Monthly Archives: September 2017

BBF Funds Summer Jobs Position in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court

During her summer working in the office of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Simone Gerald-Burns found it enlightening to learn that people from all walks of life can find themselves in the unfortunate situation of filing for bankruptcy.

“The most interesting thing to me is to see the judges talk to people,” Gerald-Burns said. “There are a lot of successful people who end up in a bad situation, and there are also a lot of people with nothing left to lose.”

Over the course of seven weeks working in the court, Gerald-Burns said she received hands-on lessons in empathy and fiscal responsibility.  From her coworkers, she learned the value of a collaborative spirit.

“I like being able to see how people interact in an office setting, which is very quiet compared to school,” she said. “You have your own responsibility, but you can also call on others when you need to.”

Going to lunch with her colleagues from time to time, Gerald-Burns valued the chance to hear them talk about the journey through school that led them to their career path.  She said she feels better equipped to make decisions about her own future after hearing about the learning experiences of those in her office.

“Learning to talk to more people who are not just people my age also helped me be more comfortable talking to people in authority,” she added.

Above all, Gerald-Burns came away from her job with a meaningful understanding of concepts she had previously only seen on television.

“Before this job, I didn’t know anything about bankruptcy besides the spot on the wheel in Wheel of Fortune. I think this experience will help me keep good credit and pay my bills on time, and the work experience will certainly help me in my career,” she said.

Gerald-Burns’s position at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court was funded by the Boston Bar Foundation, along with 10 other positions for teens in Boston this summer.

Recap: PILP Hosts Symposium on “Constitutional Battlegrounds”

Mark C. Fleming (Partner, WilmerHale), Ivan Espinoza-Madrigal (Executive Director, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice), Jack M. Beermann (Professor of Law, Boston University School of Law) and moderator Kent Greenfield (Professor of Law, Boston College Law School) discuss constitutional law and the federal government.

On Monday, nearly 100 people packed the Boston Bar Association for the culminating symposium of the Public Interest Leadership Program (PILP): Constitutional Battlegrounds: Civil Rights in a Changing Landscape. For the past year PILP has been meeting twice a month to learn about various issue areas ranging from housing discrimination to the opioid crisis and learning ways they can become involved as attorneys and leaders in their community. During the year, the class also had the opportunity to meet with judges to discuss the courts and the judicial perspective, including Chief Justice Roberto Ronquillo, Jr. and Judge Eleanor Sinnott (Boston Municipal Court).

As their final project, the class decided to hold a symposium to further the dialogue around the constitutional issues in the national spotlight. Inviting local speakers from the area familiar with constitutional law, PILP divided the event into two panels: one focusing on the recent changes in federal law and policy and the other on how states can and cannot react to changes in federal policy. Each presenter spoke about their issue area of focus, but attendees were encouraged to ask their questions to the expert panel.

PILP member Hannah Joseph (Beck Reed Riden LLP) shared a bit about her experience:

“The most rewarding aspect of being involved in PILP was hosting our end-of-the-year symposium, Constitutional Battlegrounds: Civil Rights in a Changing Landscape. The speakers – representing academia, the Commonwealth, civil rights groups, and the private sector – are experts in the area of constitutional law and shared diverse perspectives regarding key issues in today’s political climate. Similarly, the audience, comprising attorneys representing a wide variety of practice areas, was engaged and actively contributed to the discussion. It had the electricity and excitement of a town hall meeting,” she said.

PILP’s 13th class year has now ended and the 14th class is underway. If you’re an attorney who’s been practicing for less than 10 years or you’d like to recommend the program to a colleague, you can find more program information here.

Rep. Michael S. Day (State Representative, Massachusetts House of Representatives), Bessie Dewar (State Solicitor, Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office), Jessie Rossman (Staff Attorney, American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts), and moderator Lawrence Friedman (Professor of Law, New England School of Law) speak about the role of state governments in shaping the law of the land.

Summer Jobs Spotlight: Nelson Mullins

For Lily Doyle, the BBA Summer Jobs Student hired by Nelson Mullins to support the firm’s work this summer, “intellectual property” was a new concept.

As she helped keep records relevant to some of the firm’s IP cases, she was always learning gaining new information from what she was filing.

“I learned a lot of terms and a lot of information from correspondence about how patents are done. It didn’t even dawn on me how these things happen,” she said.

One of the most exciting parts of her summer was learning that some attorneys at the firm went to the same high school as Doyle – Boston Latin School. She said she enjoyed hearing and relating to their personal stories spanning from their teen years to their current careers. On a daily basis, the attorneys’ team of assistants also made her feel very welcome, she said.

All of Doyle’s work experience prior to her summer at Nelson Mullins took place away from a desk. In the past, she did work outside, and held a position at the Museum of Fine Arts.

But working at a law firm helped to prepare her for future office experiences.

“I got a sense of a nine-to-five job for the first time. This is also my first job where I am the only person my age,” she said.

