PILP Introduced to Veterans Initiatives in Massachusetts

Veterans Treatment Court Judge Eleanor Sinnott during a session.

Coinciding with Veterans Day in November, the Public Interest Leadership Program (PILP) heard from two prominent veterans’ advocates in the Commonwealth. First, the group met with Judge Eleanor C. Sinnott who presides over Boston’s Veterans Treatment Court. The court, which began in 2014 under her guidance, is one of five in the state and like the others, seeks to help veterans who’ve found themselves in the court system. Through the voluntary program, which accepts 15-20 cases at a time, veterans are matched with a volunteer peer veteran mentor that helps guide them through the 12-24 months. Those mentors support the veteran as they complete extensive counseling, drug and alcohol treatment, needs assessments, court hearings, and more. At this time, none of the participants have been court-involved since graduating the program. Judge Sinnott, a veteran herself, is very aware of the special needs of our veterans community. She noted the difference between military and civilian culture and the strong support system that exists amongst veterans. The mentorship component of Veterans Treatment Court is perhaps its biggest key to success. For those interested in learning more about the Veterans Treatment Court or who would like to refer a case to the court, please click here.

PILP also heard from Francisco A. Ureña, Secretary of the Massachusetts Department of Veterans Services. Secretary Ureña discussed their programs related to financial assistance, Soldiers’ Homes and state cemeteries, and advocacy and outreach. The department works closely with Veterans Legal Services and the Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School, connecting veterans to their pro bono services. Additionally, Secretary Ureña identified homelessness as one of the department’s top focus areas, as well as general outreach to the veterans population of Massachusetts to alert them of their services. The Secretary urged PILP to learn more about how they can assist veterans through pro bono work.

If you would like information on how to perform veterans pro bono work, please email Cassandra Shavney at [email protected]

VLP Announces September – November Honor Roll

Every Wednesday and Thursday volunteer attorneys assist landlords and tenants through the BBA Lawyer for a Day at the Boston Housing Court Program. VLP relies on volunteers to deliver pro bono services to those in need.

Every Wednesday and Thursday volunteer attorneys assist landlords and tenants through the BBA Lawyer for a Day at the Boston Housing Court Program. VLP relies on volunteers to deliver pro bono services to those in need.

The Volunteer Lawyers Project of the Boston Bar Association thanks the following attorneys who accepted cases or provided consultation in September, October and November:

Samuel Ames
Nicolette Anagnos
Tristan Axelrod
Dick Bauer
Thomas Beauvais
Elaine M. Benkoski
Stephanie Biggs
Christina Bitter
Sarah Boonin
Larry Booz
Rebecca Brodie
Lisa Brown
Robert Burdick
Edward Burns
Rachel Bussey
Lisa Callahan
Michael Campinell
Philip Chan
Christopher Clark
Rosemarie Clinch
Rosemarie Clinch
Ian D. Coghill
Patrick J. Daly
Maureen Jones Devine
Vikas Dhar
Brenda S. Diana
Julie Dick
Eleanora DiLorenzo
Audrey Donovan
Jessica Doucette
Pauline Edmonds
Ashly Wayne Eikelberg
Kellie W. Fisher
Lois Galluzzo
Andres Garron
Michael G. Giarrusso
Philip R. Gindi
David Goldman
Emmanuel Gonzalez
Richard Gruenberger
Bonnie Leigh Heiple
Meredith Hendrix
Karen Hoffman
Nicholas Horan
Robin I. Houston
Scott Hubbell
David P. Hunt
Maegan Hurley
Katherine Insogna
Kerline Jean-Louis
Sharon V. Jones
Haskell A. Kassler
Ilene S. Klein
Lindsay Kosan
Ian Lane
Peter V. Lawlor
Christine Lee
Helen Lee
Yvonne Lee
Michael Levesque
Jacqueline Levy
Julia Lindsey
Michael Lopes
Elizabeth Loranth
Michael MacDonald
Marc Migliazzo
Caryn Mitchell-Munevar
Joseph Molina Flynn
William Moore
Joanna Morris
Madelyn Morris
John Morrissey
Greg Moscatel
Joanne Moses
Ryann Morgan Muir
Justin Murphy
Sarah Murphy-Holroyd
Lynne Myhre
Fernanda H. Naspolini
J.P. Nealon
Yavor Nechev
Kait O’Connor
Kaitlyn Michaud O’Connor
Judy O’Neil
Walter Oney
Holly Ovington
Diane Patrick
William Patton
Julia C. Peyton
Katuscia Pierre-Charles
Nicholas Planty
Steven D. Pohl
John C. Polley
Stephen Provazza
Lei Reilley
Kenneth Reisman
Lola Remy
Hayley Ryan
Lou D. Saban
Erika Schutzman
David Schwartz
Arthur Shum
Joshua Silverstein
Belinda Teye
Sharon L. Toffler
James M. Tourkistas
Olivia Uitto
William Valletta
Judith Vassilovski
Leann Walsh
Heather M. Ward
Neil Warrenbrand
Kristin Weberg
Richard Harris Wheeler
Emily Whelan
Jennifer Williams
Lawrence A. Wind
Charles M. Wyzanski
Catherine Zhang
Ajay Zutshi

