Posts Categorized: Law Day in the Schools

BBA President Joins Brighton Students to Celebrate Law Day

BBA President Paul T. Dacier handed medals out to the students as a reward for their  hard work on their posters and essays.

BBA President Paul T. Dacier handed medals out to the students as a reward for their hard work on their posters and essays.

Every year, May 1st marks the official celebration of Law Day—a day to reflect upon the importance of law and the justice system in the United States and to educate young people about how law affects society. BBA President Paul Dacier headed back to Brighton Municipal Court again this year to take part in the annual Law Day celebrations with First Justice David Donnelly, Honorable Patricia Bernstein, and Brighton elementary school students. Students participated in a poster and essay contest on the Law Day theme of “Why Every Vote Matters.”

For a first-hand look at the day’s event from Paul’s perspective, check out Dacier’s Take on…Law Day Celebrations in Brighton’s Municipal Court

Lessons from Law Day – Junior Fellows Reflect

John McBrine, Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP,   helping a student work on her Law Day poster

John McBrine, Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP, helping a student work on her Law Day poster

Over 80 volunteers visited 1,300 students at ten Boston elementary and high schools during Law Day in the Schools this past week, the largest program in recent history. That’s not the only good news – this year we noticed a significant uptick in Law Day in the Schools volunteers from Junior Fellows (of the BBF Society of Fellows Program) and past/present BBA Public Interest Leaders. We reached out to three of them to hear about their experience teaching about this year’s theme “Why Every Vote Matters” and the importance of community outreach as a Fellow and Public Interest Leader. Here’s what they had to say:

McBrine, John“The first graders at Samuel Adams Elementary School in East Boston were just wonderful. We all had a great time exploring how our democratic system of government works. I was amazed at the depth of their curiosity and sense of fairness. One student even asked a question about Justice Sotomayor. I don’t think I knew my phone number in first grade. Overall, the experience provided a great opportunity to reach out to the Boston community and expose youth to the law. As a Junior Fellow and a member of PILP, I believe it’s very important to give back and I encourage all Fellows and BBA members to participate in public, as they able.”– John McBrine, Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP, Boston Bar Foundation Junior Fellow & PILP 10

 

Lieberman, David W.“Law Day in Schools was a great way to spend my lunch hour. I went to Ms. Abid’s fourth grade class at the M.E. Bradley Elementary School in East Boston and all of the kids were really excited to meet me and engaged in our project. We talked for a bit about the importance of voting and then we held an election for the official class candy (Peppermint Patties just barely edged out Twizzlers for the win). At the end, the kids asked some of their burning legal questions like “can you be president if you aren’t born in America?” and “what happens if your parents give you a bad word as a name?” In the end, a great time was had by everyone, and I think everyone learned a little (especially me and my partner).” –David W.S. Lieberman, Day Pitney LLP, Boston Bar Foundation Junior Fellow & PILP 11

 

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“As part of the BBA’s Law Day in the Schools Program, I had the privilege of spending time with a group of energetic second graders at the Josiah Quincy Elementary School talking about why every vote matters. When we discussed the nature of our government and what it means to vote, the students enthusiastically offered tales of accompanying parents to the polls, seeing votes cast behind screens to protect the voter’s privacy, and watching ballots being whisked away into ballot machines. It was inspiring to watch the students engage with the concept of voting and the importance of participation. They were able to recognize the value in voicing their opinions and casting their votes whenever they have the opportunity.”– Emily Hodge, Choate, Hall & Stewart LLP, Boston Bar Foundation Junior Fellow & PILP 9

Are you interested in becoming more involved as a Junior Fellow or participating in an upcoming public service activity? Please visit the Society of Fellows webpage or the BBA Public Service webpage to learn more.

Lawyers Learn the Ropes Before Law Day in the Schools Experience

Emily Hodge (Choate Hall & Stewart LLP), pictured above volunteering for the 2012 Law Day in the Schools Program,  led the training and helped prepare volunteers for their upcoming visit with students as part of the BBA Law Day in the Schools Program.

