Posts Categorized: Lawyer Referral Service

BBA Lawyer Referral Service Reaches Out to Thousands at the Massachusetts Conference for Women

BBA Interns help staff the LRS booth at the 9th Annual MA Conference For Women.

BBA Interns help staff the LRS booth at the 9th Annual MA Conference For Women.

Last Thursday, the BBA Lawyer Referral Service (LRS) staff set up shop at the 9th Annual Massachusetts Conference for Women, which drew more than 10,000 women from across the state and New England.

This year’s conference, held at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center featured keynote addresses and breakout sessions led by more than one hundred experts in the fields of business, philanthropy, finance, media and professional development. The theme the conference was “The Power of Us,” and gave conference attendees many opportunities for business networking, professional development and personal growth. 

Hundreds of attendees stopped by the BBA’s booth, inquiring as to how they could receive referrals through the Lawyer Referral Service, and about the BBA’s Mission and role in the community.

The Massachusetts Conference for Women is the largest outreach and marketing event of the year for the BBA LRS, who participates in approximately 10 outreach events yearly. Next on the calendar is the 26th Annual Quincy Lunar New Year Festival in February. Stay tuned for more details!

Continuing to Support Those Who Served Our Country

Attendees attend a primer to Veterans Benefits and discuss some of the challenges facing veterans when they return from the service.

The panel discussed some of the challenges that veterans face veterans when they return from the service.

Last Thursday, the BBA hosted the final training in the CLE series on Representing Military Personnel and Families.  Even though this training series has concluded, the BBA’s commitment to helping veterans and military personnel with the legal challenges that they face is far from over.  With the adoption of the Military Legal Help Line and the BBA’s involvement in the Yellow Ribbon Project and the Massachusetts “Stand Down” event, the BBA’s support of this initiative will continue.

To encapsulate why it is important for the BBA and lawyers as a community to give back to veterans, military personnel and their families, check last week’s responses to  Voices of the Bar.

Michelle Wolf (Veterans’ Disability Benefits), a panelist on last week’s training on Veterans Benefits, stated,

“We all owe a duty to those who have volunteered to serve and protect our country, especially with the growing recognition of the toll military service takes on our soldiers, veterans and their families. Lawyers can truly make a difference in the lives of these individuals and families by assisting with legal issues that might otherwise distract soldiers currently serving.”

Keep an eye on the BBA calendar for additional training opportunities this winter and into the spring.  If you would like to know more about joining the Military and Veterans’ Panels for the Military Legal Help Line, please contact Solana Goss at [email protected].

BBA Lawyer Referral Service: 50 Years and Growing Strong

Conference attendees have a panel discussion about how to run an effective Lawyer Referral Service.

Conference attendees have a panel discussion about how to run an effective Lawyer Referral Service. Photo courtesy of the Atlanta Bar Association.

If Beyond the Billable asked you what the BBA’s largest public service program is, what would you say? The Financial Literacy Program which reached over 1,300 students this past year? The Summer Jobs Program, which was one of the ten largest providers of Summer Jobs in the City of Boston? The Lawyer for a Day in the Housing Court Program, where 12,000 volunteers have assisted 15,000 unrepresented tenants and landlords since the program began? Any of them would be a good guess, but surprise, they would all be wrong. The BBA’s largest public service program is its Lawyer Referral Service (LRS).

Even though the LRS has been around for more than 50 years, it’s still looking for the best and most efficient ways to connect callers to lawyers who can help them with their legal needs. That’s why LRS Intake Coordinator Solana Goss attended the ABA National Lawyer Referral Workshop in Atlanta Georgia.  Nearly 100 participants from across the country met to discuss ideas and share information about running a Lawyer Referral Service Program.  Topics included panel management, website and marketing tools, protocol for new panel members, the role of a review committee, and more.

Beyond the Billable reached out to Solana to see what she took from attending the conference, and here’s what she had to say:

“As the intake coordinator of the LRS, I am always looking for ways that we can do more, and have a larger impact in the community. The conference offered programs to help improve marketing, lawyer-client relationships, and operations, all of which are valuable tools to help the BBA LRS expand our reach. Meeting bar staff and seeing how their services operate provided insight to our referral service as we look to respond to the ever-changing needs of the community.”

The Boston Bar Lawyer Referral Service is the only referral service in Greater Boston approved by the American Bar Association.  To find out more about joining the LRS, please contact Solana Goss at [email protected].

