Thank you to our February 2020 Bar Exam Coaches!

Ahead of the February 2020 Uniform Bar Exam in Massachusetts, 35 attorneys provided coaching and guidance to individuals taking the bar exam. The BBA’s Bar Exam Coaching Program matches coaches with bar applicants to support them throughout the preparation process. Coaches keep applicants on track with a study schedule and provide tips for managing time and stress.

The program also consists of workshops for both coaches and applicants. The BBA thanks Kandace Kukas of Northeastern University School of Law for her instructional workshop for coaches, as well as Jonny Schreiber of the Massachusetts Association of Realtors and Adrian Velazquez of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for their workshop on the essay writing portions of the bar exam.

This program focuses particularly on assisting applicants who are retaking the bar exam in Massachusetts.  Through this program, we hope to provide support and community during the stressful and sometimes isolating experience of studying for the bar exam. Thank you to all the coaches who provided support:

Eunice Aikins-Afful, Alliance Foundation Trials

Robert Friedman, Burns & Levinson LLP

Thomas Barry, Fidelity Investments

Manisha Bhatt, Greater Boston Legal Services

Luke Blackadar, Arts & Business Council of Greater Boston

Elizabeth Broderick, Committee for Public Counsel Services

Laura Brown, Laura Brown Law Office

Emma Days, Ropes & Gray LLP

Chantal Choi, Catalant Technologies

James Coffey, Polsinelli

Susan Corcoran, De Novo

Brook Kellerman, Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General

Caryn Mitchell-Munevar, New England Law Boston

Szeman Lam, Proskauer Rose LLP

Kristy Lavigne, Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General

Yakov Malkiel, White & Case LLP

Elizabeth Olien, Todd & Weld LLP

Patrick Niebauer, Nolan Sheehan Patten LLP

Julius Halstead, Goulston & Storrs PC

Nicole Phe, Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP

Amy Pimental, McDermott Will & Emery

Andreia Ribas Precoma, MetroWest Legal Services

Alyssa Pratt, Foley Hoag LLP

Claire Sakurada, Hologic, Inc.

Stevie Leahy, Northeastern University School of Law

Katherine Stock, Miyares and Harrington LLP

Ben Towbin, Fresenius Medical Care North America

Sarah Washington, Peabody & Arnold

Emily Notini, Goodwin Procter

Michael Xavier, Prince Lobel Tye LLP

Elmira Zenger, WGBH

Tess Foley, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP

Tiffany Albanese, Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office

Rebekah Glickman-Simon, Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court

Sheba Treworgy, Greater Boston Legal Services

PILP Program Explores What Makes for an Effective Diversity & Inclusion Organizational Strategy

On Feb. 6, the current Public Interest Leadership Program (PILP) class discussed the importance of diversity and inclusion (D&I) for organizations and how to support successful D&I programs in the workplace with two guest experts, Audrey Grace (Northeastern University) and Patricia Hennessy (Burns & Levinson).

Effective D&I strategies start at the individual level, Attorney Grace and Attorney Hennessy told the PILP class. To help propel D&I strategies, you have to “walk the walk.”

During the session, the experts and PILP class engaged in a meaningful discussion about the importance of D&I (“when individuals are lifted up and celebrated, their workplace is also elevated”) and how to operationalize an effective D&I strategy (“buy-in from leadership is key”).

Although the scope and substance of what organizations consider to be included in D&I efforts has evolved over time, Attorney Grace and Attorney Hennessy agreed that institutional change takes time, and being intentional and thoughtful about D&I strategies is a must from the start.

When implementing a D&I strategy, you must consider your communities, your stakeholders, and of course your own biases, Attorney Grace said.  

It’s also important to remember your positions of power and privilege in your own organization and your community, Attorney Hennessy said.

These insights greatly resonated with the PILP class, as class members asked thoughtful and engaging questions about how to implement effective D&I strategies in their own organizations and with their own stakeholders.

Meeting recap provided by PILP members Cory Lamz (Buoy Health) and Jessica Powell (The Davis Companies).

