Monthly Archives: September 2015

Proclaiming October Pro Bono Month

Governor Charlie Baker presented BBA President Lisa Arrowood with his proclamation of October as Pro Bono Month at Annual Meeting.

Governor Charlie Baker presented BBA President Lisa Arrowood with his proclamation of October as Pro Bono Month at Annual Meeting.

Tomorrow’s the first day of October, which means only one thing in the legal community—the start of Pro Bono Month. It turns out we aren’t the only fans of this month. If you attended the BBA’s Annual Meeting a few weeks ago, you may remember Governor Charlie Baker, our keynote speaker, handing a copy of his proclamation for Pro Bono Month to BBA President Lisa Arrowood on stage.

In additional to the Governor’s proclamation, the BBA has its own resolution. Check it out below:

Recognizing October as Pro Bono Month

Whereas, the promise of equal justice under law is the most fundamental tenet of our justice system; and

Whereas, the bench and bar face a crisis of unmet need for legal representation for the poor; and

Whereas, Boston attorneys donate thousands of hours of pro bono legal services and make annual financial contributions directly to legal services organizations, to help address the huge unmet need for legal assistance to Boston’s poor, especially in light of the current economic situation; and

Whereas, the Boston Bar Association actively promotes pro bono participation in a variety of ways on an ongoing basis and gives special recognition annual for outstanding pro bono contributions made by its members; and

Whereas,  the Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has designated October as Pro Bono Month to recognize the valuable pro bono contributions made by lawyers throughout the year, and to increase pro bono participation across the state to narrow the justice gap;

Now, Therefore, Be It Resolved that the Boston Bar Association recognizes October as Pro Bono Month, commends Boston attorneys for their ongoing pro bono contributions, and reminds all members that by engaging in pro bono work and providing financial support they can made a significant difference in the lives of Boston’s poor who would not otherwise have access to the legal system.

If you’re looking to get in the spirit of Pro Bono Month, don’t miss the “Lawyer for the Day Training: Fair Debt Collection” Pro Bono Training on Thursday, October 8th. It’s a great way to gain new skills and give back through the Volunteer Lawyers Project’s Fair Debt Collection Program. Click here to learn more.

New BPS Superintendent Pushes for Teen Employment Opportunities

BPS Superintendent Tommy Chang is hoping to partner with businesses to provide BPS students with more opportunities inside and outside of the classroom to prepare for their future careers.

Students in the BBA Summer Jobs Program (pictured above) get the opportunity to learn about the legal field and to gain on the job training in professional offices. BPS Superintendent Tommy Chang is hoping to partner with businesses to provide BPS students with more opportunities inside and outside of the classroom to prepare for their future careers.

The City of Boston’s new school superintendent Tommy Chang is rolling up his sleeves and getting down to business. If you caught this article in the Boston Globe, you know that Chang is committed to transforming the idea of the traditional classroom by creating more pathways into the workplace for students through business-involved curriculum. The goal is to  help prepare students for jobs crucial to our local economy such as health care, finance, and technology.

He is also looking to local companies will invest in their future workforce by offering more paid summer internship to high schoolers in the hopes that they will have the training and desire to become full-time employees after college.

As long-time supports of career development initiatives, the BBA looks forward to continuing to engage Boston law offices in this effort. This past summer, the Boston community employed 10,360 Boston teens through the Mayor’s Summer Jobs Program.  With the Superintendent and the Mayor pushing for more jobs for Boston teens, we are sure this number will continue to rise!

Does your office want to be part of the movement to prepare Boston public high school students for their future careers? Click here to learn how you get involved in the BBA Summer Jobs Program.

PILP Hears from CPCS and FAMM

Lisa Hewitt, the General Counsel of the Committee for Public Counsel Services (CPCS), and Barbara Dougan, Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM), spoke with PILP 12 about sentencing reform and mandatory minimum reform initiatives in Massachusetts.

Lisa Hewitt, the General Counsel of the Committee for Public Counsel Services (CPCS), and Barbara Dougan, Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM), spoke with PILP 12 about sentencing reform and mandatory minimum reform initiatives in Massachusetts.

Last week, Lisa Hewitt, the General Counsel of the Committee for Public Counsel Services (CPCS), and Barbara Dougan, Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM), led a roundtable discussion with the PILP 12 class about current sentencing reform and mandatory minimum reform initiatives in the Commonwealth.

