Anuj Khetarpal (Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General) presented on reinstating your driver’s license to participants in the CARE/RESTART program at the Federal Court last Wednesday.
The BBA is once again holding civil legal workshops for probationers in the CARE/RESTART Program at the Federal Court and CHOICE Program at Boston Municipal Court in Roxbury. As you may remember, the PILP class created this initiative with CARE/RESTART in 2012, and last year’s PILP class expanded the program to the CHOICE Program.
Last week, Anuj Khetarpal (Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General) presented on reinstating your driver’s license to participants in the CARE/RESTART program at the Federal Court, while Michael Birch (Hirsch Roberts Weinstein LLP) and Julie Heinzelman (Prince Lobel Tye LLP) headed to Boston Municipal Court in Roxbury to teach participants in the CHOICE program about employment law.
Michael Birch (Hirsch Roberts Weinstein LLP) presented on employment law to the CHOICE participants last Friday.
Here’s why our presenters think employment law and reinstating your driver’s licenses are important topics for probationers:
Michael Birch: I think obtaining and maintaining steady, productive employment is a critical part of re-entering society. Hopefully, being educated and aware of their rights and obligations as applicants and employees will help them obtain and maintain such employment.
Anuj Khetarpal: Reinstating your driver’s license is an important topic for probationers because it helps probationers rebuild their lives. It is a helpful, and sometimes necessary, step in order for the probationers to get a job, support themselves and their families, and to build lives for themselves. Resultantly, these steps help probationers stay out the criminal justice system and give them an opportunity to become productive members of the community.
Do you need extra motivation to get involved in the BBA Reentry Education Program? Look below for insight into why you should volunteer for the program:
Michael Birch: A little support, education and knowing that the community cares can make a meaningful difference in probationers’ lives.
Anuj Khetarpal: The BBA Reentry Education Program is a valuable tool for probationers to smoothly transition back in to society. As attorneys, we have a moral obligation to better our communities, and giving probationers a fair chance at reentry is a vital way to do that. The program not only benefits the probationers, but our community as a whole, and is an important step to reduce recidivism and help those who could use an open hand.
If you are interested in reentry efforts, don’t miss the BBF’s upcoming John and Abigail Adam’s Benefit featuring this year’s honoree, Roca. Roca works to reduce recidivism and improve employment among a population of young men at high risk of reoffending in Boston, Chelsea and Springfield. Roca will be honored during the event, and the Foundation will donate $25,000 in support of Roca’s mission. Click here to learn more about the event.
Blizzards and slow public transportation didn’t stop our volunteers from getting out in the community and giving back during 2015. Take a look below for highlights from the BBA’s 2015 public service efforts:
Lawyers braved the snow and marched to the Massachusetts State House for the annual Walk to the Hill. The 2015 Walk to the Hill was more important than ever. As you may remember, the BBA Statewide Task Force to Expand Civil Legal Aid in Massachusetts released its long-awaited report in November called Investing in Justice, which found that the majority of clients seeking legal assistance are turned away and made the business case for an additional $30 million in civil legal aid funding. The Legislature appropriated $17 million to fund civil legal aid, a satisfying increase in a year marked largely by level funding.
In January 2014, the John & Abigail Adams Benefit raised over $650,000 to help to fund grants to 23 Massachusetts community organizations providing legal services in areas such as immigration, domestic violence and homelessness.
With the help of PILP 11, the BBA Reentry Education Program expanded to provide civil legal workshops to participants in the CHOICE Program at Boston Municipal Court, Roxbury. Overall, volunteers led 12 sessions with a total of 103 participants to prepare participants to address civil legal issues they may face upon reentry.
In 2015, over 160 volunteers taught 570 high school students in 12 schools about personal finance and budgeting, credit cards, and buying a car through the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program. As you may remember, the BBA partners with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court to run the program throughout the state.
The BBF’s popular Casino Night once again drew a large crowd. The event, which supports the BBA Summer Jobs Program by funding paid internships for Boston high school students in nonprofit and government agencies each summer through the program, raised more than $34,000.
This spring, 77 volunteer taught over 1,000 Boston public school students from kindergarten through seniors in high school about the importance of laws through the BBA’s Law Day in the Schools Program.
