Posts Categorized: Public Interest Leadership Program

PILPers talk Public Service with Chief Judge Patti Saris

The 2012-2013 PILP Class met with Judge Patti Saris, Chief Judge for the District of Massachusetts, to discuss public service work in the legal field.

The 2012-2013 PILP Class met with Judge Patti Saris, Chief Judge for the District of Massachusetts, to discuss public service work in the legal field.

Guest Blogger: Jacquelyn Burke, PILP10 Class Member

Last Tuesday, January 21, the 2013-14 PILP class met with Judge Patti Saris, Chief Judge for the District of Massachusetts, in the Judges’ Dining Room at the Moakley Courthouse. The fact that it was one of the coldest and snowiest nights of the winter was no deterrent to Judge Saris, who came early and stayed late, engaging us in a lively discussion of the state of the legal profession for young attorneys, among other challenging topics. BBA President Paul Dacier was in attendance and also provided insights into how young attorneys can give back through legal work.

During the course of the 14-month PILP program, the PILP Fellows spend a lot of time asking questions. We’ve had a series of leaders from the legal community speak to us (including, for example, Supreme Judicial Court Associate Justice Ralph Ganz and Maura Healey, currently a candidate for Attorney General) and we’ve tried to ferret out from them what they think the unmet needs are in the city and state that the legal community can help to serve. At the dinner with Judge Saris, it was interesting to have the tables turned, as she peppered us with questions about our individual practices and goals, our recently announced Court Service Center Project, and what we thought the pressing issues were for young attorneys today.

Many of us agreed that unemployment among younger attorneys was a constant topic of conversation among our cohort. Even for the employed, career paths can seem uncertain with all the turmoil in the marketplace, and the hands on experience necessary to master important legal skills, particularly courtroom skills, can be elusive. This was true both in private practice and for those who work in the public interest, where budgets change unpredictably from year to year and much of the energy that could be spent on providing legal services is instead spent on fundraising. Judge Saris explained that things were not so different from her perspective on the bench, noting that it had been a full year since she presided over a trial and that cases are now litigated largely on the papers. She and her peers are concerned that young lawyers are not coming through their courtrooms and practicing their skills, and that the bench and the bar will mix less and less if this trend continued. There is also a concern that younger attorneys are not attracted to serving on the bench for various reasons, including salary and lack of exposure to the courtroom. Under Judge Saris’s leadership, the District Court, along with the BBA has begun several initiatives designed to integrate young lawyers into the life of the court, which will be made public as they are finalized.

Judge Saris also spoke about her important work on the United States Sentencing Commission, which is addressing the issue of the length of mandatory minimum sentences for drug commissions, and about other milestones in her long career in public service, including a stint as the Chief of the Civil Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Massachusetts. In all, despite the weather outside, we had an inspiring evening hearing about Judge Saris’s commitment to public service, which can serve as a model to PILPers and all young attorneys who would like to give back.

The BBA is currently accepting applications for the PILP class beginning in May 2014. The application deadline is February 14th. More information on PILP and the application process is available here. Please email Susan Helm, Member Programs Coordinator, at [email protected] with any questions.

Five Alumni Share What it Means to be a Public Interest Leader

PILP alumni share their experiences in the program and answer questions from interested participants.

PILP alumni shared their experiences in the program and answered questions from interested participants.

Last night, nearly 40 attorneys visited 16 Beacon Street to hear from five successful alumni of the BBA Public Interest Leadership Program offer insight into the program and the application process, answer questions from the audience, and reflect on their past experience.

