Monthly Archives: September 2014

Making Sense of the New NY Bar Pro Bono Requirement

The BBA Judicial Internship provides law students with an opportunity to work directly with a judge and hone legal skills, while working towards the 50 hours pro bono requirement for the New York Bar.

The BBA Judicial Internship provides law students with an opportunity to work directly with a judge and hone legal skills, while working towards the 50 hours pro bono requirement for the New York Bar.

If you’re a law student or recent law school graduate who is looking to practice in New York, you’ve probably  heard of the new pro bono requirement for bar applicants. If you haven’t, here’s the deal: the new requirement mandates that attorneys admitted to the New York Bar after January 1, 2015 must complete 50 hours of law-related pro bono work before filing their application (this includes those of you who took the July 2014 bar exam). Worried? Don’t be, the BBA is here to help. We’ve got two programs that could help you get closer to the 50 hour requirement.

Lawyer for the Day in the Boston Housing Court: If you’re 3:03 certified, you can volunteer to provide legal assistance to landlords and tenants on Thursday mornings at the Boston Housing Court. If you’re looking to get involved soon, you’re in luck! We have a training scheduled for Tuesday, October 28th at the BBA. Click here for more information.

Judicial Internship Program: Law students looking to work directly with a judge, observe courtroom proceedings and enhance their legal research and writing skills should check out the BBA’s Judicial Internship Program. The program runs year-round and the next round of applications for Spring 2015 are due on December 13th. Click here for more information about this opportunity.

Are you looking for additional opportunities? Stop by the Suffolk Pro Bono Fair on October 20th to learn about pro bono opportunities in Massachusetts for law students and new lawyers. Click here for more information.

If you have questions about what is eligible, be sure to contact the New York State Court of Appeals at [email protected].

If you have any questions about BBA programs, you can contact Katie D’Angelo @ [email protected].

Rep. Tsongas Speaks at 16 Beacon

U.S. Representative Niki Tsongas spoke with a group at the BBA about her work to combat military sexual trauma.

U.S. Representative Niki Tsongas spoke with a group at the BBA about her work to combat military sexual trauma.

Attorneys gathered in the Claflin Center last night for an intimate discussion with Congresswoman Niki Tsongas on her work and commitment to combating military sexual trauma. Just in case you missed it, Beyond the Billable has the highlights for you.  Rep. Tsongas serves as the top Democrat on the subcommittee for Oversight and Investigations on the House Armed Services Subcommittee. As the daughter of an Air Force Colonel, issues affecting military personnel are close to Rep. Tsongas’s heart. She has been a champion in the fight against military sexual trauma—drafting legislation to combat the issue and to respond to the needs of victims.

Beyond the Billable checked in with Anna Richardson, the co-chair of the BBA Active Duty Military, Family Members & Veterans Committee and co-executive director of Veterans Legal Services, to hear her thoughts about the program. Here’s what she had to say:

What should people who did not attend last night know about Rep. Tsongas’s work on this important topic?

“Before Congresswoman Tsongas began tackling this issue, sexual assault in the military was often not viewed as the crime that it is. The Congresswoman’s bipartisan efforts over the last seven years have helped to change that culture, create accountability, and hold our military to the high standard our service men and women are entitled to expect as they serve our country.”

 Why should attorneys come to the follow up panel in October?

“While Congresswoman Tsongas is working to address this issue at the national level, our panelists in October are facing it head-on to ensure individual veterans receive justice. They are working to meaningfully implement the systemic reforms Congresswoman Tsongas has spearheaded, and to create a culture of accountability by prosecuting perpetrators and advocating for survivors. Join us to learn about their impressive efforts and how you can help.”

Do you want to learn what you can do to help combat sexual military trauma? Don’t miss the upcoming program on October 22nd from 2-6 pm called “Responding to Military Sexual Trauma: What You Can Do.” Click here to register.

PILP 10 Teams Up with the Courts on Court Service Pilot Project

Panelist Tony Doniger outlines the role of the Court Service Center with fellow speakers Judge Dina Fein and Sheriece Perry (right) and moderator Katherine Schulte (left).

Panelist Tony Doniger outlines the role of the Court Service Center with fellow speakers Judge Dina Fein and Sheriece Perry (right) and moderator Katherine Schulte (left).

