Monthly Archives: December 2014

A Year in Photos: BBA Public Service

The BBA had another year full of public service. For a look back at our members’ work in the community, take a look at the photos below:

The John & Abigail Adams Benefit raised over $640,000 last January to help fund grants to 23 Massachusetts community organizations providing legal services in areas, such as domestic violence and homelessness.

The John & Abigail Adams Benefit raised over $640,000 last January to help fund grants to 23 Massachusetts community organizations providing legal services in areas, such as domestic violence and homelessness. The BBF honored Former Boston Mayor Thomas Menino with the Public Service Award for his commitment to the City of Boston, including his efforts to find employment for thousands of Boston teens each summer.

The M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program celebrated its 10th anniversary this past year by providing financial education to students in 18 high schools statewide.

The M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program celebrated its 10th anniversary this past year by providing financial education to students in 18 high schools statewide.

The BBF’s popular Casino Night had a new twist this year—100 percent of the proceeds supported the BBA Summer Jobs Program. As you may remember, the BBF funds paid internships for Boston high school students in nonprofit and government agencies each summer through the program. The event raised more than $35,000 for the M. Ellen Carpenter Fund to benefit the Summer Jobs Program.

The BBF’s popular Casino Night had a new twist this year—100 percent of the proceeds supported the BBA Summer Jobs Program. As you may remember, the BBF funds paid internships for Boston high school students in nonprofit and government agencies each summer through the program. The event raised more than $35,000 for the M. Ellen Carpenter Fund to benefit the Summer Jobs Program.

http://www.bostonbar.org/in-the-community/public-service/housing-court-lawyer-for-the-day-program

The BBA Lawyer for the Day in the Boston Housing Court Program celebrated its 15th year anniversary of providing legal assistance to pro se landlords and tenants at the Boston Housing Court. Since the program began, over 12,000 volunteers have helped more than 15,000 landlords and tenants navigate complicated legal issues.

In April, Boston commemorated the one year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings. The following month, the BBA honored the volunteers who stepped up to offer pro bono legal assistance to over 80 small businesses and individuals affected by the bombings at the Law Day Dinner through the BBA’s Marathon Assistance Project.

In April, Boston commemorated the one year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings. The following month, the BBA honored the volunteers who stepped up to offer pro bono legal assistance to over 80 small businesses and individuals affected by the bombings at the Law Day Dinner through the BBA’s Marathon Assistance Project.

The BBA’s Law Day in the Schools Program took off this year. Ninety-four attorneys taught over 1,300 Boston public school students from kindergarten through seniors in high school about voting rights.

The BBA’s Law Day in the Schools Program took off this year. Ninety-four attorneys taught over 1,300 Boston public school students from kindergarten through seniors in high school about voting rights.

In addition to honoring the volunteers for the Marathon Assistance Project, the BBA honored the Boston Private Industry Council (PIC) at the Law Day Dinner. The BBA and PIC have partnered for the past 21 years to place more than 700 Boston public high school students in paid legal internships each summer.

In addition to honoring the volunteers for the Marathon Assistance Project, the BBA honored the Boston Private Industry Council (PIC) at the Law Day Dinner. The BBA and PIC have partnered for the past 21 years to place more than 700 Boston public high school students in paid legal internships each summer through the BBA Summer Jobs Program.

In June, the BBF unveiled its newest fundraising event, called Passports to Pairings, where 100 % of the proceeds supported the BBA Public Service Programs. The event raise nearly $37,000, featured food and beverage pairings, and gave attendees an opportunity learn more about the BBA and BBF’s work in the community.

In June, the BBF unveiled its newest fundraising event, called Passports to Pairings, where 100 % of the proceeds supported the BBA Public Service Programs. The event raise nearly $37,000, featured food and beverage pairings, and gave attendees an opportunity learn more about the BBA and BBF’s work in the community.

The BBA continued to step up its commitment to the Mayor’s Summer Jobs Program by placing a record-breaking 64 Boston high school students in paid internships at Boston law firms, legal departments, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations through the BBA Summer Jobs Program. The BBF also increased its commitment to the program by funding 14 of these paid positions at non-profit community organizations, government offices and courts.

