Summer Jobs Snapshot: Department of Public Health Internship

Deluisa Depina, a rising ___ at ____, is interning at the Department of Public Health this summer. Her position is one of the 15 positions funded by the Boston Bar Foundation.

Deluisa DePina, a recent graduate of Madison Park High School in Roxbury, is interning at the Department of Public Health this summer. Her position is one of the 15 positions funded by the Boston Bar Foundation.

The BBA Summer Jobs Program is all about helping Boston public school students to discover and develop their future career paths. For many students who go into it with dreams of becoming lawyers, the program can be an illuminating look at the legal profession; but students from all backgrounds, and with many different dreams for their futures, stand to gain from the program – sometimes in surprising and unexpected ways.

Deluisa DePina came to the U.S. four years ago from Cape Verde and has been a student at Madison Park since. As a student at the vocational school, Deluisa has chosen a potential career path early on: she has been working in the nursing assistant program and learned about the medical profession firsthand at a young age.

But working in that field is a lot more than just understanding medicine and health. “There is a legal, regulatory side that we started to learn about, and I decided I wanted to learn more about the law in the BBA Summer Jobs Program,” says Deluisa, who has also considered pursuing a legal career.

So her placement at the Department of Public Health, a position funded by the Boston Bar Foundation, couldn’t have been more fitting. With her genuine interest and engagement with the subjects and cases that the DPH handles, Deluisa has shown herself a willing and capable intern.

“Deluisa is really helping us to cover some of our administrative duties,” said her supervisor, Office Manager Catrice Williams. “And she has a very sunny disposition. I have received so much positive feedback about her and her work – the attorneys in the office are absolutely floored by what she can do, since she takes initiative and is so thorough. Having Deluisa here is a bright spot in our office.”

And by being there, Deluisa also has the chance to learn not just about the legal profession as a whole, but how it and the medical and health fields intersect. “I do a little of everything in the office,” she explains, describing her tasks of entering guardianship files in the computer, delivering public records to the courts, creating indexes in the department’s library, and much more.

“If I do end up being a paralegal,” she added, “this will give me the background knowledge and expectations of an office that I wouldn’t have known otherwise.”

With plenty of time left to figure out her career path, Deluisa has a head start on valuable office experience through her Summer Jobs internship. “What a student can gain from a summer job like this depends on their career path. For Deluisa, who comes from a nursing program background, she’s learning more about the documentation we handle, the claims and complaints that are relevant to the medical profession, and the difference between a general legal career and a regulatory career,” Williams says.

“It’s important that students have the chance to see an atmosphere that is concerned with the wellbeing of the public,” she adds; and with her chosen paths of the law and public health ahead of her, Deluisa is sure to contribute to that public wellbeing one way or another.

A Student Perspective: Visiting Boston Housing Court

The BBA interns headed to Housing Court last week to see the Lawyer for the Day in the Boston Housing Court Program in action.

The BBA interns headed to Housing Court last week to see the Lawyer for the Day in the Boston Housing Court Program in action.

Guest Post: Elijah Oyenuga is one of the Summer Jobs Student working at the Boston Bar Association. He recently graduated from Another Course to College in Brighton and will be attending Lesley University next year.

Imaging the chaos of Boston Housing Court was one thing, but viewing it was a whole different experience. My fellow interns and I paid a visit to the Edward W. Brooke Courthouse last week. We didn’t exactly get a standard tour, but we were able to see what Housing Court is really like for the people involved. There were lots of people crowding around the volunteers participating in the Lawyer for the Day Program, carts filled with filed paperwork and people waiting adamantly for roll call to begin. I have to say that it wasn’t what I expected. The day began with people crowding into the courtroom, squishing themselves in seats or standing against the wall as the court officer ordered everyone to stay clear of the doors.

I believed that we were going to be here for hours as they went through each individual case. Instead, each case went rapidly as they called for the tenant and the landlord and for a lot of the cases; one or both parties were not present. But for those who were, they were asked whether they were willing to go to mediation or go to trial and most chose mediation over trial. In all honesty, it was a tedious process; we probably went through forty different cases, so to say the least, I was glad when we finally transitioned to trial.

