Daily Archives: Thursday, August 15, 2019

BBA Summer Jobs Students Gain Legal and Professional Skills

With the summer flying by, the Boston public high school students participating in the BBA Summer Jobs Program have continued to gain professional skills working in legal offices throughout the city, and have participated in a number of exciting enrichment seminars hosted by the BBA!

Law 101
The students began their series of enrichment seminars hearing from attorneys Katie Stock of Miyares and Harrington, LLP, and Nicole Phe of Nelson Mullins, about the basics of the legal profession, including the path through law school, the functioning of the court system, and key legal terminology. The students then tested out their new knowledge in an exciting Jeopardy game!

Students test their knowledge in a “Law 101” Jeopardy Game

Financial Aid: What You Need to Know
On July 17, Daniel Forster, Vice President of Enrollment Management at Westfield State University, walked the students through the ins and outs of college financial aid, including FAFSA, different types of scholarships, work study, and student loans. This presentation made the complicated process of seeking college financial aid much more accessible.

John Adams Courthouse Tour
The following week, the students took a tour of the John Adams Courthouse, learning about the historic building and the legacy of John Adams, particularly Adams’ representation of British soldiers following the Boston Massacre due to his conviction that even the most unpopular defendants must have a fair trial. The students had the opportunity to meet with Associate Justice Joseph M. Ditkoff of the Appeals Court, and asked him many questions about his career and the practice of law.

Students explore the John Adams Courthouse

Financial Literacy
At the end of July, the Summer Jobs students participated in a program on Financial Literacy, led by Bridget O’Sullivan Somogie and Jeremy Bardsley of the Massachusetts Securities Division. In order to increase the students’ awareness of basic financial skills, the presentation covered personal finance and budgeting; using credit and credit cards; and financing large purchases.

Consequences of Poor Financial Management at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court
Last week, thanks to a group of BBA volunteers and the Hon. Christopher J. Panos, the students had the opportunity to participate in a skit and mock trial that explained the processes at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. The students first engaged in a mock meeting of creditors, with students playing the roles of “creditor” and “trustee,” and learning about the complications involved in declaring bankruptcy and its effect on one’s credit score. Students then met with Judge Panos and the Court clerks for a mock trial that discussed whether the bankrupt individual should have his car repossessed. Students were able to debate the pros and cons of the situation and asked many inquisitive questions, ultimately determining that the bankrupt individual would not be able to pay his creditor enough to keep the car. Many thanks to Judge Panos, the Court clerks, and attorneys Gary Cruickshank, Jessica Youngberg, Jonathan Horne, Alex Mattera, and Donald Lassman for making this experience such a success!

Mock City Council Hearing
On August 14, attorney Sean Nehill of the Boston Planning & Development Agency led the students through a mock City Council hearing in the real Iannella City Council Chamber at Boston City Hall! The students learned about the workings of municipal government and had the chance to participate in a mock hearing debating the pros and cons of a fictitious ordinance that would ban non-resident motorized vehicles in the City of Boston, with only a few exceptions. The students broke into groups representing a community-based residents’ group, an environmental advocacy organization, a business association, and an interest group from the automobile industry, and came up with compelling arguments to represent their positions on the ordinance. They then presented their testimony to another group of students playing the City Councilors, who ultimately decided not to pass the ordinance. The hearing sparked a lively debrief discussion about civic engagement and the various ways in which students can advocate for issues that are important to them.

Students hone their skills of persuasive argument at a mock City Council hearing at Boston City Hall

The Summer Jobs program will wrap up next week with a final speed networking seminar titled Exploring Legal Careers, and then with the Summer Jobs Celebration, where the students will be recognized for their accomplishments this summer and hear remarks from keynote speaker Boston City Councilor Lydia Edwards.