The BBA continued to step up its commitment to the Mayor’s Summer Jobs Program by placing a record-breaking 64 Boston high school students in paid internships at Boston law firms, legal departments, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations through the BBA Summer Jobs Program. The BBF also increased its commitment to the program by funding 14 of these paid positions at non-profit community organizations, government offices and courts.

On September 1, 2014, the BBA celebrated the one year anniversary of the Military & Veterans Help Line’s move to the BBA Lawyer Referral Service, connecting 161%more servicemembers to legal assistance. Later in the fall, the BBA announced that four firms—Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP, Nixon Peabody LLP, Morgan, Lewis, & Bockius, and Nutter McClellen & Fish LLP—had stepped up to offer pro bono assistance to servicemembers who do not qualify for traditional free legal services, but cannot afford the fees of attorneys.

On September 1, 2014, the BBA celebrated the one year anniversary of the Military & Veterans Help Line’s move to the BBA Lawyer Referral Service, connecting 161% more servicemembers to legal assistance. Later in the fall, the BBA announced that four firms—Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP, Nixon Peabody LLP, Morgan, Lewis, & Bockius, and Nutter McClellen & Fish LLP—had stepped up to offer pro bono assistance to servicemembers who do not qualify for traditional free legal services, but cannot afford the fees of attorneys.

The BBA welcomed Congresswoman Niki Tsongas, who discussed her work and commitment to combating military sexual trauma. This program is part of the BBA’s ongoing commitment to addressing the needs of military personnel, veterans, and their family members.

The BBA welcomed Congresswoman Niki Tsongas, who discussed her work and commitment to combating military sexual trauma. This program is part of the BBA’s ongoing commitment to addressing the needs of military personnel, veterans, and their family members.

October, proclaimed Pro Bono Month, once again brought a flurry of trainings and events to 16 Beacon. The lineup included the annual Landlord Tenant Law and Practice Training, the CORI Training, the Pro Bono Recruitment Fair, and the Representing Survivors of Human Trafficking: An Introduction for Attorneys Program.

October, proclaimed Pro Bono Month, once again brought a flurry of trainings and events to 16 Beacon. The lineup included the annual Landlord Tenant Law and Practice Training, the CORI Training, the Pro Bono Recruitment Fair, and the Representing Survivors of Human Trafficking: An Introduction for Attorneys Program.

The BBA Statewide Task Force to Expand Civil Legal Aid in Massachusetts released its long-awaited report called Investing in Justice, which found that the majority of clients seeking legal assistance are turned away and made the business case for an additional $30 million in civil legal aid funding.

The BBA Statewide Task Force to Expand Civil Legal Aid in Massachusetts released its long-awaited report called Investing in Justice, which found that the majority of clients seeking legal assistance are turned away and made the business case for an additional $30 million in civil legal aid funding.

The BBA kicked off the Community Reentry Readiness Program once again this November. The program, which was originally started by PILP 9, aims to reduce the risk of recidivism by sending volunteer attorneys to deliver civil legal education workshops to federal probations in the CARE/RESTART Program on issues that they may face upon reentry.  The pilot program was such a success that the BBA and Federal Court once again teamed up to continue the program.

The BBA kicked off the Community Reentry Readiness Program once again this November. The program, which was originally started by PILP 9, aims to reduce the risk of recidivism by sending volunteer attorneys to deliver civil legal education workshops to federal probations in the CARE/RESTART Program on issues that they may face upon reentry. The pilot program was such a success that the BBA and Federal Court once again teamed up to continue the program.

In November, BBA President Julia Huston spent the morning shadowing the headmaster of Mary Lyon Pilot High School in Brighton through BPE’s Principal for a Day Program. As a former teacher in special education, Julia found the program particularly interesting because every single class at the Mary Lyon Pilot High School is fully inclusive, incorporating both general education and students with emotional and behavioral impairments.