The Housing Court trials were a great learning experience and they really opened my eyes to the importance of representation. There was a specific case in which one of the parties, the tenant, was pro se and the landlord was represented by a lawyer. There was a significant difference in the way they were able to articulate themselves. The lawyer, who was more articulate, had too much of an advantage over a woman who clearly spoke English as a second language. In addition to that, she had gotten some awful advice from a lawyer stating that if there was construction being done in the apartment, she wouldn’t have to move out if she missed a payment. I could clearly see the difference between having a lawyer standing up for you and not having one. There were other trials that were very engaging and I am very thankful to the BBA for giving me the opportunity to visit the court.

BBA to Welcome Prominent Human Trafficking Speakers in September

Photo courtesy of U.S. State Department

Photo courtesy of U.S. State Department

The bottom line is that this is no time for complacency. Right now, across the globe, victims of human trafficking are daring to imagine the possibility of escape, the chance for a life without fear, and the opportunity to earn a living wageWe hear you, and we will do all we can to make that dream come true.”      – John F. Kerry, Secretary of State

On Monday the U.S. State Department released its annual Trafficking on Persons Report, which ranks 188 countries on their efforts to combat trafficking.  The report aims to assist international organizations, foreign governments, and nongovernmental organizations to examine where resources are most needed.

Want to know what you can do to help? In an effort to raise awareness about this important issue and to prepare attorneys to assist victims of trafficking, the BBA is holding a training on Wednesday, September 30th from 4-6 pm called “Justice for Trafficking Victims: Civil Litigation, Vacatur, Criminal Restitution and the Pro Bono Bar.”

We are honored to host Martina Vandenberg, the President and Founder of The Human Trafficking Pro Bono Legal Center in Washington, DC. She will join local expert, Julia Dahlstrom, a Clinical Legal Fellow at the Boston University School of Law Human Trafficking Clinic, for this much anticipated program.

Don’t miss this important and compelling program. Click here to learn more.

Summer Jobs Snapshot: Double Perspectives on Learning the Law at Goodwin

BBA Summer Jobs Students Nensi Gjata and Kevin Truong sit down with their supervisor Edie Fedder, a Human Resource Specialist at Goodwin Procter.

BBA Summer Jobs Students Nensi Gjata and Kevin Truong sit down with their supervisor Edie Fedder, a Human Resource Specialist at Goodwin Procter.

Two bright students, two very different paths to the law: for the third consecutive year, Goodwin Procter is hosting two students this summer as they learn about what law firm life is really like.

The students tell their stories about how they came to be interested in the law with enthusiasm. “I was actually born in Europe, in Albania,” explains Nensi Gjata, a student at Boston Latin School. “When we came over to the United States, we had to go through the immigration process, and that’s when I got my first dose of the legal system here. It got me interested in immigration law specifically.”

Kevin Truong, also a BLS student, cheerfully notes that he was born and raised in the Boston area, but has an equally engaging story to tell: “My parents are trying to build a new house. They bought the land for it and are working on starting the building, and we’re seeing the legal ramifications and intricacies firsthand. I’m interested in studying the law so I can try to understand and help with this process.”

The students have very personal connections to the legal system, and there’s no better place to learn about it than Goodwin Procter, one of the largest law firms in the city and the original office of the now-international firm. The students are splitting their time between the Conflicts department and Court Procedures department – Nensi currently in the former, while Kevin spends time in the latter – and will be switching shortly.

What have they done so far? “It’s not all Law & Order!” Nensi laughs. “There’s a lot more that happens behind the scenes – it’s not just litigation. I’m working on digitally filing certain client forms so that they’re more readily available for the attorneys in the office.” Kevin details his trips to the different courthouses with filings for the administrative offices, calling the experience “eye-opening.”

This is the third year in a row that Goodwin Procter has hired two Boston public high school students through the BBA Summer Jobs Program.

This is the third year in a row that Goodwin Procter has hired two Boston public high school students through the BBA Summer Jobs Program.

Each task that they complete is a smaller part of a much larger whole, their supervisor Edie Fedder, Human Resources Specialist at Goodwin, adds. “They’re zeroed in on these projects, and what they don’t see yet is that they’re actively helping Goodwin to reach its goals and initiatives. The work they’re doing is really necessary.”

