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:
Posts Categorized: Public Interest Leadership Program
The 2015/16 Public Interest Leadership Program (PILP) class has demonstrated an interest in learning more about alternative sentencing, diversion, and the impact the juvenile justice system has on the development of the nation’s youth. On Wednesday, December 2, 2015, they continued their exploration into these issues when the City of Boston’s Legal Advisor to Boston Public Schools, Alissa Ocasio, came to speak to the group.
Ms. Ocasio discussed the capacities in which she advises Boston Public Schools including school discipline and the BPS Code of Conduct. Originally called the Code of Discipline, the BPS Code of Conduct is a malleable document, one which is reviewed, evaluated, and amended on an ongoing basis. Ocasio gave an overview of the multi-stakeholder team of parents, teachers, administrators, school safety personnel, and others who work to ensure that this living document can respond more effectively to address individual events in the lives of today’s youth.
Throughout the discussion, it was evident that the new Code of Conduct is aimed at empowering school administrators to focus on youth rehabilitation and education, a departure from previous Codes of Conduct, which were framed in the context of discipline and punishment.
The PILP class had several questions for Ms. Ocasio, and it was clear that they took a lot away from their discussion. As PILP-er Erika Reis, also an attorney for the City of Boston, noted, “The presentation was extremely informative and insightful. I have a better understanding of BPS discipline policy and how it has evolved over the years.”
Many thanks to Ms. Ocasio for taking the time to speak with our Public Interest Leaders.
On November 4, 2015, Carol Fulp, President and CEO of The Partnership, Inc. addressed members of the BBA’s Public Interest Leadership Program (PILP). The Partnership is an organization dedicated to enhancing the competitiveness of the region by attracting, developing, retaining and convening multicultural professionals. In addition to being the President and CEO of The Partnership, Ms. Fulp is a Trustee of the Boston Public Library, and was appointed by President Obama as a Representative of the United States to the Sixty-fifth Session of the United Nations General Assembly.
During the discussion, Ms. Fulp gave an outline of the work that The Partnership, Inc. does, and why diversity is important not just in the legal workplace, but in all sections of civil society. She emphasized that Boston is a city of innovation, and from a business perspective, having a diverse work place isn’t just the right thing to do, but the smart thing to do. “The world is changing, and we, Boston-the city of innovation- need to be at the forefront of this change and stay ahead of the curve in every way we can.”
Ms. Fulp ended the talk by asking each of the attendees to mention why they believe diversity is important, or what actions they hope to see in the future in order to have a more diverse legal community. PILP member Christopher Hart said the following about the meeting :
Carol led an engaging, productive, and eye-opening discussion about diversity in each of our professional environments and in the greater Boston area. I felt like I learned a great deal from my PILP peers about what concerns they have, and issues they’re facing, when it comes to diversity in the workplace. And I thought Carol did a great job not only encouraging our candor, but making us feel empowered to act to shape and improve diversity in the legal community. Aside from all of that, Carol’s optimism and enthusiasm is infectious; the time we had with her was incredibly well-spent and appreciated.
PILP and the BBA would like to take this opportunity to thank Ms. Fulp for taking the time to speak at this meeting.
This morning, the Boston Bar Foundation held its inaugural Society of Fellows Appreciation Breakfast at the Liberty Hotel in Boston. 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.
Nearly 75 members of the Society of Fellows joined 20 representatives from legal services organizations receiving BBF grants in the coming year to mingle and discuss the essential funding provided by the Society of Fellows program.
BBF President Lisa Goodheart expressed her gratitude for the commitment of the Fellows and introduced speaker Teresa Alleyne, Senior Career Specialist at the Boston Private Industry Council (PIC). In her role at the PIC, Teresa counsels high school students on professionalism and connects them with paid summer internships. She has worked closely with the BBA on one of its public service initiatives, the Summer Jobs Program.
The Boston Bar Foundation funds all of the pro bono and public service initiatives of the BBA, including the administrative coordination for all 65 jobs in the BBA’s Summer Jobs Program as well as the complete funding for 15 nonprofit and public sector positions for teens.
Teresa shared with the Fellows the positive impact of the program on the diverse group of young people she supports.
“You are at this breakfast because of your generosity and dedication to expanding access to justice and improving our community,” Teresa said. “You provide such invaluable training, and it means so very much in their life. They learn way more than you can possibly imagine.”
As Senior Career Specialist, she teaches young people about how to find success in a professional setting.
“But from my office, it is mostly theory,” she remarked. “It is because of the generosity of the Boston Bar Foundation that Boston public school students – my students – get a chance to put their skills to the test.”
