Monthly Archives: December 2015

Public Service: A Year in Photos

Blizzards and slow public transportation didn’t stop our volunteers from getting out in the community and giving back during 2015. Take a look below for highlights from the BBA’s 2015 public service efforts:

Lawyers braved the snow and marched to the Massachusetts State House for the annual Walk to the Hill. The 2015 Walk to the Hill was more important than ever. As you may remember, the BBA Statewide Task Force to Expand Civil Legal Aid in Massachusetts released its long-awaited report in November 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 Legislature appropriated $17 million to fund civil legal aid, a satisfying increase in a year marked largely by level funding.

Lawyers braved the snow and marched to the Massachusetts State House for the annual Walk to the Hill. The 2015 Walk to the Hill was more important than ever. As you may remember, the BBA Statewide Task Force to Expand Civil Legal Aid in Massachusetts released its long-awaited report in November 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 Legislature appropriated $17 million to fund civil legal aid, a satisfying increase in a year marked largely by level funding.

In January 2014, the John & Abigail Adams Benefit raised over $650,000 to help to fund grants to 23 Massachusetts community organizations providing legal services in areas such as immigration, domestic violence and homelessness.

In January 2014, the John & Abigail Adams Benefit raised over $650,000 to help to fund grants to 23 Massachusetts community organizations providing legal services in areas such as immigration, domestic violence and homelessness.

With the help of PILP 11, the BBA Reentry Education Program expanded to provide civil legal workshops to participants in the CHOICE Program at Boston Municipal Court, Roxbury. Overall, volunteers led 12 sessions with a total of 103 participants to prepare participants to address civil legal issues they may face upon reentry.

With the help of PILP 11, the BBA Reentry Education Program expanded to provide civil legal workshops to participants in the CHOICE Program at Boston Municipal Court, Roxbury. Overall, volunteers led 12 sessions with a total of 103 participants to prepare participants to address civil legal issues they may face upon reentry.

In 2015, over 160 volunteers taught 570 high school students in 12 schools about personal finance and budgeting, credit cards, and buying a car through the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program. As you may remember, the BBA partners with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court to run the program throughout the state.

In 2015, over 160 volunteers taught 570 high school students in 12 schools about personal finance and budgeting, credit cards, and buying a car through the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program. As you may remember, the BBA partners with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court to run the program throughout the state.

The BBF’s popular Casino Night once again drew a large crowd. The event, which supports the BBA Summer Jobs Program by funding paid internships for Boston high school students in nonprofit and government agencies each summer through the program, raised more than $34,000.

The BBF’s popular Casino Night once again drew a large crowd. The event, which supports the BBA Summer Jobs Program by funding paid internships for Boston high school students in nonprofit and government agencies each summer through the program, raised more than $34,000.

The Lawyer for the Day in the Boston Housing Court Program didn’t slow down this year! With the help of 350 volunteers, the program assisted over 1,213 landlords and tenants in the Boston Housing Court.

The Lawyer for the Day in the Boston Housing Court Program didn’t slow down this year! With the help of 350 volunteers, the program assisted over 1,213 landlords and tenants in the Boston Housing Court.

This spring, 77 volunteer taught over 1,000 Boston public school students from kindergarten through seniors in high school about the importance of laws through the BBA’s Law Day in the Schools Program.

This spring, 77 volunteer taught over 1,000 Boston public school students from kindergarten through seniors in high school about the importance of laws through the BBA’s Law Day in the Schools Program.

The BBA presented three public service awards to deserving recipients at the annual Law Day Dinner. Barbara Mitchell, the former Executive Director of Community Legal Services and Counseling Center, received the John G. Brooks Legal Services Award to honor her leadership and commitment to legal services; Al Wallis, the Executive Director of Brown Rudnick Center for Public Interest, received the Thurgood Marshall Award for his leadership in public interest and corporate social responsibility; and Jack Ward, the former Associate Director for Finance & Development at Greater Boston Legal Services, received the President’s Award for this leadership and guidance at Greater Boston Legal Services.

The BBA presented three public service awards to deserving recipients at the annual Law Day Dinner. Barbara Mitchell, the former Executive Director of Community Legal Services and Counseling Center, received the John G. Brooks Legal Services Award to honor her leadership and commitment to legal services; Al Wallis, the Executive Director of Brown Rudnick Center for Public Interest, received the Thurgood Marshall Award for his leadership in public interest and corporate social responsibility; and Jack Ward, the former Associate Director for Finance & Development at Greater Boston Legal Services, received the President’s Award for this leadership and guidance at Greater Boston Legal Services.

