Monthly Archives: October 2015

Limited Assistance Representation Series Kicks Off

Emily Jarrell (Volunteer Lawyers Project), Ilene Mitchell (Probate & Family Court), and Thomas Beauvais walked attendees through everything they needed to know about practicing Limited Assistance Representation (LAR).

Emily Jarrell (Volunteer Lawyers Project), Ilene Mitchell (Probate & Family Court), and Thomas Beauvais walked attendees through everything they needed to know about practicing Limited Assistance Representation (LAR).

Last Thursday, the BBA held a Limited Assistance Representation (LAR) Training to qualify attendees to practice LAR and to teach them the basics of going into court for a single event in a case.

Don’t worry if you missed this program! The BBA is the hub of everything LAR and there are plenty more opportunities to learn how to effectively use LAR in your area of practice. Take a look below at the upcoming programs.

Do you still need to get certified to practice LAR? Visit this website and read the training guide or watch the video to get qualified to practice LAR. Then, sign up for one of our upcoming sessions to learn how to put your new skills to use!

Become an LAR Success Story

LAR Practical Skills: Ethical Considerations
Wednesday, December 2, 2015 – 4:30 PM to 6:00 PM

This program will feature a lively discussion about the ethical considerations attorneys must be aware of before taking on an LAR client (1.5 hours of CLE ethics credit will be available for attendees.)

LAR Practical Skills: Drafting a Fee Agreement
Tuesday, January 26, 2016 – 4:30 PM to 6:00 PM

Attendees will learn practical tips on how to talk to their client about LAR fees and gain hands on experience drafting an effective and comprehensive fee agreement.

Court Specific Practical Skills for LAR

LAR Practical Skills: Housing Court
Monday, February 29, 2016 – 12:00 PM to 1:30 PM

LAR Practical Skills: Probate & Family Court
Tuesday, March 22, 2016 – 12:00 PM to 1:30 PM

LAR Practical Skills: Boston Municipal Court & District Court
Thursday, April 28, 2016 – 12:00 PM to 1:30 PM

LAR Practical Skills: Land Court
Tuesday, May 24, 2016 – 12:00 PM to 1:30 PM

 

VLP Announces August and September Honor Roll

Volunteers serve as the backbone of programs like Lawyer for the Day in the Boston Housing Court.

Volunteers serve as the backbone of programs like Lawyer for the Day in the Boston Housing Court.

Volunteer Lawyers Project of the Boston Bar Association thanks the following attorneys who accepted cases or provided consultation during August and September.

Alvaro Aguirre
Sam Ames
Thomas Beauvais
Mark N. Berman
Sarah Boonin
Robert Burdick
Taurean Cox
Katherine Crossman
Jose F. Demedeiros
Vikas Dhar
Jennifer DiCarlo
Mary Donahue
Meredith Douglas
James T. Downes
Sultan Durzi
Magdalena Ellis
Gavin Fishman
Andres Garron
James George
Michael Giarrusso
Richard Gruenberger
Sharon Jones
Veronica Kane
Tyler R. Keyser
Steven Kornstein
Laura Lerner
Renee Mahoney
Joseph Molina Flynn
Evelyn Venables Moreno
Madelyn Morris
Joanne Moses
Pavan Nagavelli
Kate E. Nicholson
Nathalie O’Callaghan
Kenneth Reisman
Jonathon Roth
Ryan Sakoda
Cara Sgobba
Cody Thornton
Margaret S. Travers
Jeffri Uber
William Valletta
Jessica Wilson

Society of Fellows Celebrates Support of Veterans

 Society of Fellows Co-Chair Tom Gallitano (Conn Kavanaugh Rosenthal Peisch & Ford, LLP) introduced the speaker for the evening, Anna Schleelein Richardson, Co-Executive Director of Veterans Legal Services

Society of Fellows Co-Chair Tom Gallitano (Conn Kavanaugh Rosenthal Peisch & Ford, LLP) introduced the speaker for the evening, Anna Schleelein Richardson, Co-Executive Director of Veterans Legal Services.