Panelists included:

Moderator: Chris Morrison – Partner, Jones Day
PILP 05-06

Darren Braham – Associate, Prince Lobel Tye LLP
PILP 2010-11

Samantha Morton – Executive Director, Medical Legal Partnership | Boston (MLP | Boston)
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Suleyken Walker – Assistant Attorney General, Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office
PILP 07-08

Raquel Webster – Senior Counsel, National Grid
PILP 2012-13

If the credentials of our expert panel weren’t enough to convince you to consider PILP, check out these five takeaways from their discussion:

  1. PILP gives each participant a voice and the ability to really give back. PILP is all about working together to navigate the organization and get something done.
  2. PILP is one of the most valuable tools for networking and meeting people in the profession.
  3. In addition to being a major entryway into leadership at the BBA, participation in PILP makes you especially aligned for other leadership opportunities outside of the BBA, particularly nonprofit board service.
  4. PILP steers your career in new and exciting directions and connects you to job opportunities that you otherwise wouldn’t have been exposed to.
  5. PILP is the ultimate resume builder.

The BBA will be accepting applications to PILP through February 14th for the class beginning in May. More information on PILP and the application process is available here. Please email Susan Helm, Member Programs Coordinator, at [email protected] with any questions on PILP.

3 Reasons You Should Apply to be a BBA Public Interest Leader

The PILP Class of 2013 had the opportunity to network, develop leadership skills, and organize meaningful projects on community reentry and human trafficking during their year.

The PILP Class of 2013 had the opportunity to network, develop leadership skills, and organize meaningful projects on community reentry and human trafficking during their year.

Today, the BBA began recruiting applicants for another class of Public Interest Leaders. Beyond the Billable compiled the top 3 reasons why you should consider applying:

1) Engage with Leaders in the Profession:

PILP gives you the opportunity to meet and connect with prominent leaders in the profession that you otherwise would not encounter. PILP is designed to connect emerging leaders with leaders in government, legal services and through the Boston legal community to discuss and address the most pressing issues facing our society. In doing so, you will connect with like-minded peers early in your career — who will become colleagues, collaborators, and friends.

2) Develop Leadership Skills:

PILP gives you the professional and leadership development tools and contacts that will be instrumental in your career. PILP sets the stage for other types of valuable leadership roles, both at the BBA and elsewhere. As a member of PILP you’ll join a powerful alumni network of lawyer leaders who by their actions demonstrate that part of being a successful lawyer is giving back to the community.

3) Launch a Program that Serves the Community:

PILP is more than just leadership, it’s about taking action. This program gives you the opportunity to develop and launch your own initiative that addresses the goals of the PILP class and the BBA. After meeting with leaders from all areas of Boston’s public service landscape, PILPers design and implement their own project with maximum impact to be executed during their PILP year.

To learn more about PILP, attend the upcoming information session being held on Monday, January 13th at 4:00pm at the BBA. Registration and more information is available here.

The BBA is currently accepting applications for the PILP class of 2014. The application deadline is February 14th. More information on PILP and the application process is available here. Please email Susan Helm, Member Programs Coordinator, at [email protected] with any questions on PILP.

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.

PILPers Celebrate Success of Community Reentry Readiness

Judge Sorokin, PILP members Chris Saccardi, Raquel Webster, Emily Hodge, Eric Haskell, Julia Devanthéry, Brendan St. Amant, and Judge Hennessey.

Judge Sorokin, PILP members Chris Saccardi, Raquel Webster, Emily Hodge, Eric Haskell, Julia Devanthéry, Brendan St. Amant, and Judge Hennessey.

As our readers know, the BBA’s Public Interest Leaders have been hard at work this year carrying out a pilot Community Reentry Readiness series for federal probationers at the US District Court. Last night, PILP 9 hosted a reception to thank program stakeholders, BBA leadership and committees, volunteers, and PILP alumni who helped get this unique collaboration between the BBA and the District Court of Massachusetts off the ground.