BBA’s M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program Now Seeking “Consequences” Volunteers!

The BBA’s M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program concludes with a “Consequences” session at the United States Bankruptcy Court, District of Massachusetts. This consists of a mock trial portion in which the students participate as well as a discussion and Q&A portion between the volunteers and the students.

This session serves to expose students to the ultimate consequences of misusing or abusing credit, as well as to introduce them to the legal profession via interactions with lawyers and a bankruptcy judge. Attorneys with prior or current experience related to bankruptcy law are encouraged to sign up for one of our three confirmed sessions. We are seeking five volunteers for each session, and it is possible that additional sessions may be added in the coming weeks. We are currently seeking volunteers from 9:30 to 11:30 AM at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Boston for the following three dates:

  • April 1, 2020
  • April 29, 2020
  • May 7, 2020

Please contact Doug Newton at dnewton@bostonbar.org or 617-778-1918 with any questions. If you are interested in volunteering for any of the above sessions, please sign up here.

The M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program is made possible by the Charles P. Normandin Fund. This fund provides critical support for the bankruptcy-related pro bono, public service, and civic programs of the Boston Bar Association. For more information on the BBF or this fund, please click here.

BBA Seeking Applicants for PILP 2020-21 Class!

The BBA is excited to announce that applications are now open for our 2020-21 class of the Public Interest Leadership Program (PILP)!

In 2002, Chief Judge Mark Wolf and then-BBA President Michael Keating began discussing the need for younger lawyers to become more engaged as community leaders earlier in their careers. One year later, PILP was launched to help new lawyers understand the meaning of community leadership and develop lasting connections beyond their existing legal networks.

This selective program attracts a diverse group of talented, motivated attorneys who have:

  • Graduated law school within the last 10 years
  • Demonstrated a commitment to pro bono and public service
  • Have a history of organizing bar action

The 2020-21 PILP class will meet roughly twice per month, typically on the first Thursday and third Wednesday of each month. PILP participants connect with prominent community leaders at meetings and events, learn about the challenges confronting local organizations and take part in efforts to address specific community needs. PILP participants work together to create and execute a public service project focused on advancing the BBA’s goals related to access to justice, diversity & inclusion, and serving the community at large.

If you have any questions about PILP, please contact Doug Newton at dnewton@bostonbar.org or 617-778-1918. To apply for the PILP 2020-2021 program, please download the application here and return it to Doug Newton by Friday, March 27, 2020.

PILP Class Discusses Housing Crisis

On January 15th, the Public Interest Leadership Program (PILP) learned from experts about the housing crisis in Massachusetts. As part of this program, PILP heard from Eric Shupin, the Director of Public Policy for the Citizens Housing and Planning Association (CHAPA), and Brad Kramer, the Director of Public Policy for One Family. CHAPA is a public policy oriented organization whose goal is to encourage the production and preservation of housing that is affordable to low and moderate income families and individuals and to foster diverse and sustainable communities through planning and community development. One Family is a service provider aiming to prevent family homelessness by promoting pathways to economic independence through advocacy, education, and innovation.

Eric gave an overview of the state of the housing crisis in Massachusetts and explained the dire need for action to counteract it. CHAPA focuses on solving the housing crisis through production of more homes that are affordable, preserving existing affordable housing and the ability of residents to stay in their communities, planning for more diversity in the state’s housing stock, and policies that provide everyone with opportunities to prosper. Eric also discussed emerging housing policy issues in the state, including zoning reform, new revenue for housing, and anti-displacement and tenant protections.

Brad discussed One Family’s approach to preventing family homelessness, which includes the One Family Scholars program as well as career coaching. One Family Scholars receive coaching and financial assistance to help them earn a higher education degree, which in turn makes it possible for them to become financially independent and more likely to be able to afford housing. 91% of the program’s alumni are stably housed. One Family also engages in public policy work to further the goal of preventing family homelessness through economic opportunity.

For more information on CHAPA’s public policy work, please click here. For more information on One Family’s programs, please click here.