In November, BBA President Julia Huston spent the morning shadowing the headmaster of Mary Lyon Pilot High School in Brighton through BPE’s Principal for a Day Program. As a former teacher in special education, Julia found the program particularly interesting because every single class at the Mary Lyon Pilot High School is fully inclusive, incorporating both general education and students with emotional and behavioral impairments.

The BBA Lawyer Referral Service participated in a number of community events this year, including the Massachusetts Conference for Women which drew a crowd of nearly 10,000.  These events help to raise awareness of about the largest public service program of the Boston Bar Association, which fielded over 7,900 calls last year.

The BBA Lawyer Referral Service participated in a number of community events this year, including the Massachusetts Conference for Women which drew a crowd of nearly 10,000. These events help to raise awareness of about the largest public service program of the Boston Bar Association, which fielded over 7,900 calls last year.

In December, the BBA geared up to kick off an exciting new pilot program in the Land Court with a training on assisting homeowners facing tax foreclosure.  . Now that a number of attorneys are up to speed on the issue, they can volunteer to be on call to assist homeowners at the Land Court’s Thursday Tax Title Sessions and help homeowners hold onto their property.

In December, the BBA geared up to kick off an exciting new pilot program in the Land Court with a training on assisting homeowners facing tax foreclosure. Now that a number of attorneys are up to speed on the issue, they can volunteer to be on call to assist homeowners at the Land Court’s Thursday Tax Title Sessions and help homeowners hold onto their property.

 

Prepping Attorneys for New Land Court Pilot Program

Kathleen O'Donnell (Law Office of Kathleen O'Donnell) and Deb Patterson (Land Court) trained attorneys to assist homeowners through the BBA's new pilot program in the Land Court.

Kathleen O’Donnell (Law Office of Kathleen O’Donnell) and Deb Patterson (Land Court) trained attorneys to assist homeowners through the BBA’s new pilot program in the Land Court.

If you saw this blog earlier this month, then you already know about the BBA’s exciting new pilot program in the Land Court. The aim of the project is to address an issue in Massachusetts households – the foreclosure of real estate tax liens. Homeowners caught in this foreclosure process often do not understand that they could lose not only possession of their home, but also any equity they may have.

In an effort to assist homeowners, this week the BBA trained attorneys on how the Land Court handles tax title foreclosures, and provided the attendees with the information needed to explain the process to homeowners.

Deb Patterson, the Recorder at the Land Court and one of the speakers on Monday night’s panel, witnesses the confusion at the Land Court every Thursday. Here’s why she thinks you should volunteer for the program:

“Volunteering for this pilot program will give you the opportunity to help litigants navigate the real estate tax foreclosure process and can be a very effective tool for them to use to make informed decisions regarding their property.”

Attorneys who attended the training can now volunteer to be on call to assist homeowners at the Land Court’s Thursday Tax Title Sessions and help homeowners hold onto their property.

Did you miss the training but still want to get involved? Don’t worry, it’s not too late! Contact Katie D’Angelo at [email protected] to learn how you can help.

Family Law and Immigration Sections Partner to Help Unaccompanied Immigrant Children

Greater Boston Legal Services Attorneys Nancy Kelly, Anne Mackin, and Patricia Ann Tellis-Warren walked family law attorneys through steps they can take to assist unaccompanied minors.

Greater Boston Legal Services Attorneys Nancy Kelly, Anne Mackin, and Patricia Ann Tellis-Warren walked family law attorneys through steps they can take to assist unaccompanied minors.

The influx of unaccompanied minors from Central America made headlines earlier this year. In an effort to offer assistance to these children, the BBA’s Immigration and Family Law Sections teamed up for a training on expediting the immigration process.

Experienced family law practitioners gathered at the BBA last Wednesday for an overview of the steps needed to obtain a predicate order from the Probate and Family Court, thus allowing an immigration attorney to later apply for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) for the immigrant youth. An expert panel made up of attorneys from Greater Boston Legal Services, including Nancy Kelly, Anne Mackin, and Patricia Ann Tellis-Warren, outlined common issues and challenges and discussed sample pleadings with the audience.

