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Financial Relief Resources For Lawyers In Massachusetts Impacted By COVID-19

Financial Relief Resources for Lawyers in Massachusetts Impacted by COVID-19

Resources are available for lawyers and law practices financially impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.

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COVID-19 is impacting lawyers in all types of positions right along with the global economy. The CARES Act has provided some relief to the legal profession, as reported by the ABA. Still, with business and court closures and limitations, work has slowed or evaporated in many practice areas with changing demands and consumers’ ability to pay for services. As stimulus checks start to arrive, those who have filed for unemployment and small business emergency relief report frustrations with delivery of funds.

 

 Free & Confidential Consultations:

Lawyers, law students, and judges in Massachusetts can discuss how to cope with financial loss and any mental health concerns with a licensed therapist, and how to work remotely and any law practice management concerns with a law practice advisor. Find more on scheduling here.

 

LAW PRACTICE REVENUE

Solo and small law firms typically qualify for small business relief under CARES.  The US Small Business Administration has more here on its disaster assistance available in response to Coronavirus, including its Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and more relief options like the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

Tips for lawyers to secure second round PPP funds is covered in this webinar from the MBA. Funds Update: A second wave of $310 billion SBA emergency loan funding has been approved (after the first wave was exhausted). The SBA announced it would begin accepting PPP applications again on Monday, April 27th. The MBA has published more about the PPP & HCE Act signed into law on April 24th here in a recent Section Review.

On May 15th, the SBA issued important new guidance for securing PPP loan forgiveness. Borrowers must request forgiveness by filing SBA Form 3508, Paycheck Protection Program Loan Forgiveness Application (here with instructions).

The SBA offers further business guidance and loan resources here. More on the federal programs for small business is available here from the US Chamber of Commerce. AAFCPAs has summarized the most notable PPP loan issues and answers (here), including steps to calculate forgiveness.

Local resources related to SBA relief are available from the Massachusetts District Office of the SBA. They offer an EIDL Application Checklist, a PPP Participating Lenders Listing, and much more.

Solo and small firms can also find assistance through local chambers of commerce have additional programs available, including microloans. Any lawyers in Massachusetts needing help navigating local resource options can email our Executive Director, Anna Levine at anna@lclma.org or (617) 482-9600 to be connected with peer assistance.

General liability / business insurance policies might provide coverage. If you have general liability / business insurance for your law practice, you may want to take a look at your policy. It is possible that the policies contain provisions accounting for interruption of business coverage. Some of those clauses do cover natural disasters and pandemics.

The COVID Relief Coalition is helping small businesses and nonprofits in the greater Boston area access emergency loans and other sources of relief. See this comprehensive site for sources of relief and other key resources for small businesses and nonprofits, along with more on other available funding sources, tax relief, and unemployment benefits.

 

UNEMPLOYMENT

Details on the expansion of unemployment eligibility have been announced here in Massachusetts DUA’s guidance on CARES Act implementation. Self-employed individuals, independent contractors, gig workers, and freelancers are included in the additional categories of people allowed to claim unemployment.

The platform for pandemic unemployment assistance in Massachusetts is now open and accepting applications. Find more and apply here. Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) provides up to 39 weeks of unemployment benefits to individuals who are unable to work because of a COVID-19-related reason but are not eligible for regular or extended unemployment benefits. You should apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance retroactive to your first week of total or partial unemployment. Most regular UI claims are processed within 21-28 days after filing, and many are processed within the first week of filing.

Find how to file here on mass.gov. And for assistance, Virtual Town Halls for Unemployment are offered daily to walk applicants through a step by step process of achieving a successful unemployment claim and take questions from claimants across Massachusetts. Find FAQ on filing unemployment during the COVID-19 crisis here.

Find FAQ on employee rights and employer obligations related to COVID-19 here from the Massachusetts Attorney General. And the MIRA Coalition has more on leave and benefits coverage here. You can also call the Fair Labor Hotline: (617) 727-3465 and TTY (617) 727-4765.

 

PERSONAL INCOME LOSS

Additional resources to help with financial hardship due to the COVID-19 crisis. Many lawyers don’t have experience with income loss and won’t be familiar with available assistance, which has been expanded as so many are impacted financially. To connect with peer support, contact our Executive Director, Anna Levine at anna@lclma.org.

Student Loan Relief: What Lawyers Need to Know About Student Loan Relief (law.com)

Health Insurance Helpline: Healthcare For All Massachusetts

Residential Assistance: RAFT – Residential Assistance Program Expanded

Consumer Resources: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (includes more on Mortgage Forbearance)

Further resources to assist with sudden income loss are included in the COVID-19 Resource Guide from Suffolk County DA Rachael RollinsSome key tips on managing financial impacts from the guide follow.

If you cannot pay your bills:

A change in employment, loss of hours, or loss of wages due to COVID-19 may make you eligible for benefits and assistance through the Department of Transitional Assistance.

 

Other Resources for the Massachusetts Legal Profession During the COVID-19 Crisis

Our COVID-19 Resources include comprehensive guidance — and 3 new Free & Confidential weekly online group meetings for lawyers in Massachusetts:

A changing economy can be a great time for a deep dive on your career planning. Our (FREE, 105-page) Career Development for Lawyers 5-Part Workbook Series is available here, and is now optimized for download. It might help to follow the work of the ABA Task Force on Emerging Legal Needs.

And consider working on key soft skills for any type of position as a lawyer. Find how to sell with the right communication here. And find more on improving communication in relationships and with clients here.

 

 Free & Confidential Consultations:

Lawyers, law students, and judges in Massachusetts can discuss how to cope with financial loss and any mental health concerns with a licensed therapist, and how to work remotely and any law practice management concerns with a law practice advisor. Find more on scheduling here.

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