Principal for a Day: BBA President Carol Starkey Visits UP Academy

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The following is a guest blog from BBA President Carol Starkey on her experience participating in the Boston Plan for Excellence Principal for a Day program:

Promoting civic education is one of the values I hold dear in my role of public service as President of the Boston Bar Association.  I believe it is our responsibility as lawyers to engage in the mentorship and civic education of our inner city youth, helping them to understand the foundational principles of what it means to be a citizen in our American democracy.  So when I was invited to participate in the Boston Plan for Excellence Principal for a Day Program, an annual initiative to promote Boston’s inner city schools through the engagement of business and civic leaders, I jumped at the chance.

On November 17, 2016, one week after the Presidential election, I visited a school in South Boston known as UP Academy Boston,  where I shadowed Principal Katy Buckland for an entire morning. Principal Buckland is a 30 year old professional who deeply impressed me with her enthusiasm, intellectual leadership and compassion while she gave me a tour of the school under her care of first through eighth graders.  On a daily basis, Principal Buckland overcomes challenges of providing a safe environment for all of her students, while assisting her teachers and colleagues in providing a quality education to children distracted by surviving on low incomes, witnessing violence in the streets and sometimes in their homes, or understanding – and not in a good way – what it means to identify as a minority.

But I left that school feeling invigorated and hopeful, not only because of the dedication and wisdom of the Principal I shadowed that day, but because I saw the hope and excitement in the faces of all of the children under her care, embracing their class room lessons and teachers with trust and enthusiasm.  It takes the innocence of our youth to remind us that we are all grappling with what it means to fit into society – to obtain and retain our rights as citizens – to achieve and develop dreams while overcoming challenges.  And isn’t that at the heart of what it means to be a lawyer – to help others through challenges – to advance the principles from which we can all live and work together?

I wish all of our members at the bar could have shadowed a Principal for a day in our great city of Boston.  It was an important reminder that as lawyers, we can and must be mentors for our youth, and perhaps more importantly, we must be educators as well.

BBA Summer Jobs Recruitment Begins This Week

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Boston Municipal Court Judge Hon. Serge Georges with 2016 Summer Jobs Students (from left) Fatima Adam, Alicia Zhang and Shirley Muscade at the BBA’s Summer Jobs Celebration earlier this year.

While it may be getting colder outside, the BBA is gearing up for next summer and our much loved Summer Jobs Program. The Program is an integral part of Mayor Walsh’s Summer Jobs Initiative to hire over 10,000 Boston teens each summer. With the help of over 40 law offices to secure jobs for nearly 60 teens last summer, we are one of the top ten largest private sector employers in the city. The Program is a long-time partnership between the BBA, City of Boston, the Boston Public Schools, and the Boston Private Industry Council (PIC), and provides students who attend public high schools in the city of Boston the chance to gain professional experience and earn a paycheck.

Earlier this month, The Boston Globe reported that a study completed by the UMass Donahue Institute for the Boston PIC found that while the unemployment rate in Massachusetts is at a 15-year low, these numbers do not reflect the unemployment levels of the Commonwealth’s youth.  Compared to 2008 when over 50% of 16-24 year olds were employed, just over 46% of the same population was employed in 2015. The Mayor’s Summer Jobs Initiative is working to raise youth employment rates in Boston and recognizes the importance of gaining work experience early in life in order to maintain gainful employment in adulthood. The Boston Bar Association is proud to support these efforts and thanks all of our employer partners that have hired a student in the past.

Our Summer Jobs Students have had a successful record helping with many tasks in a busy professional environment. For more information on the program, please click here. If your office is interested in providing a Boston public high school student with a meaningful professional experience in 2017, please contact Cassandra Shavney at [email protected] for additional information.

Attorneys Learn Basics of Landlord/Tenant Law and Discover Volunteer Opportunities

This week, over 20 attorneys and law students attended the Boston Bar Association’s Pro Bono Training on Landlord/Tenant Law Basics. Attendees heard from Hon.  Jeffrey M. Winik of the Boston Housing Court, Joanna Allison, Executive Director of Volunteer Lawyers Project, Dick Bauer, Of Counsel, National Consumer Law Center, and Felicia Higginbottom, Law Office of Vesper Gibbs Barnes & Associates. The training covered the basics of summary process and after the training, attendees were invited to volunteer with Volunteer Lawyers Project and Lawyers Clearinghouse.

