Monthly Archives: September 2016

Janet Bostwick Honored for Financial Literacy Work


Hon. Joan N. Feeney, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Massachusetts, Bankruptcy Section Co-Chair D. Ethan Jeffery, Janet Bostwick and Bankruptcy Section Co-Chair Lee Harrington

After ten years, the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy program is still going strong at the BBA. That is in no small part due to the hard work of Janet Bostwick (Bostwick Law), an experienced bankruptcy attorney who believes passionately in the importance of educating high school students about financial responsibility.

This week, the BBA’s Bankruptcy Law Section, together with the judges of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Massachusetts, honored Bostwick for her dedicated work on the program.  For twelve years, Bostwick co-chaired the Financial Literacy Committee, but stepped down at the end of the spring. John Loughnane (Nutter, McClennen & Fish) will join Doug Rosner (Goulston & Storrs) as the attorney co-chairs of the committee.

Hon. Joan N. Feeney, who has also co-chaired the program since its inception and will continue to do so alongside Loughnane and Rosner, praised Bostwick for her efforts to rally BBA members to volunteer and support the program. Judge Feeney said Bostwick “does not know how to say ‘no,’” which is how she came to be the Financial Literacy Program’s champion.


The program is named for the late M. Ellen Carpenter, a bankruptcy attorney who knew Bostwick and Judge Feeney well. Carpenter was the BBA president in 2004 and   appointed the Joint Task Force on Financial Literacy for Students, charged with identifying the underlying reasons for financial problems among young adults and the need for financial literacy education. As a result of the task force’s work, Carpenter, Bostwick and Judge Feeney helped outline a course to teach financial literacy to high school students. At the time, there were no similar programs in nearby districts, Judge Feeney said.

“She created something out of nothing,” Judge Feeney said of Bostwick.

The room was filled with Bankruptcy Section members who warmly congratulated Bostwick. The Boston Bar Association is extremely thankful for her many years of dedicated service to the program.


Janet Bostwick and Hon. Frank Bailey, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Massachusetts

BBA is Sixth on Boston PIC’s List of Top Student Employers

At tcs5xu27vmaakkt0he Boston Private Industry Council (PIC) Annual Meeting last week, attendees heard Boston Public Schools Superintendent Tommy Chang, Chief of Economic Development for the City of Boston John Barros and GE Foundation President Ann Klee express the importance of connecting young people with employment opportunities.

The BBA is proud to have partnered with Boston PIC for the past 23 years on the mayor’s Summer Jobs Campaign. In our copy of PIC’s annual report, we were pleased to find that the BBA is sixth on the list of PIC’s top employers.

This year, we placed 58 students with more than 40 employers for the summer. They picked up many new skills in the offices of law firms, legal services organizations, and even here at the BBA. Thanks to funding from the Boston Bar Foundation, 10 organizations were able to employ a student at no cost to them, a benefit to some of our employers that are legal services organizations, government agencies, or courts.

In order to adequately prepare teens for the kinds of jobs that are available and desirable today, the team at the PIC has broadened the training students complete before they apply for a summer job, School-to-Career Director Josh Bruno said.

Before, career specialists focused on getting students through the interview process with flying colors – conducting mock interviews and building resumes. Now, students also receive a crash course in using common computer programs like Microsoft Office. The PIC also does an assessment of each student to determine his or her interests and strengths. For example, bilingual students in the BBA’s Summer Jobs program were able to assist with translating documents and promotional materials.

Bruno said one of the biggest benefits of the BBA’s program is that students are exposed not only to an office environment, but to enrichment seminars meant to promote career exploration and critical thinking.

“The orientation, morning meetings with attorneys, and field trips to places like the State House and the courthouses show students that the BBA is not just made up of lawyers. There are a lot of other jobs that keep the legal system running. All of that builds a student up and gets him or her thinking about their choices for their future career,” he said.

For more information on the BBA Summer Jobs Program or the work of the Boston Private Industry Council, please contact Cassandra Shavney at

Newest Pro Bono Opportunity: Mass Legal Answers Online


Mass Legal Answers Online (MLAO) is a brand new way for busy attorneys to do pro bono in Massachusetts. Through Mass Legal Answers Online, low-income  Massachusetts residents can ask civil legal questions on the web at This program, administered by the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute with help from the Volunteer Lawyers Project, will function like a “virtual legal clinic,” providing attorneys with a 21st-century platform to give free legal advice.

