Daily Archives: Thursday, September 1, 2016

Join us to Learn to Help Those Applying for Citizenship

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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

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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

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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!