Monthly Archives: January 2015

PILP Info Session Draws Future Leaders

Emerging legal leaders gathered at the BBA last to learn about applying for PILP.

Emerging legal leaders gathered at the BBA last week to learn more about PILP and the application process.

Last Thursday, more than two dozen hopeful applicants for the BBA’s Public Interest Leadership Program (PILP) attended an information session at 16 Beacon Street, where they heard from four successful PILP alumni. The panelists offered insight into the application process, their personal PILP experience, and how they’ve remained involved at the BBA after completing the program.

Panelists included:

  • Moderator, Jen Doran – Partner, Hinckley Allen, PILP 06-07
  • Eric Haskell – Assistant District Attorney, Middlesex District Attorney’s Office, PILP 12-13
  • Katherine Schulte – Staff Attorney, Casa Myrna Vasquez, PILP 13-14
  • Daniel Routh – Associate, Ropes & Gray LLP, PILP 12-13

Attendees left the information session with  four key PILP takeaways:

  1. PILP is one of the most valuable tools for networking and meeting people in the profession.
  2. Members of PILP class are exposed to and integrated into BBA leadership.
  3. PILP combines leadership and professional development with service to the community.
  4. Program participants meet leaders within the legal community and greater Boston community.

The BBA will be accepting applications to PILP through Friday, February 13th for the class beginning in May 2015. More information on PILP and the application process is available here. Please email Galen Byrne, Member Relationship Coordinator, at [email protected] with any questions on PILP.

Environmental Brown Bag Draws Big Green Crowd

BBF President Lisa Goodheart (Sugarman, Rogers, Barshak & Cohen, P.C.) and Gene Benson (Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions) discussed the City of Brockton v. Energy Facilities Siting Board case at last Friday's brown bag.

BBF President Lisa Goodheart (Sugarman, Rogers, Barshak & Cohen, P.C.) and Gene Benson (Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions) discussed the City of Brockton v. Energy Facilities Siting Board case at last Friday’s brown bag.

The Claflin Center was packed last Friday for the Environmental Public Service Committee’s brown bag program called “Learning From City of Brockton v. Energy Facilities Siting Board: Environmental Justice Strategies and Collaboration.” If you’re not familiar with the case, here’s why it’s such a big deal:

The case involved multiple appeals from a decision of the EFSB regarding the siting of a fossil-fuel powered power plant on the Brockton-West Bridgewater line.  The case raised new issues of the application of the Commonwealth’s Environmental Justice Policy to administrative decisions.  Although the SJC ultimately upheld the EFSB’s decision, its decision included language suggesting that state agencies will have to think hard about how they approach decisions affecting environmental justice communities in light of the policy.

We reach out to panelist Gene Benson (Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions) to learn more about the important role of attorneys in pro bono environmental justice efforts. Here’s his take:

“There is a great need for lawyers to assist environmental justice community residents pro bono. Working with low income community residents is a terrific experience and an opportunity for environmental lawyers to use their special expertise and experience to help people achieve a safe and healthy environment. The Massachusetts Environmental Justice Assistance Network, co-founded by the BBA and ACE, does a great job connecting lawyers with lower income community residents needing assistance.”

For more on assisting low-income residents in need, read BBA President Julia Huston’s blog, Let the Record Show.

BBA Teams Up with VLP for Debt Collection Suits Training

Attorneys Thomas Beauvais and Danielle Spang walked attendees through the ins and outs of representing debtors at last week's training.

Attorneys Thomas Beauvais and Danielle Spang walked attendees through the ins and outs of representing debtors at last week’s training.

Facing a debt collection suit can be overwhelming, particularly if a debtor doesn’t fully understand his or her rights and has no legal representation. The BBA and Volunteer Lawyers Project (VLP) are working to change that by training attorneys to represent debtors in pro bono cases.

Last week, panelists Danielle Spang (Law Office of Danielle Spang) and Thomas Beauvais (Thomas Beauvais, Attorney at Law) walked the attendees through the following topics:

  • What documents are necessary for the creditor/collector to meet their burden of proof
  • What requests are necessary to seek these documents
  • How to analyze the creditor/collector responses
  • How to guide clients through the discovery process
  • Filing Motions to Dismiss

Attorneys who attended the training are now prepped to volunteer for VLP’s Discovery Clinic, putting their learning into practice and providing an essential legal service to someone facing a difficult time.

Beyond the Billable reached out to Danielle to hear more about last week’s training. Here’s what she had to say:

What do you hope attendees learned from the training?

“I hope attendees learned some of the issues that parties litigate in collection cases, and the value a volunteer attorney can provide to a debtor-defendant in the discovery process.”

Why should attorneys volunteer for VLP’s Discovery Clinic?

“Attorneys should volunteer for VLP’s Discovery Clinic because it is a minimal time commitment (usually 1-2 hours), that provides a great benefit to debtor-defendants by assisting them in requesting the plaintiff’s information and documents, ensuring they do not default for failing to answer requests, and explaining their obligations in answering discovery.”