Eligible site users can post legal questions, and volunteer attorneys can choose which questions they would like to answer.  MLAO helps alleviate the time and place constraints that clients and attorneys sometimes face in a traditional legal clinic or on the phone.

On Monday, Rochelle Hahn from the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute and Barbara Siegel from the Volunteer Lawyers Project spoke at  a BBA program about this innovative project and how to participate.   If you missed the program, here are some things you should know:

  • Mass Legal Answers Online is part of a national initiative sponsored by the American Bar Association (ABA).
  • The ABA provides malpractice insurance to cover any activity that occurs through the secure site.
  • Volunteer sign-up is easy! Attorneys just need to provide basic contact information and certify that they are in good standing with the Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers by providing their BBO number.
  • Attorneys can subscribe to receive alerts when new questions are posted in their specific practice area
  • As a volunteer, the Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 6.5 applies to conflicts, because of the pro bono nature and limited scope of the advice provided through MLAO. The only conflicts of interest that would preclude an attorney from answering questions are conflicts that are known at the time the client’s question is reviewed.

This project embodies the idea of “bite-sized pro bono” and, according to Rochelle Hahn, “is an ideal opportunity for busy attorneys who want to help, but have limited time. It allows you to virtually share your expertise with people struggling to navigate the legal system — without committing to ongoing representation or a set schedule. Answering even just one question a month can make a real difference to people in need. Sign up and give it a try!”

Curious and want to find out more?  For more information about the program and all aspects of participation, please email or contact Rochelle Hahn at

Thank You to Our Reentry Education Volunteers

We’d like to thank our 2016 BBA Reentry Education Program volunteers for donating their time to educate probationers on how to navigate various civil-legal issues faced when reentering society. This year, volunteers addressed over 150 probationers on issues related to employment law, obtaining housing, reinstating a driver’s license, CORI sealing, public benefits, finances, and family law. The BBA partnered with the Court Assisted Recovery Effort (CARE) and Reentry: Empowering Successful Todays and Responsible Tomorrows (RESTART) programs of the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts, the CHOICE program in the Roxbury Division of the Boston Municipal Court, and Hope House and Coolidge House, community partners serving the probation population.

We’re thankful for our volunteers:

Michael Birch, Hirsch Roberts Weinstein LLP

Lizbeth Ginsburg, Greater Boston Legal Services

Julie Heinzelman, Prince Lobel Tye LLP

Anuj Khetarpal, Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General

David Lieberman, Day Pitney LLP

Brian McLaughlin, Brian McLaughlin Esq. LLC

Kavya Naini, Harvard Law School

Ryan Sakoda, Committee for Public Counsel Services

Phong Tran, Harvard Law School


Click here to read more about the program and if you’re interested in volunteering, please contact Cassandra Shavney at

VLP Announces July and August 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 July and August:

Marjorie A. Adams
Samuel Ames
Dick Bauer
Thomas Beauvais
Neil J. Berman
Stephanie Biggs
Sarah Boonin
Larry Booz
Alissa Brill
Laura Burnett
Rachel Bussey
Christopher M. Candon
Rosemarie Clinch
Heather Cohen
Patrick J. Daly
Mary DiMaiti
Anna R. DiMaria
Sean Donovan
James T. Downes
Matthew C. Ellison
Richard Evans
Deanna Flaherty
Lois Galluzzo
Andres Garron
Michael G. Giarrusso
David Goldman
Steven Greenzang
Maegan Hurley
Maya Jachimowicz
Sharon V. Jones
Veronica Kane
Philip Kolb
Steven Kornstein
Candace Labbe
Joseph M. Lally
Ian Lane
Mitchell Langman
Steve Levine
Jacqueline Levy
Tyler B. Lewis
Corrine Lusic
Michael MacDonald
Stephanie Mandell
James Matthews
Marc Migliazzo
Caryn Mitchell-Munevar
William Moore
Evelyn Venables Moreno
Victoria Moreno-Jackson
Madelyn Morris
Greg Moscatel
Joanne Moses
Dalkis Muir
Ryann Morgan Muir
Kristofer C. Munroe
Lynne Myhre
Fernanda H. Naspolini
Muska Nassery
Yavor Nechev
Vanessa A. O’Connor
Judy O’Neil
Sofia Owen
William Parks
William Patton
Julia C. Peyton
Nicholas Planty
Steven D. Pohl
John C. Polley
Leah Porter
Stephen Provazza
David L. Rubin
Lou D. Saban
Donna Saber
Ryan Takeo Sakoda
David Schwartz
Evan R. Segal
Elizabeth Julia Smith
Jordan Smith
Stephen Smith
Sharyn T. Sooho
Steven R. Striffler
Sharon L. Toffler
Kelly Towns
Olivia Uitto
William Valletta
Andrew Varshavsky
Judith Vassilovski
Tia Wallach
Leann Walsh
Michael Wang
Neil Warrenbrand
Jennifer Williams
Sean Wilson
Lawrence A. Wind
Charles M. Wyzanski
Ajay Zutshi