On the Job with Kia White—BBA LRS Intern

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After three months on the job, BBA Lawyer Referral Service (LRS) intern Kia White sat down with Beyond the Billable to share her experience thus far. Kia spends her days answering the dozens of calls LRS receives each day and helping the LRS intake coordinator with data entry, mailings, and other administrative duties that help run the service. She will be with us until the end of December before returning to Northeastern University where she studies Criminal Justice and business.

Here is what she had to say during her interview:

What has been the highlight of your first three months?

The highlight of my first three months was at the beginning of my internship when I attended the practice area trainings. This was a great opportunity for me because I gained so much knowledge in many different areas of law. This was helpful in my job here at the BBA as well as in my own personal life. Each of the attorneys that came to speak with us was very knowledgeable of their field of law.

What do you find most challenging about your internship?

Handling the LRS phone calls has taught me the importance of having patience and a sense of understanding of other peoples’ perspectives. We receive a large amount of calls a day, and everyone is different and has different situations. Some people speak other languages and it is important to be patient and try to understand them because they do need our help. I have also experienced callers who are under great amounts of stress and may come off a little hostile. By having a sense of understanding, it makes the call a lot easier. You have to understand that the caller may be dealing with a lot, and the goal is to give the caller the referral so that you can help them.

How has this co-op shaped your view of the legal field?

By listening to callers from the LRS, I have learned that sometimes it is extremely difficult to navigate through the legal system. Some people would be much better off in their legal situations if they had lawyers to guide them through and explain their rights to them. The BBA LRS provides a beneficial service to the community. We are able to aid clients in finding legal assistance that they may not be able to obtain on their own. A good number of callers are new to the legal system, and don’t know what to do. They may not know what type of case they have, what type of lawyer they need, and many other factors. Our service makes it so that we can guide them through the process of figuring out what type of lawyer they need and then connect them to some potential lawyers for their cases. It is very reassuring to know that there is a service in the community to get people started on the right track when dealing with a legal situation.

Attorney Appreciation – Beyond the Billable Thanks Volunteers

Attorneys Chick Mone (Pierce, Davis & Perritano, LLP) and Kyle Crossley (Audax Group) discuss Torts Law and what it means to be a lawyer.

Attorneys Chick Mone (Pierce, Davis & Perritano, LLP) and Kyle Crossley (Audax Group) discuss Torts Law and what it means to be a lawyer.

This month, you heard from seven attorneys who volunteered their time to teach BBA interns about a wide range of legal topics. The attorneys discussed their experiences training interns, and why they were motivated to participate. Check out what they had to say in Part One and Part Two of this three-part feature.

The trainings were organized by the Boston Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service, the largest public service program of the Boston Bar Association, dedicated to helping members of the public in need of assistance connect with attorneys.

We would like to thank all of the attorneys who volunteered their time to conduct training sessions for the BBA’s new interns:

Roger Bertling (Law Offices of Roger Bertling) – Bankruptcy
Dan Biagiotti (Legal Advocacy & Resource Center) – LARC & Legal Services Overview
Lauren Brown (Mikowski & Leonard) – Business Law and Intellectual Property
Kyle Crossley (Audax Group) – Torts
Rachel Engdahl (Law Office of Rachel L. Engdahl) – Family Law
Joseph Gregory (Joseph Gregory Esq.) – Immigration Law
Ilir Kavaja – (Kavaja Law) – Criminal Law
Mary Lee (Mary K.Y. Lee P.C.) – Real Estate & Landlord/Tenant Law
William McLeod (United States Bankruptcy Court) – Bankruptcy
Chik Mone (Pierce, Davis & Perritano, LLP) – Torts
Dino Santangelo (Law Office of Dino R. Santangelo) – Public Benefits & Health Law
Joseph Sommer (Sommer & Associates) – Trusts & Estate Planning
Pamela Thomure – Employment Law

If you are interested in becoming involved in future training sessions, please contact Solana Goss, the LRS Intake Coordinator, at [email protected].

BBA Interns – Learning from Lawyers (Part Two)

Last week, you heard from three attorneys who conducted training sessions for BBA interns and Lawyer Referral Service (LRS) staff. When we asked the attorneys why they donated their time to participate, the response was overwhelming. Here’s a look at what others had to say:

Mary LeeMary Lee (Mary K.Y. Lee P.C.) conducted a training session on Landlord/Tenant and Real Estate & Law.

“Conducting this training provided a chance to help LRS staff better pinpoint, screen, and identify potential cases for the LRS attorney panel. It was fun to share with eager and engaged learners, and the experience energized the rest of that particular day. It was a wonderful reminder why I need to continuously share, because it’s part of the profession and part of my ongoing development/improvement as an attorney. I hope that I was able to convey to the interns that regardless of how much fear one is challenged with by the legal process, by not giving into that fear, the law and knowledge of the law will eventually help them resolve their problems. I think it’s important for the interns and potential clients to know that philosophy to sustain the spirit of moving forward.”

