Berkshire Center for Justice, Inc., a nonprofit, charitable, public interest organization was founded in 2006 by Attorney, Eve Schatz. As of mid-2017, we’ve served over 2,000 clients and their families, in a wide variety of legal and social issues. Her vision to create a legal/ social/community program that was user-friendly and never turned anyone away was clear and made her a pioneer in the field.
When BCJ was founded, social service organizations didn’t address legal issues. Lawyers didn’t address social and community needs. Recognizing that legal, social and community issues are inseparable, the Berkshire Center for Justice was designed with this in mind. Bridging and addressing this trinity of issues together profoundly benefits clients while strengthening the community.
BCJ helps Berkshire County residents who are experiencing very real barriers to access the civil legal counsel they need and deserve by holding weekly free legal clinics, providing sliding scale direct legal services, teaching clients how to self advocate where appropriate in the legal system, offering community education programs, conducting interviews, and speaking publicly about the ways law and social issues interface.
By networking intimately throughout the community and listening closely to client needs, BCJ is positioned to collaborate with existing health, educational, housing, domestic violence, and women’s organizations to identify gaps in services and help fill those needs without duplicating services. These collaborations allow those with expertise on various legal and social issues to work together, all in greater service to the community.
We have 24 attorneys, two accountants, and two mediators, who volunteer pro bono and reduced-fee professional services to BCJ clients. We’ve helped people across a range of issues, including single mothers avoiding eviction, elders recovering money from insurance companies, and entrepreneurs getting the legal and zoning support they need to develop their new businesses.
Click here for a list of our Free and Sliding Scale Services.
Eve Schatz Bio:
Founder/Executive Director/Attorney. Eve Schatz founded the Free Legal Clinic of south Berkshire County in 2006 in response to her observation that numbers of people in need could not afford or access legal representation. This successful program grew into one of the Berkshire Center for Justice’s programs. She is admitted to both the Massachusetts District and Federal Courts, and is known for finding effective out-of-the-box solutions to legal matters both in and out of court.
She served two terms as an appointed founding member of the Berkshire Commission on the Status of Women where she served on both the Program and Legislative Committees. An environmental social activist, she organized the Great Barrington Neighborhood Group (1998). This group brought significant health benefits to the town when it successfully brought a polluter into compliance with Department of Environmental Protection regulations, preventing the spewing of unfiltered neurotoxic and carcinogenic components into a grammar school neighborhood. In Florida, she worked for 7 years to change the Wrongful Death Statute and introduced a bill into the legislature. One of the bills she worked on was signed into law.