Monthly Archives: March 2019

Law Student Forum Holds Mental Health Panel

Last week, the BBA’s Law Student Forum hosted a panel discussion on managing mental health in law school in partnership with the BBA’s Committee for Attorneys with Disabilities. The event, led and organized by Suffolk Law Student Ambassadors Brittney McCartney and Jeremy Siegel, tackled head-on the pervasive mental health issues plaguing law school campuses. Attendees of all ages heard from experts, Marilyn Wellington (Board of Bar Overseers), Shawn Healy (Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers), and Professor Lisle Baker (Suffolk University Law School), as they gave their advice on law student well-being, mental health, and bar admission. The panel also featured a question and answer portion, during which a student panel shared their perspectives on the issue.

The idea for the panel came from student representatives on the BBA’s Law Student Advisory Committee, who voiced concerns about the issue from their respective student bodies. More specifically, New England Law students Philjay Solar and Benjamin Cabezas felt the discussion was a necessary step towards reconciliation after having dealt with suicides within their own student body in the past few years. The two students issued the following statement regarding the event:

“Those of us in law school are given the great pleasure of learning the rule of law that governs our society. This endeavor however is not without its pitfalls. The rigorous nature of law school and the emotional toll it takes is well known. We at New England Law | Boston take mental health very seriously. We’re proud to be working with the Boston Bar Association and our fellow Boston law schools to help bring awareness and resources to our collective student populations.”

Overall, the panel served as part of a long-overdue conversation within the legal community about an issue that affects many well before they ever begin practicing. The panelists emphasized that it is imperative that the bar continue to raise awareness around the issue. The diverse range of people in attendance at the event speaks to the fact that there is a widespread desire to finally erase the stigma of mental health issues within the legal community. The BBA is proud to have been able to help our students join this important discussion.

Seeking help? There are several resources available for those who may need assistance, including Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers, which provides free and confidential mental health resources and addiction recovery support for law students and legal professionals. To learn more about Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers, please click here.

Thank You to our Bar Exam Coaching Program Volunteers!

Ahead of the February 2019 Uniform Bar Exam in Massachusetts, 45 attorneys provided coaching and guidance to individuals taking the bar exam. The BBA’s Bar Exam Coaching Program matches coaches with bar applicants to act as a cheerleader throughout the process. Coaches keep applicants on track with a study schedule and provide tips for managing stress and time.

This program targets working with applicants who are retaking the exam in Massachusetts, and of this winter’s participants, 38 were retaking the exam in February. Through this program, we hope to provide support and community during what can feel like an isolating experience. Thank you to all of the coaches who provided support this winter:

Ana Alvarado, Northeastern University School of Law
Brittany Besler
Elizabeth Broderick, Committee for Public Counsel Services
Laura Brown, Law Office of Laura Anastasia Brown
Elmira Cancan Zenger, WGBH
James Coffey, Polsinelli
Joshua Cohn, Holland & Knight LLP
Susan Corcoran, De Novo
Emma Days, Ropes & Gray LLP
Janelle Dempsey, Moriarty Troyer & Malloy LLC
Jessica DiBacco
Christopher Dodge, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP
Anthony Faillaci, Burns & Levinson LLP
Tess Foley, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP
Robert Friedman, Burns & Levinson LLP
Nicole Gallerano, Nixon Peabody LLP
Alexandra Gill, Gill Law
Eric Haskell, Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General
Naitasia Hensey, State Street Corporation
Stephanie Holding, Boston University School of Law
D. Paul Koch, Jr., Finard Properties LLC
Szeman Lam, Proskauer Rose LLP
Kristy Lavigne, Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General
Katie Leung
Brendan Lowd, Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.
Jessica Lu, Brown Rudnick LLP
Yakov Malkiel, White & Case LLP
Lauren Maloney, Vigorito Barker Porter & Patterson LLP
Christina Miller, Suffolk University Law School
Geraldine Muir, Boston University School of Law
Emily Notini, Goodwin Procter LLP
Nicole Phe, Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP
Dana Pierce, State Street Corporation
Amy Pimentel, McDermott Will & Emery
Alex Praschma, Spartan Race, Inc.
Rebekah Provost, Justice Resource Institute: Health Law Institute
Abbigail Shirk, MetroWest Legal Services
Christina Simpson, The Law Office of Christina Simpson
Eileen Sprague, Glynn Law Offices
Katie Stock, Miyares and Harrington, LLP
Ben Towbin, LibbyHoopes, P.C.
Sheba Varughese, Greater Boston Legal Services
Christine Wahr, McDermott Will & Emery
Chaloea Williams, U.S. District Court-MA
Samuel Zuckernik, Smith Duggan Buell & Rufo LLP

If you’re interested in signing up either as a bar applicant or a coach ahead of the July exam, please visit our website here.

Casino Night: Support the Summer Jobs Program & Boston’s Youth

The Boston Bar Association’s Summer Jobs Program employs dozens of teens each year and is an integral component in connecting high school students with law firms and offices looking to make a positive impact in a student’s life. During employment, students develop invaluable skills in an educational and hands-on professional environment.

