The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice is a non-profit, non-partisan organization formed to marshal the resources of the legal community to address racial and national origin discrimination throughout Massachusetts. For four decades, the Lawyers’ Committee has worked to safeguard the civil, social, and economic rights of our constituencies. We handle impact litigation as well as legal actions on behalf of individuals. We also engage in community economic development, community education, and policy advocacy.
Founded in 1968, the Lawyers’ Committee was the first of eight local affiliates of the Washington, D.C.-based Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a national organization formed at the request of President John F. Kennedy to involve the private bar in providing legal representation to address racial discrimination. In 1973, the Lawyers’ Committee became the first pro bono project of the Boston Bar Association and was the only Lawyers’ Committee in the nation affiliated with a major bar association. Although the organization is now separately incorporated with its own 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status, the Lawyers’ Committee continues to maintain strong ties to the private bar.
Membership by private law firms in the Lawyers’ Committee still forms the working foundation of the organization. These member firms fund a significant part of our annual operating expenses and provide million of dollars in pro bono legal services by co-counseling with the organization. In this way, the Lawyers’ Committee has for decades harnessed the resources and legal talent of Boston’s law firms to secure the civil rights of area residents.
The Lawyers’ Committee has also grown, adding new projects and initiatives to fit the changing face of discrimination. While working closely with an ever-increasing number of community partners, it has always remained true to its core mission to challenge discrimination.