The BBA’s Summer Jobs Program is a partnership between the BBA, the City of Boston, Boston Public Schools, and the Boston Private Industry Council.  Many thanks to the participating law firms that have hired students this year, and to the Boston Bar Foundation for funding six public interest positions through its M. Ellen Carpenter Fund.

BBA Diversity & Inclusion Summer Fellowship: End of Summer Reflections

This summer, the BBA was proud to launch a new Diversity & Inclusion Summer Fellowship Program, aimed at providing outstanding law students with critical work experience through paid summer internships in public interest offices. In the pilot year, we were proud to partner with the Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General and the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Massachusetts, to provide this opportunity. Funding for these positions was provided by the Boston Bar Foundation (BBF), with the position at the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office funded by a generous private donation, and the position at the Bankruptcy Court funded by the BBF’s Charles P. Normandin Fund.

The Fellowship saw a successful first year, with law students Anna Cardoso (Boston University School of Law) and Emaan Syed (Suffolk University Law School) contributing to the work of these offices, participating in BBA professional development programs, and meeting with attorney mentors.  Read on to learn about their experiences this summer in their own words!

If your office is in interested in supporting or participating in this program, please reach out to Hannah Poor at [email protected].

End of Summer Reflection: Anna Cardoso
Rising 2L, Boston University School of Law
Summer Fellow, Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General

This summer, I had the pleasure of interning in the Medicaid Fraud Division at Attorney General Maura Healey’s Office. My division focuses exclusively on holding providers accountable for defrauding our Medicaid system. I completed many research assignments and attended hearings, depositions, and relator interviews focusing on evidentiary, constitutional, and broader health law-related issues. Unique to my division, I was asked to pick a topic to present to my bureau, which was certainly nerve-wracking, but ended up being one of my favorite parts of the internship. I consider my presentation to be a highlight of my summer and am particularly proud of how many of the attorneys in my bureau emphasized that it was an extremely difficult topic and that I had done an excellent job. The learning curve here has been steep and challenging in the most rewarding way possible. It is difficult to put into words how much I have learned. There has not been a dull moment at this office or a day where I have not learned something new. I knew I wanted to practice in the health care space, making access to care more affordable, and my summer has affirmed my convictions. The office also had programming for interns almost every day, and I particularly enjoyed our visit to the Supreme Judicial Court.

This summer I attended the BBA’s public interest summer kickoff breakfast, a program on what it is like to practice in life sciences, and “Let’s Get Real,” a program about what it is like to be a diverse attorney in Boston. These events have helped to set realistic expectations and get to know attorneys and law students in Boston.

I cannot say enough good things about either of my mentors. I was lucky enough to have one of them, Amanda Morejon, on the same floor in a neighboring division and she has been a constant source of support and guidance this summer. Amanda has encouraged me all summer to exceed my own expectations and to trust in my intelligence and capabilities as a future attorney. My other mentor, Gina Kwon, is one of the prosecutors working on the largest opioid trafficking takedown in our office and has taught me that there are no dumb questions, and all questions are worth asking. Both my mentors are women lawyers whom I look up to and will maintain a relationship with even after this summer.

Diversity and inclusion will always be a goal that I am looking for ways to advance. Being a Latina in the legal field means that when I become an attorney, my presence as a female Latinx attorney will account for less than two percent of attorneys in the United States, according to the Hispanic National Bar Association, a number that can be disheartening at best, and frustratingly lonely at worst. Having positions like this fellowship that I was fortunate enough to receive means that Boston cares and wants to change this statistic. The sense of community and the network that I have built in this office makes me confident that Boston is changing into a better, more welcoming, and increasingly diverse place. I know that I will soon be stepping into the role of mentoring first-year law students and that doing my best work here has given me the knowledge and the credibility to help other students get where I am, and to continue to pull them up with me wherever I go next. I would like to thank everyone at the AGO, the Boston Bar Association, and the Boston Bar Foundation for making this summer possible—it has been amazing.

