Monthly Archives: July 2016

Financial Literacy: Summer Jobs Students Learn to Keep Their Wallets Healthy

IMG_9648

While the BBA Summer Jobs Program is more than 50 students strong, on Wednesday, it felt like they each got one-on-one tips on budgeting, credit and how to manage their finances generally.

That’s because David Gabor (The Wagner Law Group) called on every student individually during this week’s enrichment seminar on financial literacy.

The M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy program teaches students how to make responsible decisions about money by using practical examples like balancing a checkbook and paying bills on time. It also introduces students to concepts they may not have encountered yet, such as a healthy credit score and buying a car. Finally, the program covers what happens when people fail to meet their financial obligations by outlining the basics of bankruptcy.

Gabor focused mostly on budgeting, asking students to give some examples of steps they take to watch their spending. One student said he carefully divides his paycheck between his savings account and expenses, like his cell phone bill. Other students asked about taxes coming out of their paycheck, how social security is distributed, why people refinance their homes, and how to report an error on their bank statement.

Gabor also discussed how a good credit score translates to better options for lending, especially for student loans.

In their evaluation of the program, our students said:

  • “This was very informative for my future budgeting.”
  • “This enrichment seminar was a useful seminar. I know it would benefit me in the future now that I’m going to college.”
  • “I think that this seminar taught me valuable information regarding finance and budgeting.”

Learning by Doing at MLRI

IMG_9632

MLRI Executive Director Georgia Katsoulomitis, Summer Jobs Student Katherine Urbaez and Sharon Armour, Manager of Human Resources and Administration at MLRI

Katherine Urbaez is still deciding on a career path, but one thing she’s sure of is her learning style.

As someone who retains information most effectively by observing and performing hands-on tasks, Katherine was excited to participate in the BBA Summer Jobs program. She knew it would give her the chance to learn by watching and doing.

At the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute (MLRI), a state-wide poverty law and policy center, Katherine has kept busy translating fliers from English to Spanish to help make Spanish-speaking clients aware of different programs. In doing this, she also learned about programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and housing assistance programs that benefit the elderly and the poor.

“Until I started doing this, I didn’t know there was something out there that would help them,” Urbaez said.

Having recently graduated from Boston International High School, Urbaez says the thought of going to law school has crossed her mind. But as she prepares to start at UMass Lowell in the fall, she may be more interested in pursuing a career in social work. MLRI’s work to help low-income families achieve economic stability has helped solidify her interest in doing the same thing, she said.

When we caught up with Katherine, she had only spent a week on the job, but she said she was already comfortable.

“I was nervous that working for lawyers would be hard, but now [MLRI] is like my second house,” she said. “The work I do is because I want to do it. I’m really interested in it.”

Katherine also said she has sharpened other skills that are essential in the workplace, such as using Microsoft Excel to help track data. At the front desk, she is a friendly face that greets visitors when they step into MLRI’s suite.

“I am exploring things that I can do, things that will turn into experiences, which will help to increase my knowledge of serving and helping not just my community but the world,” Urbaez said of the Summer Jobs Program.

Katherine’s position at MLRI is one of the 11 BBA Summer Jobs positions funded by the Boston Bar Foundation (BBF). The BBF funds these internships not only to open up opportunities for Boston’s youth, but to also provide an extra set of hands at no cost to the agencies, offices and nonprofits that need it most.

Summer Jobs Alum Speaks at Society of Fellows Reception

Last Thursday, the Boston Bar Foundation (BBF)’s Society of Fellows held its annual summer reception at 16 Beacon Street to celebrate the important work in our community that it helps make possible. Comprised of more than 400 of Boston’s leading attorneys, the Society of Fellows comes together several times throughout the year to mingle with friends and colleagues while learning more about the programs they are supporting as Fellows. Click here to see photos from last Thursday’s reception.

Brent Henry, Lonnie Powers, Carol Starkey and Matt McTygue

Brent Henry (Partners Healthcare), Lonnie Powers (Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation), Carol Starkey (Conn Kavanaugh) and Matthew McTygue (Locke Lord)

BBF President Lisa Goodheart gave a few remarks about the Society’s pivotal role in enabling the BBF to hit a major milestone: $1 million in legal services grants in the year ahead, with more than 50 percent of this funding coming from BBF fundraising and the minority coming from IOLTA.

“I am pleased to share the exciting news that the BBF will be granting $1 million in the upcoming year to 21 community organizations that work to provide legal services to those in need,” Lisa said. “More than half of this $1 million comes directly from BBF funds, and this incredible level of support from the BBF would not be possible without the support of all of you.”