We checked in Julie Dahlstrom (Ascentria Care Alliance, formally Lutheran Social Services), one of the co-chairs of the Immigration Public Service Committee who organized the training, to learn more. Here’s what she had to say about the training.

What do you hope attendees learned at the training?

“We hope that attendees learned basic information about the avenues for immigration relief for unaccompanied children and various ways in which family law practitioners can provide pro bono services to immigrant children.”

Why should attorneys assist with these types of cases?

“Working with unaccompanied children is incredibly rewarding. Often, these children are fleeing violence, abuse and neglect in their countries. Having a lawyer can mean the difference between life and death.”

Now that the attorneys have learned the basic, they can take pro bono cases through Kids in Need of Defense (KIND), Ascentria Care Alliance, and Greater Boston Legal Services.

Training Attorneys on Special Education Advocacy

Marlies Spanjaard (Edlaw Project) walked attendees through the different ways that attorneys can get involved in special education advocacy efforts

Marlies Spanjaard (Edlaw Project) walked attendees through the different ways that attorneys can get involved in special education advocacy efforts

On Monday, the BBA teamed up once more with the Edlaw Project to host a pro bono training on assisting at-risk youth. You may remember the popular training, “School Discipline Advocacy for At-Risk Youth,” held at the BBA last December. This time, attorneys gathered in the Conference Center to learn about special education advocacy from the Edlaw Project’s Director of Education Advocacy Marlies Spanjaard.

If you caught BBA President Julia Huston’s blogpost on the topic of education advocacy last week, you’re up to speed on the issue. However, if you missed it, here are a few of the surprising – and alarming – statistics:

  • Only about half of Massachusetts third-grade students score proficient or above in reading on the MCAS.
  • Two-thirds of children who can’t read proficiently by the end of fourth grade will end up imprisoned at some point in their lives.
  • Only 17% of students in grade K-12 across the state receive special education services.

The good news? Monday’s training helped to bolster the Edlaw Project’s pro bono panel to assist children in need of special education services. Click here to read her full post.

BBA LRS Reaches 10,000 at the Massachusetts Conference for Women

The BBA staff explained the role of the BBA and the Lawyer Referral Service in the community for both attorneys, law students, and the public.

The BBA staff explained the role of the BBA and the Lawyer Referral Service in the community to attendees, including attorneys, law students, and the general public.

Drawing a notable crowd of nearly 10,000, the 10th Annual Massachusetts Conference for Women took place last Thursday at the Boston Convention Center.

The BBA’s Lawyer Referral Service (LRS) participated in this event as an exhibitor, raising awareness about the largest public service program of the Boston Bar Association.  For those who aren’t familiar with the LRS  – last year the program connected more than 8,000 members of the public with quality legal assistance, and became the permanent home of the Military & Veterans Legal Helpline.  For more than 50 years, the LRS has been a trusted resource for those looking for legal help.

This year’s conference culminated in a keynote address from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. She discussed the importance of continued progress for women socially and economically, mentioning equal pay for women and paid leave, and remarking about justice for all individuals across the globe.

The Massachusetts Conference for Women is the largest community outreach and marketing event of the year for the BBA’s Lawyer Referral Service.  Here is what the LRS Intake Coordinator Solana Goss had to say about the Conference:

“This is my 3rd year attending the conference with the BBA/LRS.  I am always impressed with the sheer number of attendees who are there to acknowledge and celebrate the accomplishments of women not just in the city we live in, but nationally and internationally.  As an exhibitor participating in grassroots community outreach to those needing legal assistance, I was compelled to hear the real life stories of those in our community who need to access our services. It’s been a little over a week since the conference, but we have already had a few people call and specifically mention they met us at the conference. It’s gratifying knowing that we can make real connections with individuals in our community.”

Take a look below for more images from the event:

The BBA set up shop as an exhibitor.  This is the 5th year that the LRS has participated.

The BBA set up shop as an exhibitor. This is the 5th year that the LRS has participated.

The 10th Annual Massachusetts Conference for Women drew nearly 200 exhibitors and 10,000 attendees.