Emily Hodge (Choate Hall & Stewart LLP), pictured above volunteering for the 2012 Law Day in the Schools Program, led the training and helped prepare volunteers for their upcoming visit with students as part of the BBA Law Day in the Schools Program.

What’s the best technique to get five year olds to quiet down? How do you get a group of 16 year olds to understand the difference between restrictive and expansive voter requirements? If you’re surprised to hear these types of questions coming from a program at 16 Beacon Street — don’t be — our lawyers were learning the ins and outs of conducting an effective Law Day in the Schools presentation to Boston public school students. The training, led by program vet Emily Hodge (Choate Hall & Stewart LLP), walked volunteers through the curriculum and offered helpful tips and hints on keeping students focused and engaged with this year’s theme – “Why Every Vote Matters.” As part of the program, which begins today, more than 75 volunteers will present to more than 1,300 elementary, middle and high school classrooms across Boston – an all-time high.

Stay tuned for more.

Lawyers to Talk Voting Rights with More than 1300 BPS Students for Law Day in the Schools

Through the BBA Law Day in the Schools Program, attorneys travel to Boston public high schools to teach students about the legal field.

Through the BBA Law Day in the Schools Program, attorneys travel to Boston public high schools to teach students about the legal field.

Demand for the BBA’s Law Day in the Schools Program has skyrocketed this year with 1340 students from nine Boston public high schools signed up to learn “Why Every Vote Matters” on May 1st, 2nd, 5th, 6th, and 7th. Volunteers have stepped up to meet the demand and volunteer spots are filling up quickly – so click here to view the available sessions.

Why volunteer? The Law Day in the Schools Program is a great way for attorneys to engage in their community and teach students of all ages important lessons in civics – with a minimal time commitment. The sessions last no more than an hour and the BBA provides volunteers with all of the necessary materials.

Volunteers can choose the classrooms and age groups they volunteer for, so don’t delay in signing up here.

Legal Offices Share Their “Adopting A Classroom” Stories

Students from Another Course to College learning about Using Credit and Credit Cards, as part of the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program

Students from Another Course to College learning about Using Credit and Credit Cards, as part of the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program

While students are still traveling the Boston and Worcester Bankruptcy Courts, the classroom based sessions of the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program have wrapped up in the Greater Boston area. This year, four legal offices stepped up and “adopted a classroom” to help meet the growing demand for the program in fifteen schools. In this model, legal offices commit to providing 3-6 volunteers to cover each of the three classroom based sessions. In return, the legal offices were able to provide their employees with an opportunity to give back while partnering with a fellow colleague.

Beyond the Billable reached out to the legal departments of Sun Life Financial and Liberty Mutual, both of whom participated in the “adopt a classroom” model last year as well, to hear more about the experience. Sun Life Financial adopted a classroom at Joseph P. Keefe Technical School in Framingham and Liberty Mutual adopted four classrooms at Boston Community Leadership Academy in Hyde Park.

Here’s what they had to say:

Why did your legal office choose to participate in the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program?

“As in house counsel and compliance professionals in the financial services industry, supporting a financial literacy program has been a great way for us to give back to the community and utilize our skills. We selected the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Program for a few reasons. First, volunteers don’t have to be attorneys and this allows us to make the opportunity available to more people in our department. We also like being able to sponsor the same school every year. We have found that consistency of the same teacher, class format and class size every year enhances the success of the program. Volunteers know what to expect and can build off of best practices from prior years to improve upon our delivery of the program for a technical high school. Lastly, the volunteer materials provided by the BBA are very comprehensive, which helps cut down on preparation time, and are designed such that the volunteers can be flexible about deciding how to select content of an organization for a particular session.” – Michelle Greco, AVP & Senior Counsel, Sun Life Financial

