Posts Categorized: Pro Bono

BBA Trains Attorneys to Help Break Cycle of Poverty

Attorneys learned how to seal CORIs at last night's pro bono training at the BBA.

Attorneys learned how to seal criminal records at last night’s pro bono training at the BBA.

Last night, attorneys packed into the Claflin Center to attend the annual Criminal Offender Record Information(CORI) training, a free, pro bono training run in collaboration with Greater Boston Legal Services. Agapi Koulouris (Department of Criminal Justice Information Services), Christina Miller (Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office), and Pauline Quirion (Greater Boston Legal Services) trained attorney to help clients from Roxbury, Dorchester and other low-income Boston Communities to seal their criminal records and break the cycle of poverty and unemployment. In exchange for attending this free training, participants are encouraged to take a pro bono case, staff the CORI help table at the Roxbury Court, or help with a community education event in Roxbury and other Boston locations to educate low income individual about their rights to seal their records.

To learn more about the BBA’s Public Service work, click here.

September Shines with Public Service Opportunities

The Boston Debate League judges' training is one of the many public service-related events taking place at the BBA this month.

The Boston Debate League judges training is one of the many public service-related events taking place at the BBA this month.

If you are interested in diving into public service this fall, Beyond the Billable has you covered. The month of September offers a number of occasions to receive specialized training and information on opportunities to get more involved in the community.

Here is a look at the upcoming events:

• Calling all new lawyers— join the New Lawyers Section for a Pro Bono Kick Off Meeting and Info Session on September 11th from 5:30-7:30 to learn how you can get more involved in public service activities through the BBA. Click here to register.

• Are you looking for a new pro bono opportunity? Attend to the CORI Training on September 16th from 3-6 pm. The training will prepare you to help clients from Roxbury, Dorchester and other low-income Boston communities to seal their records and break the cycle of poverty and unemployment. Click here to sign up.

• Learn how to be an effective volunteer judge for the Boston Debate League (BDL) at the training on September 24th from 4:30-6 pm. BDL offers busy attorneys low-commitment and meaningful volunteer opportunities. Attorneys can use their unique skills to help Boston Public High School students improve their critical thinking, public speaking, and argumentation skills. Click here to sign up for the training.

Stay tuned for more public service opportunities coming up later this fall. With Pro Bono Month fast approaching in October, the calendar will continue to fill up.

Marathon Monday Project Update: BBA on the Road

BBA volunteer attorneys have provided legal assistance to victims and small businesses in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings, including assistance filling out 14 One Fund claims.

BBA volunteer attorneys have provided legal assistance to victims and small businesses in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings, including assistance filling out 14 One Fund claims.

The BBA’s weekly e-publication, BBA Week, has periodically been sending out updates about the work of volunteers aiding victims of the Boston Marathon bombings. Beyond the Billable thought last week’s article, titled “BBA on the Road” would be of particular interest to our readers. This article highlighted some volunteer BBA attorneys who offered to go on “home visits”, traveling across Massachusetts and to New Hampshire to meet with victims still recovering from injuries and unable to leave their homes. We hope you will find these stories of people helping in a time of need as inspiring as we did. To read the article, click here.

Pay It Forward in the Probate and Family Court

At Beyond the Billable, we know that lawyers are passionate about giving back to their legal community through pro bono and public service activities. However, finding volunteer opportunities and selecting the right one is no easy task. That’s why last week, the BBA welcomed speakers Patrick J. McDermott (Norfolk Probate and Family Court), Robin D. Murphy (Verrill Dana LLP), Karen Stuntz (McEvoy & Stuntz LLP), and Martin F. Kane (McGrath & Kane) to highlight opportunities for attorneys to gain legal experience while giving back to the Probate and Family Court.

The event, "What Can I Do to Help? Volunteer Opportunities in the Probate and Family Court," highlighted ways for volunteers to get more involved inthe Probate and Family Court.

The event, “What Can I Do to Help? Volunteer Opportunities in the Probate and Family Court,” highlighted ways for volunteers to get more involved in the Probate and Family Court.

If you missed the program, no problem, that’s why Beyond the Billable is here. Available opportunities include the Lawyer of the Day Program, Conciliation Program, DOVE—Domestic Violence Ended, Attorneys Representing Children (ARC), the Guardianship Clinic, and Limited Assistance Representation. If you want to learn more, or volunteer for these programs, click here.

BBA Hosts Roundtable on Family Law Pro Bono Work and Opportunities

Honorable Maureen Monks (Middlesex Probate and Family Court), Manisha Bhatt (Greater Boston Legal Services) and Susan Finegan (Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.) discussed how their commitment to pro bono and public service work has shaped their careers.

Susan Finegan (Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.), Honorable Maureen Monks (Middlesex Probate and Family Court), and Manisha Bhatt (Greater Boston Legal Services) discussed how their commitment to pro bono and public service work has shaped their careers.

