The OPIA Blog

Impact Work

Western Mass Legal Services has been providing help for poor families, the elderly, and simply those with no one else to turn to for a number of years. Bridging the gap between law and social work, the dedicated attorneys who choose this path in public interest law often describe it as “challenging, rewarding, and often frustrating.” However, for many such as Ali Bers, working at WMLS gives her the feeling that she makes a positive difference for those who seek her help, often in areas such as housing, Medicare, or an array of domestic issues. She is the last line of defense for those individuals seeking solutions to their problems. And while the sheer volume of cases WMLS works with is staggering, still many more must be denied, often due to a lack of resources on the organization’s part. However, for every individual seeking aid, their case is high-impact for them. Furthermore, attorney Jennifer Dieringer explains how often their problems are intertwined and require unique solutions:

They come to you with a legal matter, but when you have a conversation with them, you learn that there’s this whole other set of issues that they have, many of which are non-legal. For us to do our jobs well, we have to address not just the legal issue, but the underlying social issues as well.

However, WMLS staff attorneys describe the rewarding experience of truly helping someone, which they would otherwise not have gotten in a more traditional career at a big firm. To read more about these experiences, please click here.