Summer Jobs Spotlight: Avi Nguyen and Katie Krom at Nixon Peabody

Many of our Summer Jobs students have worked alongside interns from multiple organizations – some in high school, some in college, and even some in law school. But only a small number have the chance to work alongside fellow BBA Summer Jobs interns in the same office.

Boston Latin School’s Avi Nguyen and Katie Krom are a dream team, according to the attorneys and professional staff they worked with at Nixon Peabody over the summer. The interns and their supervisors all touted teamwork as an asset the two had in spades. Rather than tackling distinct pieces of a project they were assigned, they were more likely to collaborate on each step.

For Nguyen and Krom, that collaboration was a valuable way to get ready to work in future offices and collaborate with colleagues.

At Nixon Peabody, they participated in several legal research projects – assisting attorneys with looking up domestic violence laws in every state. They also did projects on affordable housing statutes and gaming laws all over the country.

“I truly didn’t realize how much an intern can do to help with a case,” Nguyen said.

Another major responsibility was helping prepare for an office move – Nixon Peabody will have a new address come January 2019. Nguyen and Krom also helped manage the firm’s media contacts and worked on other projects with the marketing and communications team.

While neither is sure they want to pursue a career in the law, they both received a lot of advice on the next steps available to them after high school. Krom also said she learned to be less shy, while Nguyen said he learned a lot about filing, and came to really enjoy making sure records are in the right place.

Outside the office, they both enjoyed the BBA’s Wednesday seminars for the students. Specifically, Krom said she enjoyed the financial literacy sessions and felt like she was on the right path toward good money management habits.

“I actually created a savings account as soon as I got home,” she said.

Katie and Avi (center and second from right) pose with their colleagues Ruth Silman (far left), Rick Pedone (second from left), and Jackie Cunio (far right) in the Nixon Peabody lobby.

Summer Jobs Spotlight: Vivian Tran at Mintz

Before she started in the finance department at Mintz, Vivian Tran never gave much thought to the business side of running a law firm. The recent Boston Latin School graduate, who worked at the firm over the summer, knew they were big businesses with a lot of employees, but thought of the labor force as being made up of lawyers.

During her time as a summer intern through the Summer Jobs Program, however, Tran learned about the many moving parts in the finance and administration of a large firm like Mintz. She received instruction on why cutting checks in a timely manner is important, as well as keeping neat and detailed records.

Tran even helped the firm as they switched filing systems, in some cases transferring paper copies of records to an electronic recordkeeping method. Without the department that handles those tasks, Tran realized, lawyers couldn’t do their jobs.

She also got to learn firsthand from her attorney mentor for the summer, who offered advice on getting the most out of college and what to do if Tran is interested in applying to law school. Tran said all of the professionals she encountered at Mintz were happy to weigh in on different educational and career paths, and explain how they got to the point where they are in their careers.

“It was really helpful and interesting to get a lot of different opinions, and it’s helpful to keep in the back of my mind,” Tran said.

While Tran isn’t sure whether she wants to go to law school or pursue a career in a law firm, she picked up many administrative skills that are transferable to any office environment. Perhaps more importantly, Tran feels that she learned how to come out of her shell in a professional setting.

“Everyone talks about how important it is to develop relationships, so I’ve tried to really overcome being shy. Compared to when I started, meeting people is much less awkward,” she said.

Tran said she hopes to stay in touch with her colleagues at Mintz, who were extremely welcoming to her, as she starts college at Suffolk University this fall.

Vivian Tran smiles from her desk, where she tacked up a picture of her cute dog smiling at her!

We Thank Our 2017-2018 Financial Literacy Volunteers!

Over the summer, 45 of the 542 high school students that participated in the past year’s M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program heard from volunteer attorneys about the importance of finance and budgeting and visited the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Massachusetts. The BBA is proud to have reached so many students through this statewide program and is grateful for the support of Chief Judge Melvin S. Hoffman, Judge Frank J. Bailey, Judge Joan N. Feeney, Judge Elizabeth D. Katz, and Judge Christopher J. Panos, as well as the Hampden and Hampshire County Bar Associations.

This past year, over 160 volunteers taught in 13 schools and to the interns participating in the U.S. District Court’s Nelson Fellowship and the BBA’s Summer Jobs Program. Prior to the first sessions, the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Committee updated the materials provided to the students, which now include an expanded focus on financing “large purchases”, including automobiles, furniture, renting an apartment, and paying for college.

