October 27, 2010

Attorney Alfred C Phillips, a volunteer with MetroWest Legal Services, was recognized on October 27, 2010 by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Standing Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services.  Supreme Judicial Court Justice Francis X Spina presented awards to Attorney Phillips and to Attorney Kathleen McGrath of Liberty Mutual Insurance Company in Boston, and the Boston law firm of McDermott, Will & Emery, LLP.  Attorney Phillips received the award for his outstanding commitment to providing volunteer legal services for the poor and disadvantaged in Massachusetts. The Adams Pro Bono Publico Award program, now in its ninth year, seeks to identify and honor those in the legal profession who have enhanced the dignity of impoverished people in the state through their volunteer legal services work.

“During a time in his life when he could be relaxing and enjoying a well deserved retirement, Al instead chooses to spend a substantial amount of time each week helping those in financial crisis-- people who are extremely stressed and must navigate a complex legal system to access relief,” says Elizabeth (Betsy) Soulé, executive director of MetroWest Legal Services. Attorney Phillips began volunteering with MWLS in 2005 following his retirement from Raytheon Corporation after forty years as labor and pension counsel. While at Raytheon, he founded a group called New England Labor Counsel, comprised of labor attorneys throughout New England whose mission included mentoring younger or newly hired labor counsel. His interest in mentoring steered him towards volunteering at MWLS where he found a welcome fit in the bankruptcy program. Over the past five years he has represented more than 100 clients, donating over 3300 hours of pro bono time.

“The due diligence and other cumbersome requirements of the Bankruptcy Reform Act of 2005 have resulted in many pro bono attorneys declining to take cases when the need is the greatest,” says Soulé. “Without Al’s assistance, our capacity to represent clients in these consumer bankruptcies and give them a fresh start would be far less.”  

“Al has a deep and genuine concern for the clients he represents,” she added. “And he’s developed a wonderful working relationship with the staff. He truly is a role model for us all.”