Monthly Archives: December 2020

Bar Exam Coaching Program Now Seeking Applicants and Coaches for February 2021

Bar Exam Coaching assists new graduates as they prepare to sit for the bar exam and face all the stresses that come along with studying. The program addresses both test taking preparation and offers support to exam takers.

Coaches assist graduates with study schedules, stress management, and other non-substantive aspects of preparing for the exam. Graduates can also expect supplemental programming from the BBA such as essay writing and attacking the MBE. All training and materials for coaches is provided by the BBA. If you would like to sign up to receive a coach for the February 2021 exam, please complete this survey If you would like to sign up as a coach, please complete this survey. We will begin matching coaches and applicants on January 8th. Please reach out to dnewton@bostonbar.org with any questions.

Join Lawyers Concerned For Lawyers for Yoga and Connection

Making time for exercise and mindfulness can easily slip from busy winter calendars, but Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers is starting a new initiative to help. Beginning January 13, 2021, they will be hosting weekly yoga sessions every Wednesday at 2:00pm. Their 20 minute yoga practice is specifically designed for busy legal professionals and is suitable for all experience levels. Each session will be followed by a 10 minute conversation to ask questions and create a connection. If you would like to learn more about the series, please click here. To sign up, please click here.  If you have any questions please contact Ariana Gebauer at agebauer@bostonbar.org

Crafting an Online Presence

By: Christopher Strang, Founding Partner of Strang, Scott, Giroux & Young

It is becoming essential to curate your online presence for prospective employers. During the global pandemic, employers and candidates are unlikely to have an opportunity to form an in-person connection. Hiring partners, now more than ever, are leaning on what they find online about potential employees to help find the right fit for their firm.  

Many posts focus on the things not to do on social media. However, attorneys are well educated enough to not need to be reminded to remove things like frat party pictures from public view. Conversely, new lawyers should look to social media as an asset to showcase their personalities in ways that can’t be done in resumes and cover letters. Many platforms allow for joining groups or expressing interests that are opportunities to make connections with more senior attorneys.

Check the privacy settings on your personal accounts and make sure they are up to par; there are different settings for desktop and mobile versions of social media – so check both versions if this is of concern to you. It is helpful to search yourself online to see what a potential employer can see about you. Log out of your search engine of choice to make sure the results aren’t skewed. Once you are aware of what pops up during a casual search of your name, you can start to curate your online presence.

Use professional social media accounts to connect with former colleagues and bosses, fellow alumni and people you have met in the legal profession. It is key to stay active on the accounts that you choose to use professionally and to be selective about which platforms you use. Make sure to maintain your connections and share expertise and opportunities when you can.

Regularly posting and sharing content to your professional social media feeds brings you to the forefront of the attention of your network and showcases a strong and informed interest in your field of work. Post about breaking news in practice areas of interest to you: court decisions, new regulations, industry publications, etc. Follow local leaders in the profession at firms of interest to you. Engage with other professionals, congratulate lawyers who post about accomplishments, inquire about more detail on substantive legal posts. Show genuine interest in the latest news posted by places you might like to work.

Make sure to use social media platforms that you can commit to updating and that are appropriate for your profession. Have a current picture that looks professional. Build out your profile with job and educational experiences that includes things not on your resume. Join groups that attorneys you aspire to be like are in. List interests that speak to your personality. Small and mid sized firms in particular care about personality fit as much as legal acumen. Being able to show you have interests in common with members of a firm is a huge benefit when interviewing.

Use caution when posting about politics and other potentially controversial topics. You need to balance your desire to express yourself with your goal of establishing connections with people who might disagree with your point of view.

LinkedIn is perhaps the most powerful social media platform for job seekers. It is built for professional networking and has many tools to use to your advantage as a job seeker. Use keywords in your headline to increase the number of searches you appear in. Use LinkedIn’s Alumni Tool to see what graduates of your law school are doing now. Sharing an alma mater is one of the best inroads for making new connections online.

Everything you post is a writing sample to the world. Always carefully review and edit your words before posting online. Write like a lawyer, focusing on brevity and clarity. Ask friends to search your name online and provide some feedback on whether they think your online presence depicts you accurately and professionally.

Finally, remember that professional does not mean boring. All too often, job seekers reduce who they are into a list of experience and skills. What sets you apart? Why are you somebody that people would want to work with? You never know what interest or life experience will connect you with your future employer and make them realize you are the person for the job. It is OK to reveal some of your fun side.

The Legal Ramifications of COVID-19: Decarceration

When the 2019-2020 PILP class began their journey as the BBA’s most recent class of leaders, the vision for the program seemed clear and routine. Due to the challenges of this year, however, it became a class unlike any other before it–switching to a virtual format due to the declaration of a state of emergency, adjusting to working from home overnight, welcoming multiple PILP babies, and having to change their service project deep into the class. To their great credit, the class rose to the occasion. 

The BBA is proud to present the PILP 2019-2020 project: The Legal Ramifications of COVID-19, a series of reports that surveyed various legal landscapes and provides reflections on the impact of COVID-19 in each space. Each report will be published through Beyond the Billable–beginning with today’s first article: Decarceration. 

This piece was written by Committee for Public Counsel Services Staff Attorney David Rangaviz. In addition to working as an appellate attorney for CPCS, David is also a member of the BBA’s Criminal Law Section and co-chair of the amicus committee of the Massachusetts Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. David’s piece takes a compelling look at decarceration efforts from the onset of the pandemic, of which he has firsthand knowledge as a result of having helped in the litigation efforts, as well as through the multiple interviews he conducted for this report. 

To view David’s article please click here

The Leadership Development Fund of the Boston Bar Foundation provides critical support for the Public Interest Leadership Program. For more information on the BBF or this fund, please contact Erica Southerland at esoutherland@bostonbar.org or (617) 778-1930.

David Rangaviz joined the Appeals Unit of CPCS in 2017.  He is a graduate of Harvard Law School and Brown University.