Community Involvement

 

Service to the community is a highly valued and long-standing tradition at Sullivan & Worcester. Members of the firm provide pro bono or reduced-fee legal services, volunteer their time, and make financial donations to numerous public-interest organizations and charity causes, including educational and cultural institutions, environmental initiatives, civil rights agencies, and organizations against domestic violence and child abuse.

Sullivan & Worcester has a documented pro bono policy and encourages and supports active participation by all its attorneys in a broad spectrum of pro bono activities, which reflect the diverse interests and experience of the lawyers in the firm.

Pro bono matters are given the same professional attention and billable hour credit as other matters handled by the firm. The firm generally supports all reasonable and well-considered pro bono projects. 

Community Initiatives

A great example of the work we do with specific communities is our work in Dorchester, Massachusetts. In 1965, Sullivan & Worcester lawyers helped create College Bound Dorchester (formerly known as Federated Dorchester Neighborhood Houses, Inc.) by merging several settlement houses. Since that time, countless lawyers and paralegals have devoted thousands of hours of pro bono time to Federated Dorchester in a variety of disciplines including tax, litigation, real estate, general corporate, financing, and employment and benefits. In the mid-1990s, Federated established and later spun-off the Neighborhood House Charter School (NHCS), a model of success within the charter school movement. Today NHCS operates out of the Charles C. Cabot, Jr. Building, named for a late partner of the firm. Our lawyers fully support the legal needs of NHCS, which have included real estate, general corporate, financing, tax, and employment and benefits work. Several of our lawyers have also served as clerks and/or trustees of each of these organizations. 

The Massachusetts Council on Economic Education (MCEE), founded in 1950, is the only non-profit organization in Massachusetts exclusively focused on economic and personal financial literacy for students and their teachers. MCEE’s goal is to equip students with the critical real-life skills to become responsible consumers, savers, investors, citizens and productive members of the global workforce. This is accomplished through student competitions – the International Economic Summit, MA State Economics Challenge and the Stock Market Game™ – and by offering teachers professional development workshops to give them the competence and confidence to teach economics and personal finance.

Sullivan & Worcester is proud to be honored by Junior Achievement of Northern New England as a 2013 Boston Business Hall of Fame Inductee. The Hall of Fame recognizes companies and individuals that embody excellence within its industry and actively support the community.

Other supported organizations include:

Civil Rights

The firm has an ongoing working relationship with the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law of the Boston Bar Association. For more than a decade, at least one of our partners has been a member of the steering committee, and we have acted as co-counsel with the committee on numerous important civil rights cases involving such matters as racial discrimination, bilingual education, housing integration and public transportation.

Sullivan & Worcester has also worked for the past several years with Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), New England's leading legal rights organization dedicated to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation, HIV status, and gender identity and expression. We are currently acting as tax counsel for GLAD in its filing of the first concerted, multi-plaintiff legal challenge to Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). 

Domestic Violence

In conjunction with Greater Boston Legal Services, our lawyers provide direct representation to victims of domestic violence seeking restraining orders, child support and custody. We also participate in and host meetings of the Domestic Violence Council (DVC), an unincorporated association of legal service providers. For more than 10 years, the DVC has been instrumental in creating and strengthening Massachusetts case law to protect victims of domestic violence.

Other supported organizations include:

Civil Liberties

On numerous occasions, Sullivan & Worcester has acted as co-counsel with the Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts. As a result of one such action, Massachusetts lawmakers modified regulations to ensure that individuals alleged to have committed abuse have the right to a hearing to contest that finding.

Other supported organizations include:

Children's Welfare, Law and Policy

In September 2006, Sullivan & Worcester launched the S&W International ChildFind Program. Under the Program, S&W attorneys provide legal assistance to parents of limited financial means, whose children have been abducted across sovereign borders. More than 200,000 children are abducted by family members each year. A growing number of these abductions cross international borders, making it extremely difficult for left-behind parents to locate and recover their children. With the help of S&W attorneys, left-behind parents can pursue remedies under an international treaty designed to protect parental rights and to return abducted children to their prior place of residence.

As a member of the International Child Abduction Attorney Network formed by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, S&W attorneys have litigated many proceedings under the Hague Convention on the civil aspects of international child abduction and the International Child Abduction Remedies Act. The program also provides our younger litigation attorneys with an opportunity to get involved in the cause, obtain courtroom experience and hone their trial skills with the guidance of experienced trial lawyers.

Other supported organizations include:

Environment

Sullivan & Worcester has provided extensive corporate, real estate and environmental representation to the Conservation Law Foundation (CLF), New England's leading environmental advocacy organization. In addition, we have advised the CLF on a number of its environmental-protection efforts.