Last night, the BBA’s Family Law section held a roundtable discussion at the 16 Beacon Street discussing ways pro bono work can shape your legal career. Three pro bono connoisseurs, Honorable Maureen Monks (Middlesex Probate and Family Court), Manisha Bhatt (Greater Boston Legal Services) and Susan Finegan (Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.) served as panelists and shared their personal experiences with the audience and discussed ways for others to get involved.

BBA’s Marathon Monday Project Update

The BBA is offering legal assistance to individuals and small businesses affected by the Boston Marathon bombings.

The BBA is offering pro bono legal assistance to individuals and small businesses affected by the Boston Marathon bombings.

As you may have heard, the BBA has taken an active role in moving Boston forward after the tragic events at the Boston Marathon by offering legal assistance to small businesses on Boylston and Newbury street affected by the bombing. Our members responded in force, with over 200 individuals offering assistance when we asked them to help. Nearly a month later, here’s an update:

  • Thanks to the commitment of our members, the BBA has offered legal assistance to 26 small business owners and individuals who were affected by the Boston Marathon attacks.
  • Through a collaboration with the Mayor’s Office and the Massachusetts Office of Victim Assistance, the BBA is continuing to get the word out about the available legal services and adapting to the needs of the victims and small businesses in order to effectively refer callers.

Do you know a small business owner or a victim in need of assistance? The Boston Bar Association is connecting those affected by the Boston Marathon bombing to lawyers that can provide pro bono legal assistance for issues such as insurance, labor and employment, relocation, health, and other issues. To access these services, please call the Lawyer Referral Service intake line at 617-742-0625, or Toll Free: (800) 552-7046, or submit an online request here.

Stay tuned for more information as the situation continues to develop.

For more information on the Marathon Monday Project, please contact Katie D’Angelo, Public Service Programs Coordinator, at [email protected].org.

Interested in Asylum Cases? We Can Help

Last night the BBA’s Immigration Law Section held a CLE titled “Asylum: Application Through Appeal” where speakers led attendees through the entire life cycle of an asylum case and provided thorough review of the current law and standards of review. This CLE was a must for attorneys who want to understand the law as it applies to seekers of asylum and who are new to representing asylum clients.

Attorneys learn about the current laws and lifecycle of an asylum case at the CLE “Asylum: Application Through Appeal."

Attorneys learn about the current laws and life cycle of an asylum case at the CLE “Asylum: Application Through Appeal.”

As our readers know, volunteer attorneys play a central role in these types of cases because asylum seekers often need pro bono representation. Beyond the Billable is always trying to help our lawyers find new ways to volunteer in the community, and it just so happens that two of the grantees of the Boston Bar Foundation (the BBA’s charitable arm) provide pro bono legal services to asylum seekers. Now it’s your turn. Read below for more:

(1) Political Asylum/Immigration Representation Project (PAIR): the organization recruits, trains, and mentors pro bono attorneys to provide pro bono representation for asylum seekers in Boston. Click here for more information.

(2) Community Legal Services and Counseling Center: The organization helps individuals apply for political asylum in the United States. Click here for more information.

BBA Trust & Estates Public Service Committee, Job Well Done!

Casey, Cameron

Cameron Casey

Shapland, Peter

Peter Shapland

The BBA Trust & Estates Public Service Committee led by Cameron Casey (Ropes & Gray) and Peter Shapland (Day Pitney) made a significant impact by helping to create and run the Massachusetts Uniform Probate Code (MUPC) resource desk. Working with the Massachusetts Bar Association and the Probate and Family Court, the MUPC resource desk helped more than 150 people.

 

 

 

Spindler, Kerry

Kerry Spindler

Co-chair Kerry Spindler (Goulston & Storrs) will continue to work on follow up efforts to facilitate the transition to the MUPC and alleviate the burden on the courts. Click here to check out an article about this successful public service program.

Ode to Judge Winik

Judge Jeffrey Winik, first judge of the Boston Housing Court, is a true champion of justice. On May 13th BBA President J.D. Smeallie will present Judge Winik with the Citation of Judicial Excellence at Law Day Dinner. We at Beyond the Billable know Judge Winik for his dedication to the Lawyer for the Day in the Boston Housing Court program.

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We touched base with people who work with Judge Winik every week to see what they had to say about him:

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

My first court appearances as a new lawyer were in front of Judge Winik on pro bono matters, I was incredibly nervous, and I remember him being very patient as I stumbled through my arguments. While I certainly do not always prevail, I always get the sense that he appreciates that I am there trying to help someone who would otherwise be unrepresented. Judge Winik’s appreciation of the role volunteer attorneys’ play is clear in his willingness to speak regularly at BBA panels on housing law and to help new attorneys gain the confidence necessary to effectively represent low-income litigants at the Housing Court.

