Posts Categorized: Summer Jobs

Exploring Legal Careers: Future and Current Attorneys Share Valuable Insight with Summer Jobs Students


With the end of their summer internships on the horizon, students of the BBA’s Summer Jobs program spent Wednesday morning with legal professionals involved in a diverse range of legal fields.  Through this event, Exploring Legal Careers, students heard firsthand descriptions of each guest’s chosen career path, asked any questions they had, and discussed a wide variety of legal topics.

Family law attorney Enjoli Alexander shared her unique experiences as a solo practitioner, emphasizing the flexibility her position provides. While it is essential to carefully manage her work and personal time, Alexander described her freedom with excitement, stating, “I can watch a movie in the middle of the day if I want to!” She also emphasized the fact that students can major in whatever subject interests them and still pursue law, allowing many legally-curious students to breathe a sigh of relief.

Kodie Richardson, a paralegal at Robins Kaplan LLP, offered insight into the whirlwind of challenges and opportunities one experiences as a paralegal. “There are times where you may get home, take a shower, put on clean clothes, and be out the door and on your way back to the office,” Richardson described. “But it’s exciting, and I find myself learning something new every day.” Many students were also unaware what a paralegal was; Richardson happily explained that a paralegal is trained in an area of law, but not a fully qualified attorney.

Law students Courtney Person and Richard Jean Baptiste attending New England School Law presented a depiction of the law school lifestyle. When asked why they left their Florida and South Carolina homes for Boston, both agreed that they wanted to “compete with the best.” They mentioned that the most important skill they have learned is how to effectively tailor an argument to its audience. “Even if you get the right answer, it won’t mean anything if you don’t know how to get your point across,” remarked Baptiste. Person and Baptiste gave Summer Jobs students a valuable opportunity to hear firsthand accounts of law school, their next step should they decide to pursue a legal career.

Maureen McDonagh illustrated her work at The Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School. She analogized her work to that of a licensed driver teaching a permit-holding learner; law students within her program are able to perform the functions of a full attorney, provided McDonagh is there to oversee and “take the wheel” at any time. “It’s really fun for the students to work on real cases while in law school,” said McDonagh, “and for many, it’s the most fulfilling aspect of their law school experience.” Students were awe struck by the opportunities described by McDonagh. For many, her account was another point in favor of attending law school.

Adrian Bispham, attorney for the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, gave an iteration of criminal law from the perspective of a government prosecutor. As a member of the District Attorney’s Office’s Gang Unit, Bispham helps run youth programs that prevent neighborhood violence, such as Soccer for Peace and Overcoming Violence. “Most of the people I work with who are accused of a crime are 18 to 25 years old, which can be frustrating to see,” stated Bispham. “It’s important to have people familiar with these neighborhoods involved in the justice process,” he highlighted when asked how he helps to minimize gang activity.

Formerly a judge’s clerk and currently an in-house attorney, Jennifer Watson shared a wide range of experiences with Summer Jobs students. “Being a clerk is a fun experience; you’re together with a bunch of law school graduates, consulting  each other about the law, tossing the football around, and talking to the judge about your conclusions,” said Watson. When confronted about the low pay expected during a clerkship, Watson argued, “The insight you gain into legal protocol and a judge’s way of thinking make you an invaluable asset for the rest of your career.” Most students had never spoken with someone with clerking experience, prompting a joyous onslaught of clerking-related questions.

Kevin Nolan, a business attorney focusing on private equity funds and institutional investment, gave the perspective of a large firm attorney. Upon being asked about the greatest challenges he experiences, Nolan referenced the constantly demanding nature of his job. “I sometimes don’t spend as much time with my family as I want, and competing client interests sometimes make it difficult to please everyone,” recounted Nolan. However, according to the attorney, the intellectual stimulation provided by his line of work makes the profession more than worthwhile.

Following the program, Summer Jobs students spoke highly of the experience. “I really like hearing from the attorneys and law students,” one student remarked. “It got me thinking about what I wanted to pursue.”

Another student described the event as an eye-opening experience. “The law students and attorneys gave great insight as to what legal paths I can pursue in my life.”

“A Foot in the Door:” Peabody & Arnold Summer Jobs Student Shares Her Experience


Alicia Zhang, a recent graduate of Boston Latin School, knew for sure last summer that her dream is to become an attorney. This summer, at Peabody & Arnold, she feels she is taking one step closer to that goal.

Whether the task at hand is observing a hearing in court or helping to rearrange the firm’s library, Alicia said spending time at Peabody & Arnold has helped her better understand workplace dynamics at an office job. While her previous experience working at a popular downtown café bustled with activity, this summer job has given her practical experience that she hopes to apply to her career someday, she said.

“Being in court is really different from what you see on TV,” she said. “It’s not as dramatic as I thought it would be. But I really feel like I am getting to learn more about the field of law.”

Alicia said she has fun working with the legal secretaries because she enjoys learning more about cases, especially trials, by reading the notes. The area of law to which she has had the most exposure to so far – insurance law – is not where she wants to focus in her own career, but Alicia said she has enjoyed getting to see the workings of the firm from a variety of perspectives.

