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Welcome to the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute

The Massachusetts Law Reform Institute (MLRI) is a statewide nonprofit poverty law and policy center. Its mission is to advance economic, racial and social justice through legal action, policy advocacy, coalition building, and community outreach. MLRI specializes in large-scale legal initiatives and systemic reforms that address the root causes of poverty, remove barriers to opportunity, and create a path to economic stability and mobility for low-income individuals, families and communities.

In addition, MLRI serves as the statewide poverty law support center for the Massachusetts civil legal services delivery system, providing expertise and support to local legal aid programs and also to social service, health care and human service providers, and other community organizations that serve low income people.

MLRI's goals and objectives are to:

  • address public and institutional policies and procedures that either contribute to, or perpetuate, the cycle of poverty;
  • ensure that low-income and underserved populations across the state are provided the same legal protections, rights and liberties enjoyed by all members of society;
  • provide local legal services providers and community-based advocacy organizations that serve low income people with the substantive expertise, technical assistance, support, and trainings they need to best serve their clients.

For almost 50 years, MLRI’s advocacy has been responsible for groundbreaking policies that have advanced the legal, economic and social rights of low-income people. It is considered one of the premier statewide poverty law and policy centers in the nation.

NEW! MLRI to Honor Three Outstanding Leaders on September 27

On September 27, 2017, MLRI is proud to announce that it will honor three outstanding leaders at its 3rd annual Catalyst for Change Award reception on September 27, 2017:

image of John C. Carroll, Jr., Esq.

Catalyst for Change Award Recipient:

John J. Carroll, Jr., Esq.


John J. Carroll, Jr., is a partner at Meehan, Boyle, Black and Bogdanow. Throughout his 40 years as a trial attorney, he has maintained his commitment to serving those who cannot afford legal representation. Starting right out of law school at South Dakota Legal Services, he provided legal assistance to the Pine Ridge and Rosebud Sioux Reservations. Over the years John has handled pro bono cases for the Volunteer Lawyers Project and the Catholic Lawyer’s Guild, served on the Board of Directors of Greater Boston Legal Services, and has been actively involved in the Massachusetts Bar Association, the Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers, the Massachusetts Academy of Trial Attorneys, the Equal Justice Coalition, and the Commission on Judicial Conduct. John has been named a “Super Lawyer” for several consecutive years by Boston Magazine.

image of The Honorable Geraldine Hines

MLRI Distinguished Alum Award:

The Honorable Geraldine Hines (ret.)

The Honorable Geraldine S. Hines served as an Associate Justice on the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court from 2014 until her retirement in August 2017. She is the first African American woman appointed to the highest court in Massachusetts. Justice Hines launched her legal career at the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute in 1971 as a staff attorney after being awarded a prestigious Reginald Heber Smith Community Lawyer Fellowship. She later went on to serve as director of the Roxbury Defender’s Committee, and from 1979-1982 she litigated civil rights cases and advised on special education law while a staff attorney at the Harvard University Center for Law and Education. In 1982 she became a founding partner in the first law firm of women of color in New England. In 2001 she was appointed as an associate justice to the Superior Court of Massachusetts. Justice Hines has been active in a number of civic and community organizations and has observed elections and investigated human rights abuses in Africa and the Middle East. In Spring 2018, she will be a Jerome Lyle Rappaport Distinguished Visiting Professor at Boston College Law School.

image of Gerry Singsen

Special Award for Lifetime Achievement:

Antone “Gerry” Singsen III, Esq.

Gerry Singsen is a consultant and trainer with legal services program staffs, managers, and boards of directors as clients and has written extensively on legal services goals, planning, management, practice, and regulation. Gerry began his legal career in 1968 as a staff attorney at the Legal Aid Society of Westchester County, White Plains, NY. Throughout his long and distinguished career, he has served as an executive director, deputy director, and middle manager in legal services programs. He served as Vice President of Legal Services Corporation between 1979 and 1982, and was a lecturer at Harvard Law School from 1984 to 1994, directed the InterUniversity Consortium on Poverty Law and helped many programs, regions and states plan their responses to LSC's state planning initiative between 1998 and 2004. From 2005 until his retirement in 2017, Gerry was the Consultant to the Massachusetts Access to Justice Commission.

For more information, please contact MLRI Development Director Tamar Lewis,  617-357-0700 x333. To become an event sponsor and/or buy tickets online.