Daily Archives: Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Now Accepting Applications for the Public Interest Leadership Program

The Boston Bar Association is pleased to announce that it is now accepting applications for its 2018-2019 class of Public Interest Leaders. The BBA’s Public Interest Leadership Program (PILP) is a unique leadership program for new lawyers that promotes civic engagement and public service by advancing the leadership role of lawyers in service to their community, the profession and the Commonwealth.

If you’re interested in the program, we invite you to join us on Tuesday, March 13th from 5:30 PM – 7:00 PM at the BBA to learn more. The information session will feature PILP alumni who will provide insight into the program, discuss the application process, reflect on their experiences, and answer questions. If you’d like to attend, please register here.

Eligible applicants are BBA Members who have graduated law school within the past 10 years and demonstrate a commitment to public service and their community. The Program has four specific purposes:

  • To identify and recognize present and future leaders in the BBA and the Boston legal community.
  • To contribute to the professional and leadership development of promising young attorneys.
  • To integrate young leaders into the BBA and its public service landscape — at the same time significantly contributing to the public interest.
  • To build a powerful alumni network of lawyer leaders who, by their actions, demonstrate that part of being a successful lawyer is giving back to the community.

To download the application, please click here. Applications are due March 30, 2018  to Cassandra Shavney, [email protected].

This past fall, the 14th Public Interest Leadership Program (PILP) started their term. Twenty attorneys were selected for the program based on their experience and dedication to public service and civic engagement. The program now includes over 160 alumni who’ve gone on to serve the BBA in other capacities and carry their passion for serving the public interest into the community.

Meet the 2018 BBF Casino Night Co-chairs

In less than a month, we are bringing back the BBF’s annual Casino Night fundraiser! With table games, a magician, gourmet food and our first top-shelf scotch tasting, this event transforms 16 Beacon Street. It’s sure to bring a crowd!

Casino Night raises money to support the M. Ellen Carpenter fund, which is used to fund programs and projects that help provide opportunities to young people in Boston. We heard from this year’s event co-chairs, Michael McDermott of Dain, Torpy, Le Ray, Wiest & Garner and Nikki Marie Oliveira of Bass, Doherty & Finks, about what they are looking forward to and why the BBF’s work matters to them.

Michael McDermott is a litigation associate at Dain, Torpy, Le Ray, Wiest & Garner, P.C., a commercial real estate boutique law firm. He assists developers, landlords, and commercial owners to resolve disputes concerning land use, environmental, condominium, agricultural, insurance, and consumer credit issues and provides due diligence, permitting, and regulatory compliance services. In addition to his work on Casino Night, Michael serves as a public service co-chair for the BBA’s Senior Associate Forum, as a board member for the Friends of the Blackstone Innovation School, and as an Emerging Leader with A Better City.

“As a resident of Boston, who plans to raise a family in the city, I am personally and professionally committed to making the city a healthier and more supportive environment for working families of all economic backgrounds. I am excited to co-chair this year’s event and work on initiatives that are important to the continued developmentof Boston as a family-friendly city,” he said.

Nikki Marie Oliveira earned her LL.M. in Taxation from the Graduate Tax Program at Boston University School of Law, her J.D. from New England School of Law and her B.S. in Mathematics, magna cum laude, from Roger Williams University. She is admitted to the Massachusetts and Florida Bars. Nikki’s practice focuses on sophisticated tax and estate planning, trust and probate administration, long-term care planning, special needs planning, as well as delicate situations requiring guardianships and conservatorships. She is a Supporting Fellow of the Boston Bar Foundation and has served on multiple committee’s in the BBA’s Trusts & Estates Section.

“I am really excited to be involved with the BBF’s Casino Night this year and am most looking forward to having fun with my colleagues, friends and loved ones at the event!  It is really inspiring that so many companies and individuals are willing to support the event and help make a big difference for Boston youth,” she said.

Get your tickets now and take a chance for a good cause!

Observations from Boston Housing Court’s Lawyer for the Day

 Guest Post: Jack Caplan is the current Lawyer Referral Service Co-op Intern at the BBA. Jack is a sophomore year at Northeastern University studying Politics, Philosophy, and Economics. After spending the morning shadowing the Lawyer for the Day table at Boston Housing Court, he shared his experience with Beyond the Billable.

Just after 9 am last Thursday morning in the Edward W. Brooke Courthouse in Boston, over 200 attorneys and members of the public crammed into one hot courtroom.  It was standing room only as people tried to find any space they could to claim as their own.  The physical bar which typically separates court observers from lawyers (the same bar from which the exam and Association get their names) was soon ignored, thus blurring the line between who’s an attorney and who isn’t.

The Clerk began calling out each case number and the respective plaintiffs and defendants answered with whether they wanted to try mediation or go straight to a bench trial.  Looking around the room you could see a microcosm of Boston itself: an MBTA driver searching for a seat before giving up and standing, much like her passengers at rush hour; a mother and father trying to quiet their young children with toys; and who EMT missed the first call of her case because of a last minute emergency at the end of a long night shift.  The atmosphere was understandably tense considering people’s homes were on the line, but the Clerk and Court Officer kept the mood light through jokes and banter.

A vast majority of those present elected to go to mediation and were directed to a lower floor of the sprawling Courthouse.  This sent them straight past the tables of the Volunteer Lawyers Project where landlords and tenants alike could stop by to ask questions, get help filing motions, and even get representation for mediation as part of a Limited Assistance Representation structure.  Attorneys were running around and talking to clients and the scene upstairs at the peak of the morning could only be described as chaotic.  But speaking with the volunteer attorneys it quickly became clear that they didn’t mind at all – in fact they loved it – their passion was palpable.  They had the chance to help out the roughly 95% of tenants who go into housing court without counsel.  Results for litigants with some level of representation are so vastly and almost unbelievably better than for those who go in totally alone.

Indeed, going to Housing Court while Lawyer for the Day is running can be one of the best antidotes to the otherwise negative feelings brought on by statistics like the one above.  It’s statistics like that, statistics which cast a tragic light on the state of justice in Massachusetts and America, which compel many of these attorneys to volunteer their time.  The impact that the dozen or so attorneys were able to make last week is truly a sight to behold.  Tenants who were convinced that they would lose their homes suddenly had hope provided by the attorneys.  The impact of donated time and expertise was noticed, appreciated, and sometimes immediate.

The Volunteer Lawyer’s Project administers frequent trainings for attorneys interested in helping out.  The Lawyer for the Day program itself occurs each Wednesday from 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM (public housing cases) and Thursday from 9:00 AM – 3:30 PM (private housing cases) in front of Courtroom 15 at the Edward W. Brooke Courthouse, 24 New Chardon Street, Boston, MA. If you have questions about volunteering or would like to learn more, please contact Cassandra Shavney the Boston Bar’s Public Service Programs Coordinator, or Milton Wong of the Volunteer Lawyers Project.

The need is constant, the difference is instant: consider volunteering today.