Last Thursday, the Boston Bar Foundation’s Society of Fellows held an Open House that brought together current Fellows as well those interested in learning more about joining the Society. As our Beyond the Billable fans may remember, the Society is a group of more than 400 lawyers dedicated to supporting the BBF’s work of improving our community through public service and expanding access to justice for underserved populations.

In honor of Pro Bono Month, Anna Schleelein Richardson, Co-Executive Director of Veterans Legal Services (VLS), spoke about the positive impact of the BBF’s funding to support VLS’s work providing comprehensive legal services to veterans and military families and the prevailing unmet need amongst veterans for high-quality legal services.

“I have been continually impressed by this organization’s commitment to making sure veterans get the legal help that they need,” Anna told the crowd, noting that the BBA’s Military and Veterans Legal Help Line served more than 350 veterans and their families in the last year alone. “The BBF has supported VLS for over a decade.”

VLS is just one of the many community organizations that the BBF will support this year. In total, the BBF is granting $950,000 to 23 community organizations, helping thousands of individuals and families struggling with issues such as homelessness, domestic violence and other forms of injustice. This is in addition to the BBF funding the entire year’s portfolio of BBA Public Service Programs, including Law Day in the Schools and trainings to equip hundreds of attorneys to take on pro bono cases.

Anna noted that without the crucial funding provided by the BBF, the veterans she serves at VLS “are at risk of losing their homes, families or basic subsistence if they do not have access to representation.”

Thanks to the support of the BBF’s funding, VLS was able to assist nearly 450 veterans and their family members last year. The BBF’s work is made possible because of the continued commitment of the Society of Fellows. Click here to learn more about the work that the Society supports or click here to join the Society of Fellows today!

Annual Pro Bono Fair Draws Crowd

Law students and new attorneys learned about pro bono volunteer and internship opportunities at organizations like Community Legal Services and Counseling Center (CLSACC) at Monday's Pro Bono Fair.

Law students and new attorneys learned about pro bono volunteer and internship opportunities at organizations like Community Legal Services and Counseling Center (CLSACC) at Monday’s Pro Bono Fair.

On Monday, over two hundred law students and new lawyers gathered at Suffolk Law School to learn about volunteer opportunities at the annual Pro Bono Fair. Each year the BBA and Suffolk Law School team up to connect law students and new attorneys interested in giving back with local legal services organizations, nonprofits, and government agencies seeking assistance. If you missed the event but still want to get involved, click here to view the guide to learn how you can help.

Take a look below for more photos from the event:

Project Citizenship shared internship and volunteer opportunities with attendees.

Project Citizenship shared internship and volunteer opportunities with attendees.

Lynn Girton, the Pro Bono Director at Veterans Legal Services, spoke with law students and lawyers about opportunities to assist veterans.

Lynn Girton, the Pro Bono Director at Veterans Legal Services, spoke with law students and lawyers about opportunities to assist veterans.

Milton Wong, a staff attorney at the Volunteer Lawyers Project, offered attendees additional information about the various pro bono opportunities at his organization.

Milton Wong, a staff attorney at the Volunteer Lawyers Project, offered attendees additional information about the various pro bono opportunities at his organization.

Hot Off the Press: BBA & BBF Release 2015 Public Service Report

2015_BBA_Public_Service_Report_Cover

The BBA & BBF are excited to announce the release of the 2015 Public Service Report. The report highlights the work of our 12,000+ members giving back and helping our community through programs like Law Day in the Schools and the Reentry Education Program. Take a few minutes to read through the report and learn more.

If you’re feeling inspired to get involved, please contact Katie D’Angelo, Public Service Programs Coordinator, at [email protected].

