Greater Boston Legal Services (GBLS)

Filed Under: CORI, Domestic Violence, Legal, LGBTQ+
197 Friend Street
Boston, ma 02114
Phone: 617-371-1234
TDD: 617-371-1228
Toll-free: 800-323-3205
Fax: 617-371-1222
Who to Contact
Front Desk Receptionist/Intake Worker

The front desk receptionists transfer calls to LARC for intake screening or to a GBLS advocate to see if GBLS can assist. Intake hours by phone for problems that are not emergencies are Monday to Friday from 9am – 12pm; emergencies are directed to an advocate all day. If there is a very high volume of calls, you may be on hold for a period of time, but someone will eventually answer the call.

GBLS does not handle criminal cases. It provides free legal representation and legal advice to low-income individuals and families in civil cases. GBLS also engages in systemic litigation, class actions, and legislative advocacy on behalf of its clients.

Major areas related to CORI and low income people trying to transition to the workforce include:

CORI & Re-entry Project: GBLS is a statewide leader on legal issues related to CORI and the only legal services program focused on legal representation of clients in court on CORI issues and legal advice on criminal record sealing, expungement, appeals of denials of CORI sealing petitions, juvenile record sealing problems, professional licensing problems, CORI barriers and discrimination related to jobs and other opportunities, including EEOC or other CORI law violations; and CORI systemic initiatives related to implementation of CORI laws or new legislation. The Project provides community legal education focused primarily on Dorchester and Roxbury.

GBLS also runs CORI clinics at Roxbury and Dorchester courts.

Employment Unit: GBLS represents clients in unemployment insurance claims (including extended unemployment benefits to participate in vocational training) and wage and hour violations against employers that exceed $1,000.

Health & Disability Issues: GBLS helps with termination of benefits related to a criminal warrant; access to government disability benefits.

Housing Unit: GBLS provides eviction help for tenants, home foreclosure prevention, preservation of affordable housing, access to and preservation of shelter for the homeless, and representation of people with children living in a shelter who are denied priority status or who are denied eligibility because of CORI or tenant suitability; housing transfers related to domestic abuse (VAWA).

Other areas of legal practice:

Asian Outreach Unit: Special outreach to Chinese and Vietnamese speaking clients and legal assistance to Asian immigrants in the areas of employment and family law; representation of client groups in community empowerment initiatives.

Children’s Disability Project: Provides representation to children with disabilities wrongfully denied Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.

Consumer Rights Unit: Unfair and deceptive consumer practices, particularly related to home foreclosures and bankruptcies.

Elder Law issues: Includes housing, elder abuse, nursing home issues; Social Security; MassHealth and access to healthcare; Veterans benefits, Food Stamps, SSI, federal and state disability benefits.

Family law/domestic violence: Provides representation in divorce, restraining order and family law court matters for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault to address safety issues and family and economic stability.

Immigration Unit: Researches asylum claims for people fleeing political, gender-based, and/or LGBT persecution, obtaining legal immigrant status for battered women and minor children.

Welfare Unit: Includes obtaining and retaining TAFDC and EAEDC cash benefits, SNAP/Food Stamp benefits, childcare and education/training benefits, and issues related to any of these benefits.

GBLS also represents community groups and provides community legal education and legislative advocacy for clients.

Service hours

M - F: 9am - 5pm

Other Locations

Cambridge/Somerville Office
60 Gore St., Suite 203, Cambridge, MA 02141, 617-603-2700; TDD: 617-494-1757

Roxbury Courthouse
85 Warren St. Roxbury, MA
On the 3rd Thursday of the month from 9:00am – 12:00pm

Dorchester Courthouse
410 Washington St. Dorchester, MA
On the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of the month from 9:00am – 12:00pm

Requirements & Restrictions

Agency serves residents of Boston and 32 surrounding cities and towns, mostly within Route 128. Complete listing of geographic areas served is on web site. Income limitations (usually restricted to persons with incomes less than 125% of federal poverty guidelines) are applicable, with the exception of elderly clients and Medicare beneficiaries who are not subject to the income guidelines.


Interpreters are available for non-English speakers.


While every effort is made to provide current and accurate information for the agency descriptions and hours of operation, it is recommended to call the agency to verify the information before visiting.

Last updated February 28, 2018