Posts Categorized: Public Service

From Farm to Table…to Briefcase

A group of attorneys volunteered at the Food Project last month.

A group of attorneys volunteered at the Food Project last month and helped to harvest and cultivate the land.

BBA members have been taking advantage of this fall’s beautiful weather by spending weekends outside and giving back. During October, the Environmental Law Public Service Committee, New Lawyers Public Service Committee, and Bankruptcy Public Service Committee participated in the Franklin Park Clean Up and Food Project. These events give attorneys an opportunity to give back, while meeting other attorneys in a more informal, relaxed setting.

If you’re committed to helping the environment but you want to get involved in a legal-related volunteer opportunity, check out the Conservation Law Center’s Legal Services Food Hub Program. Here’s more information on the opportunity:

Because many farmers and food entrepreneurs in New England struggle to overcome the high legal fees associated with doing business, the Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) has established the Legal Services Food Hub (Hub), which is designed to connect eligible lower-income farmers, food entrepreneurs and food related organizations/groups with experienced attorneys from a growing network who work on the farmers’ legal issues on a pro bono basis.  Participation in the Hub program is based on an income cap for the farmers, and the initial focus is on cases involving transactional issues, such as land acquisition/transfer, estate issues, taxes, contracts and incorporation.  The Hub has already provided pro bono legal services to numerous clients, including a group of farmers seeking to form an agricultural cooperative in New Hampshire, and a fruit-based ice cream company in Massachusetts seeking trademark advice.  For more information, check out the Hub website at:  http://www.legalservicesfoodhub.org.

Hot Off the Press: BBA & BBF Release 2015 Public Service Report

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The BBA & BBF are excited to announce the release of the 2015 Public Service Report. The report highlights the work of our 12,000+ members giving back and helping our community through programs like Law Day in the Schools and the Reentry Education Program. Take a few minutes to read through the report and learn more.

If you’re feeling inspired to get involved, please contact Katie D’Angelo, Public Service Programs Coordinator, at [email protected].

Upcoming Brown Bag Tackles Issue of Long-Term Solitary Confinement

Massachusetts is one of only a few states in the country where inmates can be sentenced for up to ten years in solitary confinement for one disciplinary infraction. Leslie Walker, Executive Director of Prisoners’ Legal Services of Massachusetts, is one of many activists looking to educate the community about the risks of this practice.
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On October 26th, she will host a Brown Bag Lunch from 12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. where attendees will have the chance to watch a presentation, hear a former prisoner’s story and ask questions of Leslie and her staff. The primary goal of the Brown Bag is education about solitary confinement regulations in the Commonwealth, and about proposals to reform those regulations.

“Now is the time, because much of the rest of the country is realizing that long-term solitary confinement does much more harm than good and has a negative impact on public safety,” she said. “President Obama has spoken out against solitary confinement, and Associate Justice Kennedy of the Supreme Court has said it drives men mad.”

Leslie and her organization are in favor of a plan that would keep inmates in solitary confinement only as long as they are considered dangerous. In other states, studies have found that prisons become less violent when prisoners in solitary are allowed to gradually reenter the general population.
Leslie said she would encourage anyone with an interest in prisoners’ rights, especially law school students, to attend the Brown Bag event later this month.

“I would have people leave the Brown Bag educated as to the state of solitary confinement in Massachusetts and aware of the solutions that are out there,” she said.

Click here to register for the event.

Don’t Miss THE Pro Bono Event of the Year!

Barbara Mitchell, former Executive Director of Community Legal Services and Counseling Center (CLSACC), talked to law students and new lawyers about volunteer opportunities at last year's Pro Bono Fair.

Barbara Mitchell, former Executive Director of Community Legal Services and Counseling Center (CLSACC), talked to law students and new lawyers about volunteer opportunities at last year’s Pro Bono Fair.

Have you been searching for the perfect pro bono opportunity? Head on over to Suffolk Law School this Monday between 4:30-6 pm for the BBA and Suffolk’s annual Pro Bono Fair. Representatives from local legal services organizations will be onsite to discuss opportunities to volunteer with their organizations. The event draws over 300 law students and attorneys each year. Don’t miss out on the chance to celebrate Pro Bono Month by finding your next volunteer opportunity!

Click here to learn more.

