Passages of Hope andJustice 5 Enacting new protections for stalking victims In 2003, Helen Guyton, then a first-year associate in Mintz Levin’s Boston office, accepted her first pro bono case. On a referral from theVictim Rights Law Center, she represented “Hillary,” who was sexually assaulted in eighth grade by two neighborhood teens.The boys pleaded guilty to the crime under Massachusetts’ youthful offender law and were permanently expelled from school. Still, they continued to torment and threaten Hillary, who quit the cheerleading squad after her assailants heckled her during football games and changed her class schedule to avoid threats from the boys’ friends. Hillary wanted to enjoy her prom and graduation, and feel some sense of safety. Helen was sure that a restraining order could bar Hillary’s attackers from attending the events, but she was shocked and troubled to learn that, under then-existing law, a criminally enforceable restrain- ing order could only be sought against a household member, family member, or someone with whom the victim had a dating relationship, but not against neighbors. Helen and her Mintz Levin colleagues went to work, knowing that if they could change the law, other victims would not have to suffer the way Hillary did. For the next seven years, Mintz Levin worked to fill this loophole in the existing law. The team, led by Sue Finegan, worked closely with the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center, theVictim Rights Law Center, Jane Doe Inc., and other advocates. Attorneys Elissa Flynn-Poppey and Dean Atkins,summer associate Erin Cornell, and project analyst Valerie Young became involved with this important effort. Elissa and Dean focused on redrafting the legislation, negotiating with key stakeholders (including advocacy groups, legislators, District Attorneys, criminal defense attorneys, and the courts) to gain their support, and working diligently behind the scenes to ensure passage. Due in large part to these efforts, the new legislation passed both the Senate and House unanimously. On February 9, 2010, Governor Deval Patrick signed into law Senate Bill 2212,An Act Relative to Harassment Prevention Orders, declaring that victims of stalking, harassment, and sexual assault like Hillary would finally have much-needed protection from their perpetrators. Mintz Levin continues its efforts to see that all victims of domestic and sexual violence have access to protective orders. Attorneys from the firm are involved in the statewide implementa- tion plan to ensure that the law is rolled out effectively and efficiently. A Safe Haven “ Mintz Levin has developed a commitment to this area of law and advocacy, allowing for a deeper and more meaningful impact in the community. The firm has developed specialties and relationships with key stakeholders, allowing it to effectively advocate for victims and change laws.” — Gina Scaramella, LICSW Executive Director Boston Area Rape Crisis Center