After an informative and energetic discussion, Beyond the Billable checked in with members of PILP 12 to get their perspective on the talk:

Dunn_Chelsea“It was extremely surprising to learn how Massachusetts compares to the rest of the nation—for a state considered so liberal, our sentencing laws are quite punitive.  Lisa and Barbara’s discussion was an inspiration to educate my colleagues and peers and to reach out to legislators in support of eliminating mandatory minimums and eradicating the three strikes law.”– Chelsea Dunn, CPCS | Children and Family Law Division

 

 

Homer_Michael“Lisa Hewitt met with the PILP group to discuss the evolution of sentencing policies at the state and federal level, and the current need for sentencing reform, particularly for non-violent drug offenders.  As CPCS’s primary liaison to the state legislature, Lisa was able to provide unique insight into her agency’s efforts to advance sentencing reform here in Massachusetts.”– Mike Homer, Ropes & Gray LLP

 

 

Hartnagel_David“The speakers noted the trickle-down effect on defendants who receive mandatory minimum sentences, and what services and treatment might be available to them in jail or prison. This is notable because many people don’t appreciate that these punishments encompass much more than simply the length of time that an individual may serve and help perpetuate a cycle where such criminal defendants find it much more difficult to rehabilitate into productive members of society.”– David Hartnagel, Sheehan Phinney Bass + Green PA

State Rep. Chris Walsh Visits Housing Court

State Rep. Chris Walsh visited the Lawyer for the Day in the Boston Housing Court Program this morning and met with the BBA's partners for the program, including Joanna Allison for the Volunteer Lawyers Project.

State Rep. Chris Walsh visited the Lawyer for the Day in the Boston Housing Court Program this morning and met with the BBA’s partners for the program, including Joanna Allison from the Volunteer Lawyers Project.

Standing outside Courtroom 15 at Edward W. Brooke Courthouse, State Rep. Chris Walsh said he is concerned about his constituents in Framingham who may be embroiled in a legal dispute between landlord and tenant, but can’t afford an attorney.

Rep. Walsh stopped by the BBA’s Lawyer for the Day Program on September 17 to learn more about the volunteer attorneys who represent such clients. Every Wednesday and Thursday and one Monday a month, law students and lawyers give their time to clients with a case in Housing Court and no legal representation.

“I am very interested in the access to justice issue,” Rep. Walsh said after he sat in the courtroom and listened to the beginning of the day’s proceedings. “I think that housing issues are complex. Housing Court addresses those issues quickly and with an evenhanded approach.”

Rep. Walsh went on to say that he “looked forward to bringing the issue back to the Statehouse” in hopes of expanding access to Housing Court to the residents of the Commonwealth who don’t have it. He estimated that encompassed about 1/3 of the population of Massachusetts.

Through a partnership between the BBA, the Volunteer Lawyers Project of the Boston Bar Association, Greater Boston Legal Services, WilmerHale Legal Services Center and Boston Housing Court, the program gives attorneys and law students the chance to complete pro bono work with a steady stream of clients.

The Program relies on dedicated volunteers, such as Rob Skinner (Ropes & Gray) and Amy Roy (Ropes & Gray) pictured above, who provide legal assistance to landlords and tenants each week.

The Program relies on dedicated volunteers, such as Rob Skinner (Ropes & Gray) and Amy Roy (Ropes & Gray) pictured above, who provide legal assistance to landlords and tenants.

“For lawyers who are not litigators, Housing Court represents an opportunity to do pro bono work without having to stand up in front of a courtroom, which can be intimidating,” Rob Skinner, a partner at Ropes & Gray said.

He and Amy Roy, counsel in the securities litigation group at the firm, began volunteering with the Lawyer for the Day program because of the buzz the program generated among their colleagues.

“It’s really nice to know that you can help. We know that without us, they’re going to go without representation,” she said.

BBA Public Service Programs Coordinator Named 2015 PIC Achiever

Katie D'Angelo, BBA Public Service Programs Coordinator, and Josh Bruno, School-to-Career and Employer Engagement Director at the PIC, pose after the Annual Meeting.