Thank you to all of this year’s volunteers who make the program possible!

Amy Azza, Bendett & McHugh, P.C.
Hon. Frank J. Bailey, U.S. Bankruptcy Court
Ana Balcarcel, Charles River Associates
Joseph Baldiga, Mirick O’Connell – Westborough Office
Tristan Benoit
Amanda Blaske, Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.
Janet Bostwick, Janet E. Bostwick, PC
Christopher Candon, Sheehan Phinney Bass & Green PA – NH
Paul Carey, Mirick O’Connell – Worcester Office
Michael Cavoto
David Chenelle, Perkins & Anctil, PC
Ariel Clemmer, Hampden County Bar Association
Christopher Condon, Murphy & King
Kali Crocker, Fidelity Investments
Gary Cruickshank, Law Office of Gary W. Cruickshank
Kathleen Cruickshank, Murphy & King
John Davis, Cooley Shrair, P.C.
Emma Days, Ropes & Gray LLP
Mark DiOrio, Bulfinch Companies, Inc.
Jessica Drew, South Coastal Counties Legal Services, Inc. – Fall River
Magdalena Ellis, U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission
Julie Evrard, Liberty Mutual Group
Lisa Fassberg Weller, Liberty Mutual Group
Hon. Joan N. Feeney, U.S. Bankruptcy Court *
Frederick Fierst, Fierst, Kane & Bloomberg, LLP
Kate Foley, Mirick O’Connell – Westborough Office
Eric Forni, U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission
David Gabor, Wagner Law Group, PC
Henry Geberth, Hendel & Collins, PC
Alice Giannino, U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission
Lane Goldberg, Goldberg Law
Michelle Greco, Sun Life Financial
William Harrington, U.S. Department of Justice – Office of the U.S. Trustee
Rachel Hershfang, U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission
Ruth Anne Heselbarth, U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission
Hon. Melvin S. Hoffman, U.S. Bankruptcy Court
Caitlin Jacques, DiFilippo Corporate Finance Group, Inc.
Matthew Jacques, AlixPartners
D. Ethan Jeffery, Murphy & King
Kevin Jourdain, The Law Offices of Kevin Jourdain
Hon. Elizabeth D. Katz, U.S. Bankruptcy Court
Kristen Kearney, LibbyHoopes, P.C.
Ginger Kelly
Justin Kesselman, Posternak Blankstein & Lund LLP
Ann King, Sun Life Financial
Anna Kordan, Liberty Mutual Group
Eric Kornblum, Law Office of Eric D. Kornblum
Peter Lane, Fierst, Kane & Bloomberg, LLP
Donald Lassman, Law Office of Donald R. Lassman
Amy Lipman-White, Lipman & White
Lisa Lippiello, Olin Lippiello LLP
Marques Lipton, Parker & Associates
John Loughnane, Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP *
Cornelio Lozada
David Madoff, Madoff & Khoury LLP
Alexandra Mansfield, Mirick O’Connell – Worcester Office
Carolyn Marcotte, Barclay Damon, LLP
Janice Marsh, Janice G. Marsh, LLC
Laura Martin
Alex Mattera, Demeo, LLP
Martha Mazzone, Fidelity Investments
Dragica Mijailovic, Sun Life Financial
Cara Murphy
Sarah Murphy-Holroyd, Maged & Rost, PC
Thomas Murray, Sun Life Financial
Patrick Noone, U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission
Martin O’Connell, Morisi & O’Connell
Helen O’Rourke, Liberty Mutual Group
David Ostrander, Ostrander Law Office
Bridget O’Sullivan Somogie, Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Securities Division
Maureen Pachucki, Liberty Mutual Group
Hon. Christopher J. Panos, U.S. Bankruptcy Court *
Mark Papirio, Law Offices of Mark A. Papirio
Marc Parsons, Ascensus College Savings
Steffani Pelton Nicholson, Madoff & Khoury LLP
Mark Powers, Bowditch & Dewey, LLP – Worcester Office
Diane Rallis, U.S. Bankruptcy Court
Kara Rescia, Rescia & Shear, LLP
Stephen Reynolds, U.S. Bankruptcy Court
Louis Robin, Law Offices of Louis S. Robin
Alex Rodolakis, Fletcher Tilton, PC
Douglas Rosner, Goulston & Storrs PC *
Natalie Rowles
Adam Ruttenberg, Posternak Blankstein & Lund LLP
Kathleen Ryan, Morgan Lewis
Robert Sacco, Lyon & Fitzpatrick, LLP
Armand Santaniello
Natalie Sawyer
Megan Schaubhut, U.S. Bankruptcy Court
Tony Scibelli, Barclay Damon, LLP
Molly Sharon, U.S. Bankruptcy Court
Gordon Shaw, Community Legal Aid
Denise Shear, Rescia & Shear, LLP
Richard Sheils, Bowditch & Dewey, LLP – Worcester Office
Jacob Simon, Simon Law
Christina Simpson, The Law Office of Christina Simpson
Shipra Singh, Sun Life Financial
Stephen Smith, National Association of Consumer Advocates
Leslie Storm, U.S. Bankruptcy Court
Erica Sullivan, Liberty Mutual Group
Christina Turgeon, Law Office of Christina M. Turgeon
Kevin Walsh, Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.
Thomas Wilson, Dunn & Wilson
Keri Wintle, Duane Morris LLP
Jessica Youngberg, Veterans Legal Services *
David Zou, Harvard Kennedy School

