Monthly Archives: June 2018

Suffolk Law’s Housing Discrimination Testing Program Explained to PILP

Last month, the Public Interest Leadership Program (PILP) heard from James Matthews and Catherine LaRaia, Clinical Fellows in Suffolk University Law School’s Housing Discrimination Testing Program (HDTP).  The HDTP studies trends in discrimination, provides training on rights and responsibilities in rental housing, and participates in the enforcement of fair housing laws.

Matthews and LaRaia began by giving the class an overview of the Fair Housing Act and the housing-related protections afforded under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 151B. They identified and explained the various protected classes under both Federal and Massachusetts law, as well as the scope of a landlord’s obligation to make reasonable accommodations for renters with disabilities.  They discussed the impact of the Massachusetts Lead Law, which requires landlords to remove lead paint in units with children under the age 6, as landlords sometimes try to avoid the expense of de-leading (which can be substantial) by steering families with young children away from their units.  The expense of de-leading does not, however, excuse a landlord from complying with its legal obligation not to discriminate on the basis of familial status.  Relatedly, Matthews and LaRaia discussed trends in housing discrimination, such as the use of coded language, which may make unlawful practices more difficult to spot.  For example, advertisements targeting “graduate students or young professionals,” while seemingly innocuous on their face, may signal an intent to discriminate on the basis of familial status, age, or other protected classes.

One tool for flushing out discriminatory intent is testing, which involves sending trained individuals into the community to pose as renters in order to collect information on whether housing discrimination is occurring.  HDTP researches rental advertisements and, after identifying potential violators, arranges for both “protected” and “control” testers to inquire about renting the advertised unit.  The testers then report their experiences, which HDTP staff evaluates to determine whether the landlord may be discriminating among rental applicants based on protected characteristics.  Matthews and LaRaia concluded the class with a robust question-and-answer session, ranging on topics from enforcement options to problems arising from roommate situations.

More information on Suffolk’s Housing Discrimination Testing Program may be found at http://www.suffolk.edu/law/academics/59759.php

Meeting recap provided by PILP Member Justin Kesselman (Posternak Blankstein & Lund LLP).

Ropes & Gray Transgender ID Clinic Update

This time last year, we spoke with Emily Oldshue at Ropes & Gray about the firm’s Transgender ID clinic, a partnership with GLAD that offers pro bono legal assistance to transgender individuals navigating the process of legally changing their name and gender marker on official documents.

Last June, Ropes attorneys had assisted 300 transgender individuals, and parents of transgender children, with updating records such as birth certificates, driver’s licenses, passports, mortgage titles, voter registration and more.

Today, Oldshue was proud to report that the clinic has matched more than 600 pro bono clients with over 200 attorney volunteers. Attorneys in all of the firm’s U.S. offices, and four out of five of its offices outside of the United States, have participated in the project.

“The response and participation that we have seen from the Ropes & Gray community in the past year have continued to be overwhelmingly positive. The involvement of so many attorneys, from all of our U.S. offices, as well as globally, has allowed us to match another 300 individuals with attorney teams ready to help them navigate the process,” Oldshue said.

Oldshue, an associate in Ropes & Gray’s capital markets group, has been involved with the clinic since its inception. Last year she was named one of the National LGBT Bar Association’s Best LGBT Lawyers Under 40.

The clinic currently covers all of New England, and Oldshue and her colleagues are hoping to expand to new cities in the coming years, domestically and abroad.

You can read the original Beyond the Billable piece on the Ropes & Gray Transgender ID Clinic here.

VLP’s January–March Lawyer for the Day Honor Roll

On a quarterly basis, we share the Volunteer Lawyers Project of the Boston Bar Association‘s* Honor Roll of attorneys who have stepped up to take a pro bono case through its Lawyer for the Day at the Eastern Housing Court program. With the need to volunteer as important as ever, with this installment of the VLP Honor Roll, we wanted to do something a little different.

Two of the attorneys appearing on the Honor Roll this year, Rachael McCarthy and Lillian Maguire, checked in with us to tell us why volunteering in the Housing Court is so important to them.

“Participating as a Lawyer for the Day in Boston Housing Court is important to me because it helps me keep perspective on what is important in life,” McCarthy said. “It gives me the opportunity to use my training to help people navigate a confusing legal process in order to avoid eviction and stay in their homes.”

“I participate in the Lawyer for a Day program at Boston Housing Court because such little time on our part can make a tremendous difference in the lives of the people we serve. Navigating the legal system is incredibly complicated. Our clients may have significant defenses or options for remaining in their current housing that they would not discover on their own. Even lawyers who don’t specialize in landlord/tenant law can make a difference with their knowledge of basic civil procedure,” Maguire said.

