Massachusetts is the 6th state of the United States, admitted into the union in the year 1788. It is the 44th largest of all the 50 states in terms of area, and the 15th largest in terms of population. While the state is regarded as one of the safest in the United States as a whole, it scores among the lowest in the New England area with its violent crime average of about 308 reported incidents per 100,000 persons. Robberies are the most commonly occurring crimes, followed by assaults and homicides. Overall, the rates have been decreasing slowly but steadily over the last 10 years.
Massachusetts has over 42,900 actively practicing lawyers, working in a range of areas - from government offices to solo practices to firms employing anywhere between 10 to 500 people. The state also has a host of resources for seekers of legal aid. The Civil Legal Aid for Victims of Crime (CLAVC) and the Massachusetts Legal Resource Finder help those in low-income groups find free legal representation, while the Massachusetts Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service and the National Lawyers' Guild (Massachusetts Chapter, Lawyer Referral Service) help refer lawyers to those who have failed to achieve legal assistance. The state is also home to Harvard University Small Claims Advisory Service - dedicated to helping students find legal help.
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