*Denotes members of the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Committee

Doug Rosner (Far right, Goulson & Storrs) moderates the final Financial Literacy session, Consequences of Poor Financial Management, at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Boston. Summer Jobs interns look on as they learn about bankruptcy.

Lawyer Referral Service Visits Cambridge Carnival

The BBA’s Lawyer Referral Service had a great afternoon tabling during the 26th Annual Cambridge Carnival International last Sunday!  It was a lively event full of dancing, music, great food, and fun times to celebrate Caribbean cultures rooted in African tradition.  Over 100,000 people come out each year making this the largest festival in Cambridge.

Sitting alongside other community organizations and vendors, we spread the word about our newly redesigned bostonbarlawyer.org, which anyone can use 24/7 to easily find an attorney who works in their needed area of law.  We also still have trained Lawyer Referral Specialists who can be reached at 617-742-0625 weekdays from 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM who are ready to quickly connect callers with an attorney.

The LRS attends events like Cambridge Carnival every year to make the public more aware that our service is an available resource to help people find the legal representation they need, including at a reduced rate. We’re thankful for the Cambridge Carnival organizers for a fantastic afternoon.

If you’re an attorney interested in joining the Lawyer Referral Service, contact Solana Goss at [email protected] to find out more information.

LRS Co-op Intern, Jack Caplan, greets individuals interested in learning more about LRS.

PILP Hears from Women’s Rights Experts

In July, the PILP class heard from speakers about issues concerning women’s rights.

First, PILP met with Lauren Stiller Rikleen, founder and president of the Rikleen Institute for Strategic Leadership.  Ms. Rikleen spoke to the PILP class about the Survey of Workplace Conduct and Behavior in Law Firms, which the Rikleen Institute for Strategic Leadership developed and distributed this year in partnership with the Women’s Bar Association of Massachusetts.  Ms. Rikleen discussed the results of the survey and trends identified in participants’ responses, and the manner in which the data collected from the survey will be used to increase awareness of the range of behaviors that have negatively impacted the workplace experience of individuals working in Massachusetts law firms.  Ms. Rikleen also discussed recommendations for addressing inappropriate conduct in the workplace, and strategies for engaging people in positions of leadership and developing systems of accountability within law firms.

Next, Jamie Sabino spoke to the PILP class about reproductive justice and access to abortion for women. As an active member of Planned Parenthood since 1981, serving as Board Chair for both PPLM and the Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund of Massachusetts, and chair for the Judicial Consent for Minors Lawyer Referral Panel, representing minors forced to seek judicial authorization for abortion, Ms. Sabino brought a wealth of experience and knowledge to the discussion around reproductive justice.  In particular, Ms. Sabino explained the legal and social history of abortion issues in Massachusetts, looking through both state and federal lenses. Ms. Sabino also discussed the current battles being fought in the reproductive justice sphere, including the threat of defunding planned parenthood through Title X and Medicaid cut-backs. Ms. Sabino encouraged PILP members to learn about and support current legislation such as the Healthy Youth Act, which would ensure that public schools in Massachusetts provide medically-accurate, age-appropriate, and LGBTQ-inclusive sex education curriculum to students.

