Posts Categorized: Public Service

Public Service: A Year in Photos

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:

Lawyers braved the snow and marched to the Massachusetts State House for the annual Walk to the Hill. The 2015 Walk to the Hill was more important than ever. As you may remember, the BBA Statewide Task Force to Expand Civil Legal Aid in Massachusetts released its long-awaited report in November called Investing in Justice, which found that the majority of clients seeking legal assistance are turned away and made the business case for an additional $30 million in civil legal aid funding. The Legislature appropriated $17 million to fund civil legal aid, a satisfying increase in a year marked largely by level funding.

Lawyers braved the snow and marched to the Massachusetts State House for the annual Walk to the Hill. The 2015 Walk to the Hill was more important than ever. As you may remember, the BBA Statewide Task Force to Expand Civil Legal Aid in Massachusetts released its long-awaited report in November called Investing in Justice, which found that the majority of clients seeking legal assistance are turned away and made the business case for an additional $30 million in civil legal aid funding. The Legislature appropriated $17 million to fund civil legal aid, a satisfying increase in a year marked largely by level funding.

In January 2014, the John & Abigail Adams Benefit raised over $650,000 to help to fund grants to 23 Massachusetts community organizations providing legal services in areas such as immigration, domestic violence and homelessness.

In January 2014, the John & Abigail Adams Benefit raised over $650,000 to help to fund grants to 23 Massachusetts community organizations providing legal services in areas such as immigration, domestic violence and homelessness.

With the help of PILP 11, the BBA Reentry Education Program expanded to provide civil legal workshops to participants in the CHOICE Program at Boston Municipal Court, Roxbury. Overall, volunteers led 12 sessions with a total of 103 participants to prepare participants to address civil legal issues they may face upon reentry.

With the help of PILP 11, the BBA Reentry Education Program expanded to provide civil legal workshops to participants in the CHOICE Program at Boston Municipal Court, Roxbury. Overall, volunteers led 12 sessions with a total of 103 participants to prepare participants to address civil legal issues they may face upon reentry.

In 2015, over 160 volunteers taught 570 high school students in 12 schools about personal finance and budgeting, credit cards, and buying a car through the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program. As you may remember, the BBA partners with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court to run the program throughout the state.

In 2015, over 160 volunteers taught 570 high school students in 12 schools about personal finance and budgeting, credit cards, and buying a car through the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program. As you may remember, the BBA partners with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court to run the program throughout the state.

The BBF’s popular Casino Night once again drew a large crowd. The event, which supports the BBA Summer Jobs Program by funding paid internships for Boston high school students in nonprofit and government agencies each summer through the program, raised more than $34,000.

The BBF’s popular Casino Night once again drew a large crowd. The event, which supports the BBA Summer Jobs Program by funding paid internships for Boston high school students in nonprofit and government agencies each summer through the program, raised more than $34,000.

The Lawyer for the Day in the Boston Housing Court Program didn’t slow down this year! With the help of 350 volunteers, the program assisted over 1,213 landlords and tenants in the Boston Housing Court.

The Lawyer for the Day in the Boston Housing Court Program didn’t slow down this year! With the help of 350 volunteers, the program assisted over 1,213 landlords and tenants in the Boston Housing Court.

This spring, 77 volunteer taught over 1,000 Boston public school students from kindergarten through seniors in high school about the importance of laws through the BBA’s Law Day in the Schools Program.

This spring, 77 volunteer taught over 1,000 Boston public school students from kindergarten through seniors in high school about the importance of laws through the BBA’s Law Day in the Schools Program.

The BBA presented three public service awards to deserving recipients at the annual Law Day Dinner. Barbara Mitchell, the former Executive Director of Community Legal Services and Counseling Center, received the John G. Brooks Legal Services Award to honor her leadership and commitment to legal services; Al Wallis, the Executive Director of Brown Rudnick Center for Public Interest, received the Thurgood Marshall Award for his leadership in public interest and corporate social responsibility; and Jack Ward, the former Associate Director for Finance & Development at Greater Boston Legal Services, received the President’s Award for this leadership and guidance at Greater Boston Legal Services.

The BBA presented three public service awards to deserving recipients at the annual Law Day Dinner. Barbara Mitchell, the former Executive Director of Community Legal Services and Counseling Center, received the John G. Brooks Legal Services Award to honor her leadership and commitment to legal services; Al Wallis, the Executive Director of Brown Rudnick Center for Public Interest, received the Thurgood Marshall Award for his leadership in public interest and corporate social responsibility; and Jack Ward, the former Associate Director for Finance & Development at Greater Boston Legal Services, received the President’s Award for this leadership and guidance at Greater Boston Legal Services.