The BBF held the second annual Passports to Pairings event, where 100 % of the proceeds supported the BBA Public Service Programs. The event raise nearly $34,000, featured food and beverage pairings, and gave attendees an opportunity learn more about the BBA and BBF’s work in the community.

The BBF held the second annual Passports to Pairings event, where 100 % of the proceeds supported the BBA Public Service Programs. The event raise nearly $34,000, 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 65 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 15 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 65 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 15 of these paid positions at non-profit community organizations, government offices and courts.

While October is officially Pro Bono Month, the BBA celebrated pro bono all year-round. Since January 2015, the BBA has trained over 400 attorneys to take pro bono cases in a range of areas, including landlord tenant law, veterans discharge appeals, and debt collections.

While October is officially Pro Bono Month, the BBA celebrated pro bono all year-round. Since January 2015, the BBA has trained over 400 attorneys to take pro bono cases in a range of areas, including landlord tenant law, veterans discharge appeals, and debt collections.

The BBF held an inaugural Society of Fellows Appreciation Breakfast at the Liberty Hotel in Boston this November. The Breakfast was an opportunity to recognize members of the Society for their support of the BBF and to celebrate what their generosity has allowed the BBF to accomplish in the last year.

The BBF held an inaugural Society of Fellows Appreciation Breakfast at the Liberty Hotel in Boston this November. The Breakfast was an opportunity to recognize members of the Society for their support of the BBF and to celebrate what their generosity has allowed the BBF to accomplish in the last year.

The Claflin Center was packed on November 12th for the Veterans Day Reception, which featured a lively speech and Q & A with Congressman Seth Moulton, a former Marine Corps Captain who served four tours in Iraq. This event aimed to build a community for servicemembers in the legal field to share common experiences and challenges.

The Claflin Center was packed on November 12th for the Veterans Day Reception, which featured a lively speech and Q & A with Congressman Seth Moulton, a former Marine Corps Captain who served four tours in Iraq. This event aimed to build a community for servicemembers in the legal field to share common experiences and challenges.

BBA President Lisa Arrowood spent the morning observing a humanities teacher meeting, greeting students, and visiting classrooms at the Frederick Pilot Middle School in Dorchester through BPE’s Principal for a Day Program.

BBA President Lisa Arrowood spent the morning observing a humanities teacher meeting, greeting students, and visiting classrooms at the Frederick Pilot Middle School in Dorchester through BPE’s Principal for a Day Program.

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 7,700 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 7,700 calls last year.

BBA Lawyer Referral Service Connects with Boston Community

The BBA LRS spent last Wednesday and Thursday doing outreach at the Massachusetts Women's Conference.

The BBA LRS spent last Wednesday and Thursday doing outreach at the Massachusetts Women’s Conference.

Along with a crowd of nearly 10,000 individuals, staff from the BBA’s Lawyer Referral Service (LRS) exhibited at the 11th Annual Massachusetts Conference for Women last week at the Boston Convention Center.

The Massachusetts Conference for Women is the largest community outreach and marketing event of the year for the BBA’s Lawyer Referral Service.  For the LRS staff, this day is a rare opportunity to meet with members of the public face-to-face, rather than on the other end of a phone call, and a great opportunity to raise awareness about the LRS and the resources it has to both members of the public and other lawyers

“This conference is an event I look forward to each year,” said Solana Goss, LRS Intake Coordinator.  “The LRS program speaks to nearly 8,000 individuals per year, entirely on the phone or through our online request function.  It’s nice to meet people directly who end up calling a day or two later. Throughout the conference we also met BBA members, new lawyers, law students, and members of the legal community we hope will come through the doors at 16 Beacon!”

Experts Break Down the United States Refugee Admissions Program

Marjean Perhot (Catholic Charities Archdiocese of Boston), Lisa Brennan (Ascentria Health Care Alliance), and Vivie Hengst (State Office of Refugees and Immigrants) spoke about the Syrian Refugee Crisis at Tuesday's brown bag program.

Marjean Perhot (Catholic Charities Archdiocese of Boston), Lisa Brennan (Ascentria Health Care Alliance), and Vivie Hengst (State Office of Refugees and Immigrants) gave a practical overview of the laws and processes for Syrian refugees.

