The Role of the Executive Branch in Setting Immigration Policy

Last month, the Public Interest Leadership Program (PILP) heard from Stephen Roth of Project Citizenship, concluding the month-long examination of immigration policies today. Stephen has extensive experience representing detained and non-detained immigrants undergoing removal proceedings and in family-based petitions in both New England and greater New York City.  Project Citizenship* is a nonprofit agency that seeks to increase the naturalization rate in Massachusetts and beyond through free workshops and legal counseling.

Stephen offered a first-hand look at how immigration policy has changed from the Obama Administration to the Trump Administration. Specifically, under a regulation rarely invoked in the past, the U.S. Attorney General has the singular authority to refer immigration cases to himself and to then re-adjudicate them autonomously.

Upon becoming Attorney General, Jeff Sessions self-referred several cases involving previously settled law, Stephen explained. The most notorious of his decisions was Matter of A-B-, in which Sessions overturned Board of Immigration Appeals precedent, finding that “being a victim of private criminal activity” did not constitute a cognizable “particular social group” for purposes of asylum, though domestic-violence-based claims had been recognized as grounds for asylum for decades.

Stephen encouraged the PILP class to volunteer with Project Citizenship and other nonprofit organizations providing free or low-cost legal services to low-income immigrants and refugees.  Stephen further encouraged everyone to participate in notice-and-comment procedures on proposed changes to federal regulations governing asylum and other immigration procedures.

Meeting recap provided by PILP Member Genevieve Aguilar (Choate).

*Project Citizenship is a 2018 Boston Bar Foundation Grant Recipient.

PILP Learns About Employment-Based Immigration Policy and Recent Legislative Reform

In October, the Public Interest Leadership Program (PILP) heard from George Lester, Partner at Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewry, LLP.  George has 25 years of experience practicing in the field of U.S. immigration and nationality law, and he advises diverse U.S. and multinational companies seeking to hire foreign professionals, scientists, business persons, and artists and represents them in all procedures to obtain temporary or permanent immigration status before relevant U.S. government agencies.

With immigration playing a major role in the 2016 presidential campaign and 2018 mid-term elections, changes to U.S. immigration law and policy impact not only refugee admissions and humanitarian issues, but have significant business consequences as well.  George focused his remarks on how the federal government’s changing immigration priorities have had immediate effects on corporations dependent on high-skilled immigrant labor.

George discussed various legislative proposals to overhaul the current immigration system, their projected efficacy in addressing the current system’s shortcomings, as well as obstacles to their implementation. George also examined executive actions and reform initiatives that the Trump administration has taken or is expected to take, which do not require action from Congress.

The PILP class welcomed the opportunity to learn about an often overlooked piece of the immigration system and the impacts of recent policy changes on businesses in the U.S. George encouraged lawyers to submit public comments to proposed regulation changes which, he said, would likely have an overall detrimental effect on the U.S. economy.

Meeting recap provided by PILP Member Genevieve Aguilar (Choate).

Interested in Providing Legal Assistance to Military Members & Veterans?

The Military & Veterans Legal Helpline is a core part of the BBA’s ongoing efforts to provide access to justice and crucial legal assistance to military members, veterans, and their families. Each year, the helpline, which is housed in the BBA’s Lawyer Referral Service, receives hundreds of calls from this population, and refers individuals to attorneys offering reduced-fee legal services as well as other legal service programs.

Last year, nearly 500 calls and requests came to the helpline, and we are looking for more attorneys to assist this population in all areas of law. If you are an attorney interested in assisting by providing reduced-fee legal services, please contact Solana Goss, Lawyer Referral Service Manager, at [email protected] or 617-778-1978.

If you work with military service members, veterans, or family members of either group who are looking for legal assistance, please encourage them to call the Military & Veterans Legal Help Line housed at the Boston Bar Lawyer Referral Service at 617-742-0625 or 1-800-552-7046. Individuals can also get referrals 24/7 through our newly launched online platform, www.bostonbarlawyer.org.