Fedder notes that a summer job like those that are offered through the Summer Jobs Program  might be a student’s first professional experience, and that Goodwin is an eager participant in the program to help the students jumpstart their careers and build their resumes. She hopes that their summer jobs will give them exposure to the experience of working in a law firm and help them to gain insight about their career paths, regardless of whether it leads to the legal profession or not.

The jury is still out on that, so to speak – after all, while they’re both interested in the law, Nensi and Kevin are still in high school and just starting to think about college. But they know that what they have gained already over this summer will have a huge effect on how they approach their future professional lives. “It’s been very eye-opening,” Kevin says. “And you can’t just do the tasks without understanding them. When I go to the courts, I have to know what the documents are, what they mean, and what the process is before bringing a case to court, in case the court office asks questions.”

Nensi agrees that the experience has changed the way she perceives the legal field. “This experience with the law is definitely different from what I expected. When I’m doing my work, I can hear some of the conversations the attorneys are having – it’s so complex. With my own work, I’ve really learned patience and diligence.”

And there’s so much more to learn.

 

 

A Student Perspective: Local Government Comes Alive in Mock City Council Hearing

The BBA Summer Jobs students headed to Boston City Hall yesterday to hold a mock City Council hearing with former Boston City Council President Larry DiCara (Nixon Peabody LLP).

The BBA Summer Jobs students headed to Boston City Hall yesterday to hold a mock City Council hearing with former Boston City Council President Larry DiCara (Nixon Peabody LLP).

Guest Post: Jennifer Le is one of the Summer Jobs Student working at the Boston Bar Association. Jennifer recently graduated from Boston Community Leadership Academy in Hyde Park and will be participating in the Foundation Year Program at Northeastern University next year.

I had an experience I could not forget at the Boston City Hall yesterday but it was even better to be able to share the experience with my fellow Summer Jobs interns.  Former City Council President Larry DiCara – who currently works at Nixon Peabody LLP – shared entertaining stories about his past experiences and how he got to where he is now.  He spoke about how he was technically Mayor for 2 days during a harsh winter years ago and discussed the difficult decisions you have to make when working for the government.

After his humorous wise words, he divided us in five groups to participate in a mock City Council hearing:

  • The City Council
  • Boston Senior Alliance—a group of senior citizens supporting the law
  • Pediatricians for Peace – a group of doctors that work with young people and support the law
  • Boston Teen Council—a group of teens opposed to the proposed law
  • Neighborhood Merchants Association—a group of small business owners against the law

The proposed law was “Effective September 1, 2015, it will be unlawful for any person under the age of 17 to loiter or remain in outdoors public places between the hours of 9:00 PM and 5:00 AM unless s/he is participating in an organized recreational or social activity. Persons traveling to and from employment and school shall not be subject to this curfew.”

I was placed in the Boston Senior Alliance Group, and each group discussed ideas and then one representative per group presented the group’s arguments. In my group, I was the person who wrote down all the ideas to oppose the proposed law.  After each group murmured their thoughts, it was time to present in the front of the City Council. It was amazing to hear all the thoughts of all the interns and the presenters, and how emotional they felt for this mock hearing. Imagine a real hearing! These students are so passionate and amazingly smart. It was a very wonderful experience to attend this fieldtrip!

Checking In with Summer Jobs Alumni

Many of the students who participated in the 2014 BBA Summer Jobs Program have continued on to exciting professional jobs.

Many of the students who participated in the 2014 BBA Summer Jobs Program have continued on to exciting professional jobs.

There’s no denying that the BBA Summer Jobs Program attracts all-star students, who are eager to gain work experience and to learn about the legal field. As a result, it’s not surprise that our students go on to do some pretty cool things. We checked in with a few of the students who participated in the program last year to see what they’re up to this summer. Here’s what they had to say:

Thomas Vu“I am a summer intern for Brown Rudnick LLP. While interviewing for the job, my interviewer was most impressed with my high school experience at Nixon Peabody with the Boston Bar Association. The BBA Summer Jobs Program laid the groundwork for me on how to work in a professional environment, organize myself and my work, send professional emails, as well as reach out and connect with the attorneys at my firm. The workshops the BBA provides to their summer interns put me a few steps ahead of the other interns, as I have prior knowledge from attorneys and other legal staff on what it means to be a lawyer, the law school experience, and the logistics of getting there. The BBA Summer Jobs Program prepared me to reach out to attorneys, and was fundamental in starting my network at my current law firm, and is sure to be fundamental for all of my jobs to come. “ Thomas Vu, a rising sophomore at UMass Amherst who interned at the Nixon Peabody last summer.