The 10th Annual Massachusetts Conference for Women drew nearly 200 exhibitors and 10,000 attendees.

For more information on the Lawyer Referral Service, please contact Solana Goss, LRS Intake Coordinator, at [email protected].

Volunteers Return to Moakley Courthouse for Family Law Session

Attorneys Raquel Webster (National Grid USA) and Brian McLaughlin (Brian McLaughlin Esq. LLC) presented on family law issues to participants in the Federal District Court's CARE/RESTART Program.

Attorneys Raquel Webster (National Grid USA) and Brian McLaughlin (Brian McLaughlin Esq. LLC) presented on family law issues to participants in the Federal District Court’s CARE/RESTART Program.

Image this: you’re a probationer and you’ll soon be given a chance to make a new start. You want to make the best of that opportunity, but you have questions. Can I get my license back? Can I see my children? What are my options for learning a new trade? Wouldn’t it be a relief if there was someone who could help you get started? Fortunately, there is.

The Community Reentry Readiness Program is officially underway once again. This month, Community Reentry Readiness Committee Member Raquel Webster (National Grid USA) returned to Moakley Courthouse with family law expert Brian McLaughlin (Brian McLaughlin Esq. LLC) to talk to the probationers about child support, paternity, and child custody issues.

Beyond the Billable reached out to Brian to hear more about his experience volunteering with the program. Here’s what he had to say:

“It is a privilege and an honor to present alongside Attorney Raquel Webster.  Through Attorney Webster’s efforts and with help from the Public Interest Leadership Program’s members, former inmates will have a greater chance of success, thereby decreasing the recidivism rate.  Information equals power. The new skills that these newly freed individuals learn through this course will give them a leg up in the outside world.  It is days like this, that I’m proud to call myself a lawyer and a member of Boston’s legal community.”

Stay tuned for more on next month’s public benefits session.

BBA Summer Jobs Program Takes Off

Each year, the BBA Summer Jobs Program employers Boston teens in legal offices throughout the city to support the Mayor's Summer Jobs Program.

Each year, the BBA Summer Jobs Program employs Boston teens in legal offices throughout the city to support the Mayor’s Summer Jobs Program.

The BBA Summer Jobs Program is off to an impressive start with 36 student positions secured to date. To put this number in perspective, we found positions for 64 Boston high school students this past summer, which means we are well on our way to securing even more jobs for Boston teens this summer. Just a reminder—the BBA Summer Jobs Program is an integral part of Mayor Walsh’s Summer Jobs Program, which employs over 10,000 Boston teens each summer. In fact, we’ve consistently been one of the top ten largest private sector employers in the city. Since the program started in 1993, we placed over 700 Boston public high school students in eight week internships at law firms and offices in our community.

Turns out we aren’t the only ones getting a head start on employer recruitment. This article in the Boston Globe outlined Mayor Marty Walsh’s early kickoff for his citywide teen employment efforts.

Check out the list of law firms and offices who have already committed to supporting Mayor Walsh’s Summer Jobs Program:

Anderson & Kreiger LLP
Boston Bar Association
Boston Bar Foundation*
Burns & Levinson LLP*
Choate Hall & Stewart LLP
Conn Kavanaugh Rosenthal Peisch & Ford, LLP
Collora LLP
Foley Hoag LLP
Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, LLP*
Hinckley, Allen & Snyder LLP
LPL Financial*
Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.
Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP
Nixon Peabody LLP
Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP
Proskauer Rose LLP
Ropes & Gray LLP
Shaevel & Krems, LLP
Shilepsky Hartley Robb Casey Michon LLP
Sugarman, Rogers, Barshak & Cohen, P.C.
Thornton Law Firm LLP
Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP

Is your office interested in getting involved? Click here to learn more about the program.

*Employer has committed to hiring more than one student

 

Training Attorneys to Help Homeowners Navigate Tax Lien Cases

House_PropertyTax

Did you catch this article on tax liens in yesterday’s Boston Globe? The article focuses on towns and cities that sell tax-liens to for-profit companies, resulting in high fees and sometimes the loss of a home for property owners.  The BBA and the Land Court have teamed up to pilot a new program beginning in January that aims to help homeowners who face foreclosure on tax liens—from both for-profit companies and municipalities—better understand their options.

