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CLA attorneys recognized for outstanding service

CLA attorneys recognized for outstanding service

Two CLA attorneys have recently been recognized for their hard work and commitment to central and western Massachusetts.

CLA executive director Jonathan Mannina is this year’s recipient of the Massachusetts Bar Association’s Community Service award for Worcester County. The award honors attorneys who  have made public service contributions to their communities and is intended to recognize the fact that members of the legal profession are caring, involved individuals, eager to use their legal skills for the public's betterment.  Jon received the award from the president of the MBA at a Law Day breakfast in Worcester on May 1. In his presentation speech, the MBA president told the audience of Jon’s leadership of CLA as well as his service on the Access to Justice Commission, the Supreme Judicial Court’s Pro Bono Committee, the City of Worcester’s Community Development Block Grant advisory board, the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination’s advisory board, and several other boards and taskforces. He also talked about Jon’s devotion to coaching and cheering his sons on in their various sports activities. In his acceptance remarks, Jon thanked several local attorneys (including CLA’s own Ray Mestre for introducing him to the importance of service on local boards) and his family, including his parents who drove in from New York for the occasion.

Also, according to the MassBar Beat:

A specialist in public benefits, housing and family law, Weayonnoh Nelson-Davies serves as a staff attorney with Community Legal Aid in Worcester.

Nelson-Davies oversees Community Legal Aid's medical-legal partnership with UMass Memorial Health Care, working with clinical partners and medical providers to help represent low-income clients seeking pro bono assistance with special education needs, disability and public benefits, guardianship, and housing. In this role, she trains providers on how to screen for various legal issues that contribute to an individual's overall personal health. 

Throughout the last year, Davies has been instrumental in facilitating a pro bono innovation grant from Legal Services Corporation, which helps provide on-site consultation at several primary care locations in partnership with UMass Memorial Medical Center.

A graduate of Roger Williams University School of Law and Rhode Island College, Nelson-Davies is a former Bart Gordon Fellow with South Coastal Counties Legal Services. Even at the early stages of her career, she has already developed a keen understanding of what's at stake for her legal aid clients in their daily lives.

"In legal aid, as attorneys, we understand that we are sometimes the lifeline of our clients," she says. "If we cannot win an eviction case, or negotiate for more time, or secure alternative housing for our client, they could be homeless."

To hear from Weayonnoh - in her own words - click here.

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