Posts Categorized: Public Service

Volunteer for Citizenship Day 2017

Citizenship Day in Boston is the largest citizenship workshop in New England. This year, Project Citizenship*, the Mayor’s Office for Immigrant Advancement, Goodwin Procter, and Eastern Bank are hosting the 4th annual event.

Since 2014, over 600 people have applied for citizenship on Citizenship Day in Boston. Project Citizenship expects to serve over 350 this year!

Citizenship Day in Boston provides free legal services to hundreds of immigrants but they are in need of volunteers for the event. Citizenship Day 2017 will take place on Saturday, September 23rd at the Reggie Lewis Center (1350 Tremont St. Roxbury, MA 02120). Volunteers will assist with a variety of tasks including assisting applicants with completing the 20-page application. Attendance is mandatory at one of Project Citizenship’s training sessions if you want to assist with completing the forms, even if you have volunteered at the event in the past.

To volunteer for the event and select which training you would like to attend, please fill out this form.

If you have any questions regarding the event, don’t hesitate to reach out to Project Citizenship at [email protected] or by phone at 617-694-5949.

*Project Citizenship is a 2017 Grantee of the Boston Bar Foundation.

Pizza and Pro Bono: A Bite-Size Pro Bono Opportunity for Busy Lawyers

Join us at the BBA for a pro bono pizza party while we work with volunteer attorneys from Mass Legal Answers Online (MLAO) and the Volunteer Lawyers Project to answer legal questions for low-income Massachusetts residents through Mass Legal Answers Online. You can make an immediate difference to someone struggling to resolve their legal problem.

This event, Mass Legal Answers Online Blitz, will take place on Wednesday, July 19th from 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM at the Boston Bar Association, 16 Beacon Street, Boston, MA 02108.

What is MLAO?  MLAO is a secure and confidential website where low-income Massachusetts residents can ask a lawyer for help with a legal issue. Qualified users post questions about civil legal problems. When a volunteer lawyer logs in to the site, there is a list of questions that the volunteer can pick from to answer. It’s like a virtual walk-in legal clinic!  MLAO is a limited scope service — all help is provided through the website, and there is no expectation of long-term representation. There is no fee for the use of the system or for the advice and information provided by the attorney.

To learn more about MLAO, watch this short video, or visit Mass Pro Bono, or these FAQs.

What’s a Q and A Blitz?  It is an in-person session where attorneys and law students gather to research and brainstorm answers to questions that have been posted to MLAO.  Experienced attorneys and MLAO staff will be on hand to guide you in answering questions.  It’s a great way to get started using MLAO, an opportunity to provide pro bono service from your desk!  The most common question topics are family law, housing, and consumer law, but help with all civil issue areas is needed.

Both attorneys and law students are invited to participate in this Blitz – those who are not yet licensed will work with an attorney volunteer who is registered with Mass Legal Answers Online.

Please bring a laptop if you have one!  Attorneys who have not yet registered with MLAO directly are encouraged to do so in advance of this event; register at this link. It only takes a minute.

To RSVP for the event, please visit the event’s webpage and log in to register: https://www.bostonbar.org/membership/events/event-details?ID=24120 

Attorneys Help Make over 13,000 Meals Possible at GBFB

Over the weekend, members from the Boston Bar Association volunteered at the Greater Boston Food Bank helping to sort and pack food for families across Eastern Massachusetts. The volunteers for the day made 13, 356 meals possible and sorted over 16, 500 lbs of food. Thank you to our BBA members dedicated to giving back to the community!

BBA members after their volunteer shift at the Greater Boston Food Bank.

BBA Members Volunteer with Pine Street Inn

Each year, the Boston Bar Association’s New Lawyers Public Service Committee organizes a volunteer event at Pine Street Inn, an organization dedicated to helping Boston’s homeless. Recently, BBA members volunteered to serve dinner at The Men’s Inn, a nightly emergency shelter service which supports 350 men each night. We’re proud of our members helping our community!

If you’re interested in Pine Street Inn’s work, you can read about their services online.

BBA members volunteered at the Pine Street Inn in February.

 

One-Time Volunteer Opportunities Throughout the Spring

With temperatures hitting 60 degrees this week, we can’t help but dream of the warmer weather to come. Looking ahead to spring, the BBA has a number of one-time volunteer opportunities working with various community and environmental organizations. We hope you’ll sign-up for one (or more!) of the below events to give back to your community while meeting other BBA members!