The BBA presented three public service awards to deserving recipients at the annual Law Day Dinner. Barbara Mitchell, the former Executive Director of Community Legal Services and Counseling Center, received the John G. Brooks Legal Services Award to honor her leadership and commitment to legal services; Al Wallis, the Executive Director of Brown Rudnick Center for Public Interest, received the Thurgood Marshall Award for his leadership in public interest and corporate social responsibility; and Jack Ward, the former Associate Director for Finance & Development at Greater Boston Legal Services, received the President’s Award for this leadership and guidance at Greater Boston Legal Services.
The BBF held the second annual Passports to Pairings event, where 100 % of the proceeds supported the BBA Public Service Programs. The event raise nearly $34,000, featured food and beverage pairings, and gave attendees an opportunity learn more about the BBA and BBF’s work in the community.
The BBA continued to step up its commitment to the Mayor’s Summer Jobs Program by placing a record-breaking 65 Boston high school students in paid internships at Boston law firms, legal departments, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations through the BBA Summer Jobs Program. The BBF also increased its commitment to the program by funding 15 of these paid positions at non-profit community organizations, government offices and courts.
While October is officially Pro Bono Month, the BBA celebrated pro bono all year-round. Since January 2015, the BBA has trained over 400 attorneys to take pro bono cases in a range of areas, including landlord tenant law, veterans discharge appeals, and debt collections.
The BBF held an inaugural Society of Fellows Appreciation Breakfast at the Liberty Hotel in Boston this November. The Breakfast was an opportunity to recognize members of the Society for their support of the BBF and to celebrate what their generosity has allowed the BBF to accomplish in the last year.
The Claflin Center was packed on November 12th for the Veterans Day Reception, which featured a lively speech and Q & A with Congressman Seth Moulton, a former Marine Corps Captain who served four tours in Iraq. This event aimed to build a community for servicemembers in the legal field to share common experiences and challenges.
BBA President Lisa Arrowood spent the morning observing a humanities teacher meeting, greeting students, and visiting classrooms at the Frederick Pilot Middle School in Dorchester through BPE’s Principal for a Day Program.
The BBA Lawyer Referral Service participated in a number of community events this year, including the Massachusetts Conference for Women which drew a crowd of nearly 10,000. These events help to raise awareness of about the largest public service program of the Boston Bar Association, which fielded over 7,700 calls last year.
Last week, the BBA Reentry Education Program changed locations and held a session at the Coolidge House, a Residential Reentry Center for offenders under contract with the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Ashley Mann-McLellan, the Deputy Director at New Lease for Homeless Families, met with a group of probationers and case managers to give participants practical tips on navigating the affordable housing application process.
Beyond the Billable reached out to Ashley to learn more about the importance of this session. Here’s what she had to say:
“If you ask someone without a home what their most pressing need is, generally the answer is simply a home. It can be extremely daunting to try to thrive in a homeless situation; finding jobs, maximizing income, and tending to health and wellness issues can be almost impossible during a precarious housing situation. Additionally, there is no text book or simple map sheet to figure out how to obtain affordable housing; the training was so important to the audience because it provided concrete tools, directions and strategies to access affordable homes.”
Dan Routh (Ropes and Gray LLP) walked CARE/RESTART participants through the steps to reinstating their driver’s licenses at yesterday’s Reentry Education Program session at the Federal Court.
Yesterday, Dan Routh (Ropes and Gray LLP) joined a group of CARE/RESTART participants at the Moakley Courthouse for this month’s Reentry Education Program session on Massachusetts Driver’s License Reinstatement. In the session, Attorney Routh described common scenarios that participants may encounter when applying for driver’s license reinstatement, and how to navigate hurdles when they appear.
Beyond the Billable caught up with Attorney Routh after the program to find out why this topic was so important to participants. Here’s what he had to say:
“Having a driver’s license is an important threshold step for so many different aspects of a person’s life, whether it’s getting to work, running day-to-day errands, or connecting with family and friends. I am happy to be part of the Reentry Education Program’s efforts to facilitate that process and help participants navigate their way on this important first step.”
Keep a look out for updates about next month’s session on employment law.