End of Summer Reflection: Emaan Syed
Rising 3L, Suffolk University Law School
Summer Fellow, U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Massachusetts

Through the BBA Diversity and Inclusion Summer Fellowship, I interned for Judge Melvin S. Hoffman at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Boston this summer. I was a judicial intern and conducted legal research and analyzed diverse issues arising under the bankruptcy code. I also drafted memoranda and observed Bankruptcy Court hearings, trials, and proceedings that occurred multiple times a week.

I was able to learn a lot about bankruptcy law, and from my courses, was able to see much of what I learned in class, in real time in court hearings. I learned that bankruptcy law ties many other aspects of law together, such as family law, real estate law, IP law, and every other possible field of law that exists. Each case heard is unique; I especially enjoyed seeing and conducting research for cases on matters that do not have much ruling or background, that require further research and understanding of bankruptcy law.

I met with my BBA mentor and discussed succeeding in my internships and my law career. I was able to learn from my mentor on how to search and narrow in on what field of law I want to ultimately work in. It was valuable to me to have a helpful mentor giving me the tools to succeed in my career and understanding my challenges as a student navigating through the legal field.

Throughout my internship, I was able to ask the judge and his clerks about questions I had about bankruptcy law or about the hearings I attended. I appreciated the insight of the judge and the clerks on all matters of bankruptcy law and litigating as an attorney.

During my internship, I attended brown bag luncheon events at the Moakley Courthouse, where all the summer interns for the federal courts were invited to discussions on several topics. It was great to mingle with other federal court interns and learn of their experiences as well.

I attended Boston Bar Association events concerning bankruptcy law due to my interest in the subject. My first event was the 29th annual Bench Meets Bar Conference. The event included many of the Bankruptcy Court judges and members of the bankruptcy bar to learn about the current and recent cases the judges were working on and analyze key issues in bankruptcy law. I got to see many attorneys that practiced bankruptcy law, along with many attorneys of the Bankruptcy Court. The event allowed me to hear the other judges’ observations on key issues in bankruptcy law.

In addition, I attended another BBA event at the Bankruptcy Court where I got to meet and talk to bankruptcy attorneys about their careers. A common experience that most bankruptcy attorneys shared was how they came to ultimately work in bankruptcy law. Most of the attorneys did not start their careers planning to go into bankruptcy law, but on their journey, found bankruptcy law and developed a passion for the subject matter.

Through my summer internship at the Bankruptcy Court, I learned there is an underlying human aspect to the law. I gained an appreciation for litigation, learning the qualities of a successful litigator and the etiquette of the court, in a fulfilling internship at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

Thank You to our Bar Exam Coaching Program Volunteers!

Ahead of the July 2019 Uniform Bar Exam in Massachusetts, 14 attorneys provided coaching and guidance to individuals taking the bar exam. The BBA’s Bar Exam Coaching Program matches coaches with bar applicants to support them throughout the preparation process. Coaches keep applicants on track with a study schedule and provide tips for managing time and stress.

This program focuses particularly on assisting applicants who are retaking the bar exam in Massachusetts.  Through this program, we hope to provide support and community during the stressful and sometimes isolating experience of studying for the bar exam. Thank you to all the coaches who provided support this summer:

Joshua Cohn, Holland & Knight LLP
Susan Corcoran, De Novo
Nickeisha Davidson, Massachusetts Probation Service
Emma Days, Ropes & Gray LLP
Anthony Faillaci, Burns & Levinson LLP
Tess Foley, WilmerHale
Caitlin Gossett, Massachusetts Department of Children & Families
D. Paul Koch, Jr., Finard Properties LLC
Kristy Lavigne, Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General
Brendan Lowd, Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky & Popeo P.C.
Yakov Malkiel, White & Case LLP
Tracy Morong, Massachusetts State Ethics Commission
Christina Simpson, The Law Office of Christina Simpson
Conor Slattery, Conn Kavanaugh Rosenthal Peisch & Ford LLP