Pro Bono Preparation for Boston’s Citizenship Day


On Monday, September 12th, the BBA hosted its first pro bono training of the 2016-2017 program year. The training, run by Veronica Serrato of Project Citizenship and Joy DePina from the City of Boston, was designed to help prepare volunteer law students and attorneys for Citizenship Day in Boston, which will take place on Saturday, September 17th at the James P. Timilty Middle School in Roxbury.

Joy DePina began by expressing the commitment the City of Boston has to assisting the nearly 48,000 permanent legal residents currently living in the city. She also spoke about Mayor Marty Walsh’s own history regarding the naturalization of his parents, as well as the obligation he personally feels in assisting all immigrant residents in Boston.

Veronica Serrato then provided an extensive overview of the US naturalization process, from the general requirements which must be met by applicants, to the intricacies of the 20 page application itself. She also explained what the Department of Homeland Security looks for in these applications, and how to make sure they are being properly filed. The applications will be filled out with the assistance of a volunteer attorney and checked for quality to ensure applicants are not turned away due to errors that commonly occur when filing without legal assistance.
The BBA would like to thank all of those who attended the training, the speakers, and the many volunteers who will be assisting applicants during Citizenship Day.

If you would like to volunteer for Citizenship Day, please click here to sign-up.

“Citizenship Day in Boston” is an event where legal permanent residents across the state are able to receive free legal assistance and guidance in filling out the N-400 citizenship application. Project Citizenship, in unison with The Mayor’s Office for Immigrant Advancement and Goodwin Procter, is expecting to assist over 300 people apply for citizenship at this year’s event. Project Citizenship has been working year round since 2011 to provide assistance to those wishing to become citizens of the United States, and has so far assisted 8,100 applicants, with 3,194 last year alone. This year’s event will be the third yearly Citizenship Day so far, hopefully with many more to come.

Pro Bono Opportunities This Fall

As the weather cools down and the leaves change color, the BBA is getting excited for the best month of the year: Pro Bono Month! While October is officially designated Pro Bono Month, we’d like to make sure you’re aware of all Pro Bono events throughout the fall. See below for programs happening at the BBA and in our community.


Legal Clinic for the Homeless (St. Francis House)
Friday, September 9, 2016, 9:30 AM – 12:00 PM
Lawyers Clearinghouse – St. Francis House, 39 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02111
Work with homeless clients seeking legal assistance.

What You Need to Know About Naturalization: Pro Bono Preparation for Boston’s Citizenship Day
Monday, September 12, 2016, 4:00 – 6:00 PM
Boston Bar Association – 16 Beacon Street, Boston, MA 02108
The training will include an overview of citizenship, eligibility, the impact of a criminal history for an applicant, as well as important issues and red flags.

Bankruptcy Roundtable for Pro Bono Lawyers in Massachusetts
Tuesday, September 13, 2016, 12:00 – 1:00 PM
Volunteer Lawyers Project – 99 Chauncy St, Suite 400, Boston, MA 02111
Join us for a question and answer session with experienced consumer bankruptcy attorneys. It will be a forum for discussing case and practice issues with each other and a place where newer attorneys can get advice from experienced practitioners.

Landlord-Tenant Law 101
Tuesday, September 13, 2016, 4:30 – 6:00 PM
Volunteer Lawyers Project – 99 Chauncy Street, Suite 400, Boston, MA 02111
Join us for a one-session training on working with tenants and landlords facing eviction.

Citizenship Day
Saturday, September 17, 2016, 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM
Project Citizenship – 205 Roxbury Street, Roxbury, MA 02119
Volunteer through Project Citizenship to help over 300 applicants complete their paperwork and start their journey to US citizenship.

Mass Legal Answers Online – An Innovative New Way to Do Pro Bono
Monday, September 26, 2016, 12:30 – 1:30 PM
Boston Bar Association – 16 Beacon Street, Boston, MA 02108
At this program, attorneys will learn more about this innovative pro bono opportunity and how participating in this “bite size pro bono” project can make a real difference for people in need.

