About Lonnie

Visionary nonprofit leader  ≈  Strategic planner  ≈  Mentor  ≈  Program evaluator  ≈  Effective advocate  ≈  Designer and implementer of strategic solutions

Lonnie Powers headshot

Lonnie served as Executive Director of the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation from its founding in 1983 through August 2018. He has more than 48 years of policy, legal, and organizational development experience at the state and national levels, having devoted the majority of his career to establishing, building, sustaining, and revitalizing legal aid organizations.

In his role as Executive Director, Lonnie’s primary responsibilities include increasing funding for civil legal aid; expanding public understanding of the legal needs of low income people, and the value to society of providing legal assistance; enhancing partnerships with the bar, the legislature, the judiciary, and the public; and strengthening legal aid programs across the Commonwealth. MLAC is the largest single funder of civil legal aid programs in the Commonwealth having made $24 million in grants for the fiscal year that began in July 2017.

Lonnie has served as a consultant to the Legal Services Corporation, the American Bar Association and the Texas Access to Justice Foundation.


  • Founding Executive Director of the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation, the largest single source of funding for civil legal aid in Massachusetts (1983-2018)
  • Led the first and two subsequent statewide legal needs study in Massachusetts. Participated in designing and implementing an American Bar Association led national study of the civil legal needs of the poor
  • Led the annual legislative campaign for civil legal aid funding from the Commonwealth; grew the funding from $3 million to $21 million for FY 2019
  •  Developed new funding sources for civil legal aid including the Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts program, the Office of the Attorney General, the Massachusetts Office of Victims Assistance, the Massachusetts Equal Justice Fund, and a consortium including the City of Boston and several private foundations to fund immigration legal assistance
  • Staff director for the development and implementation of four successful strategic planning processes for MLAC​
I have known Lonnie for several years in my capacity as Board member and Board chair of the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation. During this period, Lonnie orchestrated a thoughtful strategic planning process for MLAC which engaged board, staff and members of the broader community to determine goals and objectives to guide MLAC through the next phase of its development. He also worked closely to strengthen board member capabilities and engagement to ensure a stronger organization. Lonnie is a wonderful thought partner, a good listener and skilled at navigating organizational dynamics.
Marijane Benner Browne
Chair, Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation
Scroll to Top