“I like how I get to work for a lot of different departments, like human resources and accounting,” she said. “I definitely feel more comfortable than when I started with talking to people and asking what I can do to help.”

Alicia is headed to Washington University in St. Louis in the Fall, where she is considering majoring in psychology and international relations. She hopes that this will put her on the path to law school, something she learned more about at the first Summer Jobs Program enrichment seminar she attended two weeks ago. The session focused on the steps students typically take on their journey to the bar exam.

“[The seminar] was great because it really helped me create a loose track in my mind of what I want to do in college,” she said.

In her application, Alicia talked about how much personal meaning it held for her when she volunteered to assist Somali refugees in Maine last summer. The stories they told her, along with her own family’s story of pursuing the “American dream,” make her want to be a lawyer.

“Striving to serve others and provide them justice is extremely important,” she wrote. “My work this summer will be just a foot in the door into my future career. I hope someday I will completely cross that threshold.”

Financial Literacy: Summer Jobs Students Learn to Keep Their Wallets Healthy


While the BBA Summer Jobs Program is more than 50 students strong, on Wednesday, it felt like they each got one-on-one tips on budgeting, credit and how to manage their finances generally.

That’s because David Gabor (The Wagner Law Group) called on every student individually during this week’s enrichment seminar on financial literacy.

The M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy program teaches students how to make responsible decisions about money by using practical examples like balancing a checkbook and paying bills on time. It also introduces students to concepts they may not have encountered yet, such as a healthy credit score and buying a car. Finally, the program covers what happens when people fail to meet their financial obligations by outlining the basics of bankruptcy.

Gabor focused mostly on budgeting, asking students to give some examples of steps they take to watch their spending. One student said he carefully divides his paycheck between his savings account and expenses, like his cell phone bill. Other students asked about taxes coming out of their paycheck, how social security is distributed, why people refinance their homes, and how to report an error on their bank statement.

Gabor also discussed how a good credit score translates to better options for lending, especially for student loans.

In their evaluation of the program, our students said:

  • “This was very informative for my future budgeting.”
  • “This enrichment seminar was a useful seminar. I know it would benefit me in the future now that I’m going to college.”
  • “I think that this seminar taught me valuable information regarding finance and budgeting.”

Learning by Doing at MLRI


MLRI Executive Director Georgia Katsoulomitis, Summer Jobs Student Katherine Urbaez and Sharon Armour, Manager of Human Resources and Administration at MLRI

Katherine Urbaez is still deciding on a career path, but one thing she’s sure of is her learning style.

As someone who retains information most effectively by observing and performing hands-on tasks, Katherine was excited to participate in the BBA Summer Jobs program. She knew it would give her the chance to learn by watching and doing.

At the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute (MLRI), a state-wide poverty law and policy center, Katherine has kept busy translating fliers from English to Spanish to help make Spanish-speaking clients aware of different programs. In doing this, she also learned about programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and housing assistance programs that benefit the elderly and the poor.

“Until I started doing this, I didn’t know there was something out there that would help them,” Urbaez said.

Having recently graduated from Boston International High School, Urbaez says the thought of going to law school has crossed her mind. But as she prepares to start at UMass Lowell in the fall, she may be more interested in pursuing a career in social work. MLRI’s work to help low-income families achieve economic stability has helped solidify her interest in doing the same thing, she said.

When we caught up with Katherine, she had only spent a week on the job, but she said she was already comfortable.

“I was nervous that working for lawyers would be hard, but now [MLRI] is like my second house,” she said. “The work I do is because I want to do it. I’m really interested in it.”

Katherine also said she has sharpened other skills that are essential in the workplace, such as using Microsoft Excel to help track data. At the front desk, she is a friendly face that greets visitors when they step into MLRI’s suite.

“I am exploring things that I can do, things that will turn into experiences, which will help to increase my knowledge of serving and helping not just my community but the world,” Urbaez said of the Summer Jobs Program.

Katherine’s position at MLRI is one of the 11 BBA Summer Jobs positions funded by the Boston Bar Foundation (BBF). The BBF funds these internships not only to open up opportunities for Boston’s youth, but to also provide an extra set of hands at no cost to the agencies, offices and nonprofits that need it most.

Proposed Curfew Defeated in Mock City Council Hearing


Kevin Truong, a Summer Jobs student working at Nixon Peabody, acts as chairman of the mock City Council meeting.

While the goal of our Summer Jobs program is to acquaint teens with valuable lessons about the legal profession to be learned in their offices, our weekly Enrichment Seminars are designed to provide unique experiences outside the office.

This week, our students visited the Boston City Council Chambers. Larry DiCara, a partner at Nixon Peabody and former City Council President, led the students through a debate. Different groups of students posed as stakeholders delivering their opinions on a hypothetical proposal to enforce a curfew for Boston teenagers.