Summer Jobs Students Learn About the Importance of Money Management

Over the course of two seminars, our Summer Jobs interns rounded out the real-world experience from work with a financial literacy program designed to provide guidance as they begin to make impactful financial decisions.

Molly Sharon (U.S. Bankruptcy Court) and Leslie Storm (Bankruptcy Appellate Panel) guided the students through financial basics, such as the differences between checking and savings accounts, what to look for in a bank/credit union, and how to read credit card statements. They emphasized the importance of making your money work for you by researching the benefits and fees associated with certain accounts and credit cards. The students also learned about creating a budget that takes all their expenses into account and ensures they can meet their obligations. The students were able to ask questions they had about the taxes withheld from their paychecks and learned how to understand their pay stubs.

The lesson served as a foundation for the following week’s seminar, in which students witnessed a simulated meeting of creditors that explained the consequences debtors face when they can no longer keep up with their expenses. While the lesson itself illustrates someone filing for bankruptcy in part because of irresponsible money management, the bankruptcy attorneys who conducted the presentation emphasized that most of their clients are forced to file for bankruptcy due to circumstances beyond their control.

Alex Mattera, a partner at Demeo LLP, played the role of the debtor during the faux bankruptcy hearing the students observed.

“In this case, I (the debtor) didn’t have to get into this situation, but most people have no choice. For example, many people file for bankruptcy because of mounting medical bills due to something like a catastrophic injury,” he said.

Co-chair of the BBA’s Financial Literacy Committee Douglas Rosner (Goulston & Storrs) and attorneys Jessica Youngberg (Veterans Legal Services), Gary Cruickshank (Law Office of Gary W. Cruickshank) and Kathleen Cruickshank (Murphy & King) also participated in the mock hearing.

After the meeting of the creditors, students watched a mock court hearing play out over the debtor’s continued failure to pay his car payments. Judge Joan N. Feeney presided over the matter, and students had the opportunity to volunteer to play the role of counsel on either side and as volunteer law clerks. Afterwards, Judge Feeney answered their questions about how she got into bankruptcy law and the interesting and challenging aspects of being a judge. She and the bankruptcy attorneys in the room described pursuing bankruptcy law because they wanted to help people and businesses with their chance to start over financially after facing a hard time.

Holland & Knight intern, Lily Kelly, confers with Mary Murray (Courtroom Deputy) with Judge Joan N. Feeney presiding.

Summer Jobs Goes to City Hall

We often ask Summer Jobs students about their favorite enrichment seminars, and they usually respond that they enjoy the mock City Council hearing the most. It’s not surprising, as they get to visit the real City Council Chamber at City Hall in Boston, hear from a past City Council President about his experiences, and debate and vote on a hypothetical proposed ordinance.

Attorney Lawrence DiCara opened the morning by highlighting the importance of City Council and how the Council’s decisions directly impact the lives of those living, working, and visiting Boston. DiCara knows firsthand what tough decisions the Council faces, as he was a member of Boston’s City Council for 9 years and served as the President in 1978.

He then led the students through a mock hearing where they separated into interest groups in support/opposition to a faux ordinance regarding a teen curfew. The interest groups included “Pediatrician’s for Peace,” an elder’s council, a teen council, and a business alliance. After hearing from both sides, the four students acting as City Councilors decided not to pass the proposed curfew.

Afterwards, the students spoke to DiCara about a range of subjects, from the highlights of his career in City Hall and as a practicing attorney, to his opinion on some issues in the city today. Many students commented they came away from the day with a more sophisticated understanding of city government, and the power that all Boston residents have to make their voices heard on an issue of importance.

Summer Jobs students participate in a mock City Council hearing.

An Introduction to the Profession

For their second enrichment seminar, our Summer Jobs Students met with five individuals working in different legal settings. This seminar is designed to acquaint them with the wide array of jobs attorneys can do and practice settings they can work in.