Kylie Webster- Cazeau“This summer I am participating in the John William Ward Fellowship. Within the fellowship I am working at the state house with Rachel Madden, the Undersecretary of the Executive Office of Administration and Finance. The BBA Summer Jobs Program really prepared me for my summer now. The BBA allowed me to get comfortable in a professional setting, and really understand my love for government. The BBA Summer Jobs Program also allowed me to meet tons of great people and network like never before.” Kylie Webster– Cazeau , a rising junior at Boston Latin School who interned at the Federal District Court

Ben Haideri“I have continued to work at the District Attorney’s Office this summer, however I am no longer at the Dorchester Court, rather the main office in Downtown Boston. This summer has been just as great, albeit a different experience from the last two as I have seen the dispositions of a lot of the higher profile cases that may have started off in the courts such as Dorchester. It has been great seeing and working with some of the familiar faces who have recently transferred to the office, and I have had an amazing time meeting many new people and learning about the different units in which they work as well as the crimes that they may specialize in handling.

It is safe to say that I wouldn’t be where I am without the Summer Jobs Program. During the summer after my junior year of high school I applied to the program, was placed with the DA’s office in Dorchester, and I have had incredible summers since. I knew I wanted to go into the legal profession for a long time, and having the opportunity to jump right in with folks in the office who treated me like I was part of their ever-growing family was ultimately what solidified my plans. I look forward to one day looking out at a sea of young, eager faces at the BBA on the first day of their internships and telling them my story; one that I could only hope would give them half as much guidance as was given to me by the program.” Ben Haideri, a rising sophomore at UMass Amherst who interned at the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office during high school.

Summer Career Series 2015: “What’s it REALLY Like: Defense and Prosecution?”

whats-it-really-like
As the BBA’s ‘What’s it REALLY Like’ lunch series continued last week, new attorneys and current law students were granted the long-awaited opportunity to hear from an expert panel on practicing as a prosecutor or defense attorney. Matthew Segal, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, and David Solet, former member of the Middlesex District Attorney’s office and current chief legal counsel for the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, discussed the pros and cons to their respective occupations and offered tips on how to strive within their demanding fields.

Here’s what the two attorneys had to say about their jobs:

“Most of the [Defendants] are the ones that society needs to somehow figure out how to fix, not sent to jail.  A lot of your clients will have fallen on rough times or have made a stupid mistake, meaning that you can easily distinguish between those who really need to be in jail and those who do not. That’s why I do this,” Solet said.

“This job is not about discovering who is guilty and who isn’t, because most of the time they’ve done the crime. Being a defense attorney is about weeding though who deserves the harsher or lesser punishment,” Segal said.

Interested in the federal side of the picture? The Criminal Law Section will welcome Assistant US Attorneys for the District of Massachusetts, Carlos Lopez and Giselle Joffrey on Tuesday, September 8, 2015, from 5:00-7:30pm.  Click here to learn more.  Additionally, don’t miss the next Summer Careers Series Program, , ‘What’s It REALLY Like Working for a Government Agency?’ on July 30th at 12:30PM. Click here to register.

Summer Job Snapshot: Inside the AG’s Office

Zaek Rodriguez Kelly, a recent graduate of Excel High School in South Boston, is interning at the Office of the Attorney General through the BBA Summer Jobs Program.

Zaek Rodriguez Kelly, a recent graduate of Excel High School in South Boston, is interning at the Office of the Attorney General through the BBA Summer Jobs Program.

For the first time in eight years, the Office of the Attorney General has a new leader. Just a few months into her tenure as Attorney General, Maura Healey is already working on initiatives as the people’s lawyer and forging connections in the community – one of which is particularly meaningful to an Excel Academy student and future Marine.