The BBA is especially thankful to the federal judges who oversee the CARE and RESTART programs and worked closely with PILP to ensure the success of this initiative. U.S. District Court Judge Timothy S. Hillman, Chief Magistrate Judge Leo T. Sorokin and Magistrate Judge David H. Hennessey agree that the pilot program was a success for the court and the probationers alike. Here’s what they had to say about their partnership with the BBA:

The Court was very pleased with the first year of PILP’s Community Reentry Readiness program. Our participants benefited enormously from the workshops which were both relevant to their lives, and oriented towards building practical problem-solving skills. The participants rated the program highly, saying things like: ‘It really made you look at life differently,’ and  ‘I loved that the program not only gave us a lot of useful information but they provided us with resources and packets to take home so we could go over for further review.’  The Court is looking forward to working with the BBA to ensure that future reentry court participants have access to this empowering and enriching program.” –U.S. District Court Judge Timothy S. Hillman, Chief Magistrate Judge Leo T. Sorokin and Magistrate Judge David H. Hennessey.

Beyond the Billable thanks PILP 9 for their leadership in successfully launching the Community Reentry Readiness program and helping the BBA expand our reach. Contact Susan Helm at [email protected] with questions about PILP.

Examining the Impact – PILP Meets with Probationers to Reflect on Community Reentry Program

PILP gathers feedback from CARE and RESTART participants at Moakley Courthouse on Wednesday night.

PILP gathers feedback from CARE and RESTART participants at Moakley Courthouse on Wednesday night.

Last night, the BBA’s Public Interest Leaders hosted a candid feedback session at the US District Court  to learn how the pilot Community Reentry Readiness series has been received by the CARE and RESTART program participants.  The pilot program utilized the expertise of the BBA and its Public Interest Leaders to benefit an underserved population and the courts. Beginning in March, these PILPers hosted a series of 7 seminars covering topics intended to arm the probationers with skills to improve their chances of long term success:

  • Driver’s Licenses/Professional Licenses
  • Employment
  • Credit Reports and Credit Scores
  • Housing
  • Family Law
  • Benefits Available to Low-Income Individuals in Massachusetts

PILPers Julia Devanthéry, Chris Saccardi, Eric Haskell and Emily Hodge sat down with the participants over a pizza dinner to give them the opportunity to speak openly their ability to apply the information gained from these sessions to their daily lives and asked for tips on how the program can be improved. Attendees were provided with a written questionnaire for anonymous written comments as well.

Beyond the Billable congratulates PILP 9 for a job well done and encourages readers to stay tuned for more updates on this initiative. Contact Susan Helm at [email protected] with questions on PILP.

Community Reentry Readiness Program Tackles Topic of Employment

Alida Bográn-Acosta (Sugarman, Rogers, Barshak & Cohen, P.C.) and Allyson Kurker (Kurker Paget LLC) presented the last Community Reentry Readiness session on employment law to probationers at the Federal Court yesterday.

Alida Bográn-Acosta (Sugarman, Rogers, Barshak & Cohen, P.C.) and Allyson Kurker (Kurker Paget LLC) presented the last Community Reentry Readiness session on employment law to probationers at the Federal Court yesterday.

Yesterday at the Federal courthouse, BBA volunteers and employment law specialists Alida Bográn-Acosta (Sugarman, Rogers, Barshak & Cohen, P.C.) and Allyson Kurker (Kurker Paget LLC) assisted PILP 9 by delivering an informative presentation on employment law basics — a particularly important issue to the probationers. With 21 probationers in attendance, Alida and Allyson answered countless questions that the group brought to the table.

This presentation was the 7th and final module in the pilot series. Next month, PILP 9 will meet with the probationers from the CARE and RESTART programs for an informal discussion intended to gather feedback on the 7 pilot lessons. Stay tuned for updates.

Federal Judges Sit Down With Public Interest Leaders

The current PILP class met with Chief Magistrate Judge Sorokin and Magistrate Judge Hennessy from the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts on Tuesday to learn more about the CARE/RESTART Program and to gain career advice. 

The current PILP class met with Chief Magistrate Judge Sorokin and Magistrate Judge Hennessy from the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts on Tuesday to learn more about the CARE/RESTART Program and to gain career advice.