She contrasted the decreasing availability of jobs for young people with the BBF’s increasing support of the Summer Jobs Program.
“I appreciate the BBA and BBF stepping up and providing increasing opportunity for young people over the years,” she emphasized, “When as a nation, the only thing increasing for young people was unemployment.”
Teresa’s poignant and lively remarks about just one of many, many programs the BBF is able to support with the help of the Society of Fellows were truly inspiring.
Fellows are invited to social and networking events throughout the year and recognized in BBF publications, on the BBF website and at BBF fundraising events. To learn more about joining Boston’s leading attorneys in the Society of Fellows, click here or contact Tara Trask at [email protected] or (617) 778-1984.
Click here to view more images from the event.
Last week, Lisa Hewitt, the General Counsel of the Committee for Public Counsel Services (CPCS), and Barbara Dougan, Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM), led a roundtable discussion with the PILP 12 class about current sentencing reform and mandatory minimum reform initiatives in the Commonwealth.
After an informative and energetic discussion, Beyond the Billable checked in with members of PILP 12 to get their perspective on the talk:
“It was extremely surprising to learn how Massachusetts compares to the rest of the nation—for a state considered so liberal, our sentencing laws are quite punitive. Lisa and Barbara’s discussion was an inspiration to educate my colleagues and peers and to reach out to legislators in support of eliminating mandatory minimums and eradicating the three strikes law.”– Chelsea Dunn, CPCS | Children and Family Law Division
“Lisa Hewitt met with the PILP group to discuss the evolution of sentencing policies at the state and federal level, and the current need for sentencing reform, particularly for non-violent drug offenders. As CPCS’s primary liaison to the state legislature, Lisa was able to provide unique insight into her agency’s efforts to advance sentencing reform here in Massachusetts.”– Mike Homer, Ropes & Gray LLP
“The speakers noted the trickle-down effect on defendants who receive mandatory minimum sentences, and what services and treatment might be available to them in jail or prison. This is notable because many people don’t appreciate that these punishments encompass much more than simply the length of time that an individual may serve and help perpetuate a cycle where such criminal defendants find it much more difficult to rehabilitate into productive members of society.”– David Hartnagel, Sheehan Phinney Bass + Green PA
As our Beyond the Billable readers know, the Public Interest Leadership Program (PILP) not only brings the best and brightest young attorneys together for leadership training and public service initiatives, it hosts Boston legal and community leaders as guest speakers. Each year, PILPers reach out to leaders based on the class’s topics of interest. Past topics included: running for local politics, the state of legal services, and how to serve on a charitable board.
The 2015-2016 PILP class, fondly known as PILP 12, kicked off its year of guest speakers in August. At its meetings, PILP 12 learned about changes to legislation pertaining to domestic violence from Jennifer Bolton, the Senior Manager Prevention & Education at DOVE (DOmestic Violence Ended), Inc., and Sarah Ellis, Deputy General Counsel of the District Court.
Beyond the Billable caught up with two PILPers to hear about the meetings:
“Jennifer Bolton, DOVE Inc.’s Senior Manager of Outreach and Education met with PILP to discuss the cycle of domestic and how trauma impacts survivors abilities to navigate systems including the Court. Jen’s insights were invaluable to the group and provided an understanding of the various obstacles survivors of domestic violence face in achieving safety.”
- Jessica Katz, DOVE (DOmestic Violence Ended), Inc.
“Sarah Ellis, Deputy General Counsel of the District Court, met with the PILP group to discuss the current status of the law concerning domestic violence in Massachusetts. Sarah provided an accessible and interesting overview to how the courts, District Attorney’s offices, and police departments are attempting to battle domestic violence in an increasingly holistic manner while weighing the needs of victims and the rights of defendants.”
- Betsy Barrett, Massachusetts Executive Office of the Trial Court
Stay tuned for more on this year’s PILP speakers.
This week, the BBA’s PILP 11 class held its final meeting. This group of 16 exemplified the mission of the Public Interest Leadership Program: to promote civic engagement and public service by advancing the leadership role of lawyers in service to their community, their profession, and the Commonwealth. To do so, PILP 11 invited leaders from the legal community and beyond to discuss current legal needs and trends, leadership fundamentals, and how to be involved within the community.
