News, Events & Publications

Things to Know About Massachusetts’ New Paternity Leave Law

The new state law regarding Paternity Leave is big news for new parents in Massachusetts: now most employees across the Commonwealth are entitled to 8 weeks of unpaid parental leave. This new law is an update to the existing law that previously applied only to new mothers. The law now extends parental leave to new fathers and individuals adopting children. Here are a few helpful facts to know:

  • This law applies to businesses with six or more employees.
  • Parental leave does not just apply to having a newborn child: under the law, a parent can claim the parental leave for the adoption of a child under the age of 18, or under the age of 23 if the child is mentally or physically disabled.
  • If you are going to be using parental leave, you must give your employer at least two weeks’ notice before you intend to leave your position, and also let them know when you intend to return.
  •  An employer can’t turn away an employee who has followed the rules and asks to return to their job following their leave – the employer must take back the employee in their previous position, or one of equal status and pay.

This new law provides a great opportunity for families to bond following the birth or adoption of a child.

If you are having issues with your employer regarding parental or medical leave, or as a small business complying with this new law, it’s best to speak to a lawyer. The Boston Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service can help. We refer to experienced attorneys, and have been a trusted public resource for over 60 years. To connect with us, you make speak directly with the intake staff by calling 617-742-0625, or by submitting an online request.

Attorney General’s Community Action Hours – Thursday, June 25th from 4-8 pm in Roxbury

We just wanted to inform you about an event with MA Attorney General Maura Healy THIS Thursday, June 25, 2015 at the Yawkey Club of Roxbury, Boys and Girls Club from 4:00pm-8:00pm.

At this event, The Attorney General’s Community Action Hours , staff of the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) will meet with the community to spread word about the services that the AGO has to offer.

At this event, you can have questions answered concerning the following areas of law:

  • Consumer issues
  • Workers’ rights
  • Civil rights
  • Foreclosure
  • Insurance
  • Health Care

To reach the Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General during regular business hours (9 am – 5 pm), you may call the Boston Regional Office at 617-727-2200 or view the website at


POSTER Office Hours 6-25-15 2 (2)

BBA LRS Celebrates Annual Boston Pride

This past weekend, the BBA Lawyer Referral Service (LRS) joined thousands celebrating the LGBTQ community at the 45th annual Boston Pride Festival. The festival is part of “Pride Week,” 10 days of events, parades and live performances organized by the nonprofit, Boston Pride. More than 200 companies, schools and other institutions participated.

BBA staff set up their booth at City Hall Plaza to reach out to Boston’s diverse community, informing attendees how to obtain legal assistance through the Lawyer Referral Service.

If you need a lawyer, please call us at 617-742-0625, or submit a request online, here.  We refer to lawyers who practice in more than 300 areas of law.

BBA at pride

Earned Sick Time: Knowing Your Rights

On July 1st, 2015, Massachusetts will enact the Earned Sick Time Act, which gives all employees, except government and/or municipal employees, in the state the right to earned sick time in their workplaces. Here are a few things you might want to know:

1. The law applies to all employees (full-time, part-time, seasonal, temporary employees, and interns) whose primary place of work is in Massachusetts.

2. An employer that maintains 11 or more employees must provide paid sick leave to employees at their regular hourly rate.

3. Employees must accrue at least 1 hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked, and may use up to 40 hours of earned sick time in a calendar year.

4. You begin accruing sick leave on the first date of actual work, and may begin using it after they have been employed for at least 90 calendar days.

5. Sick leave can be taken in hourly increments or in the smallest increment your employer’s payroll system will allow.

6. Earned sick time can be used if you, your child, spouse, parent, or parent of spouse is ill; if your family member has a medical appointment; or if you need to address an incidence of domestic violence

7. If you leave your job, your employer is not obligated to pay out accrued , unused sick leave

8. If your employer already offers paid sick leave, they can substitute their own sick, vacation, and/or Paid Time Off policies for Massachusetts sick time, provided that you accrue as much or more time as you would receive under the sick leave law.

9. For long absences, an employer can ask for medical documentation, but they can’t delay your pay if you don’t provide it right away.

There’s a lot more to learn about this act. The Boston Bar Journal recently published an article on the subject for employers to read, but there’s a lot of useful information for everybody. If you’d like to read the article to help you understand your rights once the law takes effect, you can do so here.

If you are having issues with at work and would like to speak with a lawyer, the Boston Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service can help.  We refer to experienced attorneys, and have been a trusted public resource for over 60 years. To connect with us, you make speak directly with the intake staff by calling 617-742-0625, or by submitting an online request.

Free Immigration Relief Screening Clinic, This Saturday, May 30

If you or someone you know is seeking immigration relief from the new policies expanding DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and creating DAPA (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans), let them know about a free screening clinic this upcoming Saturday, May 30 from 10 am – 4 pm.  The immigration clinic will be held at the Mario Umana Academy, located at 312 Border St, Boston, MA 02128.  The screening sessions are by appointment only. Call 617-635-4141 as soon as possible to schedule  an appointment.