“The M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program provides a unique opportunity for both the students and the Liberty Mutual Insurance volunteers. Students have the opportunity to learn about finance-related topics from volunteers who have significant real-world knowledge, which we think enables the students to continue to build practical skills as they enter young adulthood. The volunteers enjoy interacting with the high school students and having the chance to make a difference in their lives. In addition, the program gives some of our volunteers with backgrounds in finance a chance to make an impact and help students avoid financial pitfalls in advance, rather than merely helping after the fact.”— Andrew Fagenholz, Corporate Counsel, Liberty Mutual

What was the highlight of the program for your volunteers?

“Spending any amount of time in a high school is like taking a step back in time. As you think about the decisions that are on the horizon for the young adults who will soon be graduating, you realize that while you may have come to talk about the specifics of buying a car, what you are really there for is to impress upon the students the important differences between what they want, and what they really need and can afford. That theme runs through the various modules, and hopefully our discussion about the realities of owning a car helped the students understand the kind of tough financial decisions they will have to make when they are on their own. The students were interested and active, which made the session a lot of fun, and I hope I can participate in this program again in the future.” — Scott Davis, SVP & General Counsel, Sun Life Financial

“Without a doubt, the primary highlight for our volunteers was the chance to provide guidance to young adults through a live, interactive classroom session with a dynamic group of students. Most of our volunteers do not regularly teach high school classes, and they reported that the experience was energizing and exciting. They enjoyed the hands-on exposure and fielding questions from their classrooms both on the finance topic of the day and other matters the students might raise.”— Andrew Fagenholz, Corporate Counsel, Liberty Mutual

Our volunteers were so excited to share their experiences that we had to turn this into a two part statement! Stay tuned for part two when we hear from Choate Hall & Stewart and the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission volunteers about their experiences.

 

 

PILP Alums Create Curriculum for Law Day in the Schools

Last year, 41 volunteers traveled to seven Boston public high schools for the Law Day in the Schools Program

Last year, 41 volunteers traveled to seven Boston public high schools for the Law Day in the Schools Program

With May fast approaching, PILP alumni are hard at work developing the elementary school and middle school/high school curriculum for the annual Law Day in the Schools Program. This year, volunteer attorneys will teach students about voting rights under the American Bar Association theme “American Democracy and the Rule of Law: Why Every Vote Matters.”

Beyond the Billable checked in with Sheryl Howard (Krokidas & Bluestein LLP), a former PILPer who is developing on the high school and middle school curriculum, to get the inside scoop on what to expect this year.

Here’s what she had to say:

Why did you volunteer to help develop the curriculum?

“I taught high school in Oklahoma for a brief period of time, so working on the curriculum is a chance to get back to my teaching roots. This year’s topic – voting rights – has such an important history and will likely be an important issue for years to come. During a meeting of the group working on the high school curriculum, one member mentioned that, at other points in time, the entire working group would have been denied the vote. The challenge is to find a way to engage elementary to high school students on this issue in a way that is meaningful and interesting.”

Why should attorneys volunteer for the Law Day in the Schools Program?

“First, it is tremendous fun, and the students can really surprise you. A few years back, my class was discussing what rights should be in a constitution, and one student made a passionate case for greater property rights for 8 year olds. It’s a chance to talk about what we do as lawyers (and to perhaps inspire the next generation). Younger students may not have a clear picture of what lawyers do, and some students may have few positive contacts with the legal profession. This year’s topic – voting rights – is particularly timely. Last, the project involves a very short time commitment. There is virtually no prep time; the lesson plan will be provided. All you have to do is show up!”

