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Expanding the Reach of BBA’s Public Policy

Established in 2016 by the EMC Corporation, the Boston Bar Foundation’s Policy Research and Innovation Fund has enabled the Boston Bar Association to highlight significant public policy issues through the creation of programming that focuses on civil-rights, access-to-justice and Constitutional issues.

Last year, the Fund provided support for a series of programs concerning the First Amendment, leading up to the Law Day event which featured Marty Baron, Executive Editor of the Washington Post, who spoke about the importance of a free press in holding government accountable.  The four-part series covered pertinent and timely topics such as the First Amendment in the digital age, free speech on campus, and recent Supreme Court decisions. Thanks to the Fund, members were able to hear distinguished speakers from universities and regional publications, including the General Counsel of the New York Times, David McCraw.

In August, the Fund supported the publication of the BBA’s Judicial Independence Working Group’s report, Judicial Independence: Promoting Justice and Maintaining Democracy, drafted in response to recent increases in the severity and frequency of negative attacks on the judiciary. The Report, cited as an example for other bar associations to follow, called upon the bar to promote, support, and defend judicial independence. It spells out five principles that serve as a framework on which lawyers and the general public can rely when considering new developments that may serve to bolster, or weaken, judicial independence.

With the 2020 election just a year away, the Policy Research and Innovation Fund will help members and the public learn about  elections and voting rights the local, state, and national levels.. Earlier this week, the BBA hosted a panel titled Unlock Democracy – Restoring Voting Rights to Incarcerated People featuring distinguished speakers, including a formerly incarcerated individual—and one currently incarcerated individual who joined us over the phone.

The Policy Research and Innovation Fund and support of our dedicated donors and volunteers have allowed the BBA to significantly expand its programming to further advance the missions of the Association and the Foundation.  To help us continue this important work, you can donate to the fund here or contact Erica Southerland for more information. For more updates on our policy programming visit our website or follow @BostonBar on Twitter.

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