Zaek Rodriguez Kelly has impressive goals: a recent graduate, he will spend the next four years in the Marines and hopes to study engineering or counter-intelligence after that. “I wanted to start in a law environment to get some background skills and knowledge about the justice system,” he explained when asked why he had applied to the program. “It’s certainly opening doors for me and helping me to understand this side of the law.”

With his direct supervisor Ellen Tierney, an administrator in the Trial Division of the office, and Jean Mejia, the office’s Director of Employee Relations & Recruitment, it’s clear that Zaek has found a supportive educational setting: the three comfortably chatted with an unforced rapport, and he listened closely as Tierney discussed with him some of the upcoming proceedings he would be seeing, such as a motion to dismiss at the U.S. District Court and more opportunities to see trial attorneys in action.

And for their part, Tierney and Mejia were enthusiastic about Zaek’s presence in the office. “Because he’s new to the law, and because he’s appreciative about having this job, Zaek is so much more willing to learn everything; it’s refreshing,” Tierney said.  Mejia added, “He is fully committed to the work every day he is here.”

Tierney agreed. “Zaek is an awesome listener and very thoughtful with his work. And he’s fast! I told him that we were more concerned with accuracy than speed – but it turns out he’s fast and accurate.”

So far, Zaek has worked on archiving projects; helped to organize medical records for a specific case; studied as a witness for a mock trial; photographed maps for land registration cases; and gained other useful general office skills. As the summer continues, he will continue to meet attorneys in the office and get a closer look at what the Office of the Attorney General is all about and what the life of a trial attorney is like.

Zaek has worked on a number of projects, including archiving and photographing maps at the AG's Office.

Zaek has worked on a number of projects, including archiving and photographing maps at the AG’s Office.

But more than that, Zaek has the chance to experience the camaraderie of the office and have the chance to prep for his future. “Seeing a professional work environment is great – it’s very helpful,” he said simply; his smiling interactions with other members of the office suggest that his time so far in the office has meant a lot to him.

And it means just as much to the office to have him there. “Attorney General Healey is very excited to host a Summer Jobs student.  Our participation in the program is one way to strengthen connections with the people who are the fabric of the Boston community,” Mejia said. “There’s no better way to do that than through connections with the city’s schools  and really impacting the future of students who are at the early stages of their careers. Everyone feels the benefit of having more diverse perspectives in the office.”

Beyond participating in the BBA’s Summer Jobs Program, the Attorney General’s Office also initiated the Summer Youth Jobs Grant Program, which this year awarded over $300,000 in grants to fund about 200 summer jobs for youth across 46 organizations.

Judicial Interns Tour Bankruptcy Court

The Judicial Interns and BBA interns headed to the Bankruptcy Court for a tour earlier this week.

The Judicial Interns and BBA interns headed to the Bankruptcy Court for a tour earlier this week.

Guest Post: Elijah Oyenuga is one of the Summer Jobs Student working at the Boston Bar Association. He recently graduated from Another Course to College in Brighton and will be attending Lesley University next year.

On the 14th of July the BBA granted me, as well as this year’s Judicial Interns, the much-appreciated opportunity to take a tour of the United States Bankruptcy Courthouse. As we approached the building, I was in complete awe: the outside of this Federal building was immaculate. However, the exterior was nothing compared to its interior design. Complete with shiny tiled flooring and golden elevator doors, it was a sight to behold, especially for an architectural geek like me.

During the tour, we were able to learn about the inner workings of this specific courthouse. I was surprised to learn that the courtrooms were completely paperless, which truly distinguished it from other courthouses I’ve visited. The technology built into the courtrooms allowed attorneys and the Judge to display their documents on their spread-out screens; they were even able to mark up their documents in real life on Apple iPads. The most distinguishable element of this courtroom was that rather than typing everything being said, the stenographer simply monitored the courtroom’s recording technology—editing it in real time in order to be used either in the same or future hearings. It was described as “the next step in stenography evolution” by the Judge.

Before we listened in on the two hearings, we were granted permission to explore the Judge’s chambers. What I thought would be a small room with one round table ended up looking more like a modest apartment. Inside the chambers, we were able to meet Judge Frank J. Bailey, who generously took time out of his day to give us a few laughs and to educate us on what bankruptcy law is really about: a fresh start for the honest debtor.