She went on to emphasize how crucial this program is.

“Without a lawyer’s help, clients may not know what their best legal options are, but more importantly, they are left without an advocate. The simple act of listening to a client’s story and advocating on their behalf can make a huge difference when something as vital as housing is at stake.”

To get more information on volunteering, please contact attorney Milton Wong.

The Volunteer Lawyers Project of the Boston Bar Association thanks the following attorneys who accepted cases January, February, and March through Lawyer for the Day at the Eastern Housing Court:

Adam Minsky
Alex Intile
Alexandra Slavet
Alyce Chen
Andres Garron
Ann Baum
Anne Bowie
Arlene Kasarjian
Avana Anderson
Brian Dunphy
Brian Reichart
Camala Richardson
Cameron McGinn
Caryn Mitchell-Munevar
Charles Wyzanski
Christopher Clark
Christopher John Freeland
Daniel Klubock
David Goldman
David Soutter
Deborah Bondzie
Earl Finn
Edward Burns
Eileen Henderson
Elaine Nichols
Elisia Lau
Erica James
Evelyn Venables Moreno
Gail Jones Klopfer
Greg Moscatel
Heather LaCount
Helen Lee
Huntern Shu
Ilene Klein
Jacob Simon
James Benjamin
James Franchek
James Tourkistas
James Downes
Jasmine Etesse
Jason Marshall
Jenelle DeVits
Jinanne Elder
Jiyan Yan
Joel Gardiner
John Allen
Jonathan Guest
Jonathan Marshall
Joseph Makalusky
Joseph Lally
Joshua Bone
Joshua Duncan
Judy O’Neil
Julia Katz
Kate Nicholson
Katharine Milton
Katherine Hughes
Katherine Insogna
Kathleen McGrath
Kelsea Médard
Kenneth Corson
Kevin Mortimer
Krzysztof Momot
Larry Booz
Lauren Donaldson
Laurie Freeman
Lawrence Wind
Leigh Gilligan
Lillian Maguire
Lisa Bernt
Madelyn Morris
Maegan Hurley
Margarett Grandoit
Matthew Feiner
Maureen Jones Devine
Mia Friedman
Michael Horan
Michael MacDonald
Michael Giarrusso
Moe Yasin
Monica Chou
Natasha Nese
Neil Warrenbrand
Nina Parker
Patrick Brown
Patrick Daly
Paul Newman
Peter A. Biagetti
Rachel McCarthy
Raymond Dougan
Rebecca Cazabon
Richard Maidman
Rizwanul Huda
Roger Bertling
Roger Geller
Sabrina Rocco
Samuel Ames
Samuel Brenner
Sara Jones
Sarah Smith
Seth Davis
Sharon Toffler
Sharon Jones
Soraya Sadeghi
Starlene Alves
Stephanie Biggs
Stephen Provazza
Steven Greenzang
Steven Cohen
Tamara Lauterbach Sturges
Teresa Jeanne Walsh
Theodore Prizio
Thomas Ayres
Thomas Beauvais
Tia Wallach
Tristan Axelrod
Tyler Lewis
Vanessa A. O’Connor
Victor Rivera Colon
Victoria Rothbaum
Vikas Dhar
Wei Xie
William Valletta
Yu Lu

*The Volunteer Lawyers Project is a 2018 Grant Recipient of the Boston Bar Foundation.

Volunteers are crucial to many of VLP’s programs, including the Lawyer for the Day in the Boston Housing Court Program pictured above.

Eight Offices Selected to Host BBF Funded Summer Jobs Students

Each year, thanks to generous donations to the Boston Bar Foundation’s M. Ellen Carpenter Fund, a handful of high school students are provided the opportunity to work at legal services organizations, courts, and government offices through the BBA’s Summer Jobs Program. This summer, eight Boston Public School students will have the opportunity to earn a paycheck through the BBA while developing critical professional skills and providing support to a legal office in the city. The following organizations have been selected as 2018 host sites for the BBF-sponsored interns:

  • Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services
  • Massachusetts Law Reform Institute (MLRI)
  • Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation (MLAC)
  • Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office
  • U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Massachusetts, Clerk’s Office
  • U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts, Clerk’s Office
  • U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts, Ward Fellowship
  • Volunteer Lawyers Project

We’re also grateful to the 24 law firms and government agencies that are directly hiring students this summer.