Upcoming Brown Bag Tackles Issue of Long-Term Solitary Confinement

Massachusetts is one of only a few states in the country where inmates can be sentenced for up to ten years in solitary confinement for one disciplinary infraction. Leslie Walker, Executive Director of Prisoners’ Legal Services of Massachusetts, is one of many activists looking to educate the community about the risks of this practice.
Walker, Leslie
On October 26th, she will host a Brown Bag Lunch from 12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. where attendees will have the chance to watch a presentation, hear a former prisoner’s story and ask questions of Leslie and her staff. The primary goal of the Brown Bag is education about solitary confinement regulations in the Commonwealth, and about proposals to reform those regulations.

“Now is the time, because much of the rest of the country is realizing that long-term solitary confinement does much more harm than good and has a negative impact on public safety,” she said. “President Obama has spoken out against solitary confinement, and Associate Justice Kennedy of the Supreme Court has said it drives men mad.”

Leslie and her organization are in favor of a plan that would keep inmates in solitary confinement only as long as they are considered dangerous. In other states, studies have found that prisons become less violent when prisoners in solitary are allowed to gradually reenter the general population.
Leslie said she would encourage anyone with an interest in prisoners’ rights, especially law school students, to attend the Brown Bag event later this month.

“I would have people leave the Brown Bag educated as to the state of solitary confinement in Massachusetts and aware of the solutions that are out there,” she said.

Click here to register for the event.

Fair Debt Collection Pro Bono Training Draws Crowd

Attendees at last week's Fair Debt Collections training took careful notes to prepare to volunteer for the Lawyer for the Day Program.

Attendees at last week’s Fair Debt Collections training took careful notes to prepare to volunteer for the Lawyer for the Day Program.

In honor of Pro Bono Month, the BBA partnered with the Volunteer Lawyers Project (VLP) and Senior Partners for Justice to hold a Lawyer for the Day: Fair Debt Collection training last week. Attendees learned about defending debt collection lawsuits, answering and filing discovery requests, asserting counterclaims under the FDCPA, and other consumer protection statutes. Now that the Lawyer for the Day Program is expanding outside of the Boston Municipal Court, volunteers are in high demand. Here’s why Emily Jarrell, a Staff Attorney at VLP, thinks you should volunteer for the program:

“The Lawyer for the Day Program allows volunteers to learn a new area of the law by seeing how the court works and watching more experienced volunteers take on cases.  It also allows volunteers to do pro bono work without needing to commit to a full representation case.  Volunteers can commit to just a couple hours a week using limited assistance representation.  The debt collection projects are also a great way to meet other lawyers and get experience litigating in District Court.”

If you’re interested in this project, VLP staff members will be talking about all of the pro bono opportunities available through their organization at the Pro Bono Fair on Monday, October 19th from 4:30-6 pm. Click here to learn more.

Don’t Miss THE Pro Bono Event of the Year!

Barbara Mitchell, former Executive Director of Community Legal Services and Counseling Center (CLSACC), talked to law students and new lawyers about volunteer opportunities at last year's Pro Bono Fair.

Barbara Mitchell, former Executive Director of Community Legal Services and Counseling Center (CLSACC), talked to law students and new lawyers about volunteer opportunities at last year’s Pro Bono Fair.

Have you been searching for the perfect pro bono opportunity? Head on over to Suffolk Law School this Monday between 4:30-6 pm for the BBA and Suffolk’s annual Pro Bono Fair. Representatives from local legal services organizations will be onsite to discuss opportunities to volunteer with their organizations. The event draws over 300 law students and attorneys each year. Don’t miss out on the chance to celebrate Pro Bono Month by finding your next volunteer opportunity!

Click here to learn more.

Nationally-Recognized Expert Visits BBA for Human Trafficking Training

Martina Vandenberg (The Human Trafficking Pro Bono Legal Center) and Julie Dahlstrom (Casa Myrna and Boston University School of Law Human Trafficking Clinic) led a training on using federal law to obtain justice for trafficking survivors.