The issue of admitting refugees into the United States has been publicly discussed with increasing frequency as tensions in Syria have escalated and life there has become more dangerous. This week at the BBA, Immigration Section Co-Chair Iris Gomez and Asylum Committee Co-Chair Ani Ajemian sought to shed some light on the long, complicated process of entering the United States as a refugee, and the role that state governments play in that process.

They hosted three speakers who were able to bring diverse perspectives to a brown bag program. Marjean Perhot, Director of Refugee and Immigration Services for the Catholic Charities Archdiocese of Boston, spoke about the many hurdles a person must clear in order to be granted admission to the country as a refugee.

Lisa Brennan, Program Manager at Ascentria Health Care Alliance, spoke about the steps her staff members take to help refugees adjust to life in America once they’re here, such as offering employment assistance and help applying for necessary documents.

Vivie Hengst, General Counsel for the State Office of Refugees and Immigrants, spoke about the process by which the federal government assigns a location to a refugee for resettlement.

In a PowerPoint presentation, the trio explained that refugees are just a “drop in the bucket” compared to the total number of immigrants in the United States. Marjean explained that only about one percent of the applicants make it through the federal government’s rigorous screening procedures, which begin long before a potential refugee leaves his or her home country.

Relocating refugees to another country is actually the least preferred option for both individual refugees and the agencies who help them, Marjean said. But sometimes there is no other option.

“Wouldn’t we love everybody to go back to their homes, to their familiar places? But that just is not the case for so many people,” Marjean said.

Vivie said about 10,000 refugees are expected to enter the country from Syria this year, and it is the federal government’s job to decide where they go. They are assigned a location based on a variety of factors, including the existing population of refugees in a given area, the cost of housing, and more.

The program offered those unfamiliar with the refugee immigration process a step-by-step overview. Participants were interested in learning more from the panelists after the program’s conclusion.

Six Ways to Give Back this Holiday Season

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If you’re looking to give back this holiday season, look no further! The BBA and BBF have a number of ways for you to support our community:

  • Donate to the BBF Annual Campaign: Generous community members like you make our essential work in the community possible. Each year, thousands of children, adults and families in Greater Boston are thankful for the access to justice and unique educational opportunities that they receive because of generous donors to the BBF. Contribute today to make an impact.
  • Mark your calendars for Walk to the Hill: Join hundreds of private attorneys and civil legal aid advocates at the Massachusetts State House on January 28th to demonstrate your support for state funding of civil legal aid. Be sure to stop by the BBA at 10 am to meet up with other attorneys before heading over to the event. Click here to learn more.
  • Use AmazonSmile: AmazonSmile is a way for you to give back to the BBF in a small way as you finish up your holiday shopping. Just go to smile.amazon.com and log in using your normal Amazon account name and password. Then select the Boston Bar Foundation as your charity and shop as you normally would. The BBF will receive a small percentage of the proceeds from your purchase.
  • Buy a ticket to Adams Benefit: Join the BBF for the John & Abigail Adams Benefit on January 30th at the Museum of Fine Arts for an unforgettable night of live entertainment, gourmet food and beverages and beautiful galleries and exhibits. 100% of the proceeds from the Adams Benefit will be used for direct grants to organizations that serve thousands of individuals and families struggling with issues such as homelessness, domestic violence and various forms of injustice. Learn more about the event and how you can purchase tickets here.
  • Join the BBF’s Society of Fellows: When you join the BBF’s Society of Fellows, you join a community of more than 400 of Boston’s leading attorneys who are committed to investing in our city’s future. Fellows pledge to make contributions to the BBF’s permanent endowment so that the BBF can continue its work in our community. Fellows receive exclusive invitations throughout the year to attend networking events and receptions, and come together to hear from representatives of BBF grantee organizations, public service volunteers and other inspirational speakers. Contact Tara Trask at [email protected].

 

 

 

 

VLP Announces October and November Honor Roll

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 Volunteer Lawyers Project 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 through the Lawyer for the Day in the Boston Housing Court Program.

