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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 4/5/2018

Contact: Michael Avitzur
Director of Government Relations
617-778-1942

Blue Cross Blue Shield of MA to Receive Thurgood Marshall Award at Law Day Dinner

The Boston Bar Association is proud to announce the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts legal department will receive the Thurgood Marshall Award for their significant public service work and impact on our community. The award presentation will take place at the BBA’s annual Law Day Dinner on April 26.

Blue Cross has a strong tradition of giving back to the community that engages employees in public service. The Thurgood Marshall Award was established to recognize legal professionals in private practice for extraordinary efforts to enhance the human dignity of others through improving or delivering civil or criminal legal services to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’s low-income population. As such, we are recognizing Blue Cross in particular for an innovative pro bono program launched in 2017 by its attorneys.
Together with the paralegals and administrative staff in their department, these attorneys have formed teams to represent children who came into the United States as unaccompanied minors and are now facing immigration proceedings. 

The program is a partnership with Kids in Need of Defense (KIND), a nonprofit organization that focuses on providing legal representation to unaccompanied immigrant and refugee children in their deportation proceedings. With training and guidance from KIND, 14 staff members in Blue Cross’s legal department have taken on the immigration cases of six children who could be facing deportation. 

The program has also engaged AZULatinx, the employee resource group for Latinx associates at Blue Cross. All of the children represented by the Blue Cross legal teams are from Central America, and Spanish-speaking AZULatinx members from many different departments have been acting as translators.

Assistant General Counsel Esty Lobovits first conceived of the program, and she now co-leads the pro bono project with Assistant General Counsel Brandon Clippinger.

“The KIND program is entirely consistent with Blue Cross’ commitment to serving the community,” said Stephanie Lovell, Executive Vice President, Medicare and Chief Legal Officer at Blue Cross.  “It also allows us to collaborate with members of AZULatinx to support one of our primary corporate goals of promoting diversity and inclusion.  What we hear from our participating associates, though, is that the experience of working with these young people and hearing their stories has been very moving and has allowed them to feel like they’re making a difference. We’re so pleased to be a part of this project.”

The Boston Bar Association salutes the legal team at Blue Cross for rising to the challenge of representing these clients in immensely important, often sensitive cases that require considerable time and dedication. We look forward to presenting them with the Thurgood Marshall Award during our Law Day Dinner. 

 

The Boston Bar Association traces its origins to meetings convened by John Adams, who provided pro bono representation to the British soldiers prosecuted for the Boston Massacre and went on to become the nation’s second president. Its mission is to advance the highest standards of excellence for the legal profession, facilitate access to justice, serve the community at large and promote diversity and inclusion.