At our Summer Jobs Orientation this week, we were pleased to meet all of our Summer Jobs students in person. We all know that getting a new job involves a lot of paperwork, and everyone has faced a learning curve adapting to their new surroundings at work.
We strive to help students by making sure they have a professional headshot, providing training on business etiquette, and assisting them with many human resources tasks. The students were enthusiastic and receptive, and we are looking forward to the official Summer Jobs kickoff next week!
For more information about the program, please click here.
We have been talking a lot about our Summer Jobs Program, and now that the students have come together for their orientation, we wanted to share a little bit about them.
When applications start coming in, we are always excited to learn more about the students. Their backgrounds contribute to their unique talents and skill sets. Many of our students are bilingual, and some have exposure to the technical skills they will need at an office job through their coursework or hobbies.
To us, an employer’s commitment to a Summer Jobs student represents their commitment to the future of our community, and we are glad to know that our students represent so many facets of the city of Boston.
The goal of Mayor Martin J. Walsh’s summer jobs initiative is to give as many teens as possible the opportunity to gain knowledge and earn money as seasonal employees, and the BBA is proud to have secured jobs for 58 of those students this year!
The First Justice of the Middlesex County Juvenile Court, Hon. Jay Bliztman, has for decades been a leader in the efforts to improve the juvenile justice system in Massachusetts. As a public defender, he started the Youth Advocacy Project, which began with the goal of protecting and advancing the legal and human rights of children and promoting their healthy development, through active partnerships in Boston’s communities. In 1994, he co-founded the Citizens for Juvenile Justice (CfJJ), a statewide non-profit organization that conducts research and advocates on important juvenile justice issues. Judge Blitzman dedicated himself to these initiatives because he believed that if he and other lawyers worked to improve access for juveniles and their families outside the courtroom these efforts would have a positive impact on the atmosphere within the courtroom.
A strong proponent for restorative justice, Judge Blitzman was initially “drawn to RJ at the urging of students” while teaching a course at Northeastern University. Concerned about national trends in the arrest and prosecution rates in Massachusetts and across the United States, Judge Blitzman learned that restorative justice, can be a cost effective tool to curb recidivism in the juvenile justice system by changing the behavior of youth.
Judge Blitzman will be a speaker in the Public Interest Leadership Program will host the Juvenile Restorative Justice Symposium at the Boston Bar Association on Tuesday, June 28, 2016. The Symposium free event is open to the public and will bring together restorative justice practitioners for the purpose of educating the bar and raising awareness about restorative justice principles and efforts to implement these principles in the juvenile justice system in Massachusetts.
We have been telling you all about the benefits of our Law Day in the Schools program for Boston Public Schools students, but now you can hear for yourself! A team from WBUR, Boston’s National Public Radio station, spent some time at Law Day in the Schools sessions in Dorchester to put together a comprehensive piece on what the program is all about.
The segment was featured on Morning Edition earlier this week, but if you missed it, listen now!
For a program we have been running for 30 years, Law Day in the Schools remains as exciting as ever. We were honored to have the program featured prominently in The Boston Globe and on WBUR’s Morning Edition (thanks to this year’s timely topic of Miranda Rights.
But we also love hearing the stories attorneys bring back to us about their experiences, from children who dressed up as judges and attorneys to participate in a mock trial, to students that ended up in a “hung jury” because of a lively debate that took place, to Boston Public Schools students that left their sessions feeling more empowered by the knowledge of their rights under the law.
We would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to all of our Law Day in the Schools volunteers. We couldn’t have done it without you!
Boston Children’s Hospital
Cooke Clancy & Gruenthal LLP
Mia Batista Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, LLP
Locke Lord LLP
Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.
Christine Bonardi Law Office of Christine M. Bonardi
Burns & Levinson LLP
Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP
Locke Lord LLP
Ann Hether Cahill
Burns & Levinson LLP
Dain, Torpy, Le Ray, Wiest & Garner, P.C.
The Law Offices of Arthur J. Carter IV
Brendan Carter Navigant Consulting
Dain, Torpy, Le Ray, Wiest & Garner, P.C.
The BBA’s Reentry Education Program has come to a close for the year, and we are proud to announce that we reached 162 probationers during these sessions! As our dedicated readers know, the BBA Reentry Education Program provides monthly workshops on civil legal issues participants in the CHOICE and CARE/RESTART programs may face.