Martina Vandenberg (The Human Trafficking Pro Bono Legal Center) and Julie Dahlstrom (Casa Myrna and Boston University School of Law Human Trafficking Clinic) led a training on using federal law to obtain justice for trafficking survivors.

At the end of September, the BBA hosted a very special guest from Washington, DC. Martina Vandenberg, the President and Founder of The Human Trafficking Pro Bono Legal Center traveled to the BBA to lead a training on using federal law to obtain justice for trafficking survivors. She was joined by local expert, Julie Dahlstrom, a Senior Staff Attorney at Casa Myrna and Clinical Legal Fellow at the Boston University School of Law Human Trafficking Clinic.

In the United States, trafficking survivors rarely have access to justice. In 2013, federal prosecutors brought just 161 criminal cases against traffickers in the entire country. Pro bono attorneys can play a huge role in advocating for the rights of survivors. We reached out to Attorney Vandenberg to learn more about the training. Take a look below to learn more:

What do you hope attendees learned from the program?

I hope that the attorneys who participated learned: 1) that pro bono lawyers can make a significant difference in the lives of trafficking survivors; 2) that trafficking survivors have the right to sue their traffickers for damages in federal court; and 3) that pro bono attorneys can get involved by volunteering with a local non-governmental organization or with HT Pro Bono [The Human Trafficking Pro Bono Legal Center].  Pro bono attorneys have a fantastic track record in this field.  HT Pro Bono has one key goal: ensuring that every trafficking victim who wants a lawyer gets a pro bono lawyer.

Why should attorneys get involved in pro bono human trafficking work?

This is some of the most rewarding pro bono work that an attorney can do. The cases are compelling.  The clients are inspiring.  Civil litigation against human traffickers draws on skills that attorneys in private practice have already mastered. Trafficking work also provides an opportunity to be on the cutting edge of a new legal field.  In October 2015, pro bono attorneys at WilmerHale filed the first-ever federal human trafficking civil suit ever brought in Massachusetts.  Pro bono attorneys can also fight to vacate convictions resulting from crimes that traffickers forced the victims to commit.  This is pro bono work that provides intellectual challenge, direct client interaction, and concrete results in trafficking survivors’ lives.  It is also an area where extensive technical assistance is available — from HT Pro Bono, from local NGO attorneys, and from experts throughout the United States.

If you’re feeling inspired to get involved in pro bono opportunities of any kind after reading this article, don’t miss the Pro Bono Fair at Suffolk University this Monday, October 19th from 4:30-6:00 pm. Representatives from local legal service organizations will be onsite to tell you about opportunities to volunteer with their organizations. Click here to learn more.

Calling all Veterans: BBA Invites You to Veterans Day Reception in November

American Flag

Did you know that there are currently 21.8 million veterans of the U.S armed forces?

The BBA is proud to host a special Veterans Day Reception on Thursday, November 12, 2015, from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM.

Led by past BBA President Jack Regan of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP and William Sinnott of Donoghue Barrett & Singal, P.C. – both veterans themselves – the event brings together legal professionals who share a history of military service, a connection to military service, or a dedication to serving veterans and their families.

Regan, Jack“Bill Sinnott and I have been involved with veterans’ issues at the BBA for years,” said Regan.  “Our work together has included asking the lawyers of Boston to step up and assist veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, and their families, with a range of urgently needed legal services.  This reception is a way to say thank you to those lawyers, and to pause — in the midst of our busy professional and personal lives — to recognize the sacrifices made by Massachusetts veterans for all of us.”

“I hope that attendees gain a greater understanding of the issues that veterans confront when they suddenly transition from a structured military life and the rigors of deployment to the open, unstructured environment of civilian life and the challenges of re-entry into a competitive workplace, while trying to leave the memories of war behind,” he continued.  “Attendees would also gain an insight into the extensive work being done by the lawyers of the Boston Bar Association and related legal services organizations to assist veterans with that transition.”

Click here to register