BOSTON (October 27, 2017) – The Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation (MLAC) announces that its executive director, Lonnie A. Powers, who has led the organization since its founding, will retire in August 2018.
MLAC, created by the state legislature in 1983, is the largest funding source for civil legal aid in Massachusetts. Under Powers’ leadership, access to civil legal representation and advice has expanded greatly for low-income individuals and families. Over that time, MLAC has also formed close partnerships with the private bar, the judiciary, the legislature, the attorney general’s office, regional civil legal aid programs and other stakeholders to maximize available resources for low-income individuals and families facing potentially life-changing civil legal issues related to housing, employment, education, domestic violence, and access to public benefits.
“Lonnie has been instrumental in MLAC’s development as a leading voice for civil legal aid in Massachusetts. We offer him our sincere appreciation for what will be his 35 years of service and advocacy on behalf of those who might otherwise not have had access to justice,” said Marijane Benner Browne, Chair of the MLAC Board of Directors. “We are committed to finding a new leader for MLAC who can continue that proud tradition and strengthen the civil legal aid system in Massachusetts, and we are grateful to Lonnie for the time he has given us to plan for this transition.”
“I am honored to have served as MLAC’s founding executive director,” said Powers. “I am incredibly grateful to have had the opportunity to work with the board and staff of MLAC and our many partners and supporters in the private bar, the judiciary, the legislature, and our programs to increase access to civil legal aid in the Commonwealth. Together, we have established a vibrant network of legal aid providers that works ceaselessly to serve our state’s most vulnerable residents.”
Before joining MLAC, Powers worked in the Office of the Attorney General in his native Arkansas, and served as executive director of Legal Services of Arkansas.
The MLAC Board of Directors has appointed a transition committee that will conduct a national search for Powers’ successor.
The Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation was established by the state legislature in 1983 to ensure that low-income people with critical, non-criminal legal problems would have access to legal information, advice and representation.