Boston Bar Association Marathon Assistance Project
As a runner, I was grateful. As a City official, I was impressed. As a lawyer...I was proud.
William Sinnott
Former Corporation Counsel, City of Boston
Read Bill's account of the BBA's involvement here.

As we approach the one year anniversary of the Boston Marathon Tragedy, the BBA reflects on the critical efforts made by our volunteer lawyers in the wake of the bombing. This issue, the first of a three part series, focuses on how they helped small businesses in Back Bay get back on their feet.

Assistance in Action: Jon Cowen and Robin's Candy

Robins Candy StoreRobin’s Candy Store had been in business less than a year when disaster struck. In the days following the April 15th tragedy, Robin Helfand knew she needed to act. Still reeling from the devastation that took place only steps/blocks away, Robin was dealing with serious financial repercussions including business interruption, loss of revenue, and terrorism insurance issues. With her business on the line, Robin got proactive, contacting the City of Boston and BBA Marathon Assistance Project. Find out how a serendipitous connection provided the help she needed.

Robin's Wasn't the Only Business Affected...

Here are some other issues our volunteer attorneys encountered:


An insurance company refusing to compensate a company for a loss of business, even though they had terrorism insurance.

Declining Business

Business interruption and loss of revenue claims.

Street Vendor

A company whose employee was accused of involvement in the Marathon bombing who inquired about slander and internet privacy rights.

Out of Business

A client who subletted space, but had no access to the building for a period of time and lost business.


A subcontractor of a construction company whose workers were unable to collect their tools, receive pay for their work, or collect unemployment.

Hear From Those Involved

Richard Heller"I wanted an opportunity to give back to the community in a time of need, providing any expertise I could to help those adversely affected by the events. I believe I provided guidance in directing the client with a roadmap through the insurance maze."
Richard Heller
Senior Vice President and General Counsel at Legal Seafood
Robin Helfand“As a small business owner, I never would have had access to the resources that Jon Cowen and Posternak Blankstein & Lund provided me. They guided me each step of the way. Without them, the process would have been inscrutable.”
Robin Helfand
Owner of Robin's Candy
Suzanne King"We believe in the power of the community to rally in difficult times and to support each other. Our firm was thrilled to see the BBA step up and take a leadership role in organizing the many law firms who were interested in helping the businesses affected by the Boston Marathon bombings. We are proud of the generosity of the Boston legal community and were happy to do our part."
Suzanne King
Partner at Schwartz Hannum
William Sinnott"The impact which BBA's staff and members had on the Marathon recovery was enormous. Victims and businesses were desperate for direction and professional assistance and the BBA, partnering with the City, stepped up."
William Sinnott
Former Corporation Counsel, City of Boston

About the Marathon Assistance Project

The Boston Bar Association knows that in times of crisis, lawyers are uniquely positioned to provide assistance to those in need. In the wake of the Boston Marathon tragedy, the Mayor's Office asked the BBA to help provide legal assistance to those small businesses in the Back Bay affected by the bombing. Members of the bar sprang into action -- more than 200 individual volunteers, 26 law firms and 3 law schools offered their time and talent to the Boston community. Learn more about the Marathon Assistance Project here.

Want to Help?

100% of every donation to the Boston Bar Foundation Public Service Fund supports BBA projects like the Marathon Assistance Project, and will help us continue to be a first responder and have a positive impact in the City of Boston. Learn more.