Volunteer Lawyers Project hosts Lawyer for the Day in the Boston Housing Court on Wednesdays from 9:30 AM – 12:00 PM and Thursdays from 9:30 AM – 3:30 PM. Attorneys and 3:03 certified law students are able to advise and represent low-income tenants and landlords in the Boston Housing Court. For more information on how to become involved, please contact Milton Wong at [email protected].

Lawyers Clearinghouse runs a Legal Clinic for the Homeless at various area homeless shelters and welcomes attorneys wishing to do pro bono work. Please contact their Program Director, Mia Friedman, [email protected], for more information.

Greater Boston Food Bank Volunteers Make Over 17000 Meals Possible

Over the weekend, BBA members volunteered their time at The Greater Boston Food Bank helping sort donated food for distribution. During the 2.5 hour shift, the BBA members and other volunteers sorted 23,567 pounds of food, making 17,675 meals possible for those in need in the Greater Boston Area. If you couldn’t make it out on Saturday or would like to participate in a similar volunteer opportunity in the future, the New Lawyers Public Service Committee is planning events throughout 2016 and 2017. Keep an eye out for a second event at The Greater Boston Food Bank over the next few months.

Nine volunteers donated their time to The Greater Boston Food Bank

Nine volunteers donated their time to The Greater Boston Food Bank

Bar Exam Coaching Program – Call for Law School Grads and Attorney Volunteers

As we approach 2017, many recent law school graduates are preparing to take the February Bar Exam. The Boston Bar Association wants to help those studying manage their mental, emotional, and practical preparation through our Bar Exam Coaching Program. We’re currently recruiting for both law school graduates taking the February exam and attorneys to act as coaches. See below for specific information and to sign-up!


Law School Grads:
Are you taking the Massachusetts Bar Exam in February 2017?

We know you’ve got the academic part of your bar prep under control, but let us help out with the rest. We are ready to connect you with attorney-coaches from diverse personal and professional backgrounds to offer guidance on:

  • time management
  • effective study techniques
  • stress management
  • dealing with anxiety

If you are taking the February exam and would like to be connected with a coach, please complete the online information form.


Attorneys:
Could you offer a helping hand to an applicant sitting for the February 2017 Bar Exam?

We are seeking attorneys to serve as coaches to bar exam applicants sitting for the Massachusetts Bar Exam this February. This is a short term commitment with a big impact. Coaches are not expected to answer substantive law questions, but will be trained to offer guidance on mental preparation, confidence, study tips, time & stress management, and dealing with anxiety. Coaches will communicate with their applicant by e-mail, by phone, or in person.

A training video and coaching guidelines will be provided.

If you would like to volunteer to be a coach, please complete our online information form before Friday, November 11th.


Finally, while not required, you’re invited to join us for our Bar Coaching Kick Off Reception – Monday, November 14th, from 5:30 – 7:30PM!

Meet with applicants, coaches, judges, and bar leaders over pizza. We’ll talk with recent exam-takers about strategies that worked from them.  We’ll also hear from successful attorneys and judges who struggled in their first attempt at taking the exam.

If you have any questions, please contact Cassandra Shavney at [email protected] or at 617-778-1918.

Give Thanks, Give Back

Let the BBA connect you with opportunities to serve the community alongside fellow Members – become trained as a Lawyer for the Day in the Boston Housing Court, volunteer at the Greater Boston Food Bank or with Cradles to Crayons. You can also help give hope and guidance to a law school grad preparing to take the Bar Exam.

Give back while you prepare to give thanks!

Volunteer with The Greater Boston Food Bank
Saturday, November 12, 2016 9:30 AM to 12:00 PM
Greater Boston Food Bank – 70 South Bay Avenue, Boston, MA

Come join members of the New Lawyers Section as we partner with other volunteers to help “End Hunger Here.” This event will be an excellent opportunity to enjoy the company of fellow lawyers in a non-professional setting.

Pro Bono Training: Landlord Tenant Law Basics
Monday, November 14, 2016 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Boston Bar Association – 16 Beacon Street, Boston, MA

This training will cover the basics of summary process law in landlord / tenant cases and how to represent both landlords and tenants in a summary process eviction matter.You’ll be prepared to volunteer for Lawyer for the Day in the Boston Housing Court.