Each year, the BBA Public Interest Leadership Program (PILP) crafts a year-long project to address needs in our community. Last week, attorneys crowded into the BBA’s Adams Room to learn about PILP 10’s project with the new Edward W. Brooke Courthouse Court Service Center (CSC), which opened in June. The Brooke Courthouse CSC is one of two pilot service centers; the other is located in Greenfield, MA. The Trial Court, the Access to Justice Commission, and Rosie’s Place teamed up to make the CSC a reality, and now it’s our job to showcase all that’s happening in Boston and in our Commonwealth.

If you missed the program last week, Beyond the Billable has you covered.  Take a look below for all the details on the program:

Who were the panelists?

  1. Judge Dina Fein – Housing Court, Western Division
  2. Anthony Doniger – Sugarman, Rogers, Barshak & Cohen, P.C.
  3. Sheriece Perry – Manager, Court Service Center

What happens at the CSC?

The CSC provides invaluable resources for visitors to the courthouse. Staff and volunteers help pro se litigants prepare pleadings, court forms and documents, access existing social services, public computers, workstations, and interpreters. While CSC staff and volunteers provide legal information, not legal advice, they meet unaddressed needs among community members.

How many people have visited the CSC?

Since the CSC opened on June 2, 2014, more than 1,530 individuals have visited the CSC for legal information!

How can you get involved?

Attorneys, law students hoping to get acquainted with the Boston legal community, and new lawyers are all welcome to volunteer. If interested, please send your resume and cover letter to the Manager of the CSC Sheriece Perry at [email protected].

What’s next?

More Court Service Centers! The impact that the CSC has at the Brooke Courthouse and in Greenfield – both for pro se litigants and court staff – has illustrated their importance for all court visitors. The goal is to open four more service centers within the next year at the busiest courts in the Commonwealth.

The CSC is open Monday – Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. To learn more information, please click here.

The BBA and Busing in Boston

Ed Barshak and Julia Huston

Ed Barshak (Sugarman, Rogers, Barshak & Cohen, P.C.) received the 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award at last week’s Annual Meeting Luncheon for his leadership on issues, such as the desegregation of the Boston schools through busing.

Our dedicated readers know about our partnership with the Boston Public Schools through a number of our public service initiatives, including the BBA Summer Jobs Program, Law Day in the Schools, and the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program. However, you may not know that our support for Boston youth precedes these longstanding initiatives. If you were one of the 1,200 attorneys who attended our Annual Meeting Luncheon on Friday, you know BBA President Julia Huston referenced the BBA’s involvement in the City of Boston’s efforts to desegregate schools through busing in the 1970’s in her remarks about the 2014 Lifetime Achievement Honoree, Ed Barshak.  Here’s what happened: under then President Ed Barshak’s leadership, the BBA worked to educate the public about desegregation and the busing movement—a movement which fundamentally changed the structure and makeup of the Boston public schools we work with today. If you want more specifics about the BBA’s role in this issue, our friends at Issue Spot, the BBA’s Public Policy blog, offer a full rundown of events in their post, A Retrospective – The BBA and Busing, 40 Years Later.

VLP Announces Honor Roll for July and August

The BBA Lawyer for the Day in the Boston Housing Court Program relies on dedicated volunteers who donate their time to assistant landlords and tenants.

The BBA Lawyer for the Day in the Boston Housing Court Program relies on dedicated volunteers who donate their time to assistant landlords and tenants.

Volunteer Lawyers Project of the Boston Bar Association thanks the following attorneys who accepted cases or provided consultation through the Lawyer for the Day in the Boston Housing Court Program in July and August:

Lawyer for the Day Volunteers

 Rachelle Abrahami
Sam Ames
Chloe Coravos
Milton D’Andres
Brent Davis, Roger Williams School of Law
Jessamyn Edra, Goodwin Procter LLP
Dahlia Fetouh, Goodwin Procter LLP
Paul Formella, Goodwin Procter LLP
Robert Friedman, Burns & Levinson LLP
Joseph Horne, Goodwin Procter LLP
Sharon Jones
Martsyl Joseph, Committee for Public Counsel Services – Roxbury
Jennifer Kent, Goodwin Procter LLP
Mike Leusaul, Goodwin Procter LLP
Michael MacDonald
Emily Nelson, Burns & Levinson LLP
Allison Orpilla, Goodwin Procter LLP
Christopher Pavlow, McCarter & English, LLP
Nicolas Planty, Goodwin Procter LLP
Michael Rispin
Jordana Roubicek Greenman
George Schneider, Goodwin Procter LLP
Leann Walsh, Goodwin Procter LLP
Lawrence Wind

