The Boston Bar Association’s Reentry Education Program provides resources and information to probationers on a variety of topics. This month, residents of Coolidge House, a residential program for probationers released from federal prison, heard from Lizbeth Ginzburg (Greater Boston Legal Services) on the basics of public benefits. Attendees learned about the application process for SNAP, cash assistance programs, MassHealth, and SSI/SSDI benefits.
For many, it can be difficult to even know where to start, so the opportunity to hear about the process helps prepare those hoping to apply. Attendees discussed the challenges and myths they’ve heard surrounding various benefit programs and were provided with resource packets with information on all the programs.
If you’re interested in leading one of our Community Readiness Workshops, please email Cassandra Shavney at [email protected].
Today begins the first day of our annual Law Day in the Schools Program and we’re so thankful for all the volunteers that make this program possible. Attorneys are visiting Boston Public Schools across the city to teach students about due process and the importance of having fair rules for all. We’d like to thank all of the BBA’s Sponsor Organizations that have pledged volunteers for this program.
Anderson & Kreiger LLP
Barclay Damon, LLP
Beck Reed Riden LLP
Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA)
Burns & Levinson LLP
Committee for Public Counsel Services – Children and Family Law Division
Committee for Public Counsel Services – Roxbury
Conn Kavanaugh Rosenthal Peisch & Ford, LLP
Dain, Torpy, Le Ray, Wiest & Garner, P.C.
Davis, Malm & D’Agostine, P.C.
Goulston & Storrs PC
Holland & Knight LLP
Krokidas & Bluestein LLP
Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection
Massachusetts Department of Public Health
McLane Middleton, Professional Association
Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.
Office of the Corporation Counsel of the City of Boston
Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General
Peabody & Arnold LLP
Prince Lobel Tye LLP
Ropes & Gray LLP
Schmidt & Federico, P.C.
Sherin and Lodgen LLP
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP & Affiliates
Sullivan & Worcester LLP
Verrill Dana LLP
Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP
If you’re interested in volunteering, there are still open spots for 2017. Please sign up here.
Last Wednesday morning, nearly 100 members of the Society of Fellows and representatives from the Boston Bar Foundation’s grantee organizations gathered for a breakfast at the Taj Boston hotel downtown. The group came together to celebrate the positive impact of their support of the BBF in the community and look ahead to the important work that remains to be done in the coming months. Check out the photos from the event here.
Lisa Goodheart (Sugarman, Rogers, Barshak & Cohen), Patricia Comfort (Women’s Bar Association of Massachusetts) and Taci Darnell (Fidelity)
This year, in addition to funding all of the public service programs of the BBA, the BBF granted $1 million to more than 20 local legal services organizations, all of which are working on the front lines to improve access to justice for those most in need. Representatives from many of these essential community organizations attended the breakfast, with four of them participating on a panel that the BBF convened to discuss the current challenges to expanding access to justice and serving those in need. Moderated by the Honorable Nonnie Burnes, retired Superior Court judge, the panel engaged Jacqui Bowman of Greater Boston Legal Services, Betsy Soule of MetroWest Legal Services, Ronnie Millar of the Irish International Immigrant Center, and Samantha Morton of Medical-Legal Partnership Boston in a substantive panel discussion of emerging trends in Boston’s legal services field given recently enacted and proposed public policy shifts at the federal level.
Betsy Soule (MetroWest Legal Services), Samantha Morton (Medical-Legal Partnership Boston), Ronnie Millar (Irish International Immigrant Center) and Jacquelynne Bowman (Greater Boston Legal Services) speak on a panel at the Society of Fellows Appreciation Breakfast, moderated by Hon. Nonnie Burnes (Ret.).
Despite serious concerns about the future of access to justice in the areas of immigration, healthcare, housing and more, the panelists were encouraged by the outpouring of support for their work by the Massachusetts private bar. They hope that this momentum will continue and leave them better equipped to address the community’s increased needs during this difficult time.
The Society of Fellows is a vibrant community of more than 400 Boston leaders who are the backbone of the BBF’s efforts to expand access to justice and leverage the power of lawyers to improve our community in many different ways. Interested in learning more about how the Society provides the foundation for all of the BBF’s work and how you might get involved? Contact Tara Trask at [email protected] or (617) 778-1984.
As discussions around criminal justice reform continue, the Public Interest Leadership Program (PILP) recently heard from Segun Idowu, the Co-Organizer of the Boston Police Camera Action Team (BPCAT). In addition to his role with BPCAT, Idowu works at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate where he is currently the Visitor Services Manager, and is the 3rd Vice-President for the Boston chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. He helped organize BPCAT after the shooting of Michael Brown in 2014 and in September 2016, the Boston Police Commissioner announced the start of the body camera pilot program and in March, the program was extended to allow more time for data collection. BPCAT worked with community partners such as the ACLU of Massachusetts to help develop the pilot program’s policy that was adopted by the City of Boston and they continue to follow the results of the program.
You can read more about the work of BPCAT on their website.