The BBF held the second annual Passports to Pairings event, where 100 % of the proceeds supported the BBA Public Service Programs. The event raise nearly $34,000, featured food and beverage pairings, and gave attendees an opportunity learn more about the BBA and BBF’s work in the community.

The BBF held the second annual Passports to Pairings event, where 100 % of the proceeds supported the BBA Public Service Programs. The event raise nearly $34,000, featured food and beverage pairings, and gave attendees an opportunity learn more about the BBA and BBF’s work in the community.

The BBA continued to step up its commitment to the Mayor’s Summer Jobs Program by placing a record-breaking 65 Boston high school students in paid internships at Boston law firms, legal departments, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations through the BBA Summer Jobs Program. The BBF also increased its commitment to the program by funding 15 of these paid positions at non-profit community organizations, government offices and courts.

The BBA continued to step up its commitment to the Mayor’s Summer Jobs Program by placing a record-breaking 65 Boston high school students in paid internships at Boston law firms, legal departments, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations through the BBA Summer Jobs Program. The BBF also increased its commitment to the program by funding 15 of these paid positions at non-profit community organizations, government offices and courts.

While October is officially Pro Bono Month, the BBA celebrated pro bono all year-round. Since January 2015, the BBA has trained over 400 attorneys to take pro bono cases in a range of areas, including landlord tenant law, veterans discharge appeals, and debt collections.

While October is officially Pro Bono Month, the BBA celebrated pro bono all year-round. Since January 2015, the BBA has trained over 400 attorneys to take pro bono cases in a range of areas, including landlord tenant law, veterans discharge appeals, and debt collections.

The BBF held an inaugural Society of Fellows Appreciation Breakfast at the Liberty Hotel in Boston this November. 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.

The BBF held an inaugural Society of Fellows Appreciation Breakfast at the Liberty Hotel in Boston this November. 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.

The Claflin Center was packed on November 12th for the Veterans Day Reception, which featured a lively speech and Q & A with Congressman Seth Moulton, a former Marine Corps Captain who served four tours in Iraq. This event aimed to build a community for servicemembers in the legal field to share common experiences and challenges.

The Claflin Center was packed on November 12th for the Veterans Day Reception, which featured a lively speech and Q & A with Congressman Seth Moulton, a former Marine Corps Captain who served four tours in Iraq. This event aimed to build a community for servicemembers in the legal field to share common experiences and challenges.

BBA President Lisa Arrowood spent the morning observing a humanities teacher meeting, greeting students, and visiting classrooms at the Frederick Pilot Middle School in Dorchester through BPE’s Principal for a Day Program.

BBA President Lisa Arrowood spent the morning observing a humanities teacher meeting, greeting students, and visiting classrooms at the Frederick Pilot Middle School in Dorchester through BPE’s Principal for a Day Program.

The BBA Lawyer Referral Service participated in a number of community events this year, including the Massachusetts Conference for Women which drew a crowd of nearly 10,000. These events help to raise awareness of about the largest public service program of the Boston Bar Association, which fielded over 7,700 calls last year.

The BBA Lawyer Referral Service participated in a number of community events this year, including the Massachusetts Conference for Women which drew a crowd of nearly 10,000. These events help to raise awareness of about the largest public service program of the Boston Bar Association, which fielded over 7,700 calls last year.

Experts Break Down the United States Refugee Admissions Program

Marjean Perhot (Catholic Charities Archdiocese of Boston), Lisa Brennan (Ascentria Health Care Alliance), and Vivie Hengst (State Office of Refugees and Immigrants) spoke about the Syrian Refugee Crisis at Tuesday's brown bag program.

Marjean Perhot (Catholic Charities Archdiocese of Boston), Lisa Brennan (Ascentria Health Care Alliance), and Vivie Hengst (State Office of Refugees and Immigrants) gave a practical overview of the laws and processes for Syrian refugees.

The issue of admitting refugees into the United States has been publicly discussed with increasing frequency as tensions in Syria have escalated and life there has become more dangerous. This week at the BBA, Immigration Section Co-Chair Iris Gomez and Asylum Committee Co-Chair Ani Ajemian sought to shed some light on the long, complicated process of entering the United States as a refugee, and the role that state governments play in that process.

They hosted three speakers who were able to bring diverse perspectives to a brown bag program. Marjean Perhot, Director of Refugee and Immigration Services for the Catholic Charities Archdiocese of Boston, spoke about the many hurdles a person must clear in order to be granted admission to the country as a refugee.