Dino SantangeloDino Santangelo (Law Office of Dino R. Santangelo) conducted a training session on Public Benefits & Social Security.

“I always enjoy being able to talk to these trainees and let them know that there is more to the learning process than just being in the classroom and that they should make the most of this experience of being able to deal with real life matters that are important to potential callers. I make a point of letting them know that they will be receiving calls from people who come from all walks of life. Some are very poor, homeless, and have never spoken to a lawyer and have difficulty in even explaining why they need a lawyer. They were told to get a lawyer and it is our job to figure out what they need and help as best we can. You have to establish a trusting relationship with client’s in order to be able to get the information needed and be able to properly represent them.”

Robert BertlingRoger Bertling (Law Offices of Roger Bertling) conducted a training session on Bankruptcy Law.

“I volunteered to conduct the training session because I believe strongly in the work that the BBA LRS staff does in assisting people who need an attorney in finding the right attorney. If I can help them in any small way do that better, that is great.

I wanted the interns to know that in this day of the internet and social media, there still is no substitute for the assistance of a capable, experienced attorney to help guide one through their legal situation. Also, as an attorney, one of the greatest satisfactions lies in determining the roots of a legal problem and devising a way to resolve it.”

Joseph Sommer (Sommer & Associates) conducted a training session on Trusts & Estates.

“Fundamental changes occurred in Massachusetts Trust and Estate law within the last two years. It is important to educate referral staff regarding changes to more effectively refer cases. Moreover, I hope to inspire referral staff and interns to become more involved in Massachusetts Trust and Estate law to better the profession. I attempted to convey the importance of versatility and transparency in the areas of Massachusetts Trust and Estate law. Versatility and transparency are important concepts that could be employed in most areas of life.”

If you are interested in becoming involved in future training sessions, please contact Solana Goss, the LRS Intake Coordinator, at [email protected].

BBA Interns – Learning from Lawyers (Part One)

Attorneys Roger Bertling & Bill McLeod discuss just how complex the Bankruptcy process can be.

Attorneys Roger Bertling ( Law Offices of Roger Bertling) & Bill McLeod (U.S. Bankruptcy Court) discussed the complexity of the bankruptcy process.

Throughout the month of July, volunteer attorneys conducted eleven training sessions at the BBA for summer interns and Lawyer Referral Service (LRS) staff about various practice areas.  We caught up with some of the volunteers to see what they had to say about their participation, and asked them why they felt motivated to volunteer their time.

Biagiotti, DanDan Biagiotti (The Legal Advocacy and Resource Center) conducted a training session on Legal Services.

“The Legal Advocacy and Resource Center works closely with the BBA LRS to make the best referrals between the programs. There are many callers to the LRS that do not have enough income to hire an attorney but that have a serious legal problem and it is important that these clients get directed to an agency that is most likely to assist them. By understanding which clients should be directed to LARC and which should be directed to another agency is a valuable service to callers who often have a very difficult time navigating the legal services delivery system. I enjoy conducting the training for these students because they bring such enthusiasm and desire to help others and learn about the legal profession.”

EngdahlRachel Engdahl (Law Office of Rachel L. Engdahl) conducted a session on Family Law

“Family Law is an exciting and changing field of law. I am inspired to see young people interested and proactive in learning about the process and daily practice. It is never too early to get involved and begin meaningful relationships.”


Kavaja

Ilir Kavaja (Kavaja Law) conducted a training session on Criminal Law.

“One thing in particular that I enjoyed sharing and talking about with the trainees was the importance of helping all those in need of legal representation, regardless of the ability to afford full, or partial legal fees. I shared this tidbit with the interns because it is a cornerstone of my legal philosophy; “Justice Above All”!”

 

Stay tuned for part two of the LRS intern training sessions.

If you are interested in becoming involved in future training sessions, please contact Solana Goss, the LRS Intake Coordinator, at [email protected].

BBA Shows Pride in Boston

This past Saturday, thousands marched in the 43rd annual Boston Pride Festival. This year’s theme, “Moving Forward…Proud, Strong, United” comes just weeks before the Supreme Court will rule on the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act.

BBA staff set up their booth at City Hall Plaza, and reached out to the community by providing information on how to obtain a lawyer from the BBA Lawyer Referral Service.

Notable Pride attendees included Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy III, Former U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, and Senator Elizabeth Warren.

This year marked the 43rd year of Boston Pride, which over the decades has celebrated and promoted equal rights for the area’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities.