Thank you to the following PILP alumni who volunteered their time to help develop the interactive curriculum on voting rights:

Elementary School
Darren Braham, Prince Lobel Tye LLP
Dara Kesselheim, Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office
Lucy Rivera
Sherley Rodriguez, Greater Boston Legal Services
Matt Welnicki, Melick & Porter, LLP

High School/Middle School
Ann Braga, City of Boston
Jane Harper, State Street Corporation
Sheryl Howard, Krokidas & Bluestein LLP
Bonnie McGuire, FINRA
Katie Milton, Casa Myrna Vazquez

Are you interested in volunteering? Contact Katie D’Angelo at [email protected] for more information.

A Year in Photos

The BBA has had a quite a year of public service. For a look back at our members’ commitment to the community, take a look at the photos below:

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In January 2013, the John & Abigail Adams Benefit raised over $560,000. That amount helped to fund grants to 24 Massachusetts community organizations providing legal services in areas such as immigration, domestic violence and homelessness.

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The BBA held two free Limited Assistance Representation (LAR) trainings during the winter to certify nearly 100 lawyers to accept cases for limited representation. LAR provides an opportunity for attorneys to gain valuable courtroom experience, and most importantly, more people with unresolved legal issues that require representation receive the help they need. Attorneys received certification in the Probate and Family Court, Land Court, Housing Court, and Boston Municipal Court.

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In 2013, the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program more than doubled in size, reaching nearly 1,300 students across Massachusetts with the help of 158 volunteers.

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Lisa Menelly (Raytheon Company) traveled to Mozart Elementary School in Roslindale to teach Ms. Pearl-Haynes’s 4th grade class about the 2013 Law Day in the Schools theme “Realizing the Dream: Equality for All.” From May 1st-3rd, 41 volunteer attorneys traveled to seven Boston public schools to teach 782 students about the topic.

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Members of the BBA’s Public Interest Leadership Program (PILP) leveraged the resources of the bar to launch the Community Reentry Readiness Program through the Federal Court to provide information to federal probationers on key civil-legal issues that they will face when re-entering society.

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After the tragic events on Marathon Monday, the BBA offered pro bono legal assistance to small business and victims affected by the Boston Marathon bombings. The BBA recruited over 200 attorneys, firms, and law schools who were eager to help. The BBA’s Lawyer Referral Service received 70 calls and through collaboration with the Mayor’s Office and Massachusetts Office of Victim Assistance, the BBA volunteer attorneys assisted 63 small business owners and victims with legal matters in the wake of the Boston Marathon events.  In addition, the BBF demonstrated its commitment to Boston by donating $25,000 to the One Fund to further assist victims.

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On June 6th, members of the BBA’s Public Interest Leadership Program (PILP) hosted a groundbreaking symposium addressing the emerging legal and community-based issues associated with human trafficking. The event drew in over 125 attendees and national press coverage.

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This year, 32 diverse law students participated in the Diversity & Inclusion Section’s Judicial Internship Program which places students in local courts including the Boston Municipal Court, Probate & Family Courts and US Bankruptcy Court.

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In its 20th year, the BBA Summer Jobs Program placed a record-breaking 58 Boston public high school students in paid positions at Boston law firms, legal departments, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations. This year, the BBF increased its commitment to the program by funding paid positions for 13 students at non-profit community organizations, government offices and courts.

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Pro Bono Month, which happens every October, was jam-packed with trainings and volunteer opportunities to encourage attorneys to give back to our community. The BBA held five pro bono trainings that prepared 206 attorneys and law students to engage in pro bono work and connected 250 new attorneys and law students with 28 Boston-area legal service agencies through a Pro Bono Fair.

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On September 1, 2013, the BBA Lawyer Referral Service became the new home of the Military Legal Help Line, which was established to connect veterans, military personnel, and their families with lawyers and other legal resources appropriate to their needs. The service refers callers to qualified attorneys offering reduced fee and pro bono legal assistance or the appropriate government or non-profit agency. In an effort to prepare attorneys to help with these reduced fee and pro bono cases, the BBA held a four-part CLE series this fall on topics including, family law, labor and employment, Chapter 7 bankruptcy, Chapter 13 bankruptcy, trusts and estates, and education benefits.