Meeting recap provided by PILP member Charlie Ahern (Massachusetts State Senate)

Eric Shupin and Brad Kramer present to the 2019-20 PILP Class

Want to Try Being a Lawyer-for-the-Day? It’s Easier Than You Think

On Wednesday of last week, the BBA was proud to host a training for prospective volunteers for the Eastern Housing Court’s Lawyer for the Day program. The training was conducted by Geraldine Gruvis-Pizarro, Colin Harnsgate, and Sarah Lee, who coordinate the program as staff attorneys from the Volunteer Lawyers Project (VLP). The Hon. MaryLou Muirhead, 1st Justice of the Eastern Housing Court, gave the opening remarks.

Her words of advice for future volunteers? Try not to end up in front of her. In fact, most tenant-landlord disputes are settled by mediation. She also urged the audience to take advantage of the Eastern court’s extra “amenities.” From the experienced housing specialists in the clerk’s office, to Rosie’s Place advocates, to the RAFT and TPP homelessness prevention programs, there is a range of in-house resources available to help volunteers help their clients.

During the comprehensive training, VLP lawyers explained the major legal and procedural issues surrounding summary process for evictions. They discussed the defenses available to tenants, requirements for landlords initiating evictions, the acceptable forms of prima facie evidence, important filing deadlines, and much more.

VLP hosts free Landlord/Tenant Law trainings regularly, and both law students and attorneys with minimal housing case experience are encouraged to attend. The Eastern Housing Court sees up to 200 cases on the docket per week. With many low-income tenants and landlords going without representation, volunteer lawyers play a vital role.

To register for their next training on January 15th, click here. For more information on how to volunteer, visit the VLP website. And for more volunteer opportunities at the Cambridge session of Eastern Housing court on Fridays, contact Susan Corcoran at De Novo.

The VLP and De Novo are grantees of the Boston Bar Foundation.

January 8th Landlord/Tenant Law Training

BBA CORI Sealing Project Releases 2020 Dates

The Boston Bar Association is excited to announce the continuation of our monthly CORI Sealing Clinic in to 2020. Our CORI Sealing Clinic assists low-income clients in asking courts to seal their criminal records with help from volunteer attorneys. The BBA conducts this clinic along with our partner, Greater Boston Legal Services (GBLS).

CORI(Criminal Offender Record Information) report is the official log of any charges brought against someone by the state of Massachusetts. CORI reports can be used by employers and landlords to deny people access to employment, housing, and educational opportunities.

Massachusetts law allows people to “seal” their CORI records from public view by meeting certain legal requirements. The BBA’s CORI Sealing Clinic will help low-income individuals get copies of their CORI and seal their past records when possible.

The BBA’s CORI Sealing Clinic will be located at:

Edward W. Brooke Courthouse
Boston Municipal Court, Central Division
24 New Chardon St. 2nd Floor
Boston, MA 02114

Walk-in clinics will take place from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM on the following dates. No advance registration is required.

Bar Exam Coaching Program in Full Swing!

The BBA is thrilled to announce that our we have matched thirty-five applicants sitting for the bar exam in February with Attorney volunteers for our Bar Exam Coaching Program! In this program, Attorneys provide guidance on the non-substantive aspects of preparing for the bar exam (stress management, study tips, etc.) to bar applicants who are re-taking the bar exam. On Monday, December 9th, the BBA officially launched our February 2020 Bar Exam Coaching Program with our Volunteer Training and Kickoff Reception events.

The training consisted of a comprehensive seminar presented by Kandace Kukas, Assistant Dean and Director of Bar Admission Programs at Northeastern University School of Law. Kandace provided an overview of the bar exam, as well as tips on helping bar applicants with organizational skills and emotional wellness as they prepare. At the reception, we were thrilled to have a former participant in the program who passed the bar exam with the help of her coach speak to our applicants and coaches in attendance. She noted that her score increased nearly fifty points from her first attempt and described how her coach was instrumental in helping her to understand exactly which preparation habits would be beneficial. Attendees of the reception also heard from Wadner Oge, Staff Attorney at the Massachusetts Board of Bar Examiners. Wadner described the rigor of preparing for the exam, noting that there are no ways around putting in many hours of preparation over the course of several months.