Volunteer with The Greater Boston Food Bank
Saturday, March 11, 2017 9:30 AM to 12:00 PM
Greater Boston Food Bank – 70 South Bay Avenue, Boston, MA

Volunteer at Cradles to Crayons
Saturday, March 25, 2017 1:30 PM to 3:30 PM
Cradles to Crayons – 155 North Beacon Street, Brighton, MA

Annual Charles River Clean Up
Saturday, April 29, 2017 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Charles River Esplanade, Boston, MA

Volunteer on the Farm: The Food Project Serve & Grow
Saturday, May 6, 2017 9:30 AM to 12:30 PM
Lynn Farm – 1 Collins Terrace, Lynn, MA

Spring Woodland Restoration Event at Allandale Woods Urban Wild
Friday, May 19, 2017 9:30 AM to 12:00 PM
Allandale Woods Urban Wild, Roslindale, MA

Last year’s crew at the Annual Charles River Clean-Up enjoying some sun and beautifying the Esplanade.

CEASE Network Combats Human Trafficking in Boston

Last week, representatives from Cities Empowered Against Sexual Exploitation (CEASE) – Boston spoke to attorneys on the prevalence of human trafficking in Boston. As a topic not widely discussed, it’s easy to assume human trafficking does not happen in our city. However, 14 is the average age of young women in Boston entering the sex trade and over 20,000 ads for paid sex are posted monthly in Boston alone. Lieutenant Donna Gavin (Boston Police Department) and Dhakir Warren (Demand Abolition) belong to the CEASE Network and presented these statistics along with their approach to combat demand. Through “buyer beware” campaigns, they hope to dissuade buyers, primarily older, married men with expendable income, from searching for and purchasing sex online.  Warren noted that when one sex trafficker is arrested, four more will pop up to take over the lucrative business. By curbing demand, CEASE hopes to halt the business altogether.

A recent Boston Globe article quotes Lieutenant Gavin and features a young woman whose story is like so many of those who are swept into the sex trade. For a glimpse of what’s happening in Boston, read the article here.

If you were unable to attend the program at the BBA and would like to view a video recording, please email Cassandra Shavney at [email protected].

Attend an Upcoming Public Service Program at the BBA!

Start your new year by attending one of the BBA’s upcoming public service programs. From pro bono trainings to informational brown bags, there’s sure to be a program that interests you. Take a look below!

No Buyers, No Business. Combatting Human Trafficking by Targeting the Demand
Monday, January 23, 2017, 12:30 PM to 1:30 PM
At this program, you’ll learn the role of demand reduction in combatting commercial sexual exploitation, the scope of the issue of commercial exploitation in Boston, local efforts deployed by CEASE Boston to combat demand, and the role prosecutorial innovation can play in support of efforts to increase the consequential penalties for the purchase of illegal commercial sex by buyers.

Pro Bono Training: How to Prepare a Bankruptcy
Tuesday, January 31, 2017, 3:30 PM to 7:00 PM

This training will inform attendees how to take on pro bono bankruptcy cases and represent pro bono debtors.

Pro Bono Training: Representing Debtors in Small Claims Court
Thursday, February 9, 2017, 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM

The panelists will discuss the launch of the Lawyer for the Day Fair Debt Collection Clinic in Small Claims Court at the Boston Municipal Court Central Division and how attorneys can volunteer at the clinic.

A Year in Photos – Public Service in 2016

From teaching over 1,500 students their Miranda Rights to instituting a Bar Exam Coaching Program, 2016 was a successful year at the BBA. For highlights and our favorite photos from the year, read on to see how you and your colleagues contributed to our public services initiatives in 2016.

Over 1,000 guests attended the 2016 John and Abigail Adams Benefit at the Museum of Fine Arts. Each year, our premier fundraiser provides support for the legal services organizations in our community. We're grateful for the over $600,000 raised in 2016.

Over 1,000 guests attended the 2016 John and Abigail Adams Benefit at the Museum of Fine Arts. Each year, our premier fundraiser provides support for the legal services organizations in our community. We’re grateful for the over $600,000 raised in 2016.