PILP 11 is partnering with the BBA’s Reentry Education Program to provide civil legal workshops to participants in the CHOICE Program at the Boston Municipal Courthouse in Roxbury.
While it’s only the middle of March, it has already been a busy month for PILP 11. On Friday, March 6th, Katy Ward (Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.) and Rory Pheiffer (Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP) led a civil legal education workshop on Affordable Housing for the participants in the BMC-Roxbury CHOICE program.
For our readers who may need a refresher, the current PILP class created a series of civil legal education modules on topics such as financial responsibility, public benefits, and affordable housing for state probationers in the BMC-Roxbury CHOICE program. Ward and Pheiffer outlined affordable housing for the attendees, including private and public rental options, shelter information, and the steps to take if facing eviction.
After the presentation, Beyond the Billable caught up with Ward about the importance of this topic for the CHOICE participants:
“As low-income probationers, the CHOICE participants face seemingly insurmountable obstacles to finding affordable housing. Many want to turn their lives around but that can be hard without a place to live. Our goal was to lay out the best strategies and resources for this specific age group and population, and we hope the CHOICE participants walked away with a road map for how to best secure affordable housing and the best practices for when they do finally become a tenant.”
Pheiffer elaborated by noting:
“Judge Dashiell was in attendance and took a vested interest in the presentation. For the benefit of the probationers in attendance, she asked us questions about how probationers should handle CORI requests when applying for housing. It was clear that she understood many of the difficulties probationers face when applying for housing, and wanted to make sure those in attendance left with a good level of understanding of ways to address these difficulties. ”
The PILP 11 class is scheduled to present to the CHOICE program on public benefits in April…Stay tuned!
Judge Leo Sorokin and Volunteer Adrienne Walker (Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo P.C.) spoke with participants about financial literacy through the BBA Reentry Education Program.
A dozen eager participants joined BBA volunteer and experienced bankruptcy Attorney Adrienne Walker (Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky and Popeo PC) at the Moakley courthouse for this month’s Reentry Education Program session on Financial Literacy. With the help of BBA Reentry Education Committee member Brendan T. St. Amant (Donnelly, Conroy & Gelhaar, LLP), Adrienne tackled the topic of credit. Throughout the session, Adrienne shared some tips with attendees about how they can become better informed consumers when choosing a bank or credit card by doing in depth research before opening up a credit account.
Beyond The Billable got in touch with Adrienne to learn why she thinks this session is particularly relevant to the participants. Here’s what she had to say:
“Learning about credit and the tools needed to build a strong credit history are vitally important to regain independence and financial security. The participants in the BBA Reentry Education Program that attended the Financial Literacy class recognized this need and were incredibly engaged and eager to learn and apply the class tools towards their own fresh start.”
To further encourage probationers to make a successful fresh start, Judge Leo Sorokin (U. S. District Court, District of Massachusetts) stopped by to emphasize the importance of taking advantage of community programs like CARE and the BBA Reentry Education Program to help make the reentry process go more smoothly.
Keep a look out for updates about next month’s session on Driver’s Licenses.
PILP 11 is partnering with the BBA’s Reentry Education Program to provide civil legal workshops to participants in the CHOICE Program at the Boston Municipal Courthouse in Roxbury.
This year, the Boston Bar Association is proud to work with its eleventh Public Interest Leadership Program (PILP 11) class. Throughout the fall, PILP 11 met with members of the legal community to learn about the legal needs in Boston and how they could make a difference. After several meetings, PILP 11 decided to partner with the BBA Reentry Education Program, in which volunteer attorneys deliver civil legal education workshops to federal probationers in the CARE/RESTART Program on issues that they may face upon reentry in an effort to reduce the risk of recidivism. With support from the Reentry Education Committee, PILP 11 adapted the committee’s modules to fit the needs of probationers in state court.
As Beyond the Billable readers may know, the PILP 9 class developed what is now the Reentry Education Program. In an effort to expand the work of previous PILP classes, PILP 11 will give monthly presentations to participants in the CHOICE program at the Boston Municipal Courthouse in Roxbury. Formed in 2009, the CHOICE program utilizes a court-supervised programmatic approach to help young probationers get their lives on track through a rigorous four-pronged approach:
intensive probation supervision with an in-court component;
education and tutorial services;
job training and placement; and
PILP 11 is honored to do its part to provide education programs on important civil legal education topics like employment rights, driver’s license reinstatement, financial literacy and responsibility, CORI sealing, and affordable housing.