Doyle says she could see herself becoming a litigator in the future, because she finds litigation to be the most fascinating aspect of practicing law. She also enjoyed learning more about city government during the BBA’s mock city council hearing, which the students participated in by debating a fictional city ordinance.

“Working here was different than I expected. From the outside, law firms can seem bureaucratic and not as personal, but I saw the attorneys laugh with each other a lot and everyone seems very close. I’m glad I had the opportunity to learn more about the people,” she said.

VLP Announces July & 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.

The Volunteer Lawyers Project of the Boston Bar Association thanks the following attorneys who accepted cases or provided consultation in July & August through Lawyer for the Day at the Boston Housing Court:

John M. Allen
Samuel Ames
Tristan Axelrod
Lisa Bernt
Roger Bertling
Stephanie Biggs
Jared Bishop
Larry Booz
Rebecca Brodie
Alyce Chen
Patrick J. Daly
Seth Davis
Maureen Jones Devine
Vikas Dhar
Julie Dick
Anna R. DiMaria
Sean Donovan
Pauline Edmonds
Michael G. Giarrusso
David Goldman
Sean Grammel
Steven Greenzang
Kelly Neubauer Griffin
James J. Heggie
Patricia Hennigan
Katherine Hughes
David P. Hunt
Maegan Hurley
Katherine Insogna
Jared Iverson
Jonas Jacobson
Sharon V. Jones
Elisia Lau
Helen Lee
Jacqueline Levy
Amy L. Lipman-White
Michael MacDonald
Caryn Mitchell-Munevar
Madelyn Morris
Greg Moscatel
Joanne Moses
Yavor Nechev
Andrew O’Laughlin
Nina Parker
Steven D. Pohl
Stephen Provazza
Jacob Raver
Brittany Rehmer
Lei Reilley
Lola Remy
Zaheer Samee
Kelly Schwartz
Evan R. Segal
Esmeralda Sema
Peter Shapland
Stephen Smith
Sara Suleman
Michael C. Sweet
Kevin Tagliaferri
Samuel E. Thompson
Sharon L. Toffler
William Valletta
Andrew Varshavsky
Teresa Jeanne Walsh
Lawrence A. Wind
Daniel Yuen

 

Summer Jobs Spotlight: Verrill Dana Offers Student Firsthand Legal Experience

Watching Verrill Dana partner Robin Murphy during a pro bono mediation session with a family going through a custody battle, BBA Summer Jobs Student Suzett Amado found herself engaged the whole time.

“Robin just got right to the point. She really listened to them and got them to agree without arguments,” Amado said, impressed.

When she began her summer in the BBA Summer Jobs Program, Amado said she expected the internship to involve a heavy load of administrative tasks. While she did her fair share of those, she said she was pleasantly surprised and grateful to have experienced some aspects of the legal profession firsthand, such as Murphy’s pro bono family law practice.

Over the course of the summer, Amado expanded her legal vocabulary. She learned what a deposition was, and was eventually invited to sit in on one. Amado took BBA President Mark Smith’s advice from the Summer Jobs kickoff event, where he told the students to ask attorneys at their firm about their ‘war stories.’

“When I applied, I never expected to get as much one-on-one experience with attorneys. We get lunch sometimes, where I’ve gotten to talk to real people who have done things like work on murder cases, and that has been really interesting,” she said.

Amado said working at Verrill Dana has been a unique experience compared to past summer employment. Specifically, she said the firm is very organized and employees are expected to be professional, which has made her feel “more prepared to handle a 9-5 job.”

“I feel like I know better now what it means to have an office job, and answer phones and talk to people. I even got to have my name on my cubicle, which was really nice,” she said.

Out of the enrichment seminars the students attended each Wednesday, Amado said the mock city council hearing was her favorite. Led by former city council president and Nixon Peabody partner Larry DiCara, the students had the interactive experience of debating a hypothetical city ordinance.

“I knew that the city’s government existed, but it was cool to be a part of the discussion rather than sitting by and watching,” she said.

Amado, who just began her senior year at Boston Latin Academy, is interested in pursuing a career in law. While she doesn’t know what practice area she would like to focus on, she aspires to one day work as a district attorney.

“The Summer Jobs Program is a good opportunity for anyone who wants to go into law. You learn a lot interning at a law firm – especially a firm like Verrill Dana,” she said.

Volunteer for Citizenship Day 2017

Citizenship Day in Boston is the largest citizenship workshop in New England. This year, Project Citizenship*, the Mayor’s Office for Immigrant Advancement, Goodwin Procter, and Eastern Bank are hosting the 4th annual event.

Since 2014, over 600 people have applied for citizenship on Citizenship Day in Boston. Project Citizenship expects to serve over 350 this year!

Citizenship Day in Boston provides free legal services to hundreds of immigrants but they are in need of volunteers for the event. Citizenship Day 2017 will take place on Saturday, September 23rd at the Reggie Lewis Center (1350 Tremont St. Roxbury, MA 02120). Volunteers will assist with a variety of tasks including assisting applicants with completing the 20-page application. Attendance is mandatory at one of Project Citizenship’s training sessions if you want to assist with completing the forms, even if you have volunteered at the event in the past.

