to report income, and successfully negotiated a repayment plan that allowed the client to remain in her apartment;
Conn Kavanaugh's lawyers represented a low-income tenant in Boston Housing Court, preventing her eviction, and negotiating a favorable resolution with the landlord;
Conn Kavanaugh's lawyers represented several clients in obtaining unemployment benefits. Conn Kavanaugh's representation of these clients included appearances at multi-day evidentiary hearings and appeals, and all ultimately were resolved in favor of Conn Kavanaugh's clients.
Health Law Advocates
Conn Kavanaugh's lawyers also receive cases from the Health Law Advocates (HLA), which provides legal assistance to income-eligible individuals who live or work in Massachusetts and have difficulty obtaining health care or insurance coverage. In 2008, HLA recognized Conn Kavanaugh lawyers for their "superior legal representation in HLA referral matters involving one of HLA's fastest growing areas of practice - consumer medical debt." By way of example, Conn Kavanaugh's lawyers represented HLA clients in the following matter:
Conn Kavanaugh successfully represented a 52 year old uninsured Massachusetts woman who was treated at a Lowell hospital for an emergency abdominal surgery. The client incurred $8,183 in medical debt. Andrew R. Dennington negotiated reduction of the client's remaining medical debt to under $800.
Conn Kavanaugh successfully represented a 57 year old Maine man who was flown to a Boston hospital for emergency medical care after he lost several fingers in a carpentry accident. Because he lacked health insurance, the client ended up with over $130,000 in medical bills. The Conn Kavanaugh attorney successfully negotiated a full waiver of one hospital bill for over $100,000 and negotiated for the reduction of the remaining physician bills from $33,000 to $6,000.
Lawyer for the Day Programs
Conn Kavanaugh's lawyers also participate in Lawyer-for-the-Day programs run by the Probate and Family Court and by the Essex County Housing Court. As part of these programs, Conn Kavanaugh's lawyers dedicate an entire day to providing on-the-spot legal assistance to low-income clients with pending family law or housing court matters.
Boston Bar Association Citizen Schools
Conn Kavanaugh's lawyers volunteer as biweekly writing coaches to eighth graders in Boston as part of the Citizens Schools after-school program, affiliated with the Boston Bar Association.