Bar Exam Coaching – Call for Volunteers!
Bar Coaching Reception – Monday, November 14, 2016 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM
Boston Bar Association – 16 Beacon Street, Boston, MA

We are seeking attorneys to serve as coaches to bar exam applicants sitting for the Massachusetts Bar Exam this February. This is a short term commitment with a big impact. Coaches are not expected to answer substantive law questions, but will be trained to offer guidance on mental preparation, confidence, study tips, time & stress management, and dealing with anxiety. To sign-up to volunteer, fill out this information form. If you would like to share information about this program with a law school graduate preparing to take the February exam, please direct them to this sign-up form.

If able, please join us at the Bar Exam Coaching Kick-Off Reception. You’ll meet with applicants, coaches, judges, and bar leaders and talk with recent exam-takers about strategies that worked for them.

Volunteer at Cradles to Crayons
Saturday, December 17, 2016 1:30 PM to 3:30 PM
Cradles to Crayons – 155 North Beacon Street, Brighton, MA

Join members of the BBA in processing and packaging donations that will be distributed to children across the state through Cradles to Crayons. Cradles to Crayons provide homeless or low-income children with the essential items they need to thrive at home, at school, and at play.

The Society of Fellows Kicks Off the New Program Year with Its Fall Open House

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William Hannum (Schwartz Hannum), Jean Dahmen (Verrill Dana), Boston Bar Association President Carol Starkey (Conn Kavanaugh Rosenthal Peisch & Ford) and Alan Rose (Rose, Chinitz & Rose)

Last week the Boston Bar Foundation’s Society of Fellows came together for its annual Fall Open House at 16 Beacon Street to learn more aboutthe work that the Society supports and look forward to the important work that the group will help the BBF accomplish in the year ahead.

The Fellows enjoyed hors d’oeuvres and a seasonal apple cider cocktail while celebrating the Society’s pivotal role in the BBF’s exciting plans for the coming year with colleagues and friends. The BBF is poised to grant $1 million to more than 20 local legal services organizations, fund summer jobs for urban teens, teach hundreds of public school students about their rights and responsibilities under the law, and engage volunteers to help serve people in our community in ways that only lawyers can. Furthermore, because of the fundamental support that the Society provides to the BBF, last year the Foundation was able to direct the donations of three generous supporters towards the establishment of dedicated funds to help further the bar’s work in the essential areas of diversity and inclusion, leadership development, and public policy.

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Alexandra Gorman, Christopher Clark and Angela Gomes (Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom)

BBF President and Leadership Fellow Tony Froio gave a few inspiring remarks to the group about just how fundamental the support of the Society of Fellows is to all of the work of the BBF.

“I am proud to be a member of this vibrant community of more than 400 Boston leaders who support, at such a high level, the work of the BBF in expanding access to justice,” said Tony. “The Society leverages the power of lawyers to improve our community in so many different ways.”

Joining the Fellows for the evening was Mass Legal Answers Online Director Rochelle Hahn, an attorney with more than 25 years of experience in legal services. Mass Legal Answers, a project of the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute, is part of a national initiative of the American Bar Association. Rochelle shared with the Fellows why her innovative work – which the BBF helps to support – is so vital to our community and to the future sustainability of legal services. For more photos of the event, please click here.

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Rochelle Hahn (Massachusetts Law Reform Institute) and Boston Bar Foundation President Anthony Froio (Robins Kaplan)

To learn more about how you can become a part of this enthusiastic group of BBF supporters, please contact Tara Trask at [email protected] or (617) 778-1984.

Suffolk’s Professor William Berman Discusses Housing Discrimination

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During the month of October, PILP 13 engaged in many informative discussions regarding affordable housing issues in the Boston area. Most recently, this year’s PILP class heard from Professor William Berman, Clinical Professor of Law at Suffolk University Law School, Managing Attorney of Suffolk’s Accelerator Practice, and Director of Suffolk’s Housing Discrimination Testing Program.

Professor Berman discussed the history of fair housing issues in the United States, tracing housing and race discrimination back to the abolishment of slavery. It was not until 1968 with Jones v. Alfred H. Mayer Co. that the United States Supreme Court ruled that racial discrimination related to the sale of private property violates the 13th Amendment.  In the same year, the Fair Housing Act was implemented, instituting protection against housing discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, and disability.

Professor Berman also spoke about Suffolk’s Housing Discrimination Testing Program’s (HDTP), which works to identify housing discrimination in the Commonwealth. For example, the Program recently issued a press release detailing their discovery of landlords refusing to rent to families with small children due to the presence of lead paint within the unit.

In accordance with the Massachusetts Lead Poisoning Prevention Act, landlords must remove lead paint if a child younger than six resides in the unit. However, HDTP’s test results revealed the widespread issue of landlords discriminating against families with small children, rather than making the necessary repairs to the unit.

By reporting landlords and realtors to the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, Professor Berman hopes the research of HDTP continues to counter housing discrimination in Massachusetts.