Calling All Law Students and New Lawyers: Give Back this Fall

Last year, a group of volunteers headed to the Prison Book Project to help sort books. Don't miss the opportunity to volunteer at this event this year.

Last year, a group of volunteers headed to the Prison Book Project to help sort books. Don’t miss the opportunity to volunteer at this event.

If you’re a law student or New Lawyer looking to give back to the community and meet other legal professionals don’t miss these upcoming opportunities:

Volunteer with the Prison Book Project
Saturday, September 19, 2015 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM or 1:00 PM to 4 PM
United First Parish Church – 1306 Hancock Street, Quincy, MA

Volunteers will be split into three groups: tasks are either to read the prisoner’s request and find the appropriate book for each prisoner, to make sure the books are appropriate and fill out an invoice, or to prepare the books for mailing.

Volunteer with The Greater Boston Food Bank
Saturday, October 3, 2015 1:00 PM to 3:30 PM
Greater Boston Food Bank – 70 South Bay Ave., Boston, MA

Come join members of the Public Interest Leadership Program as we partner with other volunteers to help ‘End Hunger Here.’ Most volunteers work in the GBFB warehouse, inspecting, sorting, and packing food and grocery products.

What You Need to Know About Naturalization: Pro Bono Preparation for Boston’s Citizenship Day
Monday, September 21, 2015 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Boston Bar Association, 16 Beacon Street, Boston, MA 02108

Get trained to volunteer at the second annual Citizenship Day in Boston on September 26, 2015. This training will teach law students and attorneys to prepare the citizenship application for attendees.

Justice for Trafficking Victims: Civil Litigation, Vacatur, Criminal Restitution and the Pro Bono Bar
Wednesday, September 30, 2015 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Boston Bar Association, 16 Beacon Street, Boston, MA 02108

Attendees will gain insight into all remedies available to trafficking survivors in the United States, including many legal rights overlooked for nearly a decade.

Pro Bono Recruitment Fair & Open House
Monday, October 19, 2015 4:30 PM to 6:00 PM
Suffolk Law School (1st Floor Function Room) – 120 Tremont Street, Boston, MA

This event, sponsored by the BBA and Suffolk Law School, provides attorneys and law students with the chance to explore pro bono opportunities.

If you’re a barred attorney or 3:03 certified law student, you may also be interested in these trainings:

Lawyer for the Day Training: Fair Debt Collection
Thursday, October 8, 2015 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Boston Bar Association, 16 Beacon Street, Boston, MA 02108

The BBA is teaming up with the Volunteer Lawyers Project and Senior Partners for Justice to train attorneys to provide pro bono assistance to debtors and creditors through the Fair Debt Collection program.

Pro Bono Training: Landlord Tenant Law & Practice
Tuesday, November 17, 2015 3:00 PM to 6:30 PM
Boston Bar Association, 16 Beacon Street, Boston, MA 02108

Each Thursday, more than 150 eviction cases are scheduled at Boston Housing Court. More than 90% of the tenants are pro se. This training will prepare you to assist landlords and tenants through the Lawyer for the Day Program of the Boston Bar Association.

Questions? Contact Katie D’Angelo at [email protected].

Summer Career Series 2015: “What’s it REALLY Like: Defense and Prosecution?”

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As the BBA’s ‘What’s it REALLY Like’ lunch series continued last week, new attorneys and current law students were granted the long-awaited opportunity to hear from an expert panel on practicing as a prosecutor or defense attorney. Matthew Segal, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, and David Solet, former member of the Middlesex District Attorney’s office and current chief legal counsel for the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, discussed the pros and cons to their respective occupations and offered tips on how to strive within their demanding fields.

Here’s what the two attorneys had to say about their jobs:

“Most of the [Defendants] are the ones that society needs to somehow figure out how to fix, not sent to jail.  A lot of your clients will have fallen on rough times or have made a stupid mistake, meaning that you can easily distinguish between those who really need to be in jail and those who do not. That’s why I do this,” Solet said.

“This job is not about discovering who is guilty and who isn’t, because most of the time they’ve done the crime. Being a defense attorney is about weeding though who deserves the harsher or lesser punishment,” Segal said.

Interested in the federal side of the picture? The Criminal Law Section will welcome Assistant US Attorneys for the District of Massachusetts, Carlos Lopez and Giselle Joffrey on Tuesday, September 8, 2015, from 5:00-7:30pm.  Click here to learn more.  Additionally, don’t miss the next Summer Careers Series Program, , ‘What’s It REALLY Like Working for a Government Agency?’ on July 30th at 12:30PM. Click here to register.