In addition to funding this $1 million in grants to legal services organizations, the BBF funds all of the pro bono and public service initiatives of the Boston Bar Association (BBA).

The Society’s guest of honor for the evening was Cinique Weekes, an alumnus of the BBA’s Summer Jobs Program who is now a fifth-grade literacy teacher in his native Dorchester. Cinique participated in the Summer Jobs Program – which provides unique educational and professional opportunities for nearly 60 diverse youth in Boston each year – for two summers during his high school years.

Through the Summer Jobs Program, Cinique spent one summer at the firm that is now Sunstein Kann Murphy & Timbers and one the at the U.S. District Court. After graduating from Boston College, he joined Teach for America to work as a full-time teacher while simultaneously completing his Master’s degree in Teaching and Curriculum from Boston University. He spoke to the crowd about the formative impact the Summer Jobs Program had on his life.

IMG_9483

Summer Jobs Program alumnus Cinique Weekes tells the crowd about his success in teaching.

“I want to emphasize the importance of [the Summer Jobs] Program, because programs like this and others allowed me to become a thinker, a dreamer and someone won’t take no for an answer,” Cinique told a rapt audience. “Programs like this allowed me to be who I wanted to be and open the doors for me to still grow, and I hope that 10 years from now my students can say they are a part of this organization and organizations like it because Mr. Weekes gave them the courage to shine… Thank you to the donors and supporters that make this possible.”

Tim Murphy and Cinique Weekes

Timothy Murphy (Sunstein Kann Murphy & Timbers) and Cinique Weekes.

To learn more about how you can become a part of this enthusiastic group of BBF supporters, please contact Tara Trask at ttrask@bostonbar.org or (617) 778-1984.

Proposed Curfew Defeated in Mock City Council Hearing

IMG_9542

Kevin Truong, a Summer Jobs student working at Nixon Peabody, acts as chairman of the mock City Council meeting.

While the goal of our Summer Jobs program is to acquaint teens with valuable lessons about the legal profession to be learned in their offices, our weekly Enrichment Seminars are designed to provide unique experiences outside the office.

This week, our students visited the Boston City Council Chambers. Larry DiCara, a partner at Nixon Peabody and former City Council President, led the students through a debate. Different groups of students posed as stakeholders delivering their opinions on a hypothetical proposal to enforce a curfew for Boston teenagers.

The students also had the opportunity to ask questions regarding the relationship between the different branches of city government and the requirements to become a local political leader.

IMG_9520

Some of the takeaways from the students who participated include:

  • “I enjoyed this seminar because I think that it provided me with valuable information regarding proper public speaking presentation.”
  • “This was helpful for my future voting.”
  • “It was very informative, it opened my mind to different perceptions that other people might have.”

DiCara, who has volunteered his time to the Summer Jobs program for years, expressed the importance of civic engagement to the students.

“The goal is not for every single one of you to become active in politics, although I hope some of you will. The goal is to be sure that you are good citizens, that you participate and that you vote when you can. When this summer is over, it is my hope that you know a little something about the law and the government, and that you are ready for the next step in your lives,” he said.

VLP Announces May and June Honor Roll

Every Wednesday and Thursday volunteer attorneys assist landlords and tenants through the BBA Lawyer for a Day at the Boston Housing Court Program. VLP relies on volunteers to deliver pro bono services to those in need.

Every Wednesday and Thursday volunteer attorneys assist landlords and tenants through the BBA Lawyer for a Day at the Boston Housing Court Program. VLP relies on volunteers to deliver pro bono services to those in need.

The Volunteer Lawyers Project of the Boston Bar Association thanks the following attorneys who accepted cases or provided consultation in May and June:

 Samuel Ames
Dick Bauer
Thomas Beauvais
Arlene L. Bernstein
Larry Booz
Rebecca Brodie
Janet Brussard
Andrew P. Cornell
Milton D’Andrea
Maureen Jones Devine
Iliana Diaz
Jennifer DiCarlo
Mary DiMaiti
James T. Downes
Matthew C. Ellison
Richard Evans
Daniel W. Finegold
Deanna Flaherty
Andres Garron
Nashwa Gewaily
Michael G. Giarrusso
David Goldman
Richard A. Goulding
Steven Greenzang
Craig Herman
Karen Hoffman
Amy Hudspeth Cabell
Nadiyah Humber
Maegan Hurley
Sarah K. Ireland
Sharon V. Jones
Martsyl Joseph
Susan Khurshudyan
Candace Labbe
Laura Lerner
Jacqueline Levy
Tyler B. Lewis
Corrine Lusic
Michael MacDonald
Barbara Macy
David Menchaca
Marc Migliazzo
Madelyn Morris
Joanne Moses
Dalkis Muir
Yavor Nechev
Vanessa A. O’Connor
Elizabeth O’Flaherty
Alexa O’Keefe
Judy O’Neil
Sofia Owen
Lisa Owens
William Patton
John C. Polley
Michael Riley
Timothy Robertson
David Rome
Lou D. Saban
Ryan Takeo Sakoda
Joseph Sherman
Jordan Smith
Elizabeth Julia Smith
Kerry Spindler
Carl Studlar
Sharon L. Toffler
Kelly Towns
Irina Vaglica
William Valletta
Michael Wang
Katherine E. Ward
Richard S. Weitzel
Donald Whitmore
Jennifer Williams
Lawrence A. Wind
Sandy Yeung
Kevin Yurkerwich
Ajay Zutshi

PILP ’16 – ’17 Gets Underway

IMG_9297

The Public Interest Leadership Program (PILP) class of 2016-2017 had their orientation last month, and they are already jumping into some of the BBA’s public service projects!

This week, two members of the class led an enrichment seminar for our Summer Jobs students on the basics of practicing law. In the Fall, they will begin to discuss what they hope to accomplish in the upcoming program year!

To learn more about this year’s PILP class, please click here.

First Summer Jobs Enrichment Seminar Covers Courtroom Basics

IMG_9443

Every week, students in the BBA Summer Jobs program participate in an enrichment seminar designed to familiarize them with a different aspect of working in the field of law. At their first seminar this week, Law 101, students learned about the academic and professional steps to becoming a lawyer. They also heard more specific information about what attorneys do on a daily basis.

Students raised many questions about the mechanics of the courtroom, including whether a judge can ever override a jury’s verdict and whether attorneys get to choose what kinds of cases they take on. One student asked about the difference between state and federal laws.

After the presentation, which was given by Public Interest Leadership Program class members Hannah Joseph (Beck Reed Riden) and Henry Tran (Prince Lobel), students had the opportunity to test their knowledge by playing a “Jeopardy”-style quiz game run by BBA Staff.

Next week’s seminar is a favorite every year – a mock City Council hearing at City Hall! Stay tuned for our recap of that session.

Importance of Youth Summer Jobs Recognized by AG’s Office, Boston Globe

Hermuna works in a variety of different departments at the firm, including the records, accounting, and pro bono departments.

We love keeping readers updated on how our Summer Jobs students are doing, and we are excited whenever we see another organization displaying their commitment to summer jobs for teens. This week, we wanted to highlight $300,000 in grants awarded by Attorney General Maura Healey to fund 250 healthy summer jobs for young people across Massachusetts.

Fifty-three organizations received funding for jobs that will allow teens to teach classes on nutrition and physical activity, according to the Attorney General’s Office. The grants fund positions from July 5 through August 26.

But why are these positions so important?

Last month, the Boston Globe highlighted a new study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, which found that summer jobs “improve job readiness skills, lead to greater academic aspirations and build stronger community connections, especially among youth of color.”

At the BBA, we view the availability of summer employment for teens as an essential investment, for the good of our students and to the benefit of the economy of Boston and the commonwealth. In a tough budget year where many programs faced cuts, it’s great to be able to recognize new opportunities for youth in Massachusetts!

Walter Prince Inspires at BBA Summer Jobs Kickoff

IMG_9407

“I am no different than any of you here.”

Walter Prince, founding partner of Prince Lobel Tye LLP, asked the students in the BBA Summer Jobs program how many of them were familiar with Franklin Park. He asked how many of them knew of the intersection of Elm Hill and Blue Hill Avenues, and finally a side street near that corner. It’s the humble street on which he was raised to believe he could do anything with hard work and perseverance.

“I studied hard and I took advantage of every opportunity that came my way,” he said.

Of course, Prince was not without advice for the students. He told them to ask questions and not to be intimidated by the attorneys in the offices where they will work for the summer. He advised them to pay attention to how they dress, how they talk to other people and what their body language conveys.

Most of all, he encouraged them to see their summer employment as a chance to gain a leg up over the competition, when students come from all over the world to study and work in Boston. Standing out is more important than ever, he said.

At the kickoff, students met their employers for the first time and headed off to their first day of work. It was an exciting day at the BBA and we would like to thank Walter Prince and BBA Vice President Mark Smith for their remarks!