The Summer Jobs Program will kick-off its 25th year on July 9th – stay tuned for updates on the students throughout the summer!

 

Bar Exam Coaching Program – Call for Bar Applicants and Attorney Volunteers

As we move into the summer, recent law school graduates are preparing to take the July Bar Exam. The Boston Bar Association is continuing to support bar applicants, especially those who are retaking the exam, with the mental, emotional, and practical preparation required. We’re currently recruiting bar applicants signed-up to take the July exam and attorneys who’d like to volunteer as coaches. See below for specific information and to sign-up!


Bar Applicants – Are you taking the Uniform Bar Examination in Massachusetts in July 2018?

We know you’ve got the academic part of your bar prep under control, but let us help out with the mental, emotional, and practical preparation. We are ready to connect you with attorney-coaches from diverse personal and professional backgrounds to offer guidance on:

  • time management
  • effective study techniques
  • stress management

If you are taking the July exam and would like to be connected with a coach, please fill out this online information form. Please note that this program is designed for those who are retaking the Bar Exam. However, we will accept applications for the program from first-time exam takers and assign you to a coach based on availability.


Attorneys – Could you offer a helping hand to an applicant sitting for the July 2018 Bar Exam?

We are seeking attorneys to serve as coaches to bar exam applicants sitting for the 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, and time & stress management. Coaches will communicate with their applicant by e-mail, by phone, or in person.

Training and program guidelines will be provided.

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]

Thank You to all Law Day in the Schools Volunteers!

As we head into summer, we’re grateful for the commitment made this spring by over 130 lawyers and law students to introduce Boston’s youth to the law and legal profession. The Boston Bar Association’s Law Day in the Schools Program reached over 1650 Boston Public School students in Kindergarten through 12th Grade classrooms in 16 schools. The volunteers worked with the students to help them identify issues in the community that resonated with them and to develop supporting arguments around those issues. Countless students voiced their support for longer recess and even more wanted to be more proactive against bullying, increase measures to slow climate change, and find solutions to make students feel safe in school. When this year’s program kicked off, we caught up with Jill Brenner Meixel and Allison Belanger of Krokidas & Bluestein to hear about why they volunteer for the program. For a peek into a high school class and to read their story, click here.

Thank you to all of those who helped the students identify what changes they want to see in their communities and for answering students questions about what it’s like to be a lawyer!