Thank You to This Year’s PILP Speakers

PILP Dinner Group Photo

PILP 11 wrapped up its program year with a dinner at the John Joseph Moakley Courthouse.

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
  • Mentors
    • 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!

Explore BBA Public Service at Passport to Pairings

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Attendees of Passport to Pairings will travel throughout the offices of 16 Beacon Street to stations holding different food and beverage pairings, each representing a project benefited by the event.

Are you coming to Passport to Pairings next Thursday? If you can pull yourself away from the delicious food and drinks, be sure to ask our volunteers and staff about the programs featured at the event. Take a look below for a cheat-sheet highlighting the programs:

Law Day in the Schools:  Every spring, join lawyers from all over the city to visit classes across the Boston public school system to teach students about different topics related to the law. This year our volunteers taught over 1000 students from kindergarten to seniors in high school about the Magna Carta.

Military & Veterans Legal Help Line: The BBA Lawyer Referral Service has a dedicated line to connect servicemembers and their families to legal assistance. The line has fielded over 600 calls since the BBA LRS became home to the Military& Veterans Legal Help Line in September 2013.

Pro Bono Trainings: Every year the BBA partners with legal service organizations and the Courts to hold pro bono trainings to address the unmet legal needs in our community. Over the past two years, the BBA has held 34 pro bono trainings on topics, including Veterans Discharge Appeal, Special Advocacy for At-Risk Youth, and Landlord Tenant Law.

M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program: Volunteers work in pairs to teach high school students throughout the state about personal finance & budgeting, using credit, buying a car, and the consequences of making poor financial decisions. Since the program began 11 years ago, volunteers have taught over 4,500 students statewide how to make informed financial decisions. This program is conducted through a partnership between the United States Bankruptcy Court of the District of Massachusetts and the BBA.

Lawyer for the Day in the Boston Housing Court: Every Wednesday and Thursday volunteer attorneys offer legal assistance to landlords and tenants at the Boston Housing Court. Since the program began 15 years ago, over 13,000 volunteers have helped more than 16,000 pro se landlords and tenants.

Reentry Education Program: The program provides information to federal probations through monthly workshops on key civil legal issues that they may face in reentering society, including finding affordable housing, CORI management and public benefits.

Click here to buy tickets and to learn more about the event.

Meet Our 2015 BBA Summer Jobs Students

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Every year the BBA brings in a bright group of Boston public school students who are eager to experience working in the legal field.

We have a great group of Summer Jobs students who will be heading out to their legal internships at various offices on July 1st. You’ll get the chance to meet our students throughout the summer as we feature them on the blog, but we wanted to give you a sneak peek at our interns. Take a look below to learn more about this impressive group of students:

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Stay tuned to learn more about our students throughout the summer!

BBA Summer Jobs Students Impress Employers

BBA Summer Jobs Students got a chance to meet with employers  to get more information about what their upcoming summer will look like

BBA Summer Jobs students got together at the BBA for a meet and greet with their summer jobs employers.

Last Thursday, 25 of our BBA Summer Jobs students dressed up and headed to 16 Beacon to interview with legal employers for this year’s program. For many of the students, this interview day marked their first professional job interview. While the students were guaranteed a position through our program regardless of the outcome of the interview, nerves were still running high. We are happy to report that all of students and employers came out of the interviews smiling and excited for the upcoming summer.

This year marks the 23rd time the BBA has partnered with the City of Boston and the Boston Private Industry Council (PIC) to provide internships to Boston teens. If you caught this article in the Boston Globe last week, you already know that teens from affluent families are twice as likely to secure a summer job as teens from low-income families. As such, these internships are as important as ever. Here’s what the article says about long-term impact of teen employment:

“This teen employment gap is another illustration of why the nation’s income divide is persistent and growing, as better-off families start with advantages that help their children get ahead, while low-income households struggle to break the cycle of poverty. Research shows that teens with summer jobs learn responsibility, punctuality, and other skills that give them a leg up when they enter the labor force as adults, helping them advance their careers and earn more over their working lives.”

Our program aims to provide meaningful work experience and professional development opportunities to prepare students for their future careers. Stay tuned for more on our students’ professional adventures this summer.