On Friday, February 6, 2015, three PILPers made their way to Roxbury in the cold to discuss Financial Literacy and Responsibility with CHOICE participants. David Lieberman (Day Pitney LLP), Carrie Benedon (Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General), and Jenevieve Maerker (Foley Hoag LLP) covered topics from how to open a bank account to how to manage credit. Attendees asked questions and provided feedback for next month’s program.
After the presentation, Beyond the Billable caught up with PILP 11 presenter David Lieberman (Day Pitney LLP). Here’s what he had to say about presenting to the CHOICE participants:
“Presenting on Financial Literacy for the Roxbury CHOICE program was a great experience. We spoke with a number of noted experts about the topic to refine our presentation and addressed the CHOICE participants before the court session. It was a great opportunity to present an important topic in front of a group that I do not get many opportunities to address. The presentation was well received and I look forward to working with the CHOICE participants and program management going forward.”
Stay tuned for next month’s update when PILP 11 discusses housing rights and affordable housing.
Questions about PILP? Please contact Galen Byrne, Member Relationship Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Attorney Chris Saccardi (The Law Office of Christopher T. Saccardi) walked attendees through the basics of landlord tenant law during this month’s BBA Reentry Education Program workshop at Moakley Courthouse
Courtroom 16 at the Moakley Courthouse was packed last Wednesday for the monthly civil legal workshop through the BBA Reentry Education Program. This month’s session—on landlord and tenant law—drew a large and engaged crowd. During the session, Attorney Chris Saccardi (The Law Office of Christopher T. Saccardi) walked participants through their rights and responsibilities as either a landlord or tenant.
Beyond the Billable reached out to him to learn more. Here’s why he thinks this topic was particularly important for the attendees:
“Most people in and around Boston are either landlords or tenants at some point in their lives. Many of the people in Wednesday’s audience indicated that they were currently homeless, and it is likely that their next step would be finding an apartment to rent. During that process, it is important for them to understand their rights as potential tenants so as to ensure that their security deposits are properly handled, their apartments are safe and sanitary, and that they know what to do should they experience a discriminatory landlord. Individuals who are struggling to reenter society after sometimes lengthy prison sentences tend to be less educated and have lower incomes than the general population – this is the sort of population that could be taken advantage of by unscrupulous landlords. Knowing their rights as tenants in Massachusetts will hopefully be a small step toward leveling that playing field.”
Attorneys Ellen Shachter (Greater Boston Legal Services) and Julie McCormick (Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School) presented on public benefits to participants in the Community Reentry Readiness Program.
Yesterday, BBA volunteers and public benefits experts Ellen Shachter (Greater Boston Legal Services) and Julie McCormick (Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School) stopped over at the Moakley courthouse for the first Community Reentry Readiness session of the New Year. As you know, volunteer attorneys are able provide probationers with legal advice to support their reentry process. This session’s topic, public benefits, proved to be a valuable subject matter to the probationers in attendance.
In an intimate roundtable discussion, the volunteers were able to address individual questions and debunk some common myths about public health and housing benefits. Ellen and Julie gave probationers tips on how to manage and negotiate the system to help them receive the max amount of benefits that they are entitled.
Beyond the Billable reached out to Ellen to learn more about the session. Here’s why she thinks this session is particularly relevant to the participants:
“As individuals transition from incarceration into the community it is critical that they are provided with the skills and information necessary to successfully obtain critical benefits such as health insurance coverage and food stamps. The BBA’s benefits workshop provided just such information to those reentering the community both through direct oral presentation and in written materials. The benefits workshop also provided a safe forum for participants to ask questions and raise concerns about their own experiences in attempting to navigate complicated benefit program requirements.”
The BBA had another year full of public service. For a look back at our members’ work in the community, take a look at the photos below:
The John & Abigail Adams Benefit raised over $640,000 last January to help fund grants to 23 Massachusetts community organizations providing legal services in areas, such as domestic violence and homelessness. The BBF honored Former Boston Mayor Thomas Menino with the Public Service Award for his commitment to the City of Boston, including his efforts to find employment for thousands of Boston teens each summer.
