What Is ALA-MA?
The mission of ALA-Massachusetts is to open doors to justice for clients, invigorate our partner sites, and cultivate the next generation of public leaders. Each year the program places service members in legal services organizations throughout Massachusetts. ALA-Massachusetts advocates serve full-time for a total of 1,700 hours over 46 weeks, from mid-September through the end of July. Advocate benefits for the 2021-2022 year will include:
- A $26,000 taxable living stipend
- Health insurance
- A $6,345 education award upon completion of service
- The ability to place eligible student loans in forbearance with interest paid upon completion of service
- Child care assistance, if eligible
- Hands-on, supervised exposure to the practice of poverty law
- A national service experience.
ALA-Massachusetts is not able to offer financial relocation assistance for those who would need to move to Massachusetts to participate in our program. ALA-Massachusetts works with selected members to connect them with other incoming members and recent alumni to share potential housing resources.
ALA-Massachusetts advocates serve at partner sites throughout Massachusetts which provide civil legal assistance to low-income individuals and families. Advocacy encompasses many different activities, and each placement with ALA-Massachusetts is unique. Depending on the partner site's needs, each member may engage in some, but not all, of the following legal activities: initial screening for eligibility, client communications, case development, legal research, legal writing, hearings, and community outreach. Practice areas vary as well. Some of our members are considered generalists and learn multiple areas of law, and some specialize with a single focus. The range of possible law practice areas are:
- Access to Government Benefits
- Mental Health and Health Law
- Legal Problems of Elders
- Sealing of Criminal Records, and
- Family Law.
Advocates are supervised by legal professionals and receive training on client-centered communications, legal ethics, cultural competency, and trauma-informed advocacy. Under federal law, AmeriCorps members cannot engage in political, union or religious activities during service hours. ALA-Massachusetts has a strong network of alumni who maintain connections long past the service year. AmeriCorps service is not employment.
For more information about member responsibilities, see our Detailed Position Description.
Our members have a wide range of training opportunities throughout the year. See the video below for a description of our training curriculum.