Wage and Hour Training
Monday, September 26, 2016, 4:00 – 7:00 PM
Volunteer Lawyers Project – Mass. Attorney General’s Office – Suffolk Law School: Faculty Meeting Room
120 Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02108
This one-session training will give you the basics on initiating a wage and hour claim for your client.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Basics
Monday, September 26, 2016, 4:00 – 5:30 PM
Volunteer Lawyers Project – 99 Chauncy Street, Suite 400, Boston, MA 02111
This training will give VLP volunteers the information they need to handle a pro bono Chapter 7 bankruptcy case using Best Case software.

Unemployment Insurance Appeals
Tuesday, September 27, 2016, 4:00 – 5:30 PM
Volunteer Lawyers Project – 99 Chauncy Street, Suite 400, Boston, MA 02111
This training is designed for attorneys who are seeking to represent on a pro bono basis clients who are pursuing unemployment benefits.

Family Law 101
Wednesday, September 28, 2016, 4:00 – 6:00 PM
Volunteer Lawyers Project – 99 Chauncy Street, Suite 400, Boston, MA 02111
Attend an introductory training on Domestic Relations Law. This one-session training will give you the basics on initiating a divorce. It will cover filing the Complaint and all the accompanying documents, and serving the opposing party.

Legal Clinic for the Homeless (Pine Street Inn)
Friday, September 30, 2016, 9:30 AM – 12:00 PM
Lawyers Clearinghouse – Pine Street Inn: 444 Harrison Avenue, Boston, MA 02118
Work with homeless clients seeking legal assistance.


Landlord-Tenant Law 101
Tuesday, October 4, 2016, 4:30 – 6:00 PM
Volunteer Lawyers Project – 99 Chauncy Street, Suite 400, Boston, MA 02111
Attend this one-session training on working with tenants and landlords facing eviction.

Family Law 102
Wednesday, October 5, 2016, 4:00 – 6:00 PM
Volunteer Lawyers Project – 99 Chauncy Street, Suite 400, Boston, MA 02111
Family Law 102 covers Temporary Orders, Pre-Trial Conferences, and how to finalize a divorce or other family law matter.

Pro Bono Work: Serving the Community, Advancing Your Career
Friday, October 14, 2016, 12:30 – 2:00 PM
Boston Bar Association – 16 Beacon Street, Boston, MA 02108
Join us to hear about how public service and pro bono work shaped the careers of our panel of attorneys and how the work they performed has impacted the community.

Legal Clinic for the Homeless (Medeiros Center)
Friday, October 14, 2016, 9:30 AM – 12:00 PM
Lawyers Clearinghouse – Cardinal Medeiros Center, 25 Isabella Street, Boston, MA 02116
Work with homeless clients seeking legal assistance.

Family Law 103
Wednesday, October 19, 2016, 4:00 – 6:00 PM
Volunteer Lawyers Project – 99 Chauncy Street, Suite 400, Boston, MA 02111
Family Law 102 covers joint petition for divorce, Complaint for Modification, Complaint for Contempt, and more!

Political Asylum/Immigration Representation Project, Representing Asylum Seekers
Friday, October 21, 2016, 2:00 – 5:00 PM
PAIR – Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education, 10 Winter Place, Boston, MA 02108
This Asylum 101 training will cover asylum law and procedure, packaging the I-589 application, how to work with traumatized clients, tips for immigration court practice, and perspectives from the bench.

Pro Bono Recruitment Fair & Open House at Suffolk Law
Tuesday, October 25, 2016, 4:30 – 6:00 PM
Boston Bar Association & Suffolk Law School – 120 Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02108
This event introduces attorneys and law students with a range of pro bono opportunities.

Family Law 104
Wednesday, October 26, 2016, 4:00 – 6:00 PM
Volunteer Lawyers Project – 99 Chauncy Street, Suite 400, Boston, MA 02111
Family Law 103 covers establishing paternity, separate support, and adoption.

Legal Clinic for the Homeless (Southampton Shelter)
Friday, October 28, 2016, 9:30 AM – 12:00 PM
Lawyers Clearinghouse – Southampton Shelter, 112 Southampton St. , Boston, MA 02118
Work with homeless clients seeking legal assistance.

Unemployment Insurance: Helping Out-of-Work Clients Navigate the Unemployment System
Friday, October 28, 2016, 1:00 – 4:30 PM
Volunteer Lawyers Project – Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education, 10 Winter Place, Boston, MA 02108
This seminar provides you with the expertise you need to understand the UI system and to help your clients get the UI benefits they are legally entitled.


