b'PROVIDING ACCESS TO JUSTICEAMID A SHUTDOWNSue Finegan has When \x0bill moved to a shelter with her daughter,the public. An impressive number of volunteersbeen instrumental Elizabeth,toescapeheremotionallyabusive over 1 from bar association leadership, courtin bringing together husband, \x0bames, she agreed to let him see theirleadership,barleadership,andlegalservicesa wide range of two-year-old girl. \x03ut shortly after the COVID-19contributed to the task force efforts. Working with pandemic started sweeping through Massachusettsthe Volunteer Lawyers \x11roject, the task force alsostakeholders to in late March, \x0bames refused to return Elizabethhelped create the Massachusetts COVID-19 \x11ro \x03onoaddress how we after a visit, and due to closures of state buildings,\x11ortal, a web page on the statewide Mass\x11ro\x03ono \x0bill was unable to seek help at a courthouse. Shesite that lists pandemic-related, remote pro bonocan ensure access eventually found her way to a legal service agencyopportunitiesthroughoutthestateforattorneysto justice during andbeganworkingwithalawyerondivorceand law students. This innovative portal facilitatedthis really difficult papers. After child protection authorities receivedthematchmakingoflegalservicesentitieswho reports of \x0bamess abuse and neglect of Elizabeth,needed volunteers with the many volunteers whotime were living the agency helped \x0bill file for a restraining orderwished to serve.In the first few months of the taskthrough. It would and brought Elizabeth back into her care quickly. forceswork,formerMintzprojectanalyst\x0back \x08illiganprovidedadministrativesupportwhilenot have happened \x03eforethepandemic,self-representedlitigantsformerlegalinternDanielleDillonassistedSue like\x0billcouldgetinpersoninformationonwithout her.restraining orders and other filings from court staffwith research.and legal assistance from legal advocates in clinicsShortlyafterthetaskforcewasformed,the atsomecourthouses.WiththeshelterinplaceSupreme\x0budicialCourtsChief\x0bustice\x13alphD.CAROLYN GOODWINorder, many self-represented litigants didnt know\x08ants, who passed away in September, asked theDirectorwheretoturn,anddomesticviolencesurvivorsgroup to provide feedback on the user experience,Massachusetts Access to were particularly vulnerable, given that many wereparticularlythosewhoweretryingtonavigateJustice Commissionsheltering in place with their abuser. As courts andthe new remote court system without the benefit advocates tried valiantly to transform the in-personof a lawyer to help them. Within a week, the task model to one that was remote, virtually overnight,force provided feedback on what self-represented they became concerned that this would lead to twolitigants were experiencing to several of the Chief tiers of justice one for those with access to lawyers,\x0busticeswithinthestatestrialcourtsystem.In technology, and language proficiency and anotherresponsetothatandothertaskforcefeedback, for those without those resources and skills.the court system collaborated with the task force The Massachusetts Access to \x0bustice Commissionmembers to try to enhance the user experience. agroupofcourtocials,privateattorneys,This resulted in many adaptations, such as simpler andlegalservicesadvocatesandotherleaderslanguageinstructionsonthecourtswebsite, appointed by the Massachusetts Supreme \x0budicialposting of more forms online, and expanding the Courtstepped in to help and created a COVID-19useofelectronicsignaturesgenerally,butalso Task \x07orce. Under the leadership of Sue \x07inegan,for those who were assisting clients in a remote who is the commissions Co-chair as well as Chairclinic setting. In addition, the task force tried to ofMintzs\x11ro\x03onoCommittee,thetaskforcehelp social service providers address their clients focused on expanding remote access to the courtsemerging legal needs resulting from the pandemic and improving the courts communications withby producing videos and organizing webinars. The RESILIENCE // Mintz Pro Bono Journal 25'