BBA employees Katie D’Angelo and Solana Goss helped to staff the BBA LRS Booth.

Pride Festival attendees celebrate their inclusivity, equality, respect, and awareness in Greater Boston.

Approximately 35,000 people attended Pride Parade as participants and spectators in support of the cause.

For more information on the BBA’s Lawyer Referral Service, please contact Solana Goss, LRS Intake Coordinator, at [email protected].

BBA Lawyer Referral Service Kicks Off Community Outreach Season at Mayfair

Last weekend, the BBA Lawyer Referral Service highlighted its commitment to community outreach by participating in the 30th Annual Mayfair, an event organized by the Harvard Square Business Association. BBA staff spoke with members of the public about how to obtain a lawyer from the BBA Lawyer Referral Service, the largest public service program of the BBA.

Mayfair is just one of the many summer events around Boston, where you’ll find LRS staff. A few events on the horizon are the 43rd Annual Boston Pride Festival in June, India Day at the DCR Hatch Shell in August, and Cambridge Carnival International in September.

BBA staff, Gaciru Matathia, and Solana Goss set up shop at the Mayfair event, displaying materials on how to get in touch with the BBA Lawyer Referral Service.

BBA staff, Gaciru Matathia, and Solana Goss set up shop at the Mayfair event, displaying materials on how to get in touch with the BBA Lawyer Referral Service.

The Mayfair event drew an estimated 200,000 attendees to the heart of Harvard Square.

The Mayfair event drew an estimated 200,000 attendees to the heart of Harvard Square.

For more information on the Lawyer Referral Service, please contact Solana Goss, LRS Intake Coordinator, at [email protected].

Use Pro Bono to Build Your Practice

The current legal job market is one of the toughest the field has ever seen. The need for pro bono legal services continues to grow. More and more new lawyers are starting their own firms and looking for ways to develop their legal skills. Is there a way to reconcile all of these demands? Come to Building Your Practice Through Pro Bono and find out how three new lawyers have done just that.

Here is just a bit of what you will learn from these attorneys:

Saccardi, ChrisChristopher Saccardi, The Law Office of Christopher T. Saccardi 

I started my landlord-tenant practice by volunteering through the BBA Lawyer for the Day in the Boston Housing Court Program. My first trial was a pro bono case that I accepted on the morning of trial. While I was moderately terrified to be conducting a trial with very little experience, I soon realized that my client was very grateful to have any attorney representing her, even one with limited experience. And even more surprising, the judge was also happy to deal with an attorney during the trial as opposed to a pro se litigant. Because I was clearly inexperienced, the judge was extra patient with me and as a result, not only was I able to help out a deserving client but I learned a great deal through the experience.

As I gained experience through pro bono cases, I started to build up my own caseload of paying clients, drawing upon what I learned through volunteering and taking advantage of the network of mentors and colleagues I had built up through my work.

Thomas Beauvais, Attorney at Law 

Once my license arrived in the mail, I started the process of opening my practice. In my brief time networking with other solos, I have found most have difficulty with the business side of the practice: how to get enough clients, what to charge those clients, and where to meet them. My biggest obstacle was the product itself, what area of law to practice.

I knew what I didn’t want to do. I didn’t want to practice in criminal law, family law or personal injury. Not that there aren’t very deserving clients in those areas, or that there aren’t some truly amazing attorneys practicing this law, I just knew it wasn’t for me. I did, however, want to litigate. Looking back at my list of eliminations, one might notice the Venn Diagram of my options was rather narrow. From my perspective at the time, there was no overlap. Nevertheless, I began looking for pro bono opportunities to keep myself busy. Thankfully, I came across Volunteer Lawyers Project (VLP). Every Wednesday, VLP hosts a Fair Debt Collection Clinic at the Boston Municipal Court. Not only would they allow any attorney with a free Wednesday morning to actually represent clients in a civil litigation setting, but they train them to do it well. After my first appearance, I was hooked.

Silber, AlisonAlison Silber, Law Offices of Alison Silber

I have a large VLP caseload—three cases at a time plus I mentor two other volunteers—and, in return, the VLP staff often answer questions for me about my non-VLP cases. They also provide me templates of motions/Proposed findings/etc. for my non-VLP cases.

In addition to taking cases with VLP, their lunches are a great opportunity to network and bounce ideas off of more experienced attorneys. I attend the large lunches whenever I can, plus VLP hosts a small, monthly Family Law brownbag that I find invaluable. I have developed two mentors from that circle. Each time I come with a list of questions from my non-VLP cases, and they always get answered.

Click here for more information and to register for Building Your Practice Through Pro Bono, January 23 at 12:30 pm.