On Wednesday, BBA Lawyer Referral Service (BBA LRS) staff attended the 2017 Victim Rights Conference hosted by the Massachusetts Office of Victim Assistance (MOVA) in honor of April’s Victim Rights Awareness Month. This annual conference brings together survivors and victim service providers for a day of learning and networking through exhibitors and workshops. The BBA LRS emphasized its mission to connect individuals with legal assistance, highlighting its ability to connect callers with lawyers and resources in a wide range of areas.
Conference attendees were welcomed by Attorney General Maura Healey and the Executive Director of MOVA, Liam Lowney. The conference recognized and celebrated both advocates and survivors of crime throughout the Commonwealth, highlighting the importance of empowering the voices and stories of victims and to bring attention to some of the racial and social justice issues facing the city.
Community outreach events like these are opportunities for the BBA to raise awareness about the LRS and the resources it has to both members of the public and other non-profits. If you would like more information about the LRS, please contact Solana Goss, LRS Operations Manager, at [email protected] or 617-778-1978.
The Boston Bar Association’s Environmental Public Service and New Lawyers Public Service Committees have planned three outdoor volunteer events in the coming weeks. Click the links below to reserve your spot at these events and enjoy the sun while helping beautify your community.
Annual Charles River Clean Up
Saturday, April 29, 2017 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Charles River Esplanade, Boston, MA
The Charles River Cleanup aims to provide Bostonians with a cleaner, healthier and more beautiful Charles River. Come join members of the New Lawyers Section and the Environmental Law Section as we partner with over 3,000 volunteers from various neighborhood, school and professional organizations to help clear trash, debris and other harmful items from the banks of the Charles River.
Volunteer on the Farm: The Food Project Serve & Grow
Saturday, May 6, 2017 9:30 AM to 12:30 PM
Lynn Farm – 1 Collins Terrace, Lynn, MA
The Food Project is a non-profit devoted to promoting sustainable food systems. The Food Project Serve & Grow Program is focused on growing food for hunger relief organizations and local distribution. Volunteers will participate in discussions about the food system as you cultivate and maintain the land – all while making a difference for those who lack healthy, affordable food in the Greater Boston area.
Spring Woodland Restoration Event at Allandale Woods Urban Wild
Friday, May 19, 2017 9:30 AM to 12:00 PM
Allandale Woods Urban Wild, Roslindale, MA
In partnership with the Boston Parks and Recreation Department’s Urban Wilds Initiative, we will perform trail maintenance, invasive plant control, and pruning of plantings at the Allandale Woods Urban Wild.
We are seeking attorneys to serve as coaches to bar exam applicants sitting for the Massachusetts Bar Exam this July. This is a short term commitment with a big impact. Coaches are not expected to answer substantive law questions, but will be trained to offer guidance on mental preparation, confidence, study tips, time & stress management, and dealing with anxiety. Coaches will communicate with their applicant by e-mail, by phone, or in person.
A training video and coaching guidelines will be provided. You will also have the option of attending our in-person training on May 1.
If you would like to volunteer as a coach, please fill out this online information form.
If you have any questions, please contact Cassandra Shavney at [email protected] or at 617-778-1918.
With less than a month to go before Casino Night, we can’t hold in our excitement for another round of the Summer Jobs Program. Law firms, government agencies, and in-house legal departments will be hiring students for seven weeks over the summer, with the proceeds from the Boston Bar Foundation’s Casino Night helping to hire students to work at legal services organizations. We’re so thankful to the organizations that have already signed up to hire a student and for those pledging to support the program through Casino Night.
To truly understand the impact of the program, we’re revisiting the experience of Sherley Muscade. Sherley was the first student the Boston Planning and Development Agency (known as the Boston Redevelopment Authority last summer) hired and was a wonderful resource for their office. When we visited her office last August, Sherley’s enthusiasm for the work was obvious. Check out her story here.
There’s still time to sign-up to hire for 2017, so please email Cassandra Shavney at [email protected] for more information.
The Political Asylum/Immigration Representation Project (PAIR)* has been leading a number of trainings at the BBA in response to national immigration concerns; most recently, they educated over 50 attorneys on how to assist clients in gaining release from immigration detention. The training presenters, Amanda Ekey and Elena Noureddine, told attendees that they estimate there are 500-600 non-citizens currently detained across four detention centers in the Commonwealth. Those detained are both from Massachusetts and also southern states that do not have the capacity in their own detention centers to hold an increased number non-citizens. Detainees are held prior to their court hearing and potential removal from the United States. They are also not appointed counsel before appearing in immigration court, which makes pro bono assistance even more crucial for adequate representation. The training’s attendees are able to volunteer with PAIR and begin providing pro bono services to detainees.
PAIR’s next training at the BBA is scheduled for Monday, April 24th from 4:30 PM – 6:30 PM and will prepare attorneys to lead immigration Know Your Rights workshops in the community. These workshops instruct community members what rights non-citizens have under the constitution and what to do if questioned by ICE or other law enforcement authorities. To sign-up to attend, please click here.
*The PAIR Project is a 2016 Grantee of the Boston Bar Foundation.