The PILP 11 class and Beyond the Billable would like to thank all of the guest speakers for their time, support, and insight. Our slate of amazing speakers included:
- Leadership and management consultant Glenn Mangurian
- Corporation Counsel for the City of Boston Eugene L. O’Flaherty
- BBA Reentry Education Standing Committee members
- Eric Haskell, Middlesex District Attorney’s Office
- Brendan St. Amant, Donnelly, Conroy & Gelhaar, LLP
- District Court
- Mark Wolf
- Denise Casper
- Leo Sorokin
- Jeffrey Rudman, WilmerHale and Boston Public Library Trustee
- Richard Page, Executive Director, BBA and BBF
- Local Politicians
- Barry Finegold, former State Senator for Second Essex and Middlesex District, Massachusetts;
- John Connolly, Boston mayoral candidate in 2014 and founder of the non-profit 1647; and
- Michelle Wu, Boston City Councilor At-Large
- Chief Justice Roberto Ronquillo
- Caroline Robinson, Director, MassLegalHelp
- Lonnie Powers, Executive Director, MLAC
- Lisa Tittemore, Partner, Sunstein Kann Murphy & Timbers LLP
- Joel Buenaventura, Deputy General Counsel, Massachusetts Department of Public Health
- Jack Regan, Partner, WilmerHale and Past BBA President
As you can see, PILP 11 had quite the year. Stay tuned for news on the new PILP 12 class!
As our beyond the Billable readers know, the BBA recently announced the class for our twelfth iteration of the Public Interest Leadership Program. The BBA is pleased to welcome 16 attorneys into our Public Interest Leadership community!
On Tuesday, the new PILP class, a.k.a. PILP 12, held its first meeting at the BBA and discussed plans and goals for the upcoming year. Afterwards, PILP 12 met and mingled with the outgoing PILP 11 class and celebrated the achievements of the current class. For those of you needing a refresher ,the PILP 11 class spent the past year partnering with the BBA Reentry Education Program to deliver civil legal education workshops to probationer’s ages 18-24 participating the CHOICE program at the Boston Municipal Court in Roxbury. Take a look below for more images from the evening:
To learn more about PILP, contact Galen Byrne at [email protected].
The PILP class welcomed Chief Justice Roberto Ronquillo of the Boston Municipal Court (BMC) to its meeting last week. There’s no doubt about it, Chief Justice Ronquillo is incredibly impressive. Appointed in January 2014, Chief Justice Ronquillo oversees the eight divisions of the BMC, 30 judges, and over 500 employees. The BMC houses a variety of specialty courts, including four drug courts, three mental health courts, Veterans’ treatment court, and homeless court.
Chief Justice Ronquillo earned his undergraduate degree in criminal justice at the University of Texas at El Paso and moved to Boston to attend New England School of Law | Boston. After graduating from NESL, Chief Justice Ronquillo served as an Assistant District Attorney in Suffolk County and then ran his own law firm. In 2001, he was appointed to the bench, and in 2007, Chief Justice Ronquillo was named First Justice.
The PILPers used this meeting to ask questions ranging from how Chief Justice Ronquillo balances his judicial and administrative responsibilities to what the Chief’s sentencing philosophy is and everything in between. Throughout his Q&A and stories, Chief Justice Ronquillo emphasized the important role of specialty courts within the BMC. He believes that the specialty courts show a change in how we approach the legal process. Within the specialty courts, there is a particular focus on how to serve and support a community with stability, encouragement, and respect.
After meeting with Chief Justice Ronquillo, Elianna Nuzum, PILP class member and Assistant District Attorney at the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, said:
“Chief Justice Ronquillo was particularly inspiring when he spoke about the individuals whose lives were changed, and put back on track, after addressing their challenges — and their criminal cases — through the specialty courts such as homeless court, drug court, and veterans’ court. He pressed the importance of respect for each individual, and coming up with creative ways to help get people out of situations that are likely to cause recidivism.”
Chief Justice Ronquillo concluded the meeting by reminding the PILPers that lawyers have a tremendous responsibility to their clients, that clients deserve your respect and time, and that “there’s more beyond the billable hour.”
Last week, the PILP 11 class talked local politics over breakfast with Barry Finegold, former State Senator for Second Essex and Middlesex District, Massachusetts; John Connolly, Boston mayoral candidate in 2014 and founder of the non-profit 1647; and Michelle Wu, Boston City Councilor At-Large.
Our guest speakers covered a variety of topics and fielded a range of questions from the BBA’s PILP class. Here’s what Barry, John, and Michelle had to say to those interested in public office:
- Establish roots within your community. Get involved in whatever community activity or initiative that interests you.
- Get experience – work on a campaign, learn the ins and outs of running a political campaign, and build your network.
- Contribute to the conversation about your community’s needs. How can you help facilitate the dialogue between legislative work and your neighborhood?
- Be bold, no one has monopoly on a political role.
- The strongest campaign foundation is a concise and meaningful message.
Thank you to Barry, John, and Michelle for making time to chat with the PILP 11 class!