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On November 20th, BBA President Paul T. Dacier joined over 150 of Boston’s leaders in visiting Boston Public Schools (BPS) to gain a firsthand look at the successes and challenges of the city’s school system as part of the BPS Principal for a Day Program. Paul shadowed William Thomas, the headmaster of Charlestown High School, for the morning. Charlestown High School is one of the largest high schools in Boston with 954, 39% of its student body is Limited English Proficient, and 46% of students qualify for free or reduced-priced school meals.

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The BBA President Paul Dacier and BBA Executive Director Rich Page joined Mayor Thomas Menino along with the current representatives and alumni of the Mayor’s Youth Council (MYC) at the 20th Anniversary Celebration on November 29th. As you may know, the BBA is a longstanding partner of the MYC, combining efforts with the City of Boston and Northeastern University.

Law Day Volunteers Step Up – Reach Record Number of Students

With the help of 41 volunteers, the Law Day in the Schools Program taught 782 Boston public school students about the issue of equality. Beyond the Billable would like to acknowledge the attorneys who volunteer their time to make this program possible.

Volunteer Attorney Michelle O’Brien (Mackie Shea O'Brien, PC) asks students in Mr. Lyndon’s 5th grade class at Josiah Quincy Elementary School what lawyers do.

Volunteer Attorney Michelle O’Brien (Mackie Shea O’Brien, PC) asks students in Mr. Lyndon’s 5th grade class at Josiah Quincy Elementary School what lawyers do.

Daryl Abbas, The Law Office of Daryl Abbas
Warren Agin, Swiggart & Agin, LLC
Laurie Alexander-Krom, Morgan, Brown & Joy, LLP
Jeffrey Becker, Office of the Corporation Counsel City of Boston
Susan Bernstein, Susan Bernstein Attorney of Law
Peter Berry, Deutsch Williams Brooks DeRensis & Holland, P.C.
Kristin Casavant, Jones Day
Kyle Childers, Boston University Law School
Veronica Contreras, Biogen Idec Inc.
Zeke Davisson, Pierce Atwood LLP
Timmery Donahue
Peter Durning, Mackie Shea O’Brien, PC
Jeremy Eisemann, Liberty Mutual Group
Matthew Fitzsimmons, Law Office of Matthew P. Fitzsimmons
Adam Foss, Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office
Jamie Frank, Sullivan & Worcester LLP
Patrick Hanley, Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General
Richard Harper, U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission
Kathleen Henry, Plymouth Rock Assurance Corporation
Rachel Hershfang, Securities & Exchange Commission
Matt Iler, Law Office of W. Matthew Iler, Jr.
Kate Isley, Pierce Atwood LLP
Anne Kaczmarek, Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General
Michelle Kalas, Riemer & Braunstein LLP
Joe Keeney, Biogen Idec Inc.
Dara Kesselheim, Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office
Keith Kollmeyer, Jones Day
Deborah Levine
E. Chouteau Levine, Levine Dispute Resolution Center LLC
Anthony Low
Lisa Menelly, Raytheon Company
Igor Novikov, Law Office of Igor Novikov, P.C.
Michelle O’Brien, Mackie Shea O’Brien, PC
Erika Reis, Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office
Staci Rubin, Alternatives for Community & Environment
Kristen Scioli White, Boston Bar Association
Nancy Shilepsky, Shilepsky Hartley Robb Casey Michon LLP
Jennifer Sieczkiewicz, Biogen Idec Inc.
Caroline Simons, Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP-Boston
Gary Smith
Ilene Sunshine, Sullivan & Worcester LLP
Amy Zahler, Biogen Idec Inc.
For more information on the Law Day in the Schools Program, please contact Katie D’Angelo, Public Service Programs Coordinator, at [email protected].