Haritha Ambros, Davis, Malm & D’Agostine, P.C.
Daryl Andrews, Andrews DeValerio LLP
Nieve Anjomi, Office of the Corporation Counsel of the City of Boston
Justin Ansel, Hogan Lovells US LLP
Azure Aronsson, Hogan Lovells US LLP
Cathleen Augusto, Arrowood LLP
Heather Baer, Fitch Law Partners LLP
Paula Bagger, Law Office of Paula M. Bagger, LLC
Kathryn Barry
Allison Belanger, Krokidas & Bluestein LLP
William Boesch, Sugarman, Rogers, Barshak & Cohen, P.C.
Stephanie Bougas, Dain, Torpy, Le Ray, Wiest & Garner, P.C.
Jordan Bowne, Burns & Levinson LLP
Stephen Brake, Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP
Jill Brenner Meixel, Krokidas & Bluestein LLP
Julie Bryan, Casner & Edwards, LLP
Natalie Cappellazzo, Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP
Joshua Carroll, Ropes & Gray LLP
Jillian Carson, Beck Reed Riden LLP
Brendan Carter, AGCMA – Associated General Contractors of Massachusetts
Cameron Casey, Ropes & Gray LLP
Michael Cavoto
Smriti Choudhury, Sherin and Lodgen LLP
Brandon Clippinger, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Inc.
Carol Coakley
Ian Coghill, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP
Stephen Cohen, Choate Hall & Stewart LLP
Jessica Conklin, Laredo & Smith, LLP
Emily Crowley, Boyle, Shaughnessy, & Campo, PC
Allen David, Peabody & Arnold LLP
Emma Days, Ropes & Gray LLP
Joan Densberger, Boston University School of Public Health
Jennifer Durand, Schmidt & Federico, P.C.
Rebecca Edmondson, Levine-Piro Law
Isi Ehikhamhen
Edward Ferrante
John Fiske, Healy, Fiske, Richmond & Matthew, LLP
Colin Forbes, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
Katherine Galle, Office of the Corporation Counsel of the City of Boston
Ayla Geller, EF Education First
Galen Gilbert, Gilbert & O’Bryan, PC.
Maya Ginga, Washington & Lee University
Maria Granik, Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General
Haley Grissom
Adam Hamel, McLane Middleton, Professional Association
Julianna Hanlon, Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.
Bryce Helfer, Burns & Levinson LLP
Jennifer Henricks, Gesmer Updegrove LLP
Rachel Hershfang, U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission
Sheila Hubbard, Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination
Christopher Huntsman, Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Securities Division
Andra Hutchins, Kerstein, Coren & Lichtenstein LLP
Valerie Jackson, Jackson Lewis P.C.
Daniel Johnston, Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.
Marc Jones, U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission
Robert Kaitz, Davis, Malm & D’Agostine, P.C.
Stephanie Kao, Peabody & Arnold LLP
Sarah Kelly, Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP
Dara Kesselheim, Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office
Kelly Kirby, Burns & Levinson LLP
Michael Koehler, Keegan Werlin, LLP
Nathaniel Koslof, Sullivan & Worcester LLP
Eric Labbe, Dain, Torpy, Le Ray, Wiest & Garner, P.C.
Mark Larsen, Committee for Public Counsel Services
Brian Lee, Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP
Paul Levenson, U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission
Sarah Lewis, Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office
Christopher Lindstrom, Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP
Ann Lowery, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection
Tony Lu, Dentons US LLP
Brian MacDonough, Sherin and Lodgen LLP
Stephanie Mariani, Sullivan & Worcester LLP
Laura Martin
Justin Masterman, Dain, Torpy, Le Ray, Wiest & Garner, P.C.
Michael McDermott, Dain, Torpy, Le Ray, Wiest & Garner, P.C.
Louis Mercedes, Jones Day
Christina Miller, Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office
R. Scott Miller, Committee for Public Counsel Services
Michael Millett, Marsh, Inc.
Laura Mittelman, Burns & Levinson LLP
Peter Moores, U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission
Cheron Morris, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Inc.
Joshua Nadreau, Fisher Phillips
Sean Nehill, Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA)
Joseph Nevins, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Inc.
Wadner Oge, Massachusetts Board of Bar Examiners
Alexa O’Keefe, Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP
Julia Ong, Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.
Barbara O’Toole, Sherin and Lodgen LLP
Gregory Pakhladzhyan, American Student Assistance
Gregory Paonessa, Burns & Levinson LLP
Nina Pelc-Faszcza, Jones Day
Andrea Peraner-Sweet, Fitch Law Partners LLP
Charles Pierre, Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP
Cassandra Prince
Susanne Reardon, Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General
Lauren Reznick, Massachusetts Land Court
Michael Riley, Dain, Torpy, Le Ray, Wiest & Garner, P.C.
Michael Rossi, Conn Kavanaugh Rosenthal Peisch & Ford, LLP
Payal Salsburg, Laredo & Smith, LLP
Armand Santaniello
Lauren Schaefer, Beck Reed Riden LLP
Glenn Schley, Schmidt & Federico, P.C.
Susan Schorr, McLane Middleton, Professional Association
Catherine Scott, Peabody & Arnold LLP
Leanne Scott, John Hancock Financial Services
Courtney Scrubbs, Sanofi, US
Priya Selvam, Jones Day
Jacob Simon, Simon Law
Christina Simpson, The Law Office of Christina Simpson
Lynne Sollis, Dain, Torpy, Le Ray, Wiest & Garner, P.C.
Jared Spinelli, Schmidt & Federico, P.C.
Lorraine Stark, Burns & Levinson LLP
Carol Starkey, Conn Kavanaugh Rosenthal Peisch & Ford, LLP
Susan Stenger, Burns & Levinson LLP
Margaret Strauss, Arrowood LLP
Pamela Swanson, Sherin and Lodgen LLP
Glen Tagliamonte, Conn Kavanaugh Rosenthal Peisch & Ford, LLP
Miosotti Tenecora
Alexis Theriault, Conn Kavanaugh Rosenthal Peisch & Ford, LLP
Erika Todd, Sullivan & Worcester LLP
Sudeshna Trivedi, Public Health Advocacy Institute
Chelsea Tryder, Locke Lord LLP
Amanda Varrichione
Bradford Vezina, McLane Middleton, Professional Association
Sara Walker, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Inc.
Joseph Wang, Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.
Ying Wang, State Street Corporation
Marilyn Wellington, Massachusetts Board of Bar Examiners
Kristin Youkana, Schmidt & Federico, P.C.
Alexandra Youngblood, Dain, Torpy, Le Ray, Wiest & Garner, P.C.
Jill Ziter, Massachusetts Land Court

If you’re interested in volunteering for this program next year, please email Cassandra Shavney at [email protected]