21 Focused on What Matters “Miguel”caught his mother’s boyfriend raping his sister, and when he tried to intervene, the man had him beaten and threatened to kill him. Although he was only a teenager and had never left his small town in El Salvador, Miguel fled to the United States. In Texas he was picked up by the border patrol, but he convinced his immigration officer that he had good reason to fear going home and was released on bond to live with Massachusetts relatives. More than a year later, facing deportation, Miguel sought help from the Political Asylum/ ImmigrationRepresentationProject(PAIR)andmetMarthaKoster,aMintzLevinattorneyworking with the organization through a pilot project called the Access to Justice Fellows Program. With Martha’s help, Miguel is now on track to become a permanent US resident. Sponsored by the Massachusetts Access to Justice Commission and created and supported by Martha and Sue Finegan, one of the organization’s commissioners and Chair of the firm’s Pro Bono Committee, the Access to Justice Fellows Program helps to address the state’s significant need for legal representation for low-income residents by matching program fellows, all senior or retired attorneys, with area legal services organizations and nonprofits—groups stretched to the breaking point by a decline in funding post-2008. Among the program’s first participants are seven accomplished members of the Massachusetts Bar who have worked in law firms, the judiciary, solo practice, and legal services. Chief Justice Margaret Marshall is an honorary fellow. Each fellowship runs from September to June and involves a commitment of 10 to 20 hours a week. Fellows meet monthly to exchange ideas, and dedicate themselves to projects such as establishing a lawyer-for-the-day program, mentoring younger lawyers taking pro bono cases, working with nonprofits on corporate governance, representing indigent clients in family law cases, and tackling issues involving bankruptcy, immigration law, environmental law, land conservation, and community agriculture. Together, this year’s fellows will contribute about 4,200 hours to these important causes. Some attorneys work within their specialties; others enjoy learning new areas. To help Miguel and other immigrants, Martha, whose practice focuses on environmental and insurance issues, has been learning immigration law. Next year Martha and Sue hope to increase the number of fellows and secure funding for administrative support. “Our vision is one of cultural change. We want to encourage lawyers on the verge of retiring to consider giving back through the program,” Martha says. “What a difference that would make to low-income individuals!” With assistance from seasoned attorneys, more people like Miguel can get legal help. Still There to Help Senior Attorneys Serve Those Who Would Go Without It’s a challenge to find legal help for our clients. Through the Access to Justice Fellows Program, senior attorneys like Martha Koster bring a depth of experience and can easily connect with us and help deserving individuals transform their lives. Sarah Ignatius Executive Director Political Asylum/Immigration Representation Project (PAIR)