Lisa Brennan, Program Manager at Ascentria Health Care Alliance, spoke about the steps her staff members take to help refugees adjust to life in America once they’re here, such as offering employment assistance and help applying for necessary documents.

Vivie Hengst, General Counsel for the State Office of Refugees and Immigrants, spoke about the process by which the federal government assigns a location to a refugee for resettlement.

In a PowerPoint presentation, the trio explained that refugees are just a “drop in the bucket” compared to the total number of immigrants in the United States. Marjean explained that only about one percent of the applicants make it through the federal government’s rigorous screening procedures, which begin long before a potential refugee leaves his or her home country.

Relocating refugees to another country is actually the least preferred option for both individual refugees and the agencies who help them, Marjean said. But sometimes there is no other option.

“Wouldn’t we love everybody to go back to their homes, to their familiar places? But that just is not the case for so many people,” Marjean said.

Vivie said about 10,000 refugees are expected to enter the country from Syria this year, and it is the federal government’s job to decide where they go. They are assigned a location based on a variety of factors, including the existing population of refugees in a given area, the cost of housing, and more.

The program offered those unfamiliar with the refugee immigration process a step-by-step overview. Participants were interested in learning more from the panelists after the program’s conclusion.

Six Ways to Give Back this Holiday Season

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If you’re looking to give back this holiday season, look no further! The BBA and BBF have a number of ways for you to support our community:

  • Donate to the BBF Annual Campaign: Generous community members like you make our essential work in the community possible. Each year, thousands of children, adults and families in Greater Boston are thankful for the access to justice and unique educational opportunities that they receive because of generous donors to the BBF. Contribute today to make an impact.
  • Mark your calendars for Walk to the Hill: Join hundreds of private attorneys and civil legal aid advocates at the Massachusetts State House on January 28th to demonstrate your support for state funding of civil legal aid. Be sure to stop by the BBA at 10 am to meet up with other attorneys before heading over to the event. Click here to learn more.
  • Use AmazonSmile: AmazonSmile is a way for you to give back to the BBF in a small way as you finish up your holiday shopping. Just go to smile.amazon.com and log in using your normal Amazon account name and password. Then select the Boston Bar Foundation as your charity and shop as you normally would. The BBF will receive a small percentage of the proceeds from your purchase.
  • Buy a ticket to Adams Benefit: Join the BBF for the John & Abigail Adams Benefit on January 30th at the Museum of Fine Arts for an unforgettable night of live entertainment, gourmet food and beverages and beautiful galleries and exhibits. 100% of the proceeds from the Adams Benefit will be used for direct grants to organizations that serve thousands of individuals and families struggling with issues such as homelessness, domestic violence and various forms of injustice. Learn more about the event and how you can purchase tickets here.
  • Join the BBF’s Society of Fellows: When you join the BBF’s Society of Fellows, you join a community of more than 400 of Boston’s leading attorneys who are committed to investing in our city’s future. Fellows pledge to make contributions to the BBF’s permanent endowment so that the BBF can continue its work in our community. Fellows receive exclusive invitations throughout the year to attend networking events and receptions, and come together to hear from representatives of BBF grantee organizations, public service volunteers and other inspirational speakers. Contact Tara Trask at [email protected].

 

 

 

 

BBA President Gets Firsthand Look at BPS Middle School

BBA President Lisa Arrowood had teh opportunity to observe teacher planning meetings during her morning at Frederick Pilot Middle School through the Principal for a Day Program.

BBA President Lisa Arrowood had the opportunity to observe teacher planning meetings during her morning at Frederick Pilot Middle School through the Principal for a Day Program.

Yesterday morning, BBA President Lisa Arrowood observed a humanities teacher meeting, greeted students, and visited classrooms at the Frederick Pilot Middle School in Dorchester through the Principal for a Day Program. Every year the BBA President heads out to visit a local school through the Program, which aims to build support for the local school system by pairing corporate and community leaders with school administrators for a morning. Lisa shadowed Principal Pauline Lugira and saw the innovative steps the school is taking to help their students achieve academic success, as well as the challenges in the community and school system that play a role in the students’ ability to learn.

“I was really impressed with everyone I met at every level: the teachers, principal and superintendent,” reported Lisa at a meeting of the BBA Council. “These people are fully invested in helping the kids succeed.”

BBA President Lisa Arrowood learned about new techniques for teaching middle school math while observing the math teachers content meeting.

BBA President Lisa Arrowood learned about new techniques for teaching middle school math while observing the math teachers content meeting.

 

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.