The Supreme Judicial Court today announced the appointments of seven new members to the Massachusetts Access to Justice Commission, including Lynne Parker, executive director of the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation.
Other members of the civil legal aid community were also welcomed to the commission, including: Rachel Biscardi, supervising attorney with the Family Law Unit at Northeast Legal Aid; Leticia Medina-Richman, the director of the Central West Justice Center; and Elizabeth A. Soulé. executive director of MetroWest Legal Services.
First established by the Supreme Judicial Court in 2005, the Access to Justice Commission seeks to improve access to justice for people who are unable to afford an attorney for essential civil legal needs, such as cases involving housing, consumer debt, and family law.
“We are delighted to welcome these new members to the Commission,” said Supreme Judicial Court Justice Serge Georges, Jr., who co-chairs the Commission. “With representation from legal aid offices throughout the Commonwealth, the attorney general’s office, a law school, and the private sector, these new Commissioners will bring a range of critical perspectives to the Commission’s ongoing efforts to ensure equal access to justice.”
The new Access to Justice Commission members are:
- Rachel Biscardi, Esq. is the supervising attorney with the Family Law Unit at Northeast Legal Aid. Previously, Attorney Biscardi was in private practice after serving as the Deputy Director of the Women’s Bar Association & Foundation for twelve years. She has taught at Northeastern Law School and New England School of Law. Among her bar association activities, Attorney Biscardi has served on the Massachusetts Bar Association’s Access to Justice Committee. She is a member of the Massachusetts Access to Justice Commission’s Family Law Committee.
- Ariel Clemmer, Esq. is the Director for the Center for Social Justice at Western New England School of Law. Before this role, Attorney Clemmer was the Pro Bono Director with the Hampden County Bar Association. She has also served as a public defender and worked for the firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges, LLP. Attorney Clemmer is the incoming Chair of the Supreme Judicial Court Standing Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services and will serve as an ex officio member of the Massachusetts Access to Justice Commission. She is also the Co-Chair of the Commission’s Consumer Debt Committee.
- Leticia Medina-Richman, Esq. is the Director of the Central West Justice Center. Attorney Medina-Richman has overseen this Worcester and Western MA area legal aid organization, a subsidiary of Community Legal Aid (CLA), since 2014. She previously served as a staff attorney at CLA and its predecessor, focusing primarily on landlord-tenant, foreclosure and housing discrimination work.
- Lynne M. Parker, Esq. is the Executive Director for the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation (MLAC) which is the largest funding source for civil legal organizations in Massachusetts. Previously, she served as executive director, deputy director and staff attorney at New Hampshire Legal Assistance. Attorney Parker served as a member of the NH Access to Justice Commission and was a member of the Judicial Selection Committee. Attorney Parker has also represented migrant farmworkers and served as a housing attorney for many years in several legal aid organizations. She is a member of the Massachusetts Access to Justice Commission’s Revenue Enhancement Committee and the Boston Bar Association’s Delivery of Legal Services Committee.
- Victoria Santoro Mair, Esq., is a shareholder at Meehan, Boyle, Black & Bogdanow, P.C. where she primarily focuses on civil litigation. Attorney Santoro Mair has been an active member of the Massachusetts Bar Association, serving as its Treasurer and on the Executive Management Board, House of Delegates, Board of Directors, Young Lawyers’ Division, Membership Committee and the Oliver Wendell Holmes Scholarship Committee. She is also involved with the Boston Bar Association and the Women’s Bar Association.
- Mychii Snape, Esq. is a Managing Attorney in the Consumer Protection Division of the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office. Before joining the Attorney General’s Office, Attorney Snape was an associate in the litigation department at Ropes & Gray LLP. She has also served as a board member of the Massachusetts Black Lawyers Association and continues to serve as co-chair of the pro bono subcommittee of the Boston Bar Association’s Veterans and Servicemembers Forum, among other bar and community activities.
- Elizabeth A. Soulé, Esq. is the Executive Director of MetroWest Legal Services, an office that provides legal services to persons in 36 towns in south and central Middlesex and south Norfolk counties. Previously, Attorney Soulé was a supervising attorney, focusing on elder law and domestic violence cases, for South Middlesex Legal Services. She also serves as chair of the Access to Justice Section Council of the Massachusetts Bar Association and formerly served on the council of the Boston Bar Association.
Among other activities, the Access to Justice Commission coordinates with civil legal aid organizations to support their activities and develop new initiatives to address unmet needs. The Commission also works to increase the number of attorneys able to provide pro bono or limited assistance civil legal services and coordinates with the court system on initiatives that assist individuals to better understand and navigate civil legal proceedings. The Commission’s members include representatives from the court system, legal aid organizations, social service organizations, bar associations, law schools, businesses, and other stakeholders in the access to justice community.
More information about the Commission and its activities is available in its recently released Annual Report for 2020-2021, which is available on the on the Commission’s website, under the Resources/Library tab.