At the clinic, attendees will be able to see if they are eligible for relief under DAPA or DACA, and will be assisted in preparing documents to apply for work permits and protection from deportation when the applications become available.

For more details in English, Cape Verdean Creole, Chinese, Spanish, and Portuguese, please click here.

For more information about DACA or DAPA click HERE.

Restraining Order Forms Available in Multiple Languages

In April, the Massachusetts Trial Court announced that the instructions and paperwork for filing an Abuse Prevention Order (Restraining Order) are now available in eight different languages in addition to English. The languages are Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Haitian Creole, Khmer, Portuguese, Russian, and Vietnamese. These, and other translated forms are available on the Trial Court’s online Language Access Portal online here:


Filing for a restraining order can be difficult, especially if those involved do not speak English fluently. Remember, you have a right to an interpreter, free of charge, for all court events. If you require an interpreter, tell the court staff.

If you are looking to hire an attorney either to file or to defend a restraining order, please contact us by phone 617-742-0625 or through our online request form.


BBA LRS Attends Victim Rights Conference

Last Friday, Boston Bar Association staff attended the 2015 Victim Rights Conference in honor of Victim Rights Month in Massachusetts.  This annual conference brings together individuals and agencies that promote victim rights and services, and is hosted by the Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance (MOVA).

One of MOVA’s most important functions is to provide direct assistance to victims of crime. MOVA staff offers crisis intervention, referrals to appropriate programs and service providers, and information and advocacy to help victims better understand the criminal justice system. Individuals may contact MOVA at 844-878- MOVA to learn more about the free services offered to victims of all crime.

As an exhibitor at the conference, the Boston Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service (BBA LRS) spreads the word about how individuals can receive a referral to an attorney. The BBA LRS has been a trusted resource for over 60 years and makes unbiased referrals to qualified attorneys throughout Eastern Massachusetts.  To receive a referral, please contact us by phone at 617-742-0625, or through our online request form.

MOVA picture

Attorney General Maura Healy welcomes conference attendees with remarks about victim services throughout the state. 


Lawyer for the Day Program at the Boston Housing Court

Last week, the Boston Bar Association (BBA) hosted its yearly program to train lawyers to volunteer at the Lawyer for the Day Program at the Boston Housing Court.  We thought this would be a good time to inform those with a landlord/tenant issue about the resource.

If you have a case in the Boston Housing Court, and do not have a lawyer, you may be able to get legal help at no cost. The Housing Court Lawyer for the Day Program helps low-income tenants and landlords with cases in the Boston Housing Court.  Volunteers are available on Wednesdays from 9am to 1pm for public housing issues and on Thursdays from 9am to 1pm for both public and private housing issues. The clinic is located on the 5th floor of the courthouse, 24 New Chardon St., 5th Floor, Boston. Assistance is in court only. The volunteers for this program are not available by phone or email.

The volunteers may help eligible low-income tenants and landlords with the following:

  • Brief advice
  • Assistance in preparing motions
  • Representation in mediation or negotiation
  • Representation on a Limited Assistance Representation (LAR) basis in court hearings
BBA BLOG PICTURE- housing court

If you are interested in hiring a lawyer through the BBA’s Lawyer Referral Service, call us today at 617-742-0625 or contact us through our online request.

Are You Facing Debt or Bankruptcy?

If you are concerned with debt, facing calls from your creditors, or being brought to court for collections, it is a good idea to speak with a lawyer.  An experienced attorney can discuss your options, and help find the best solution for your problem.

Filing bankruptcy on your own can be complicated, and your case is less likely to be dismissed with the help of a lawyer.

We make referrals to lawyers who are experienced in bankruptcy law throughout eastern Massachusetts, and offer low-fee consultations. Call us today at 617-742-0625 or contact us online to find out more.

Our intake staff can even screen to see if your income would qualify you for a referral to a free legal service.

Check out our Bankruptcy page for more information.


Bankruptcy Court

MA Domestic Workers Bill of Rights: What You Need to Know

Last year, the state of Massachusetts passed a Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, which gives household workers (nannies, maids, housekeepers, home health aides, and others) more employment rights. Some of these protections include stronger wage and hour rights, protections against discrimination and sexual harassment, and rights to maternity leave.

If you need more information on all the rights that now apply, check out the National Domestic Worker’s Alliance website; here.

If you think your rights, or the rights of someone else, have been violated, speaking to a lawyer is recommended.  The Boston Bar Lawyer Referral Service can refer you an experienced employment lawyer.  You may contact us online or call us at 617-742-0625 to speak with one of our intake staff in English or Spanish. We also refer to bilingual attorneys in a variety of languages.

State House