Attorneys can sign up to be on call and answer homeowners’ questions during the Land Court’s Thursday Tax Title Sessions. If you’re unfamiliar with this process, don’t worry! We’re holding a training on December 15th from 4:30-6:00 pm at the BBA to provide you with an in-depth look at how the Land Court handles tax title foreclosures and to give you the information you need to explain the process to homeowners. Click here to learn more about this exciting, new training and volunteer opportunity.

VLP Announces Honor Roll for September and October

Every Wednesday and Thursday, volunteer attorneys offer legal assistance and representations in the crowded halls of the Boston Housing Court.

Every Wednesday and Thursday, volunteer attorneys offer legal assistance and representation to landlords and tenants at the Boston Housing Court.

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 September and October:

Lawyer for the Day Volunteers

Sam Ames
David Bean
Nicholas Bentley
Gary Bloom
Jason Campbell
Michael Diener, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP
Nicole Dooley, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP
Sean Doran, Goodwin Procter LLP
Milton D’Andres
Andres Garron, Ropes & Gray LLP
Geraldine Gruvis
Sharon Jones
Mike Leusaul, Goodwin Procter LLP
Michael MacDonald
Marc Migliazzo, Goodwin Procter LLP
Allison Orpilla, Goodwin Procter LLP
Sarah Solomon, Goodwin Procter LLP
Christopher Pavlow, McCarter & English, LLP
Gretchen Roin, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP
Allison Roso
Jordana Roubicek Greenman
Regina Sam, Goodwin Procter LLP
Christopher Schmitt, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP
George Schneider, Goodwin Procter LLP
Kelly Soltis
Leann Walsh, Goodwin Procter LLP
Rebecca Whitfield, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP
Lawrence Wind
Kevin Yurkerwich, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP
Irina Vaglica

Exploring Justice for Servicemembers: A Look at the Massachusetts Veterans’ Treatment Courts

At last Monday's brown bag, attendees learned about the Veterans' Treatment Court thanks to the help of an expert panel.

At last Monday’s brown bag, attendees learned about the Veterans’ Treatment Court thanks to the help of an expert panel.

Last Monday, we heard from an impressive panel of speakers about the Veterans’ Treatment Courts of Massachusetts.  The Honorable Mary Hogan Sullivan, Attorney Vanessa Velez from the Committee for Public Counsel Services, and Access to Justice Fellow Attorney Allan E. Taylor discussed how the treatment courts provide an alternative to incarceration. The Veterans’ Treatment Court coordinates support for veterans in the criminal justice system by connecting them with services and programs that address underlying service-related issues.

If you’re not familiar with the Veterans’ Treatment Courts, here’s a little background: Judge Hogan Sullivan brought the first Veterans’ Treatment Court to Massachusetts in Dedham, a model which will be replicated in 4 other counties in the state, and is already open at BMC.  Veterans’ Treatment Court judges understand military culture, and how PTS, traumatic brain injuries, substance addiction, or military sexual trauma may fuel criminal behavior among veterans.  The judges are assisted by an interdisciplinary team of providers, and mentors, including Veterans Justice Outreach Specialists, representatives from the State Department of Veterans Affairs, and former veterans who volunteer as mentors.  More than 130 courts nationwide now have a Veterans’ Treatment session.  To read more about the Veterans’ Treatment Courts, click here.

Our dedicated readers know about the BBA’s commitment to addressing the legal needs of our servicemembers, veterans, and their families through the Veterans and Military Helpline and Yellow Ribbon Events. One of the priorities of the BBA’s Active Duty, Family Members & Veterans Committee is to illuminate issues facing this population. Case in point– we have a program on military sexual trauma coming up on January 27th (click here for more information).  We’ll keep you posted when similar programs are added to the BBA’s calendar.

To see other recent Beyond the Billable posts about our Veterans Initiative, click here.