Katie D’Angelo, BBA Public Service Programs Coordinator, and Josh Bruno, School-to-Career and Employer Engagement Director at the PIC, pose after the PIC’s Annual Meeting yesterday.

The Boston Private Industry Council (PIC) honored BBA’s own Katie D’Angelo with a 2015 PIC Achiever for her work expanding the BBA Summer Jobs Program at their annual meeting yesterday.  As you may remember, the BBA Summer Jobs Program has provided more and more legal internships for Boston teens each summer, reaching an all-time high of 65 positions this past summer.

Here’s what the PIC had to say about Katie:

“Katie connects students to some of Boston’s most influential and powerful law firms. She works closely with PIC career specialists to understand the skill set and character of each and every student applicant, always looking for the perfect match. Over the past four years, she has increased the popularity of the program among law firms—and law departments within larger organizations—while adding professional development, financial literacy, and dynamic guest speakers to the BBA intern experience. Though the competition for BBA internships is fierce, Katie makes sure that students participate from almost every Boston public high school.”

We at the BBA couldn’t agree more. Congratulations, Katie!

Calling All Law Students and New Lawyers: Give Back this Fall

Last year, a group of volunteers headed to the Prison Book Project to help sort books. Don't miss the opportunity to volunteer at this event this year.

Last year, a group of volunteers headed to the Prison Book Project to help sort books. Don’t miss the opportunity to volunteer at this event.

If you’re a law student or New Lawyer looking to give back to the community and meet other legal professionals don’t miss these upcoming opportunities:

Volunteer with the Prison Book Project
Saturday, September 19, 2015 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM or 1:00 PM to 4 PM
United First Parish Church – 1306 Hancock Street, Quincy, MA

Volunteers will be split into three groups: tasks are either to read the prisoner’s request and find the appropriate book for each prisoner, to make sure the books are appropriate and fill out an invoice, or to prepare the books for mailing.

Volunteer with The Greater Boston Food Bank
Saturday, October 3, 2015 1:00 PM to 3:30 PM
Greater Boston Food Bank – 70 South Bay Ave., Boston, MA

Come join members of the Public Interest Leadership Program as we partner with other volunteers to help ‘End Hunger Here.’ Most volunteers work in the GBFB warehouse, inspecting, sorting, and packing food and grocery products.

What You Need to Know About Naturalization: Pro Bono Preparation for Boston’s Citizenship Day
Monday, September 21, 2015 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Boston Bar Association, 16 Beacon Street, Boston, MA 02108

Get trained to volunteer at the second annual Citizenship Day in Boston on September 26, 2015. This training will teach law students and attorneys to prepare the citizenship application for attendees.

Justice for Trafficking Victims: Civil Litigation, Vacatur, Criminal Restitution and the Pro Bono Bar
Wednesday, September 30, 2015 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Boston Bar Association, 16 Beacon Street, Boston, MA 02108

Attendees will gain insight into all remedies available to trafficking survivors in the United States, including many legal rights overlooked for nearly a decade.

Pro Bono Recruitment Fair & Open House
Monday, October 19, 2015 4:30 PM to 6:00 PM
Suffolk Law School (1st Floor Function Room) – 120 Tremont Street, Boston, MA

This event, sponsored by the BBA and Suffolk Law School, provides attorneys and law students with the chance to explore pro bono opportunities.

If you’re a barred attorney or 3:03 certified law student, you may also be interested in these trainings:

Lawyer for the Day Training: Fair Debt Collection
Thursday, October 8, 2015 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Boston Bar Association, 16 Beacon Street, Boston, MA 02108

The BBA is teaming up with the Volunteer Lawyers Project and Senior Partners for Justice to train attorneys to provide pro bono assistance to debtors and creditors through the Fair Debt Collection program.

Pro Bono Training: Landlord Tenant Law & Practice
Tuesday, November 17, 2015 3:00 PM to 6:30 PM
Boston Bar Association, 16 Beacon Street, Boston, MA 02108

Each Thursday, more than 150 eviction cases are scheduled at Boston Housing Court. More than 90% of the tenants are pro se. This training will prepare you to assist landlords and tenants through the Lawyer for the Day Program of the Boston Bar Association.

Questions? Contact Katie D’Angelo at [email protected].