As part of this program, we have also planned two workshops for our bar applicants and coaches. The first, taking place on January 6th from 5:00 PM to 6:30 PM, will be presented by Jonny Schreiber of Iron Mountain as well as Adrian Velazquez with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. This workshop will offer guidance on the essay portions of the bar exam. The second will be presented by Barbara Bowe, who works in Clinical Services at Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers. Barbara will educate our coaches on recognizing signs of stress and anxiety in bar applicants as they prepare for the exam.

We at the BBA thank each of these excellent speakers for supporting our coaches and applicants as they prepare for the bar exam. If you are a bar applicant interested in participating in this program, or if you have any questions, please contact Doug Newton at dnewton@bostonbar.org.

Public Service Spotlight: M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program Now Seeking Volunteers!

The BBA is currently seeking volunteers for our M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program! This program helps students across Massachusetts develop the skills necessary for effective financial management through educational and experiential opportunities. Through this program, volunteers present one of three modules (Personal Finance & Budgeting, Using Credit & Credit Cards, and Financing a Large Purchase) to a group of students in the Greater Boston Area. The program concludes with a mock-trial presentation on the consequences of poor financial management in a federal bankruptcy courtroom. The following Eastern Massachusetts schools are participating in the program:

  • Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School (New Bedford)
  • Woburn High School
  • Bridge Over Troubled Waters (Brighton)
  • Madison Park Technical Vocational High School (Roxbury)
  • The Compliance Mentor Group (Sites in Cambridge and Boston)
  • Charlestown High School
  • The English High School (Jamaica Plain)

The BBA thanks Liberty Mutual for adopting Madison Park Technical Vocational High School as well as Bridge Over Troubled Waters. Since the program’s inception in 2005, over 1,400 volunteers have reached over 5,800 students statewide. The total time commitment for a volunteer, including training, classroom preparation, and classroom time, averages 3-5 hours. No specific experience is required to volunteer, and all materials are provided by the BBA. This is a unique opportunity to help the next generation develop practical skills that will better their lives in the present and future. If you would like more information on the program, please contact Doug Newton at dnewton@bostonbar.org. A training video for volunteers can be found at this link. If you are interested in signing up to teach a module at one of the above locations, please click here to do so. Please also check back in the spring for volunteer opportunities at the “Consequences of Poor Financial Management” sessions!

The M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program is made possible by the Charles P. Normandin Fund. This fund provides critical support for the bankruptcy-related pro bono, public service, and civic programs of the Boston Bar Association. For more information on the BBF or this fund, please click here.

BBA Summer Jobs Program Now Seeking Employers!

We’re already looking to summer here at the BBA and are gearing up for our 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 24 law offices, our program is one of the top eight largest private sector employers in the city. The program is a long-time partnership between the BBA, the City of Boston, Boston Public Schools, and the Boston Private Industry Council (PIC), and provides students who attend public high schools in the city of Boston with the chance to gain professional experience and earn a paycheck.

We’re seeking legal offices that have the capacity to hire and support a youth intern for seven weeks over the summer. Our Summer Jobs students have a successful record of helping with many tasks in a busy professional environment, including data-entry, filing, research, receptionist duties, and more. Many of the students selected for the program have prior work experience and all are invested in learning more about the legal profession. We encourage you to contact us to find out how hiring a student can make a difference, for them and for your office!

This upcoming year of the program will run from Monday, July 6th, 2020 to Friday, August 21st, 2020. We are asking that students be paid $13.75 per hour. We also ask that employers contribute a $150 administrative fee to the BBA.

If your office is interested in providing a Boston public high school student with a meaningful professional experience over the upcoming summer, please complete the online form at this link. Please contact Doug Newton at dnewton@bostonbar.org with any questions.