We also attended a pre-trial hearing and a motion hearing. The motion hearing was presented by the lawyer for a husband and wife who had completed a Bankruptcy plan and are attempting to sell their house. In order to do so, the couple was asking the court to issue an order that the second mortgage was discharged.  The other matter was a pre-trial hearing about a man who allegedly squandered the money in his family’s estate, which was once worth millions of dollars but is now virtually worthless. He is now being sued by his family. Although the legal jargon was confusing and extensive at times, it was still very interesting to see how the proceedings were carried out. I look forward to more opportunities like this throughout my summer at the Boston Bar Association.

 

Summer Jobs Snapshot: The International Experience at DLA Piper

Hermuna Taib, a recent graduate of East Boston High School, works at DLA Piper through the BBA Summer Jobs Program.

Hermuna Taib, a recent graduate of East Boston High School, works at DLA Piper through the BBA Summer Jobs Program.

A large international law firm like DLA Piper works on global projects across a range of practice areas: real estate, litigation, corporate and IP, pro bono work, and more. For the average Boston public high school student, it would be a lot to take in; but Hermuna Taib, placed at DLA Piper for the summer, is not your average student.

Few students grow up with Hermuna’s background: born in a Sudanese refugee camp after her family fled from their native Eritrea in the late 1980s, she and her family were relocated to Boston in 2011. In her application essay to the program, Hermuna explained: “Africa is…known for the horrible genocides that have happened. And, this has all happened because there was no law to protect the people from such injustices. One day, I want to work with the law to be able to help people from my country and communities have peace, justice, and a better life.”

Her drive to learn as much as possible about the legal profession led her to participate in the Summer Jobs Program not just once, but twice – first as a summer intern at the BBA itself, and now this summer at DLA Piper.

What’s special about her experience at DLA Piper is the range in the types of projects and practice areas she gets to see. “When I found out I’d be in a different office, I thought, ‘that’s exciting – meeting new people and finding other stuff that I might like about law,’” Hermuna said about spending her second summer in the program at DLA Piper. “I didn’t learn about real estate at the BBA, or business, or other work that DLA Piper does. When Elaine [Carmichael, Office Administrator at DLA Piper] told me about the pro bono work they do, I didn’t know much about it, or about litigation. I kept asking the question, ‘What is DLA Piper all about?’”

Hermuna works in a variety of different departments at the firm, including the records, accounting, and pro bono departments.

Hermuna works on a variety of different projects, including assisting the firm with database, accounting, and pro bono projects.

DLA Piper is all about excellence in the law and helping Hermuna find her place in the office environment. “Hermuna came in very positive and with a lot of enthusiasm,” said Carmichael, Hermuna’s supervisor. “She’s always after me to give her more work! She’s been able to adapt to different administrative tasks in different practices – she’s working with our records department on a database project, has helped in the accounting department, and in real estate has worked with signature pages on documents, which required a lot of attention to detail – she did a splendid job on that.”

One of the most compelling projects that Hermuna has helped with relates to international pro bono work in Uganda, with attorney Sara Andrews, the firm’s senior pro bono counsel. Recently, DLA Piper sent a team of lawyers to train East African government lawyers on contract negotiations. “As part of our training program, we have the lawyers we’re training fill out evaluation forms about how the experience went, and we had a pile of these feedback forms,” explained Andrews. “Hermuna was instrumental in helping to review and provide analysis of those – transcribing the answers and then making sense of them to help us as we engage in future training programs.”

But above all, both Hermuna and her team of supporters at DLA Piper are making the summer fun. “The Summer Jobs students are always a lot of fun!” laughed Carmichael, noting that DLA Piper has been a major supporter of the program for over ten years. Added Andrews, “It’s really been a pleasure to get to know Hermuna and hear about her story and passion for learning about law, as she figures out her future. It’s fun to be exposed to that energy and enthusiasm of someone who’s starting out on their career path.”

Hermuna may not know yet what type of law she’d want to focus on if she continues on to law school, but she has no shortage of opportunities to learn at DLA Piper, including seminars and training programs with different firm attorneys coming up. “I know a lot more than I did my first day here, and I’m so glad I’m working here and know all of these great people,” Hermuna said with a smile. “If I decide to go to law school and already know all of this legal knowledge, it could really help me. It’s been a great opportunity for me.”