Genevieve Aguilar (Choate Hall & Stewart) explained what working for a large, corporate law firm is like, noting the fast-paced environment and rewarding pro bono opportunities that come her way. Some students noted that her job was the most like a “traditional lawyer” as they had envisioned the job prior to listening to all the seminar’s speakers.

Boston Latin School graduate Ying Wang (State Street) spoke about how working in-house varies from firm work in that you have one “client.” Many of the students currently attend Boston Latin School (BLS) and were curious about how her experiences at BLS prepared her for her legal career.  She noted that the rigor of BLS classes readied her for the focus and diligence she needed in law school. Wang is also a Judge Advocate General (JAG) in the U.S. Army Reserves, and she spoke about her experience offering legal assistance to soldiers in the region. She discussed the military as an option to fund a college education, though she did not personally pursue that route.

Janette Ekanem (Greater Boston Legal Services) highlighted the rewarding nature of legal services work and the complex, life-altering challenges her clients face. The students were interested in the difference she found when she switched from practicing real estate law in a firm to a legal services organization that helps the underserved.

Mark Zglobicki (Massachusetts Office of the Inspector General) discussed how important making and keeping professional connections can be for one’s career and that the students should start by staying in touch with those they’re working with this summer. Many students asked about the everyday work of the Inspector General’s Office, as it was an agency they had never heard of prior to speaking with Mark.

Finally, Solana Goss (Boston Bar Association) shared how her work with the BBA’s Lawyer Referral Service engages her in a legal career without having obtained a J.D. She fielded many questions about preparing for life in college and later in the professional world and spoke about what she learns from interacting with attorneys and clients on a regular basis.

Summer Jobs students hear from Ying Wang (State Street Corporation) during an Enrichment Seminar on Exploring Legal Careers

High School Interns Meet Financial Aid Expert

The Summer Jobs interns met with Daniel Forster, the VP of Enrollment Management at Westfield State University earlier in the month. Forster is a member of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, and he described the types of financial aid available, guided the interns through determining the actual cost of attending different universities, and provided important tips for completing the FAFSA.

With approximately half of the interns headed to college this fall and the other half considering their options as they apply in the next few months, the presentation was peppered with questions. From scholarships for left-handed people or those with the last name Zolp to corporate grants and federal and private loan options, there are many ways for students to obtain funds for tuition. Forster reminded the interns that all of these sources have different applications and terms & conditions. It’s important to apply to as many scholarships as possible and to seek out scholarship and grant sources before turning to loans.

At the start of the seminar, Forster described the various higher ed institutions he’s worked for over the past 28 years, including Simmons College and Wheelock College. After hearing about the many components of financial aid and the steps students can take to ensure they’re covered for college, one intern asked Forster what he felt was the biggest takeaway from his presentation. “Do not borrow more than you need,” he responded. Forster explained that many fall into the trap of borrowing more from a private loan institution than they really need to while attending college. Instead, he recommended searching and applying to scholarship programs and saving as much as possible from summer employment. Any amount paid up front is going to be better than paying that amount back later, with interest.

Law 101: A Crash Course on the Legal Field for High School Interns

For their first enrichment seminar of the year, the Summer Jobs student interns participated in Law 101. The morning is partly a crash course on being a lawyer and partly a Q & A session with the attorneys who present the topics. The grand finale is a “Jeopardy!”-style game where the students test the knowledge they just picked up. Attorneys Michael Licker (Foley Hoag) and Kimberly Parr (Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General) led the discussion and activity.

While many high school students may have learned about the legal system in social studies or civics classes, it’s rare that they have the opportunity to speak directly with attorneys about these topics. During Law 101, they receive a broad overview of the paths to law school and the many different areas of law in which attorneys practice. They also learn about the difference between criminal and civil cases and the structure of the court system on the state and federal levels.

Some students had questions about the path from high school to law school, and how their academic performance and choice of undergraduate university could influence their future options. Other students wondered about being a law student, whether courses they take are difficult and how a law school can keep the curriculum up-to-date when laws are changing in real time. Speaker Kim Parr highlighted her own transition from a large law firm to a government agency and the differences between various types of legal offices and environments.

After a high-energy round of “Jeopardy!”, it was time for the students to return to their offices for the rest of their work day. In the coming weeks, we will be covering their experiences learning about municipal government, touring courthouse buildings, and more.

To see photos from the summer, view our online album here.

Student interns deliberate over the correct answer