PILP 12 explores pathways to end domestic violence

During a recent meeting, PILP 12 learned about changes to legislation pertaining to domestic violence from Jennifer Bolton, the Senior Manager Prevention & Education at DOVE (DOmestic Violence Ended), Inc., and Sarah Ellis, Deputy General Counsel of the District Court.

During a recent meeting, PILP 12 learned about changes to legislation pertaining to domestic violence from Jennifer Bolton (DOVE, Inc.,) and Sarah Ellis (Administrative Office of the District Court)

As our Beyond the Billable readers know, the Public Interest Leadership Program (PILP) not only brings the best and brightest young attorneys together for leadership training and public service initiatives, it hosts Boston legal and community leaders as guest speakers. Each year, PILPers reach out to leaders based on the class’s topics of interest. Past topics included: running for local politics, the state of legal services, and how to serve on a charitable board.

The 2015-2016 PILP class, fondly known as PILP 12, kicked off its year of guest speakers in August. At its meetings, PILP 12 learned about changes to legislation pertaining to domestic violence from Jennifer Bolton, the Senior Manager Prevention & Education at DOVE (DOmestic Violence Ended), Inc., and Sarah Ellis, Deputy General Counsel of the District Court.

Beyond the Billable caught up with two PILPers to hear about the meetings:

“Jennifer Bolton, DOVE Inc.’s Senior Manager of Outreach and Education met with PILP to discuss the cycle of domestic and how trauma impacts survivors abilities to navigate systems including the Court. Jen’s insights were invaluable to the group and provided an understanding of  the various obstacles survivors of domestic violence face in achieving safety.”

  • Jessica Katz, DOVE (DOmestic Violence Ended), Inc.

“Sarah Ellis, Deputy General Counsel of the District Court, met with the PILP group to discuss the current status of the law concerning domestic violence in Massachusetts. Sarah provided an accessible and interesting overview to how the courts, District Attorney’s offices, and police departments are attempting to battle domestic violence in an increasingly holistic manner while weighing the needs of victims and the rights of defendants.”

  • Betsy Barrett, Massachusetts Executive Office of the Trial Court

Stay tuned for more on this year’s PILP speakers.

Judicial Interns Wrap Up Another Successful Summer

The 2015 Judicial Interns worked at nine courts in Greater Boston for a total of over 4,100 hours throughout the summer.

The 2015 Judicial Interns worked at nine courts in Greater Boston for a total of over 4,100 hours throughout the summer.

Beyond the Billable would like to congratulate the 2015 Judicial Interns on all of their hard work volunteering in the courts. The program gives law students the opportunity to gain firsthand experience while working closely with a judge at one of nine participating courts in and around the Greater Boston area.

This summer marks the fifth year since the internship was created by the BBA’s Diversity & Inclusion Section, with the goal of retaining a diverse population of young lawyers here in Boston. Additionally, the program aims to provide law students with the valuable mentoring and professional experience needed to succeed after graduation. This year we had a total of 24 students from our five sponsor schools, George Mason University School of Law, and Western New England School of Law collectively volunteer over 4,000 hours!

We caught up with Alexander Conley (New England Law | Boston Class of 2017) to hear more about his experience working with Judge Catherine K. Byrne in Boston Municipal Court; here’s what he had to say:

“One of the most memorable moments during my internship happened after being on the job for only a little while.  After observing a motion to suppress, the judge that I was working with asked me if I ’wanted to take this one.’  At first I had no idea what she meant. However, when she explained that she wanted me to draft the opinion for her I was very surprised. It was the first time during the internship that I was asked to do something of such substance, and when I got the assignment I was both excited and nervous.”

When we asked Christopher Boutin (Suffolk University Law, Class of 2017) what his most memorable moment during the internship was, here’s what he told us:

“The most memorable experience of the summer was getting the opportunity to watch the Tsarnayev sentencing hearing in the Federal Courthouse. Judge Tochka urged us to attend so we could experience how a high profile case differs from other cases.

I would highly recommend the judicial internship to ALL law students. Overall, this experience provided me with the kind of knowledge that you cannot learn in the classroom. It provides with the knowledge that only comes from years of experience.”

Congratulations to all of the 2015 summer interns, and we wish you all the best of luck during this upcoming school year!