Stephen M. Richmond, Esq. was an Access to Justice Fellow with MetroWest Legal Services from September 2017 through June 2018. He provided representation to bankruptcy clients during his fellowship. Attorney Richmond has been on the MWLS board since 2015.
1. What inspired you to become an Access to Justice Fellow with MWLS?
There is a great need for legal support in the Metrowest area from people who cannot afford to pay for a lawyer. MWLS fills a very important gap; it works with people who are in crisis, have no other options, and are at risk of literally losing everything.
2. Bankruptcy work is very different from environmental law. Why did you choose bankruptcy?
The judges of the Massachusetts bankruptcy court issued a request to the legal community for lawyers to take on pro bono bankruptcy cases on behalf of pro se parties. Bankruptcy is a complicated rule-bound process and it is almost unfathomable that people manage to navigate it without a lawyer.
3. MWLS’ clients are not your typical firm client. What did you find most rewarding and challenging working with our client population?
People who are contemplating bankruptcy and who cannot afford a lawyer are generally living at the very edge, and unfortunate events that would be momentary upsets for many of us – like a need for a car repair or a small rent increase – can result in major life crises. Helping clients navigate some of these events is both incredibly rewarding and incredibly humbling.
4. Why would you encourage others to do Pro Bono work with MWLS?
This is very rewarding work. It is rare that you have such a direct impact on the lives of others in such a tangible way.
Attorney Richmond is an environmental lawyer and a Principal of Beveridge & Diamond, P.C., where he is resident in the Firm’s Massachusetts office. Mr. Richmond counsels industrial and governmental entities facing strategic and regulatory environmental challenges.