Cohn, AndrewAndrew Cohn, WilmerHale

When asked to reflect on Judge Winik’s contributions to the Lawyer for a Day program, a few things stood out to me:

◊  Judge Winik has continued to help the Lawyer for a Day program increase available resources for pro se litigants, with the aim of achieving greater balance and fairness in judicial process even in a time of diminished resources.

◊  He has played a lead role in fostering the use of Limited Assistance Representation (LAR) in the Housing Court, in keeping with the SJC’s guidance.

◊  His example reminds all Lawyer for a Day program volunteers that JUSTICE is about PROCESS not about OUTCOMES. 

◊  While being a staunch advocate for the program, Judge Winik has made clear that no ex parte communications of any kind relating to pending cases can be discussed in his presence; showing us all once again his commitment to fairness.

When thinking of Judge Winik’s contributions to the program, Virgil’s quote “None but himself can be his parallel.” comes to mind. The Lawyer for a Day program, the Boston Bar Association and the citizens of the Commonwealth owe Judge Winik a large debt of gratitude.

Foster, RobertHon. Robert B. Foster, Land Court Department of the Trial Court

Judge Winik’s support for the Lawyer for the Day program has been unwavering, and its success is due in no small part to his efforts. When we served together on the Real Estate Pro Bono committee, he was always the calming voice, with the usually sensible suggestion that would lead us out of whatever argument we might be having with each other. After I was appointed to the Land Court, I had the great pleasure of getting to know Judge Winik as a colleague. He is still the calm voice of reason, with the same thoughtful outlook on issues, but with just maybe a bit more leeway to crack jokes! He’s been a great help to me in my first year on the bench. I’m so glad the BBA is honoring him for all his work to support access to justice.

Allison, Joanna

Joanna Allison, Volunteer Lawyers Project of the Boston Bar Association.

I call Judge Winik’s courtroom the humiliation free zone. Knowing volunteers will not be “made to seem a fool” not only gives them comfort but also empowers litigants who will be appearing pro se. I suggest that new lawyers sit in on Judge Winik’s session to see what goes on there on Thursday eviction days. If Judge Winik notices that he has an audience, he will find them later or call them up to the bench and ask if they have any questions about what they have seen. This is no less than a thrill for the new attorneys, to be noticed and treated respectfully by a member of the judiciary.

I have taken to comparing Judge Winik to Bruce Springsteen for his rock star status among the Lawyer for the Day volunteers. When asked about the comparison, most volunteers have said they would prefer to have Judge Winik come to the Lawyer for the Day table with his advice, gratitude and humility. After all, they opine, Bruce can only sing. Judge Winik is truly THE BOSS.

Pro Bono Limited Assistance Representation Makes Waves in Boston Housing Court

It’s Thursday morning in the Boston Housing Court, which can only mean one thing – the halls are crowded with landlords and tenants involved in eviction cases. One table in particular, staffed by volunteers from the BBA’s Lawyer for a Day in the Housing Court, seems particularly jam-packed. It’s no wonder. In 2012 BBA volunteers and their partners assisted more than 1,000 litigants.

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You may be asking yourselves how our volunteer lawyers have the time to reach so many people each and every Thursday. The answer — through Pro Bono Limited Assistance Representation (LAR). The Boston Housing Court authorized the use of LAR in November 2010, which allows attorneys to appear in court on a limited basis without assuming full representation of the client and all the legal issues that may be related to the legal matter. The benefit is threefold: lawyers who may not have the time to take entire pro bono cases can still assist those in need, LAR provides an opportunity for attorneys to gain valuable courtroom experience and most importantly, and more people with unresolved legal issues that require representation are getting the help they need.

We think the impact of LAR is clear, but don’t just take it from us:



Winik, JeffreyLAR provides an important legal service to many unrepresented litigants who appear in the Boston Housing Cou
rt. LAR attorneys represent these litigants on a specific limited matter (that sometimes enables the litigant to resolve the case that day). Attorneys entering LAR appearances gain valuable practical courtroom experience arguing a discrete matter before a judge without having to enter a full appearance. LAR attorneys have been able to acquire new fee paying clients (or new clients with claims that allow for statutory attorney fees) base upon their limited appearances.– Hon. Jeffrey Winik, Boston Housing Court Department of the Trial Court

Allison, JoannaLAR gets attorneys in the courtroom with clients–so much more effective and powerful than just giving the client advice. Because the attorney is obligated only for that one event of the case, s/he can commit to courtroom advocacy without taking on a case for full representation case that does not fit in their schedule or their practice.–Joanna Allison, Volunteer Lawyers Project of the Boston Bar Association.

If you want to learn more about the BBA Lawyer for a Day in the Boston Housing Court please clear here. If you are interested in becoming LAR certified, please click here.