One Year Later: The BBA Military & Veterans Legal Help Line

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Solana Goss – Lawyer Referral Service Intake Coordinator

For the past year, I have had the opportunity to work firsthand expanding the BBA’s Lawyer Referral Service’s reach to service members, veterans and their families through the Military & Veterans Legal Help Line. September marks the one year anniversary that the Lawyer Referral Service (LRS) has housed the help line, which was developed in 2011 to connect this underserved population with the legal resources they need.  As the Intake Coordinator of the BBA’s Lawyer Referral Service, I connect hundreds of callers per week with attorneys, legal services, and community organizations. Whenever I pick up the phone and the caller identifies as a disabled veteran struggling to pay their mortgage, or an active duty military member facing family law disputes, I am reminded of the strength, courage, and dedication that these individuals put forth to serve our country.  That this need exists so prevalently in our society helps motivate me to do what I can to improve access to legal services for the individuals and their families who served our nation.  I leave each call remembering that there is more than we can do for veterans. Instead of just thanking veterans for their service, I am fortunate enough to show my thanks by offering and connecting them with assistance. The legal community has the opportunity to show their thanks and appreciation for the sacrifices of service members in another way – by agreeing to take cases on their behalf.

Goss_Solana2The BBA and the Lawyer Referral Service has made considerable progress through the Legal Help Line this year. Since September 2013, we have connected 340 active-duty military, veterans, and their families to lawyers and legal services, a 161% increase in the amount of individuals that we were able to serve than the year prior. The LRS maintains a panel of attorneys who are trained to understand the nuances of representing this population, and our Active Duty, Family Members and Veterans Committee is ready to address new challenges in the year ahead.  Despite this great success, we still need more attorneys to take cases. If you are an attorney who wants to help support the BBA’s Military & Veterans Legal Help Line, contact me at [email protected], or the BBA’s Public Service Manager Sonia Shah at [email protected].

The BBA has an ongoing commitment to support service members and their families…so what’s next? On September 23rd the BBA will host the first part of a two-part series to raise awareness about the critical issue of military sexual assault.  U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas will be lending her expertise on the issue and her highlighting her work fighting against sexual assault in Congress.  For more information and to register, click here.

NY Times Says Eviction Rates Are On the Rise – Here’s How You Can Help

On Wednesday and Thursday mornings at the Housing Court, volunteers offer legal assistance to pro se landlords and tenants.

On Wednesday and Thursday mornings at the Housing Court, volunteers offer legal assistance to a packed hallway of pro se landlords and tenants.

We hope our readers saw this New York Times article featured in last week’s issue of BBA Week. While we appreciate the shout out to a 2012 study by the Boston Bar Association (thanks, NYT!), the article included some sobering statistics that shed light on the impact of a booming real estate market on tenants.

Here are some highlights from the article:

  • Massachusetts experienced an 11 percent increase in evictions between 2010 and 2013.
  • The majority of people facing evictions are people of color, people with disabilities, people who have suffered extreme health crises or a long-term chronic illness.

So, what can be done? Is there any way we can help reverse this startling trend? Well, we wouldn’t be Beyond the Billable if we didn’t offer our readers some way help solve the problem. The BBA’s Lawyer for the Day in the Boston Housing Court Program allows lawyers to give back and directly affect rising eviction rates by assisting unrepresented tenants and landlords directly on site at the Boston Housing Court on eviction day. Consider the following when reading the statistics below – the BBA’s 2012 study on Civil Right to Counsel found that renters with lawyers were two times as likely to avoid eviction than those without. So, what type of difference are we making? Since the program’s inception in 1999, volunteers have assisted more than 15,500 landlords and tenants. This year alone, volunteers assisted over 1,000 individuals.

Impressive numbers aside, there’s always more to do — and we need your help. If you are interested in helping tenants who are facing eviction, and landlords dealing with housing issues, click here to learn more or contact BBA Public Service Programs Coordinator Katie D’Angelo at [email protected].

BBA LRS Joins the Party – Celebrates Diversity at Cambridge Carnival

BBA staff set up shop in Kendall Square along with other non-profits and vendors.

BBA staff set up shop in Kendall Square along with other non-profits and vendors.

