Volunteer Opportunities For Our Members

Lawyer for the Day Program

Volunteers are needed in the Salem and Lawrence Probate & Family Courts. A coordinator is present to qualify clients and assist with filling out forms, but we also need attorneys to provide more extensive guidance. Hours for Salem are Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, 9:00 a.m.— 12:00 p.m. Lawrence hours are Tuesday, 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. If you would like to volunteer, as little or as much as you would like, contact: Attorney Sonya Shaffaval at sshaffaval.lawyer@yahoo.com.

*Programs made possible through a generous grant from the Massachusetts Bar Foundation.

Probate and Family Court Pro Bono Conciliation Program*

The first conciliation program of its kind in Massachusetts (and only second in the country) the ECBA Probate and Family Court Conciliation Program revolutionized pro bono court-connected alternative dispute resolution. 

  • An Order to Conciliation is required.  The Judge may suggest conciliation or parties can request an Order at the Pretrial Conference.
  • Experienced attorneys, known as neutrals or conciliators, are trained and certified per SJC Rules on Court-Connected Alternative Dispute Resolution.
  • The neutral and parties work together to schedule a convenient date for the conciliation.
  • The neutral reviews all documentation relevant to the case prior to conciliation.
  • During COVID, the meeting is held via Zoom. Otherwise, it is held at the neutral’s private office.  Either way, the neutral provides the necessary amount of time to help resolve the issues.
  • The neutrals donate their valuable time to this highly successful program, however, a mandatory, non-refundable $75 per party fee is required to help support its administration.  The fee is waived for low-income litigants pursuant to qualifying within the 200% bracket of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.

$75 Administrative Fee

Pro Bono Conciliation/Pretrial Programs*

The SJC has published requirements for neutrals in all Alternative Dispute Resolution Services (ADR), including Conciliation. To qualify for the Probate and District Courts, you must be a practicing attorney in Massachusetts for a minimum of three years, have received a minimum of eight hours of ADR training, and be a member in good standing. If you are interested in volunteering your services as an ECBA pro bono conciliator, kindly call the ECBA office at 978.741.7888, or email Pro Bono Coordinator Briana Sapienza at Conciliations@essexcountybar.org.

Lynn District Court Eviction (Summary Process) Conciliation Program*

Volunteers who are experienced in landlord/ tenant issues are needed in the Lynn District Court for our program. Conciliations will be held on Thursday mornings.

Lynn District Court Small Claims Pro Bono Conciliation Program*

The ECBA is currently seeking volunteers for the Lynn District Court Small Claims Conciliation Program. LDC conciliations are held on Friday mornings.

Superior Court Pro Bono Pretrial Resolution Program*

Neutrals are needed in Newburyport on Tuesdays 8:30 to 1:30; in Lawrence on Wednesdays 9:00 to 1:00 and in Salem on Thursdays 9:00 – 1:00

Lynn District Court Eviction (Summary Process) Conciliation Program*

As practicing attorneys, each of you is aware of the impact of pro-se litigants on the court system, and the critical need for the disadvantaged to obtain legal representation. In an attempt to expand its outreach to those who are underrepresented in the courts, the Essex County Bar Association has undertaken an effort to expand its Reduced Fee Panel. Members are not required to perform pro bono services, but agree to accept qualified reduced fee applicants for a fee not to exceed $75 per hour. A set of financial guidelines will be provided. There is no cost to belong to the Reduced Fee Panel, but you must be a member of the Lawyer Referral Service.

Mentors Needed!

The ECBA membership continues to grow, especially with members who are new to the Massachusetts bar. We are hoping that some of our seasoned members will step up to the plate and volunteer to act as a mentor to our new attorneys as they register for the program. Although the Mentor Program covers all areas of law, there are several new lawyers who continue to wait for a mentor in the areas of Family Law, Probate Law, Employment Law, and Immigration Law. It would be greatly appreciated if you could spare a little time and provide some guidance to one of our new members. If you are interested, please contact Pam Surette at the ECBA, 978.741.7888.