Thank You to the 2018 Bar Exam Coaches

The BBA is grateful for the below attorneys who supported bar applicants ahead of the February and/or July exam in Massachusetts. They worked with bar applicants offering encouragement and assisting with time management and developing effective study techniques.

Ruth Adeyinka, Massachusetts Trial Court Administrative Office
Eunice Aikins-Afful, Alliance Foundation Trials, LLC
Ana Alvarado
Anne Archbald, Beaumont Financial Partners
Brittany Besler
Rose Billeci, Housing Opportunities Unlimited
Olympia Bowker, McGregor & Legere, P.C.
Elmira Cancan-Zenger
Kate Cook, Sugarman, Rogers, Barshak & Cohen, P.C.
Susan Corcoran, Community Legal Services and Counseling Center
Jessica Corr
Shaneka Davis, Boston Children’s Hospital
Emma Days, Ropes & Gray
Jasmine Elatab
Tony Faillaci, Mintz
Natalie Feigenbaum, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
Joseph Flynn, Molina Flynn Law Offices/Latino Law Center
Brian Galletta
Laurel Gilbert, Hinckley Allen
Caitlin Gossett, Massachusetts Department of Children and Families
Naitasia Hensey, State Street Corporation
Christopher Huntsman, Goodwin
Paul Koch, Jr., Finard Properties LLC
Robert Kubica, The Davis Companies
Szeman Lam, Proskauer
Kristy Lavigne, Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General
Jin Lin
Michael McDermott, Dain Torpy
Marc Parsons, Ascensus College Savings
Robert Quinan, Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General
Carla Reeves, Goulston & Storrs
Alexandra Rubin, Massachusetts Department of Public Health
Jonathan Schreiber, Iron Mountain
Alicia Selman, Davis, Malm & D’Agostine, P.C.
Shane Setalsingh, Competition Dynamics
Pamela Swanson, Sherin and Lodgen
Sheba Varughese, Greater Boston Legal Services
Robert Ward, Law Offices of Kenneth V. Kurnos, PC
Doyon Won, Fish & Richardson P.C.

If you’re interested in acting as a Bar Exam Coach ahead of the February 2019 exam, you can read more and sign-up on our website: http://www.bostonbar.org/in-the-community/bar-exam-coaching

Veterans Mentoring Program Now Open for Enrollment

We are extremely proud to announce the Boston Bar Association’s new mentoring program for military-affiliated law students and new lawyers. This pilot program will match senior lawyers who are veterans or active-duty servicemembers with new and prospective members of the bar with military backgrounds.

The BBA’s Military and Veterans Forum exists to support military-affiliated lawyers and create connections between them, as well as support veterans legal services efforts. The forum’s members are also focused on developing pathways to success in the legal profession while leveraging the many positive professional attributes of attorneys with a military service record.

Former Military and Veterans Forum Co-Chair Jonathan Hayden, of Rackemann, Sawyer & Brewster, shared his thoughts on why the mentoring program is so important:

The skills and qualities a servicemember develops while serving in the military are incredible assets in a legal career, but former servicemembers at the beginning of their civilian legal careers often struggle to effectively present those assets to potential employers. 

The BBA’s Military and Veterans Forum Mentorship Program will connect military veteran law students, junior attorneys, and active duty servicemembers looking to begin legal careers in Boston with established local attorneys who are also military veterans and can help the mentees at the start of their careers as Boston attorneys. 

Mentors will also help to provide mentees with advice about navigating law school, crafting a resume that demonstrates the tangible benefits military experience offers in the legal environment, making career-development decisions, and learning to network within the Boston legal community.  We can all point to attorneys who were instrumental in helping each of us start our legal careers, and, by linking mentors and mentees with a shared experience of military service, the Mentorship Program will show the mentees that there are many people in Boston who want them to succeed and are ready to help.

To learn more about this program, or to sign up to be a mentor or mentee, please click here.

You’re also invited to attend the Forum’s next Meet & Greet Luncheon on Friday, Nov. 2nd at 12:00 PM at the BBA. For more info and to register, please click here

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.