The BBF’s popular Casino Night had a new twist this year—100 percent of the proceeds supported the BBA Summer Jobs Program. As you may remember, the BBF funds paid internships for Boston high school students in nonprofit and government agencies each summer through the program. The event raised more than $35,000 for the M. Ellen Carpenter Fund to benefit the Summer Jobs Program.
The BBA Lawyer for the Day in the Boston Housing Court Program celebrated its 15th year anniversary of providing legal assistance to pro se landlords and tenants at the Boston Housing Court. Since the program began, over 12,000 volunteers have helped more than 15,000 landlords and tenants navigate complicated legal issues.
In April, Boston commemorated the one year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings. The following month, the BBA honored the volunteers who stepped up to offer pro bono legal assistance to over 80 small businesses and individuals affected by the bombings at the Law Day Dinner through the BBA’s Marathon Assistance Project.
The BBA’s Law Day in the Schools Program took off this year. Ninety-four attorneys taught over 1,300 Boston public school students from kindergarten through seniors in high school about voting rights.
In June, the BBF unveiled its newest fundraising event, called Passports to Pairings, where 100 % of the proceeds supported the BBA Public Service Programs. The event raise nearly $37,000, featured food and beverage pairings, and gave attendees an opportunity learn more about the BBA and BBF’s work in the community.
The BBA continued to step up its commitment to the Mayor’s Summer Jobs Program by placing a record-breaking 64 Boston high school students in paid internships at Boston law firms, legal departments, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations through the BBA Summer Jobs Program. The BBF also increased its commitment to the program by funding 14 of these paid positions at non-profit community organizations, government offices and courts.
On September 1, 2014, the BBA celebrated the one year anniversary of the Military & Veterans Help Line’s move to the BBA Lawyer Referral Service, connecting 161% more servicemembers to legal assistance. Later in the fall, the BBA announced that four firms—Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP, Nixon Peabody LLP, Morgan, Lewis, & Bockius, and Nutter McClellen & Fish LLP—had stepped up to offer pro bono assistance to servicemembers who do not qualify for traditional free legal services, but cannot afford the fees of attorneys.
The BBA welcomed Congresswoman Niki Tsongas, who discussed her work and commitment to combating military sexual trauma. This program is part of the BBA’s ongoing commitment to addressing the needs of military personnel, veterans, and their family members.
October, proclaimed Pro Bono Month, once again brought a flurry of trainings and events to 16 Beacon. The lineup included the annual Landlord Tenant Law and Practice Training, the CORI Training, the Pro Bono Recruitment Fair, and the Representing Survivors of Human Trafficking: An Introduction for Attorneys Program.
The BBA Statewide Task Force to Expand Civil Legal Aid in Massachusetts released its long-awaited report called Investing in Justice, which found that the majority of clients seeking legal assistance are turned away and made the business case for an additional $30 million in civil legal aid funding.
The BBA kicked off the Community Reentry Readiness Program once again this November. The program, which was originally started by PILP 9, aims to reduce the risk of recidivism by sending volunteer attorneys to deliver civil legal education workshops to federal probations in the CARE/RESTART Program on issues that they may face upon reentry. The pilot program was such a success that the BBA and Federal Court once again teamed up to continue the program.
In November, BBA President Julia Huston spent the morning shadowing the headmaster of Mary Lyon Pilot High School in Brighton through BPE’s Principal for a Day Program. As a former teacher in special education, Julia found the program particularly interesting because every single class at the Mary Lyon Pilot High School is fully inclusive, incorporating both general education and students with emotional and behavioral impairments.
The BBA Lawyer Referral Service participated in a number of community events this year, including the Massachusetts Conference for Women which drew a crowd of nearly 10,000. These events help to raise awareness of about the largest public service program of the Boston Bar Association, which fielded over 7,900 calls last year.
In December, the BBA geared up to kick off an exciting new pilot program in the Land Court with a training on assisting homeowners facing tax foreclosure. Now that a number of attorneys are up to speed on the issue, they can volunteer to be on call to assist homeowners at the Land Court’s Thursday Tax Title Sessions and help homeowners hold onto their property.