This past Sunday, the BBA Lawyer Referral Service (LRS) joined in the festivities at the 21st annual Cambridge Carnival International, a celebration rooted in African traditions that brings together the area’s diverse community. This year’s festival drew an estimated 150,000 people, making it the largest festival in Cambridge.

Carnival attendees who stopped by the BBA’s booth learned about the BBA and how to receive a referral from the BBA LRS, only ABA-approved lawyer referral service in the greater Boston area.  This is the 4th year that the BBA staff had a booth at this event.  Attending events around greater Boston is one way that the LRS reaches out to the public about services available to them, including reduced-fee referrals, attorneys who practice Limited Assistance Representation, and the Military Legal Help Line.

Take a look below for more images from the day:

The colorful parade is a highlight of the annual Cambridge Carnival International.

The colorful parade is a highlight of the annual Cambridge Carnival International.

 

Parade participants draw from African & Caribbean roots with their costumes.

Parade participants draw from African & Caribbean roots with their costumes.

To refer clients to the BBA Lawyer Referral Service, please have them call (617)742-0625 or (800)552-7046 Monday through Thursday, 8:30 am to 5:30 pm and Friday from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm.  Clients can also visit us on our bilingual English/Spanish website at www.bostonbarlawyer.org to submit a request online.

 

BBA Thanks Summer Jobs Volunteers

Larry Dicara, a partner at Nixon Peabody LLP, was one of the many volunteers who donated their time to speak with the BBA Summer Jobs Program during their weekly enrichment seminars.

Larry Dicara, a partner at Nixon Peabody LLP, was one of the many volunteers who donated their time to speak with the BBA Summer Jobs Program during their weekly enrichment seminars.

We hope you’ve enjoyed following along with the BBA Summer Jobs students this summer as they learned about legal careers and gained on-the-job experience. As you know, one of the hallmarks of the BBA Summer Jobs Program is the weekly enrichment seminars. This summer, students had the opportunity to participate in a mock City Council meeting at Boston City Council chambers, a “speed dating” session where they heard from lawyers from three different backgrounds, a trip to the John Adams Courthouse, and much more. However, these enrichment seminars would not be possible without the help of dedicated volunteers who lent their expertise to educate the students about the legal field, professional development, and financial literacy.

The BBA would like to thank the following volunteers for speaking with the Summer Jobs students:

Barbara Berenson, Supreme Judicial Court
Manisha Bhatt, Greater Boston Legal Services
Hon. Cynthia Cohen, Massachusetts Appeals Court
Christopher Condon, Murphy & King, Professional Corporation
Kathleen Cruickshank, Murphy & King, Professional Corporation
Jaime d’Almeida, Duff & Phelps
Lawrence DiCara, Nixon Peabody LLP
Hon. Joan Feeney, United States Bankruptcy Court
Daniel Forster, Simmons College
Adam Foss, Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office
Pamela Lyons, Supreme Judicial Court
Alex Mattera, Demeo, LLP
Leigh McCloskey, The Bulfinch Group
Greg Pakhladzhyan, American Student Assistance
Emmanuelle Renelique, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP
David Rozenson
Mackenzie Shea, K&L Gates LLP
Michael Sugar
Colin Van Dyke, Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.
Keri Wintle, Murtha Cullina LLP

Gene O’Flaherty Talks Leadership with PILP Class

Gene O’Flaherty, the Corporation Counsel for the City of Boston, spoke with PILP 11 last week about leadership.

Gene O’Flaherty, the Corporation Counsel for the City of Boston, spoke with PILP 11 last week about leadership.

Last week, PILP 11 had the privilege to welcome the new Corporation Counsel for the City of Boston Eugene L. O’Flaherty to 16 Beacon Street. Counselor O’Flaherty took time to talk about his career path, professional goals as Corporation Counsel, and career tips.

Counselor O’Flaherty knows a thing or two about being a successful leader. He was appointed to the role of Corporation Counsel by Mayor Martin Walsh in February 2014 after serving 17 years  in the Massachusetts House of Representatives for the Second Suffolk District and practicing law for 20 years. He was just 26 years old when he was elected to the House of Representatives, and he was re-elected by his district nine times.

He left the PILP class with a few leadership take-aways:

  1. Take your job seriously, but not necessarily yourself
  2. To succeed, you must be willing to outwork your competition
  3. Be involved in your community

Counselor O’Flaherty ended the meeting by encouraging the PILP class to become involved in our great city.