Introduction to Guardianship of Minors
Wednesday, November 2, 2016, 4:00 – 6:00 PM
Volunteer Lawyers Project – 99 Chauncy Street, Suite 400, Boston, MA 02111
This nuts and bolts training will give participants the tools they need to handle simple guardianship of minor cases from the filing of the petition through the establishment of a permanent guardianship.

Landlord-Tenant Law 101
Thursday, November 8, 2016, 4:30 – 6:00 PM
Volunteer Lawyers Project – 99 Chauncy Street, Suite 400, Boston, MA 02111
A one-session training on working with tenants and landlords facing eviction.

Legal Clinic for the Homeless (Bridge Over Troubled Waters)
Sunday, November 18, 2016, 9:30 AM – 12:00 PM
Lawyers Clearinghouse – Bridge Over Troubled Waters, 47 West Street , Boston, MA 02111
Work with homeless clients seeking legal assistance.

Join us to Learn to Help Those Applying for Citizenship


Citizenship Day 2015, where over 250 immigrants applied to become American citizens.

Our first Pro Bono training of the year is coming up in two weeks, and we can’t wait to get started.

On September 17, 2016, which is naturally recognized as Citizenship Day, volunteers led by Project Citizenship will help hundreds of immigrants apply to become American citizens. In connection with Project Citizenship, the BBA hosts a training to teach attorneys how to fill out the citizenship application and answer many of the questions about the process that applicants may have.

The training will take place on September 12 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Last year, more than 30 BBA attorneys came to 16 Beacon to learn how to file an application for American citizenship – as well as an application fee waiver – on behalf of a client. Just five days later, they took that information with them and joined more than 200 other volunteers at the Timilty Middle School in Roxbury to assist those applying for naturalized American Citizenship.

It was a hectic, moving day, our volunteers told us. We hope that you will consider taking part this year!

Financial Literacy Program Wraps Up With Final Courthouse Session


To begin one of their final enrichment seminars of the summer, our Summer Jobs students filed through security, rode the courthouse elevators and took their places in the courtroom to watch a bankruptcy case unfold.

The court session may have been a mock proceeding, but the goal was to teach the students real lessons about the consequences failing to meet financial obligations.

Janet Bostwick, a longtime co-chair of the BBA’s Financial Literacy Program, offered narration as other attorneys acted out the parts of a debtor, trustee and creditor in two hypothetical scenarios. Hon. Joan Feeney, who welcomes Financial Literacy participants into her courtroom multiple times throughout the year, walked students through a mock session in which a creditor repossessed a debtor’s car.

Both Bostwick and Judge Feeney emphasized that most debtors are law-abiding people who fall behind, and not criminals. During the play-acted scenarios, the debtors racked up interest on credit card bills or fell behind on car payments. Judge Feeney explained that bankruptcy exists so that people failing to make ends meet don’t have to spend time in prison.

“Bankruptcy is meant to be a fresh start for the honest but unfortunate debtor,” Judge Feeney said, quoting the decision in Grogan v. Garner.

Students asked insightful questions about the process. One student asked how a bankruptcy trustee acquires the money to pay back creditors if the person filing for bankruptcy has no money. When asked what the hypothetical debtors could have done differently, students observed that they could have done more to save, spent less money on frivolous items, and paid more than the minimum on their credit card statements.

Save the Date & Get Your Spot at the Suffolk University Law School Pro Bono Fair


The hot weather may not have gotten the memo, but fall is almost here! That means it’s once again time for Suffolk University Law School’s Annual Pro Bono Fair – and we want to see as many organizations there as possible!

The BBA and Suffolk University Law School have teamed up for the sixth year in a row to sponsor the event, which will present legal services and other public interest organizations with an opportunity to connect with talented law students, recent graduates, and experienced attorneys about pro bono opportunities.

The fair is held as part of the National Pro Bono Celebration sponsored by the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service.  At last year’s fair, 30 public interest employers dedicated their time to attend the event and speak with individuals interested in doing pro bono work.  Over 250 students and attorneys participated in the highly successful fair.

The format of the event is similar to a career fair. Participating organizations are assigned tables and representatives from those organizations can distribute information to attendees at the fair. If you would like to reserve a table, please fill out this survey and contact Sarah Bookbinder by October 3. She can answer any questions you may have about the fair.

If you plan to attend the fair to browse the tables and hear from the fair’s organizations, please click this link to RSVP.

We look forward to seeing you next month!