Volunteer Lawyers Project of the Boston Bar Association thanks the following attorneys who accepted cases or provided consultation during October and November:

Sam Ames
Mark E. Archer
Robert Burdick
Julie Callahan
Lisa Callahan
Stephen T. Connolly
Derek Constantine
Lusic Corrine
Kt Crossman
Milton D. D’Andrea
Anna R. DiMaria
Mara Dolan
Sean Doran
Meredith Douglas
Nicholas Drew
Jasmine Elatab
Dahlia Fetouh
Kellie W. Fisher
Eric French
Daria Frost
Andres Garron
Genevie Gold
Steven Greenzang
Richard Gruenberger
Celia J. Harrison
Mark Higgins
Scott Hubbell
Katherine Insogna
Sharon V. Jones
Matthew Karambelas
Susan Khurshudyan
Candace Labbe
Esther Laine
Peter V. Lawlor
Julia Lindsey
Jennifer L. Manning-Zoll
Evelyn Venables Moreno
Madelyn Morris
Matthew Morris
Patrick G.H. Mott
Kristofer C. Munroe
Justin Murphy
Oren N. Nimni
Donald R. O’Clair
Walter Oney
Nicholas Pantly
Nina Parker
Steven D. Pohl
John Polley
Stephen Provazza
Jesse Redlener
Margaret A. Reilly
Kenneth Reisman
Ethan Rittershaus
Michael Rossi
Soraya Sadeghi
Ryan Takeo Sakoda
Leah Segal
Cara Sgobba
Sharyn T. Sooho
Chetan Tiwari
Jeffri Uber
Irina Vaglica
William Valletta
Leann Walsh
Katie Ward
Neil Warrenbrand
Jennifer Williams
Kevin Yurkerwich
Ajay Zutshi

Legal Advisor to the Boston Public Schools Visits PILP

The City of Boston’s Legal Advisor to Boston Public Schools Alissa Ocasio spoke with PILP about into juvenile justice and youth diversion programs last week.

The City of Boston’s Legal Advisor to Boston Public Schools Alissa Ocasio spoke with PILP about into juvenile justice and youth diversion programs last week.

The 2015/16 Public Interest Leadership Program (PILP) class has demonstrated an interest in learning more about alternative sentencing, diversion, and the impact the juvenile justice system has on the development of the nation’s youth. On Wednesday, December 2, 2015, they continued their exploration into these issues when the City of Boston’s Legal Advisor to Boston Public Schools, Alissa Ocasio, came to speak to the group.

Ms. Ocasio discussed the capacities in which she advises Boston Public Schools including school discipline and the BPS Code of Conduct.  Originally called the Code of Discipline, the BPS Code of Conduct is a malleable document, one which is reviewed, evaluated, and amended on an ongoing basis. Ocasio gave an overview of the multi-stakeholder team of parents, teachers, administrators, school safety personnel, and others who work to ensure that this living document can respond more effectively to address individual events in the lives of today’s youth.

Throughout the discussion, it was evident that the new Code of Conduct is aimed at empowering school administrators to focus on youth rehabilitation and education, a departure from previous Codes of Conduct, which were framed in the context of discipline and punishment.

The PILP class had several questions for Ms. Ocasio, and it was clear that they took a lot away from their discussion. As PILP-er Erika Reis, also an attorney for the City of Boston, noted, “The presentation was extremely informative and insightful.  I have a better understanding of BPS discipline policy and how it has evolved over the years.”

Many thanks to Ms. Ocasio for taking the time to speak with our Public Interest Leaders.

Attorneys Learn about the Ethics of Practicing LAR

Debra A. Squires-Lee (Sherin and Lodgen LLP), Christopher Saccardi (The Law Office of Christopher T. Saccardi), and Paul Rezendes (Board of Bar Overseers) discussed the ethical considerations that attorneys must make when choosing to practice LAR.

Debra A. Squires-Lee (Sherin and Lodgen LLP), Christopher Saccardi (The Law Office of Christopher T. Saccardi), and Paul Rezendes (Board of Bar Overseers) discussed the ethical considerations that attorneys must make when choosing to practice LAR.

Yesterday, an all-star panel presented on the ethical considerations attorneys must make when practicing Limited Assistance Representation (LAR). The panel, which included Debra A. Squires-Lee (Sherin and Lodgen LLP), Christopher Saccardi (The Law Office of Christopher T. Saccardi), and Paul Rezendes (Board of Bar Overseers), discussed the ethical cautions or concerns an attorney may face, as well as the steps attorneys can take to protect him/herself.

This program is the second in a seven-part series to help attorneys better utilize LAR in their practice. Be sure to check out one (or more!) of the upcoming programs:

LAR Practical Skills: Drafting a Fee Agreement
January 26th 4:30- 6pm

LAR Practical Skills: Housing Court
February 29th 12-1:30 pm

LAR Practical Skills: Probate & Family Court
March 22nd 12-1:30 pm

LAR Practical Skills: Boston Municipal Court & District Court
April 28th 12-1:30 pm

LAR Practical Skills: Land Court
May 24th 12-1:30 pm