The students also had the opportunity to ask questions regarding the relationship between the different branches of city government and the requirements to become a local political leader.


Some of the takeaways from the students who participated include:

  • “I enjoyed this seminar because I think that it provided me with valuable information regarding proper public speaking presentation.”
  • “This was helpful for my future voting.”
  • “It was very informative, it opened my mind to different perceptions that other people might have.”

DiCara, who has volunteered his time to the Summer Jobs program for years, expressed the importance of civic engagement to the students.

“The goal is not for every single one of you to become active in politics, although I hope some of you will. The goal is to be sure that you are good citizens, that you participate and that you vote when you can. When this summer is over, it is my hope that you know a little something about the law and the government, and that you are ready for the next step in your lives,” he said.

First Summer Jobs Enrichment Seminar Covers Courtroom Basics


Every week, students in the BBA Summer Jobs program participate in an enrichment seminar designed to familiarize them with a different aspect of working in the field of law. At their first seminar this week, Law 101, students learned about the academic and professional steps to becoming a lawyer. They also heard more specific information about what attorneys do on a daily basis.

Students raised many questions about the mechanics of the courtroom, including whether a judge can ever override a jury’s verdict and whether attorneys get to choose what kinds of cases they take on. One student asked about the difference between state and federal laws.

After the presentation, which was given by Public Interest Leadership Program class members Hannah Joseph (Beck Reed Riden) and Henry Tran (Prince Lobel), students had the opportunity to test their knowledge by playing a “Jeopardy”-style quiz game run by BBA Staff.

Next week’s seminar is a favorite every year – a mock City Council hearing at City Hall! Stay tuned for our recap of that session.

Importance of Youth Summer Jobs Recognized by AG’s Office, Boston Globe

Hermuna works in a variety of different departments at the firm, including the records, accounting, and pro bono departments.

We love keeping readers updated on how our Summer Jobs students are doing, and we are excited whenever we see another organization displaying their commitment to summer jobs for teens. This week, we wanted to highlight $300,000 in grants awarded by Attorney General Maura Healey to fund 250 healthy summer jobs for young people across Massachusetts.

Fifty-three organizations received funding for jobs that will allow teens to teach classes on nutrition and physical activity, according to the Attorney General’s Office. The grants fund positions from July 5 through August 26.

But why are these positions so important?

Last month, the Boston Globe highlighted a new study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, which found that summer jobs “improve job readiness skills, lead to greater academic aspirations and build stronger community connections, especially among youth of color.”

At the BBA, we view the availability of summer employment for teens as an essential investment, for the good of our students and to the benefit of the economy of Boston and the commonwealth. In a tough budget year where many programs faced cuts, it’s great to be able to recognize new opportunities for youth in Massachusetts!

Walter Prince Inspires at BBA Summer Jobs Kickoff


“I am no different than any of you here.”

Walter Prince, founding partner of Prince Lobel Tye LLP, asked the students in the BBA Summer Jobs program how many of them were familiar with Franklin Park. He asked how many of them knew of the intersection of Elm Hill and Blue Hill Avenues, and finally a side street near that corner. It’s the humble street on which he was raised to believe he could do anything with hard work and perseverance.

“I studied hard and I took advantage of every opportunity that came my way,” he said.

Of course, Prince was not without advice for the students. He told them to ask questions and not to be intimidated by the attorneys in the offices where they will work for the summer. He advised them to pay attention to how they dress, how they talk to other people and what their body language conveys.

Most of all, he encouraged them to see their summer employment as a chance to gain a leg up over the competition, when students come from all over the world to study and work in Boston. Standing out is more important than ever, he said.

At the kickoff, students met their employers for the first time and headed off to their first day of work. It was an exciting day at the BBA and we would like to thank Walter Prince and BBA Vice President Mark Smith for their remarks!

Getting Oriented: Summer Jobs Students Learn Practical Skills

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At our Summer Jobs Orientation this week, we were pleased to meet all of our Summer Jobs students in person. We all know that getting a new job involves a lot of paperwork, and everyone has faced a learning curve adapting to their new surroundings at work.

We strive to help students by making sure they have a professional headshot, providing training on business etiquette, and assisting them with many human resources tasks. The students were enthusiastic and receptive, and we are looking forward to the official Summer Jobs kickoff next week!

For more information about the program, please click here.

Summer Jobs Snapshot


We have been talking a lot about our Summer Jobs Program, and now that the students have come together for their orientation, we wanted to share a little bit about them.

When applications start coming in, we are always excited to learn more about the students. Their backgrounds contribute to their unique talents and skill sets. Many of our students are bilingual, and some have exposure to the technical skills they will need at an office job through their coursework or hobbies.

To us, an employer’s commitment to a Summer Jobs student represents their commitment to the future of our community, and we are glad to know that our students represent so many facets of the city of Boston.

The goal of Mayor Martin J. Walsh’s summer jobs initiative is to give as many teens as possible the opportunity to gain knowledge and earn money as seasonal employees, and the BBA is proud to have secured jobs for 58 of those students this year!