 

Volunteers Trained for the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program

 Adrienne Walker (Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.) and Doug Rosner (Goulston & Storrs PC) prepped the volunteers for their upcoming Financial Literacy sessions at Tuesday's training.

Adrienne Walker (Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.) and Doug Rosner (Goulston & Storrs PC) prepped the volunteers for their upcoming Financial Literacy sessions at Tuesday’s training.

“Beware of little expenses. A small leak can sink a great ship.” – Benjamin Franklin

 A good way to help people get – and stay – on solid financial footing is to teach them the basics before they start making the big purchases in life. On Tuesday night volunteers gathered at 16 Beacon to get the inside scoop on teaching high school students how to make smart financial decisions through this year’s M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program.

Financial Literacy Committee Co-Chair Doug Rosner (Goulston & Storrs PC) and Veteran Volunteer Adrienne Walker (Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.) walked volunteers through each of the classroom sessions and gave the group tips on activities to engage the students. This year, volunteers will be heading out to 11 high schools in Eastern Massachusetts to teach on topics including personal finance and budgeting, using credit, and buying a car.

Did you miss the training but still want to get involved? Please contact Katie D’Angelo at [email protected] for a video of the training session.  Volunteer sessions are filling up at lightning speed. Click here to sign up.

Become Part of the PILP Legacy

Pilp Session PDF

Calling all future leaders!  Beyond the Billable is pleased to announce that the BBA will be accepting applications to its Public Interest Leadership Program through Friday, February 13th for the class beginning in May 2015. In its 12th iteration, PILP is a unique leadership program for new lawyers that promotes civic engagement and public service by advancing the leadership role of lawyers in service to their community, their profession and the Commonwealth.

Don’t miss the opportunity to hear the inside scoop. PILP alums will host an Information Session about the program next week on Thursday, January 22nd at 4 p.m. at the BBA. Hope to see you there!

For more information on PILP and the application process, please check out the PILP webpage or contact Galen Byrne, Member Relationship Coordinator, at [email protected].

Sign Up for Job Shadow Day

Thornton Law Firm LLP participated in the PIC's Job Shadow Day last week and then decided to hire a student through the BBA Summer Jobs Program after enjoying the experience.

Thornton Law Firm LLP participated in the PIC’s Job Shadow Day last week and then decided to hire a student through the BBA Summer Jobs Program after enjoying the experience.

Can you spare half a day for the next generation? Once again, the Boston Private Industry Council (PIC), one of our partners for the BBA Summer Jobs Program, is gearing up for its annual Job Shadow Day. With nearly 1,000 Boston public high school students participating each year, Job Shadow Day is a great place for employers to meet high school students who are eager to explore careers through hands on experience. This event, which serves as a precursor to the citywide teen employment efforts, allows students to shadow professionals during a normal day of work to give them a firsthand look into the skills and education needed to pursue a number of different careers.

Don’t miss this opportunity to introduce a Boston teen to the legal field. In the past, many of our Summer Jobs employers have identified eager students through this program to work in their offices through the BBA Summer Jobs Program.

Interested in getting involved? This half day program will take place on Friday, February 6th. Click here to learn more.

Community Reentry Readiness Program Talks Public Benefits

Attorneys Ellen Shachter (Greater Boston Legal Services) and Julie McCormick (Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School) presented on public benefits to participants in the Community Reentry Readiness Program.

Attorneys Ellen Shachter (Greater Boston Legal Services) and Julie McCormick (Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School) presented on public benefits to participants in the Community Reentry Readiness Program.

Yesterday, BBA volunteers and public benefits experts Ellen Shachter (Greater Boston Legal Services) and Julie McCormick (Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School) stopped over at the Moakley courthouse for the first Community Reentry Readiness session of the New Year. As you know, volunteer attorneys are able provide probationers with legal advice to support their reentry process. This session’s topic, public benefits, proved to be a valuable subject matter to the probationers in attendance.

In an intimate roundtable discussion, the volunteers were able to address individual questions and debunk some common myths about public health and housing benefits. Ellen and Julie gave probationers tips on how to manage and negotiate the system to help them receive the max amount of benefits that they are entitled.

Beyond the Billable reached out to Ellen to learn more about the session. Here’s why she thinks this session is particularly relevant to the participants:

“As individuals transition from incarceration into the community it is critical that they are provided with the skills and information necessary to successfully obtain critical benefits such as health insurance coverage and food stamps.  The BBA’s benefits workshop provided just such information to those reentering the community both through direct oral presentation and in written materials.  The benefits workshop also provided a safe forum for participants to ask questions and raise concerns about their own experiences in attempting to navigate complicated benefit program requirements.”

Stay tuned for next month’s session on housing.

Summer Jobs Lessons Applied to Real Life

Kylie Webster- Cazeau

Our regular readers have heard us brag about our amazing Summer Jobs students all summer long. However, it’s always a wonderful to hear how our students are applying their summer experiences once they’re back at school.

We received an email from Rose Delorme, the PIC Career Specialist at Boston Latin School, who shared a story about one of our former Summer Jobs students, Kylie Webster Cazeau. Kylie, who was a Boston Bar Foundation funded student who worked at the Federal District Court through the 2014 BBA Summer Jobs Program, is a member of the club B.L.A.C.K. (Black Leaders Aspiring for Change and Knowledge) at Boston Latin School.

