“Nonprofits and other service providers see the challenges vulnerable people in Massachusetts face every day. ” General Healey
AG Healey Hosts ‘People’s Law Firm’ Summit in Worcester.
WORCESTER — Attorney General Maura Healey today hosted an outreach day for more than 100 community leaders, educators, and service providers from across Central Massachusetts focused on expanding partnerships and highlighting the many ways the Attorney General’s Office can assist families and communities to address economic challenges and protect their rights.
The People’s Law Firm Summit, hosted at Worcester’s Clark University by AG Healey’s first-of-its-kind Community Engagement Division, included presentations from staff on the assistance the AG’s Office provides including protecting consumers through free debt collection clinics, assisting workers and immigrant communities, and helping those struggling with student loans.
“The Attorney General’s Office is focused every day on serving families, workers, and students in partnership with community based organizations across Massachusetts,” AG Healey said. “Today’s summit is about expanding those partnerships and ensuring that our residents get the services they need.”
The AG’s Community Engagement Division is focused on bringing the work and staff of the AG’s Office directly into neighborhoods and communities across the state through its community action hours and trainings on topics like workers’ rights, civil rights, landlord-tenant rights, insurance issues, consumer rights, student loan assistance and financial literacy.
“It’s more important now than ever that the Commonwealth’s cities and towns – especially a city as diverse as Worcester that’s home to thousands of students, workers and members of immigrant and refugee communities – have direct access to the services the Attorney General’s Office provides,” City Manager Ed M. Augustus Jr. said. “We are so grateful for the support Attorney General Healey, those in her Worcester office, and those in her Community Engagement Division provide to our City’s residents.”
“We are delighted to join with Attorney General Maura Healey in this valuable work that helps ensure all members of our community are well informed of their rights and responsibilities in such critical areas as work, housing, and access to education,” Clark University President David Angel said. “At Clark University we know that our success is tied to the success of the community of which we are a part.”
The summit also featured moderated panel discussions with the AG’s Office’s partner organizations. The Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA) assisted with a panel focused on the AG Office’s work to issue guidance on the rights and obligations of schools in response to ICE requests for access or information, and the office’s role in launching an educational campaign on unauthorized practice of immigration law.
Other partners included the Volunteer Lawyers Project of the Boston Bar Association (VLP), which joined with representatives from the AG’s Office for a panel on student loans and debt collection, the YWCA of Central Massachusetts for a panel on how the AG’s office handles civil rights violations, and the Metrowest Workers Center for a panel on workplace rights. VLP has partnered with the AG’s Office to host free legal clinics for victims of wage theft and underrepresented parties in debt collection cases.
Since its inception in May 2015, AG Healey’s Community Engagement Division has worked directly with more than 30,000 people in Massachusetts to connect them to the services and support they need, and has held more than 500 events across the state. Today’s summit is the second of its kind, the first of which the AG’s Office held in Boston in October 2017.