Law Day Volunteers Teach Record-Breaking Number of Students about Equality

Last week, 41 volunteer attorneys headed to Boston public elementary school and high school classrooms for the annual Law Day in the Schools Program on May 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. The volunteers taught 782 students in seven Boston public schools about the issue of equality.

Beyond the Billable attended a few sessions to bring you a first-hand look at the program:

Volunteer Attorney Michelle O’Brien (Mackie Shea O'Brien, PC) asks students in Mr. Lyndon’s 5th grade class at Josiah Quincy Elementary School what lawyers do.

Volunteer Attorney Michelle O’Brien (Mackie Shea O’Brien, PC) asks students in Mr. Lyndon’s 5th grade class at Josiah Quincy Elementary School what lawyers do.

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Lisa Menelly (Raytheon Company) leads Ms. Pearl-Haynes’s 4th grade class at Mozart Elementary School in Roslindale in a discussion about what equality means.

Beyond the Billable also tracked down the volunteers to see what they had to say about their experiences:

I would encourage everyone to volunteer for the Law Day in the Schools. Not only was it personally fulfilling, it was really fun to be in a class where the students were so engaged and excited just to have a “real” lawyer in the classroom – something that’s definitely not a commonplace experience for them. In the class I taught, we went from general themes of equality under the law to a very spirited debate about whether kids should have the right to vote. (Consensus – only if they learn about the issues and don’t just vote for their friends!) It’s a terrific opportunity to inspire the next generation and remind ourselves how lawyers have been and continue to be a positive force for change. – Lisa Menelly (Raytheon Company), Volunteer Attorney for Kimberly Peart-Haynes’s 4th grade class at Mozart Elementary School.

Although some students were quiet at the beginning of the class, every one of them became passionately involved during the breakout sessions and presentations, which we organized as debates (a suggestion from one of the students). It was gratifying to hear all of the students sharing their ideas, suggestions, and viewpoints with each other. – Deborah Levine (SEC), Volunteer Attorney in Alan Humbert’s 11th & 12th grade class at West Roxbury Academy

I thoroughly enjoyed my participation in Law Day in the Schools. The fifth grade students were smart, engaged, and well behaved. It was a pleasure to hear their thoughts on what “equality” means and how they can help promote equality in their school and community. – Michelle O’Brien (Mackie Shea O’Brien, PC), Volunteer Attorney in Matthew Lyndon’s 5th grade class at Josiah Quincy Elementary School.

For more information on the Law Day in the Schools Program, please contact Katie D’Angelo, Public Service Programs Coordinator, at [email protected].

BBA President-Elect Shows Support for BDC’s Law Day

First Justice of the Brighton District Court Judge David Donnelly invited students from Saint Columbkille School, state and local officials, and business leaders to Brighton Court for its version of Law Day on Friday, May 3rd. BBA President Elect Paul Dacier (EMC) participated in the program, which included student essays and drawings on the 2013 ABA Law Day theme, “Realizing the Dream Equality for All.”

Here’s what Paul had to say about the event:

I was proud to represent the Boston Bar Association at Brighton District Court’s Law Day. Judge Donnelly shared valuable lessons on the issue of equality and honored the students’ thoughtful work with awards and citations. I look forward to next year’s event.

Beyond the Billable was on hand to capture the day:

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President Elect Paul Dacier (EMC Corporation) participated in the processional into the courtroom with other business leaders and state and local officials for the Brighton District Court’s Law Day program.

Chief Justice Charles Johnson (Boston Municipal Court), BBA President Elect Paul Dacier (EMC Corporation), and Judge David Donnelly (Brighton District Court) took part in the Brighton District Court's annual Law Day Celebration.

Chief Justice Charles Johnson (Boston Municipal Court), BBA President Elect Paul Dacier (EMC Corporation), and Judge David Donnelly (Brighton District Court) took part in the Brighton District Court’s annual Law Day Celebration.

Check back later this week to see pictures from the BBA’s Law Day in the Schools Program.