After the grand jury verdict for the Michael Brown case was announced, the club hosted an emergency meeting to discuss the situation and brainstorm on ways to support the cause. The students were very confused on what the indictment verdict actually determined, and they were under the impression that it was a not guilty verdict. Using knowledge gained from her summer job, Kylie took the initiative to teach her peers what the difference is between an indictment verdict and a not guilty verdict.

According to Rose, “It was a moment that I think she was very proud of, and I was also proud that she had the knowledge to be able to do that. When I speak to Kylie about her BBA experience she raves on how much she learned in such a short period of time. She talks about how attending court hearings fueled her passion to pursue a career in the justice system.”

We reached out to Kylie to hear her side of the story. Here’s what she had to say about how her summer experience prepped her to understand the process:

“While working at the courthouse this summer I also got to work in the jury office, so I learned a lot about not only what happens in that office but what a jury does as well. About every week or so, the grand jury would be called in to review cases and decide whether or not they were going to indict someone. I also watched many cases where before the trial the prosecution would present all the evidence they have on the defendant to the judge, similar to how they would a grand jury.”

Your legal office could be the next to make a difference in the life of a Boston teen. Click here to learn more about hiring a BBA Summer Jobs student.

Looking Ahead in Public Service

The Annual Charitable Board Training, which always draws a big crowd, is one of the many public service events coming up in January.

The Annual Charitable Board Service Program, which always draws a big crowd, is one of the many public service events coming up in January.

Happy 2015! If you’re still looking for a New Year’s resolution, here’s one: commit to getting more involved in the BBA’s public service efforts. Take a look below at upcoming trainings and events:

M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Program Training
Tuesday, January 13th 4:30-6:00 pm

The M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program may be the perfect fit for you. After completing this training, volunteers go into high schools and educate students about the importance of making smart financial decisions.

Representing Debtors in Debt Collection Suits: Making Creditors Prove Ownership of Debts
Thursday, January 15th 4:00-6:00 pm

If you’re searching for a new pro bono opportunity, look no further! The Volunteer Lawyers Project is seeking volunteers to represent debtors in collection suits. Seasoned debt collection defense practitioners, Thomas Beauvais and Danielle Spang, will discuss their strategies and insights for discovery in debt defense cases.

Learning From City of Brockton v. Energy Facilities Siting Board: Environmental Justice Strategies and Collaboration
Friday, January 16th 12:00-1:00 pm

Don’t miss the Environmental Law Public Service Committee’s upcoming brown bag where practitioners Lisa Goodheart and Gene Benson share their perspective on the SJC’s decision in City of Brockton v. EFSB. The program will cover the environmental justice implications of the decision and the role of pro bono representation in environmental justice issues.

Building Your Practice Through Pro Bono
Wednesday, January 21st 4:00-6:00 pm

Learn how other solo and small firm attorneys have successfully incorporated volunteer service into their law practices and share your own successes as well.

4th Annual Charitable Board Service Program (Free)
Thursday, January 22nd 8:00 -11:30 am

Serving on a charitable board is an opportunity to contribute to a worthy cause or mission. You will also gain meaningful experience, broaden your career horizons, and use your skills to serve your community in an area of your interest. This program will address what you need to know in order to be an effective member of a charitable board, as well as how to find the right board for you.

Victim Rights Law Center’s Rape Survivors’ Law Project
Wednesday, January 14th 9:30-11:30 am
Proskauer Rose, One International Place, Boston, MA

Join our friends at the Victim Rights Law Center for a training that will address the realities and dynamics of sexual assault, how to effectively and sensitively work with a victim of sexual assault, and the best practices applicable to our most common pro bono cases. To attend, please RSVP to [email protected].

Walk to the Hill for Civil Legal Aid Meet Up
Thursday, January 29th 10:00-11:00 am

Want to Walk to the Hill? Join the New Lawyers and the Solo & Small Firms Sections for a networking breakfast before walking over to the State House as a group. Walk to the Hill for Civil Legal Aid is one of the largest lobbying events held at the Massachusetts State House. This annual event is critical to obtaining funding for civil legal services. Following “Investing in Justice,” the report of the BBA Statewide Task Force to Expand Civil Legal Aid in Massachusetts, we now know more about the justice gap than ever before.

John & Abigail Adam’s Benefit
Saturday, January 31st 6:30 pm
Museum of Fines Arts, Boston, MA

We couldn’t leave out the premier charity event in the legal field, the John & Abigail Adam’s Benefit. As you may know, 100 percent of the proceeds from the event will be used for direct grants to organizations that serve thousands of individuals and families struggling with issues such as homelessness and domestic violence. This year’s event will feature a new twist– Late Night at the Museum — a dessert and dancing event starting at 9:00 p.m. for young lawyers and law students. There will be a variety of live entertainment throughout the museum, an abundance of gourmet food and beverages and beautiful galleries and exhibits to explore.