The Massachusetts Bar Association (MBA) presented Brian Flynn with its Access to Justice Legal Services Award on May 4, as part of the MBA’s Annual Dinner at the Westin Boston Waterfront. Given annually by the MBA, the Access to Justice Awards recognize the efforts of attorneys and law firms who have made significant strides in enhancing access to justice. Seven attorneys and one law firm received Access to Justice Awards at the 2017 Annual Dinner.
Flynn has been an attorney at Greater Boston Legal Services (GBLS) for more than 20 years. An expert in welfare and unemployment law, he has dedicated his career to advocating for low-income workers with disabilities and recipients of public benefits. During his time at GBLS, Flynn has been a staff attorney in the Benefits Unit, a senior attorney in both the Welfare and Employment Law units, and is currently managing attorney of the Asian Outreach Employment Law Unit.
Flynn recently expanded his practice area to address wage and hour cases, resulting in several large settlements for immigrant workers who were not paid wages and legally required overtime payments. For the last two decades, Flynn has been a constant leading voice in the commonwealth for welfare and employment advocacy for some of the state’s most vulnerable populations.
He has been recognized for his unique ability not only to resolve individual cases, but to also identify and resolve systemic problems in the delivery of welfare and unemployment benefits.
“We have an obligation to look at every case with the knowledge that there might be five or 10 people, or more, with a similar problem, who we’re not going to see,” said Flynn. “I feel strongly that’s why it’s very important to do systemic advocacy based upon individual cases.”
In addition to Flynn, the 2017 Access to Justice Award honorees included Rebecca Jacobstein, Committee for Public Counsel Services (Defender Award); Kevin J. Curtin, Middlesex District Attorney’s Office (Prosecutor Award); Andrew Troop, Pillsbury Winthrop (Pro Bono Publico Award); Christopher Mirick, Harvest Power Inc. (Pro Bono Publico Award); K&L Gates, Boston (Pro Bono Award for Law Firms); Weayonnoh Nelson-Davies, Community Legal Aid (Rising Star Award); and Claire Valentin, Children’s Law Center of Massachusetts (Rising Star Award).