Erica Juris, a former intern at Nelson Mullins and current freshman at Pace University, spoke about her time participating in the program. “Last summer I was exposed to so many new aspects of the law that I was unaware of. Between informational interviews with attorneys in the office and having the opportunity to sit in on a hearing in a current case, and just working day-to-day in the office on ongoing cases, I got to learn so much and have experiences I wouldn’t be able to have unless I was a working attorney. This opportunity was crucial in helping me decide the path I want to follow in my future, and my decision to attend law school and become a lawyer.”

Erica shares the same reflective memories with Sarah Ramírez, a former intern at the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, a position that was sponsored by the Boston Bar Foundation’s M. Ellen Carpenter Fund. “The best part of my internship was second sitting ADAs on jury and bench trials at the Dorchester Division of the Boston Municipal Court. There, I studied the cases (the charges, defendants’ and victims’ story) before the trial dates. It was a really good experience for me to witness objections and hear the judges’ rulings on them, in addition to listening to the witness’s testimonies and feeling the tension when cross examination happens.”

Now a junior at Fenway High School, Sarah understands the unique opportunity the Summer Jobs Program provided. “Overall, I got to do office work and witness court proceedings and would recommend this program because this experience opened my eyes to a whole new world about prosecution and it was really interesting to see and learn about talking to witnesses and defense lawyers.”

As we ramp up to celebrate the 10th Annual Casino Night on April 18, 2019, we must recognize that Sarah’s position, as well as seven other positions in 2018, were made possible by the M. Ellen Carpenter Fund. Proceeds from Casino Night support the M. Ellen Carpenter Fund, which provides stipends to a handful of student interns in the Summer Jobs Program, as well as supporting other youth initiatives of the BBA. The interns sponsored by the Carpenter Fund work at public interest organizations, including legal services and courts, over the summer. These students participate in the program alongside interns hired directly by law firms and other legal offices.

Legal offices that choose to participate in the Summer Jobs Program find the experience equally as rewarding as the students. Connecting, mentoring, and educating the youth of Boston creates a brighter and more meaningful future for all.

If you are interested in hiring a student in 2019 or would like more information, please contact Cassandra Shavney at [email protected]. And don’t forget to purchase your tickets to the 10th Annual Casino Night to support the M. Ellen Carpenter Fund!

Pro Bono Opportunity: Assist Veterans Seeking Discharge Upgrades

Established in 2015, the Veterans Justice Pro Bono Partnership at the Veterans Legal Clinic at the Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School assists veterans seeking discharge upgrades. The partnership connects veterans to private attorneys and provides ongoing support and expert resources to those attorneys throughout the case. For the past four years, the BBA has hosted an annual training to introduce interested attorneys to this opportunity and bolster the skillset and knowledge of existing pro bono volunteers. The next training will provide attendees the chance to hear perspectives from the military board of directors for the Air Force, Army, and Navy. They will discuss how the boards operate and how pro bono attorneys can best advocate for their veteran clients. The pro bono training will also include an update about recent changes in the law. You’re invited to attend on Thursday, April 25th from 2:30 – 5:00 PM at the BBA. A networking reception with the Active Duty Military and Veterans Forum will immediately follow the training. Read more and register to attend here.

Note that this training will build on those from 2015-2018. Convenient videos and materials from past trainings are available through our Learn Online library’s dedicated pro bono and public interest page. Easily watch the videos and review the materials whenever your schedule permits and wherever works for you, whether at your office or on the go!

Public Interest Leadership Program Alumni Mingle with Prospective Applicants

Earlier this week, the BBA hosted an information session and alumni reception for its Public Interest Leadership Program. The program, which now includes nearly 200 alumni, is currently seeking applicants for its 16th class. At the information session, Rich Baldwin (PILP 2016-2017, Foley Hoag) described his experience in the program as both inwardly and outwardly fulfilling. Participants in the program meet twice a month and hear from guest speakers across a variety of public interest issue areas. These presentations and conversations enrich the PILP members’ understanding of their community and introduce them to new ways to volunteer and engage with service providers in the Greater Boston area. Additionally, PILP members are each responsible for planning and executing two meetings for the class, as well as working together toward a culminating project for the year. Baldwin spoke about how this project is a significant outward facing element of the program. Each class has the opportunity to dive into a public interest issue area and educate and support their peers and the public through the project. During Baldwin’s PILP year, his class organized and held a symposium at the Boston Bar Association focusing on Constitutional Battlegrounds: Civil Rights in a Changing Landscape. After hearing from Baldwin and BBA Staff, prospective applicants were able to mingle with PILP alumni and hear their perspectives on the program.

The application for the 2019-2020 class is available to download here and is due on March 29th. Applicants must be attorneys within their first 10 years of practice, public interest minded, and able to commit to the 14-month program, beginning in June 2019. Questions about the program or application can be directed to Cassandra Shavney at [email protected]

Members of the first PILP class in 2003-2004 pose in front of the Boston Bar Association’s historic building, the Chester Harding House.