We would like to extend our most sincere thanks to the attorneys who volunteered their time to lead these sessions this year:
Hirsch Roberts Weinstein LLP
Greater Boston Legal Services
Prince Lobel Tye LLP
Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General
Day Pitney LLP
Brian McLaughlin Esq. LLC
Harvard Law School
Committee for Public Counsel Services
Harvard Law School
We would also like to thank all of our partners in the Boston Municipal Court and federal courts who make our participation in the CHOICE and CARE/RESTART sessions possible. We look forward to working with you again next year!
This week, the BBA held its last pro bono training for the program year, which focused on trials in Housing Court. The goal of the training was to recruit volunteers for the BBA Lawyer for the Day in the Boston Housing Court program, where attorneys help landlords and tenants who would otherwise be unrepresented resolve disputes.
First Justice of the Housing Court Hon. Jeffrey Winik had many helpful tips that were practical in nature. “Never lose sight of the fact that you are looking to resolve a problem,” he advised.
He went on to say that a resolution that is mutually satisfying to both the landlord and the tenant may not be a “winning” verdict, so to speak. He also elaborated on the key to successfully arguing a case in Housing Court.
“A good trial lawyer has to be as familiar with the other side’s case as they are with their own,” he said.
Judge Winik also advised attorneys to vet information given to them by their clients by seeking out documents from other sources, such as city inspection offices.
We would like to thank those who led and those who participated in Pro Bono Trainings at the BBA this year, with special thanks to those who went on to volunteer their time after the training session.
On June 28, 2016, the BBA will be hosting a Juvenile Restorative Justice Symposium that will bring together legislators, law enforcement, court officials, and community leaders to discuss how restorative justice is being implemented, its challenges and successes, and the prospect for its expansion in the Commonwealth.
Among the participants expected to attend will be members of the Restorative Justice Coalition of Massachusetts. The Coalition brings together concerned citizens who practice or support restorative justice in various capacities throughout the Commonwealth. Formed in 2009, after Senator Jamie Eldridge publicly-announced his intention to introduce restorative justice legislation, the Coalition brings together representatives from a wide array of organizations including, among others, Communities for Restorative Justice, Massachusetts Conference United Church of Christ, Restorative Justice Practices New Bedford, and the Worcester Homeless Action Committee.
Jennifer Larson Sawin, former Executive Director of Communities for Restorative Justice and one of the founders of the Coalition, describes that the Coalition’s primary mission is to help craft, strategize, and advocate for restorative justice legislation that will allow for RJ to be employed more uniformly across all the Commonwealth’s communities. Restorative Justice efforts in Massachusetts, Sawin recounts, “rose up from the grassroots but for many years were not well-known and well-spread. But over time there has been a groundswell of interest, with efforts afoot throughout the Commonwealth, as more people understood that the ‘tough on crime’ social experiments that were being used were just not working.”
The BBA invites everyone to attend the upcoming RJ symposium and looks forward to what should be an engaging discussion on this prescient topic.
For more information about the symposium or to register, please click here.
We are proud to share that our Law Day in the Schools program, which celebrates its 30th birthday this year, was featured in the Boston Globe’s education section earlier this week.
In the piece, which Globe staffers traveled to William J. Ostiguy High School to report, BBA President-Elect Carol Starkey is quoted on the importance of Miranda Rights, which was this year’s topic for the Law Day in the Schools lessons.
“These words really embody the fundamental rights that we all share as citizens in our criminal justice system — regardless of race, regardless of gender, or income, or sexual identity. It means that we’re all to be treated in a fair and equitable manner,” she told the Globe.
Ryan Sakoda, a Liman Public Interest Fellow at the Committee for Public Counsel Services, does a lot of work with defendants in the midst of a dispute over housing. As an attorney working in the public defender’s office in Boston, he frequently works to help clients who are facing eviction or who are having a hard time finding affordable housing because of a criminal record.
That’s why he wanted to volunteer to teach a session for the BBA’s Reentry Education program. During two recent sessions, Sakoda spoke to federal probationers and CHOICE participants about their options for getting into public housing in spite of their history.
“Many people that have contact with the criminal justice system are low-income, and so a lot of them do rely on housing assistance,” Sakoda said. “In order to move on with your life, housing is really the foundation to regain some stability and get past the contact with the criminal justice system.”
Sakoda said many of those with a criminal record get discouraged and do not apply for public housing, because they have heard about the difficulties from other people in a similar position or because they have applied before and been denied. During the training, Sakoda covered an applicant’s right to appeal the decision if they are denied housing, a step that he said many people do not take.
“The truth is that there just aren’t enough public interest lawyers to fully represent all the people that need this kind of legal assistance. That’s why I feel it’s so important that the BBA and other organizations put on these informational programs,” Sakoda said.