To volunteer for the event and select which training you would like to attend, please fill out this form.

If you have any questions regarding the event, don’t hesitate to reach out to Project Citizenship at [email protected] or by phone at 617-694-5949.

*Project Citizenship is a 2017 Grantee of the Boston Bar Foundation.

Celebrating Another Successful Summer Jobs Program

With the end of August and the first day of school approaching, the BBA Summer Jobs Program wrapped up with a final celebration to congratulate the students on their accomplishments this summer.

Boston Bar Foundation Board of Trustees President Anthony Froio (Robins Kaplan LLP) emceed the event, thanking all of the law firms, government agencies, courts, and legal services organizations for introducing this summer’s 52 students to the legal profession. The students, their supervisors, special guests and program partners heard from Kemmara Bailey, a rising junior at New Mission High School, about her experience at Conn Kavanaugh Rosenthal Peisch & Ford, LLP during the summer.

Bailey, an aspiring criminal justice lawyer, was first introduced to Conn Kavanaugh through the Boston Private Industry Council’s Job Shadow Day, an event for students to experience an organization during one morning in March. After meeting many courteous attorneys and office staff, Bailey felt Conn Kavanaugh would be a perfect fit for her Summer Jobs experience. Not surprisingly, Conn Kavanaugh felt the same way about the remarkable student. Bailey explained that the support and skills she gained during the summer only solidified her desire to become a lawyer. Echoing the experiences of the other students in the room, Bailey exemplified the importance of the Summer Jobs Program for introducing students to the career possibilities after high school.

New Mission High School student and Conn Kavanaugh Summer Intern, Kemmara Bailey, describes her experience in the program.

Following Bailey, the event’s guests heard from Wousthanya Dumornay, a former Summer Jobs Program participant now working at Locke Lord LLP as a Recruiting Coordinator. Dumornay recounted her experience interning at Locke Lord (then Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge LLP) while a student at John D. O’Bryant School of Mathematics and Science. She emphasized the significance of the relationships she formed with her colleagues and supervisors during that summer. She credited those positive relationships as the catalyst for her return to Locke Lord after high school and encouraged the students in the room to maintain the contacts formed during their time in the program. Dumornay is one of many program participants who’ve gone on to work in the legal field and she is an inspiring example for the students who’ve just completed the program.

Wousthanya Dumornay recounts her time in the Summer Jobs Program and provides advice to this year’s outgoing participants.

The celebration concluded with the students and guests enjoying a reception and viewing pictures from the summer. To view the Celebration PowerPoint and meet all of the students, please click here.

Students from 19 Boston public high schools convene for the celebration of a successful summer.

The BBA is grateful to its program partners, the Boston Private Industry Council and the City of Boston Mayor’s Office. Additionally, we’d like to again thank the 35 organizations that hired students for the summer and the over 15 program sponsors whose donations supported students working at legal services organizations and government offices.

Summer Jobs Students Learn Financial Responsibility

The final Enrichment Seminars for the BBA’s Summer Jobs students centered on making responsible financial decisions and planning for the future. First, the students heard from Dan Forster, Vice President for Enrollment Management at Westfield State University, on the basics regarding college financial aid and admissions. Most of the Summer Jobs students are rising juniors and seniors currently considering their options after graduation and navigating the world of student loans. Forster reviewed how to calculate the expected financial need for each school based on the total cost of attendance and what one can expect to pay before considering loan options. In addition to financial aid, Foster oversees Westfield State’s admissions office and fielded the students’ many questions about what universities are looking for in potential students. While there’s no one answer for every student and every college, Forster stressed the importance of doing well in high school to signal to colleges potential future success. With so many options out there, Forster also stressed that there is a college out there that will meet the needs of each student financially, academically, and socially. After the session, students noted how useful it was to have an open dialogue and hear information very relevant to their lives.

At their last seminar for the summer, the students visited the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Boston as part of the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program to learn about the consequences of filing for bankruptcy. The students participated in a mock 341 meeting and mock relief from stay hearing, which introduced them to the types of questions one may have to answer during the bankruptcy process. They learned that student loan debt is nearly impossible to discharge through bankruptcy. Most importantly, the students had an opportunity to ask Chief Judge Melvin Hoffman questions about bankruptcy, and hear firsthand about what it’s like to be a judge in federal court. With many aspiring lawyers in the Summer Jobs Program, the students enjoyed learning the attributes of a good candidate for judgeship.

Attorneys John Loughnane (Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP), Jessica Youngberg (Veterans Legal Services), Kathleen Cruickshank (Murphy & King), Ethan Jeffery (Murphy & King), and Doug Rosner (Goulston & Storrs P.C.) led the mock 341 hearing in the U.S Bankruptcy Court’s historic library.

Chief Judge Melvin S. Hoffman discusses facts presented during the mock relief from stay hearing with students Jennie Chang, Lily Kelly, Jackson Petrella, and Simone Gerald-Burns.