On Tuesday, the BBA’s Public Interest Leaders met with Chief Magistrate Judge Sorokin and Magistrate Judge Hennessy from the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts. Judges Sorokin and Hennessy shared insight about their careers, offered tips on leadership, and discussed the Court Assisted Recovery Effort (“CARE”) and the Reentry: Empowering Successful Todays and Responsible Tomorrows (“RESTART”) programs which they oversee. As our readers know, members of PILP9 have been working closely with these programs over the past year to execute the Community Reentry Readiness pilot program.

Beyond the Billable asked PILP10 member Alec Zadek (Mintz Levin) to comment on the PILP the meeting:

“Chief Magistrate Judge Sorokin and Magistrate Judge Hennessy educated us regarding the CARE and RESTART reentry programs that they administer and explained how we could help them to enhance both programs by providing greater support for individuals released from incarceration who are striving to move forward with their lives. More generally, Judge Sorokin and Judge Hennessy provided us with insight into their legal careers and also provided us with advice on how to ensure that we make the most out of our legal practice.”

In the upcoming months, PILP10 will be synthesizing the insight that they have received from various leaders in the profession in order to construct and execute their own public service initiative. Stay tuned as updates on PILP programming unfold.

Public Interest Leaders Connect with Boston’s Corporation Counsel

Bill Sinnott (Corporation Counsel for the City of Boston) spoke with PILP 10 last Thursday about his own career and offered helpful advice about their own career paths.

Bill Sinnott (Corporation Counsel for the City of Boston) spoke with PILP 10 last Thursday about his own career and offered helpful advice about their own career paths.

Last week, the BBA’s Public Interest Leaders had the pleasure of meeting with the Corporation Counsel for the City of Boston, William Sinnott. As Corporation Counsel, Bill oversees all lawyers and legal matters for the city. With his previous experience as an Assistant District Attorney, Assistant U.S. Attorney and a decorated retired Colonel in the Marine Corps Reserves, Bill was an excellent resource to the PILP’ers and is a prime example of leadership and service to the community. The meeting gave the class the opportunity to both learn more about Bill’s unique career path, as well bounce ideas off of him as they start to brainstorm on their own programming initiatives.

Beyond the Billable asked PILP10 member Andrea Brown, Assistant Corporation Counsel, to comment on the PILP class’ meeting with her boss, Bill Sinnott:

“He encouraged us as attorneys to strive continuously to learn and to evolve in our careers by always having a 10-year plan in mind. He also urged us to stay active with the BBA, where many lasting friendships and networking opportunities are created. It was helpful to be inspired by his example of public service and to get his input on potential project ideas.”

Stay tuned for more updates on PILP and what this class has in store for the year ahead.

Past Public Interest Leaders Reflect: Part 2

As the BBA thanks and congratulates PILP 9 for their service over the past 14 months, Beyond the Billable is reflecting on their experiences in the program.

Here’s what a few of the class members had to say about their time in PILP:

Saccardi, ChrisChristopher Saccardi, The Law Office of Christopher T. Saccardi
“I enjoyed most of all the opportunity to meet and work with a group of interesting colleagues with whom I may not otherwise have crossed paths. It was gratifying to see that participants came from a wide cross-section of the legal profession, from small to large firms, non-profit organizations, and government agencies. I have made lasting friendships that I know will be of both personal and professional importance to me throughout my legal career. I also found the opportunities to hear from so many interesting and influential speakers to be a very worthwhile and interesting experience.”

Devanthéry, JuliaJulia Devanthéry, Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School
“What I appreciate most about PILP is that I got the opportunity to work on a social justice project that truly addresses an unmet need in the community. It was really exciting to be a part of imagining and then implementing a new program, and doing that work alongside a group of like-minded peers (many of whom I may not otherwise have had the chance to work with) was a great experience.”

 

Bodamer, BenBenton Bodamer, Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP
“PILP was a jolt of amazing access to resources. From the BBA staff and volunteer attorneys, to my PILP colleagues, to the judges and community leaders with whom we met, each meeting was an opportunity to sample the very best of Boston’s incredible public service community.”

 

 

For more information on the Public Interest Leadership Program, please contact Susan Helm, Member Programs Coordinator, at [email protected].