20/21 Access to Justice Campaign a Huge Success
February 17, 2021, Montpelier, VT
Contact: Josie Leavitt
The Vermont Bar Foundation ended its most successful Access to Justice campaign taking in just over $161,000 by February, 2021. The campaign got a boost this year by its inaugural Partners in Justice contest. The contest came about as a way to have some good-natured fun by having law firms compete against each to see which could raise the most money and which could have the highest percent of staff giving.
The firm with the largest donation, isn’t even a law firm, it’s Vermont Attorneys Title Corporation. Vermont Attorneys Title Corporation (VATC) operates as the Vermont branch office for CATIC, a Bar-Related™ title insurance company. Through a network of Vermont law offices, CATIC is the #1 underwriter in Vermont, providing title insurance protection to Vermont property owners and lenders for commercial and residential property.
VATC donated $17,500, a $10,000 increase over last year. Andy Mikell, State Manager and Title Counsel explained why, “Although Covid presented many challenges along the way, it was busy year for real estate transactions. Real estate law offices worked non-stop. The amount of money that VATC can contribute is directly attributable to the business sent to us by the law firms who choose to work with us. The need for Access to Justice is perhaps greater than ever, we were in the fortunate position of being able to increase this year’s contribution knowing that it would serve more Vermonters in need of civil justice.”
There was a tie for the second prize. Two law firms had100% giving from their entire staff. They are Massucco & Stern, PC based in Bellows Falls, VT. This 70-year-old firm is dedicated to providing comprehensive and effective representation in a wide variety of practice areas. Ray Massucco’s dedication to the Access to Justice campaign goes back since its inception, “As a long-time advocate of making legal services available to everyone, the ATJ campaign is the most effective means I know of. The campaign contest was simply a means of publicly expressing our support for the campaign and getting other firms to step up their commitment.”
Martin, Harding and Mazzotti, LLP’s Manchester, VT office was the second firm that had 100% giving. This firm has been a staunch supporter of the Access to Justice campaign as Managing Attorney David Pollock said, “Martin, Harding and Mazzotti has a small Vermont office. We specialize in personal injury claims and litigation. The lawyers and staff in the Vermont office range from left to right on the political spectrum. Each contributed to the campaign because we all recognize that every Vermonter deserves access to civil justice.”
The money will be used to fund two main programs that represent the mission of providing civil justice to as many low-income Vermonters as possible. The first program is the Vermont Poverty Law Fellowship. This year’s Fellow is 8th generation Vermonter Emily Kenyon who came home from New York City to start the Fellowship in October 2020, after a very competitive application process. Emily will be housed at Vermont Legal Aid working on issues facing low-wage employees throughout Vermont.
The second program that benefits from the ATJ campaign is the Hon. John A. Dooley Competitive Grants program that helps to fund organizations that provide civil justice to low- income Vermont residents. This year, through the generosity of our campaign donors, with VATC leading the way, the Vermont Bar Foundation is able to offer an additional $20,000 to the grants program. Last year the grantees ranged from Association of Africans Living in Vermont, Orleans County Restorative Justice Center, Steps to End Domestic Violence, Women’s Freedom Center and more.
The Vermont Bar Foundation is grateful to all the donors this year which made the Access to Justice campaign such a success.