News Releases
January 29, 2018

Announcing the Boston Bar Service Innovation Project

Press Release

The Boston Bar is proud to announce the establishment of the Service Innovation Project, a new model that will engage lawyers in service and lead to innovative solutions for addressing systemic injustices that affect so many people in our community. 

The Boston Bar has long supported the direct funding of legal services organizations, and the robust engagement of the private bar in pro bono work. These efforts have helped hundreds of thousands of indigent people access justice, and the Boston Bar’s commitment to these programs is stronger than ever.

The lawyers working on the front lines play a critical role in helping clients facing significant legal issues, but we also need lawyers to look at how these issues affect our community as a whole. Too many children become involved with the criminal justice system at a young age. Non-violent offenders are struggling to get jobs. Navigating end-of-life care and guardianship issues leaves caretakers and family members overburdened. 

Lawyers are uniquely suited to address these issues, because by nature lawyers are problem solvers. This project will leverage that skillset and foster collaboration among attorneys from a variety of backgrounds, alongside legal services partners and other stakeholders. The Boston Bar will incorporate its knowledge of the legal community, expertise in public policy and commitment to public service to support the group in developing insightful and innovative solutions. 

Thanks to a generous gift from Richard and Nonnie Burnes, the Boston Bar Foundation has established the Burnes Innovation in Service Fund to support this unique initiative and the initial pilot project, which will focus on the school-to-prison pipeline.

“We avidly believe in the Boston Bar’s mission of facilitating access to justice, and we are extremely proud to support a project that will allow attorneys to explore new avenues of public service,” Richard and Nonnie Burnes said. “The welfare of each child and family in Massachusetts is extremely important to us, and we commend the Boston Bar’s commitment to making a difference for at-risk youth.”

“On behalf of the Boston Bar Foundation, I am incredibly grateful to Rick and Nonnie Burnes for making this important project possible. Working alongside the Boston Bar Association, we look forward to finding new ways to meet the legal needs of those in our community and continue our long standing focus on service,” BBF President Anthony Froio said.

In the weeks and months ahead, we will share more information about this initiative. For questions and feedback regarding these efforts, please contact Heather Leary at or (617) 778-1912.