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Support & Training

Statewide Legal Services Support Center:

As the statewide legal services support center, MLRI provides technical assistance, advice and expertise to legal services programs.  MLRI’s support activities include (but are not limited to):  co-counseling on litigation; technical advice on particular cases or issues; training in specialized areas of law; networking and coalitions; research; manuals and other practice materials; drafting model pleadings and other papers; monitoring new legal developments in the field; preparing & distributing policy analyses and interpretations.  By providing legal training, backup support and technical assistance to legal service field programs, MLRI is building a strong group of advocates throughout the state who are well-equipped to serve their clients and the changing needs of their communities. 

In addition, MLRI provides expert advice and technical assistance to a large number of local and national advocacy groups, nonprofit organizations and social service providers serving low-income constituencies.  MLRI’s support activities are intended to advance anti-poverty advocacy objectives and to build the institutional strength of organizations critical to MLRI’s mission, including traditional legal services providers, human service providers, and community organizations that provide legal assistance or advocacy for low-income individuals and families.

MLRI also leads or participates in numerous statewide advocacy coalitions and task forces compromised of key stakeholders, including legal service advocates, social service providers, private attorneys, community based organizations that work with low-income populations, and state agency officials.  We rely on these groups to inform our advocacy, identify affected families and individuals, and conduct local and statewide organizing and advocacy.  Local legal aid programs and community advocates serve as MLRI's eyes and ears; they identify systemic problems and emerging issues, and keep our advocates in touch with what is happening on the ground.  

Training:

MLRI provides trainings and updates to legal services attorneys in field programs on specialized or highly-technical poverty law issues.  Also, through a collaboration with Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education (MCLE), MLRI advocates provide annual trainings to legal aid lawyers, social service advocates and members of the private bar in the following areas:

  • Assisting Families Experiencing Homelessness: Emergency Assistance Shelter & Benefits
  • Income Maximization for the Working Poor (Families and Individuals)
  • Health Care Access Programs
  • SSI & SSDI Basics
  • Food Stamps/SNAP
  • State and Federal Veterans Benefits
  • Elder Benefits Programs
  • Representing Unemployed Workers at Unemployment Insurance Hearings
  • Cash Assistance for Massachusetts Families & Individuals: TAFDC and EAEDC
  • Immigrants & Public Benefits