Molly Baldwin, Executive Director of Roca, accepts the 2016 Public Service Award on behalf of the organization. Roca was recognized for their work reducing recidivism and improving employment rates for young men in Massachusetts.

Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants, Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, addresses the crowd at Walk to the Hill for Civil Legal Aid. Each year, hundreds of private attorneys and civil legal aid advocates converge on the Massachusetts State House to demonstrate their support for state funding of civil legal aid.

Anuj Kheterpal, Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, leads a session of the Reentry Education Program at the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts. Presenting on topics ranging from family law, affordable housing, and CORI sealing, the Reentry Education Program provides useful information and resources to probationers in our community.

The BBA’s Military and Veterans Committee works throughout the year to both address the legal needs of our veterans community and also provide a space for attorneys who have served or are serving in the military the chance to connect. Luncheons held throughout the year provide an informal, conversational means for veteran attorneys to connect.

One of the most anticipated events of the year is always the BBA’s Casino Night for Summer Jobs. Inside the BBA, the rooms are transformed into a functioning casino spaces for guests to enjoy throughout the building. All proceeds from the event support our Summer Jobs program. Specifically, donations allow high school students the opportunity to work at legal services organizations, courts, and government agencies that may not otherwise have the resources to hire a student.

For over ten years, the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy program has taught high school students financial responsibility. Above, students from Peabody Veterans Memorial High School visit Judge Joan N. Feeney’s courtroom to learn the consequences of filing for bankruptcy.

Members of the Boston Bar Foundation’s Society of Fellows gaze at an exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts last spring. The Society of Fellows is a group of over 400 attorneys who’ve pledged their support for the BBA’s public service initiatives.

An active group within the BBA, the New Lawyers Public Service Committee plans nearly monthly volunteer events for attorneys to give back to their community through direct service. Here, BBA volunteers are working with the Charles River Watershed Association to clean-up the banks of the Charles River.

As part of the annual Law Day activities each spring, the BBA hosts its Law Day in the Schools program through which attorney volunteers introduce students in kindergarten to 12th grade to the legal profession and legal issues. In 2016, Law Day in the Schools focused on Miranda Rights, which seemed especially to resonate with students during a year marked by discussion of the balance of power between law enforcement and citizens.

At the 2016 Law Day Dinner, former BBA President Jack Regan, WilmerHale, was presented the Thurgood Marshall Award for his commitment to public service. Regan has tirelessly worked to support pro bono services for military personnel, veterans, and their families.

The John G. Brooks Legal Services Award was presented at Law Day Dinner to Daniel Nagin, founder of the Veterans Legal Clinic at the Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School. Nagin also helped start the Low Income Tax Clinic at the Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School.

Pairings: A Gourmet Evening for Public Service supports all of the public service programs of the BBA. Guests of the event are treated to delicious dishes from area restaurants while learning about the programs their contribution supports.

Throughout the year, the BBA hosts numerous pro bono trainings on a range of practice areas. We partner with many legal services organizations to connect our members to their pro bono opportunities. Above, attorneys lead a training on how to volunteer for the Family Law Court Clinic at the Court Service Center.

Massachusetts State Senator Jamie Eldridge addresses the audience at the BBA’s Juvenile Restorative Justice Program. The symposium focused on restorative justice initiatives in the Commonwealth as particularly related to the state’s youth. This event was the culmination of the 12th Public Interest Leadership Program (PILP) class’ 14-month program. PILP promotes civic engagement and public service by advancing the leadership roles of new lawyers. Throughout the program, the class examines various issues facing our community and concludes with a symposium of entirely their design.

Summer is a beloved time at the BBA because it means that law firms, courts, government agencies, and legal services organizations across the city will host high school student interns as part of our Summer Jobs Program. Students gain valuable insight into the legal profession and office work experience as they intern during their summer break. Students are also provided Enrichment Seminars, which enhance their experience and provide exposure to various legal careers, the workings of the Supreme Judicial Court, and more.

Janet Bostwick, Janet E. Bostwick, PC, was acknowledged this past year for her devotion to the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program. Bostwick was appointed head of the Financial Literacy Committee by her dear and late friend, M. Ellen Carpenter in 2004 and has since grown the program to teach over 500 students a year. Bostwick stepped down from the Committee after 12 years and we’re thankful for her service.

