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Lonnie A. Powers
Lonnie A. Powers is the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation, an organization dedicated to ensuring that low-income people with critical, non-criminal legal problems have access to legal information, advice and representation. He has more than 43 years of policy and legal experience at the state and national levels, having devoted the majority of his career to establishing, building, sustaining and revitalizing legal aid organizations. Lonnie began his legal career in his native Arkansas, first with the Attorney General’s Office and later with Legal Services of Arkansas, where he served as Executive Director.

Entries by Lonnie A. Powers

Criminal Justice Reform Must Include Civil Legal Aid

(0) Comments | Posted December 2, 2015 | 2:46 PM

Last month, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker and legislative leaders announced the formation of a bipartisan working group that will partner with the Council of State Governments (CSG) to review our criminal justice system in order to reduce recidivism and incarceration rates. The CSG's Justice Center has been working...

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A Secret Weapon in Fighting Domestic Violence

(1) Comments | Posted October 13, 2015 | 5:17 PM

True or False: There is a proven way to dramatically reduce rates of domestic violence, yet this method is largely ignored by the public and private sectors.

True or False: Reducing the prevalence of domestic violence can save the state significant sums on safety net spending.

Both statements are...

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Employing Civil Legal Aid in Closing the Wage Gap

(1) Comments | Posted August 11, 2015 | 3:27 PM

Here's an economic statistic that holds true in almost every part of the world: women are significantly more likely to be poor than men. In the United States, 16 percent of women live below the federal poverty line, compared with 12 percent of men.

Why is...

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Civil Legal Assistance is a Potent Anti-poverty Tool

(0) Comments | Posted February 24, 2015 | 10:59 AM

Sargent Shriver, President Johnson's personal choice to lead the War on Poverty, was once asked which of the anti-poverty programs he thought was the most important. "My favorite is Head Start because it was my idea," he answered. "But I am proudest of Legal Services because I recognized...

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Communication Matters: Getting Your Message Out

(0) Comments | Posted February 10, 2015 | 4:19 PM

When it comes to creating social change, strategic communications brings great value. The Communications Network, a nonprofit that supports foundations and nonprofits in finding ways to communicate more effectively, puts it this way: "Communication matters. Organizations that do it well are stronger, smarter and vastly more effective."

The civil...

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Investing in Legal Aid Is Good Business

(0) Comments | Posted November 12, 2014 | 2:38 PM

In law as in medicine, an emergency room is neither the most cost effective nor beneficial way to deliver justice or provide health care. Seeing your doctor regularly makes it easier and less expensive for individuals and for the health care system overall to stay healthy. Having a lawyer to...

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Celebrating Pro Bono Month

(0) Comments | Posted October 24, 2014 | 10:42 AM

Voluntary service to people in need is a deep tradition of the legal profession. Here in Massachusetts, it is clear that equal access to justice has come to depend on the pro bono services of attorneys.

Last week, the Boston Bar Association's Statewide Task Force to Expand Civil Legal...

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Our Kids in MA Are Alright, But We Can Do Better

(0) Comments | Posted September 9, 2014 | 8:13 PM

Here in Massachusetts, we have more than 200,000 children living in poverty, and more than one-third of them live in families extremely vulnerable to homelessness. Despite this, our state leads the nation in rankings for overall child well-being, according to the 2014 KIDS COUNT Data Book, an annual...

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Make a Difference by Reaching Out

(0) Comments | Posted August 5, 2014 | 7:13 PM

Fifty years ago this summer, thousands of college students from around the country -- and from all backgrounds -- volunteered to travel to Mississippi for Freedom Summer, a campaign that sought to register African Americans to vote. Three of those student volunteers were murdered (the 1988 film Mississippi Burning is...

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Closing the 'Justice Gap'

(0) Comments | Posted July 11, 2014 | 8:05 PM

Demand for civil legal aid continues to outstrip supply. Among attorneys and others in the field, this is known as the "justice gap."

It's clear that we will never close this gap unless our federal and state funders dramatically increase their support. In the meantime, we must also...

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As Demand Rises, Civil Legal Aid Innovates to Expand Access to Resources

(1) Comments | Posted July 11, 2014 | 1:13 PM

Demand for civil legal aid continues to outstrip supply. Among attorneys and others in the field, this is known as the "justice gap."

It's clear that we will never close this gap unless our federal and state funders dramatically increase their support. In the meantime, we must also...

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Language Access Projects Crucial to Making Legal Services Accessible

(0) Comments | Posted May 22, 2014 | 4:49 PM

People who do not speak English, or who have limited proficiency with English, can face many challenges when trying to access government services or pursue justice through the courts. Federal law and regulations have established standards to shield limited English proficient (LEP) persons from illegal discrimination. But the reality is...

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Civil Legal Aid Is a Potential Tool in Helping Victims of Partner Violence

(0) Comments | Posted April 17, 2014 | 12:31 PM

When domestic violence makes national news, it is more often than not when a high profile celebrity is involved, as when Chris Brown was charged with assaulting his then-girlfriend Rhianna in 2009. Here in Massachusetts, much attention is being paid currently to the case of Jared...

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When Talking About Civil Legal Aid, Don't Forget Its ROI

(0) Comments | Posted January 27, 2014 | 12:09 PM

The War on Poverty was launched 50 years ago, with the passage of the federal Economic Opportunity Act in 1964. That landmark legislation included provisions to strengthen civil legal aid services for low-income people through federal funding, because President Lyndon Johnson and Congress recognized that fulfilling our nation's...

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As 50th Anniversary Approaches, Public Funding of Civil Legal Aid Remains Vital to Justice

(0) Comments | Posted December 19, 2013 | 4:12 PM

Last year, Massachusetts resident and single mother of two Daniele Bien-Aime was fired from her job as a medical interpreter after requesting time off for treatment for breast cancer. With no income, Bien-Aime soon defaulted on her rent. So her landlord filed an eviction notice. Staff at the community health...

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