Law students and attorneys met with various legal services organizations and government agencies as they browsed the Pro Bono Fair & Open House in October. The event draws scores of people each year and provides organizations the chance to attract new volunteers.

BBA President Carol Starkey, Conn Kavanaugh Rosenthal Peisch & Ford, LLP, meets with Katy Buckland, principal of UP Academy Boston. The BBA President participates in Principal for a Day each year to gain insight into the day-to-day activities of the students many of our public service programs impact.

 

Thank you for a wonderful year, we can’t wait to kickoff 2017 with you!

Meet the PILP Symposium Faculty: Hon. Jay Bliztman, First Justice of the Middlesex Probate and Family Court

pilp symposium

The First Justice of the Middlesex County Juvenile Court, Hon. Jay Bliztman, has for decades been a leader in the efforts to improve the juvenile justice system in Massachusetts. As a public defender, he started the Youth Advocacy Project, which began with the goal of protecting and advancing the legal and human rights of children and promoting their healthy development, through active partnerships in Boston’s communities.  In 1994, he co-founded the Citizens for Juvenile Justice (CfJJ), a statewide non-profit organization that conducts research and advocates on important juvenile justice issues.  Judge Blitzman dedicated himself to these initiatives because he believed that if he and other lawyers worked to improve access for juveniles and their families outside the courtroom these efforts would have a positive impact on the atmosphere within the courtroom.

A strong proponent for restorative justice, Judge Blitzman was initially “drawn to RJ at the urging of students” while teaching a course at Northeastern University. Concerned about national trends in the arrest and prosecution rates in Massachusetts and across the United States, Judge Blitzman learned that restorative justice, can be a cost effective tool to curb recidivism in the juvenile justice system by changing the behavior of youth.

Judge Blitzman will be a speaker in the Public Interest Leadership Program will host the Juvenile Restorative Justice Symposium at the Boston Bar Association on Tuesday, June 28, 2016. The Symposium free event is open to the public and will bring together restorative justice practitioners for the purpose of educating the bar and raising awareness about restorative justice principles and efforts to implement these principles in the juvenile justice system in Massachusetts.

BBA’s PILP Class to Host Juvenile Restorative Justice Symposium

pilp symposium

The Boston Bar Association will host a Juvenile Restorative Justice Symposium on Tuesday, June 28, 2016 here at 16 Beacon Street, Boston, MA.

The Symposium was planned for the members of the BBA community and the community at large by the BBA’s 2015-16 Public Interest Leadership Program (PILP). PILP is a program engaged in by a select group of attorneys from a variety of practice areas and settings, all in their first 10 years of practice, who embark on a 14-month exploration of legal services, social justice and public interest issues in the Commonwealth.  After hearing from a variety of speakers who addressed the class concerning recent developments in specialty courts, alternative sentencing and diversionary programs, as well as other topics pertinent to the Boston legal community, the PILP class was inspired to organize a Symposium on Juvenile Restorative Justice.

The Symposium is free to attend and is designed to bring together restorative justice practioners while also educating the bar and raising awareness about restorative justice principles and efforts geared toward juveniles in Massachusetts.

Challenges and successes will be examined from the perspectives of the court, prosecution, defense, probation, and police departments.  We will also discuss over lunch (provided), the future of restorative justice in Massachusetts communities.

Faculty will include:

Hon. Jay Blitzman, First Justice, Middlesex County Juvenile Court

Commissioner Edward Dolan, Commissioner of Probation

Sen. James (Jamie) Eldridge, Massachusetts State Senator from the Middlesex and Worcester District

Erin Freeborn, Executive Director of Communities for Restorative Justice

Hon. Leslie Harris (Ret.), Suffolk County Juvenile Court

Ziyad Hopkins, Committee for Public Counsel Services, Youth Advocacy Division, Roxbury

Professor Susan Maze-Rothstein, Teaching Professor and Director of the Legal Skills in Social Context Program at Northeastern University School of Law; Board President of Our Restorative Justice

Chief Frederick Ryan, Chief of Police, Arlington, MA

Marian Ryan, Middlesex County District Attorney

Challenges and successes will be examined from the perspectives of the court, prosecution, defense, probation, and police departments.  We will also discuss over lunch (provided), the future of restorative justice in Massachusetts communities.

Advanced registration is required because space is limited.  More information and registration information can be found here.