Posts Categorized: Training

BBA Opens Doors to Veterans and the Attorneys Who Help Them

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“They made a choice – they said, ‘I know that this might happen to me.’ What we really hope is that you will help us to help these people when they get home.”

So said Anna Schleelein Richardson of veterans and the sacrifice they make by enlisting in the armed services, knowing the risk of physical injury or emotional distress. At a brown bag program last week aimed at training attorneys on providing legal assistance to veterans in family law cases, Richardson reminded attendees that this is the longest period of time in history that the U.S. has been at war.

Some of the clients she has seen at Veterans Legal Services never expected to go to war at all when they signed up to join the Coast Guard, or they planned to commit to just one tour in Iraq when they ended up serving two or three. Many of these soldiers come back with issues that lead to a need for legal assistance in family law cases, she said.

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Later on in the week, veterans and lawyers who have represented veterans came to discuss their experience firsthand. The BBA hosted its second Meet and Greet Luncheon for veterans in the legal community and their families.

Several branches of the military were represented, and attendees had the chance to talk about their shared experiences. Attorneys who frequently represent veterans were also in attendance.

If you are interested in representing veterans, we are holding a Pro Bono training on discharge upgrades on May 18.

Irish International Immigrant Center Presents Pro Bono Training on Immigration Basics

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This week, Rebecca Minahan from the Irish International Immigrant Center (IIIC)—a BBF grantee— came to the BBA to lead a well-attended training on the basics of immigration law. The goal of the session was to familiarize attorneys and law students with the process of attaining citizenship.

The IIIC holds an Immigration Forms Workshop, held twice monthly, where attorneys provide pro bono assistance navigating the complicated process. During her presentation, Minahan explained some of the reasons that people most commonly end up in the country illegally, including serious danger or financial struggles in their country of origin.

Minahan went over some commonly used terms, some misconceptions (green cards have not actually been green in color for years, she said), and some of the important reasons that the staff and volunteers at the IIIC do what they do.

“The IIIC, though founded to help undocumented Irish workers, has really grown to serve many immigrants from any background,” she said.

If you missed this program, but are interested in other pro bono opportunities, our next training on April  13 will focus on Pro Bono Appellate Pilot Program. Click here to learn more.

LAR Series Continued with Hands-On Workshop

Julie Tolek (Think Pink Law) and Danielle Spang (Law Office of Danielle Spang) led a workshop on how to draft a fee agreement when using LAR.

Julie Tolek (Think Pink Law) and Danielle Spang (Law Office of Danielle Spang) led a workshop on how to draft a fee agreement when using LAR.

BBA President Lisa Arrowood has focused her presidency on equipping new lawyers with practical skills, including helping lawyers better utilize Limited Assistance Representation (LAR) within their practice. The BBA’s LAR Practical Skills series has aimed to do just that. In the fourth segment offered in the series attendees had a chance to put their new knowledge to work as attorneys Julie Tolek (Think Pink Law) and Danielle Spang (Law Office of Danielle Spang) led a workshop on how to draft a fee agreement.

Here’s what speaker Attorney Tolek had to say about the program:

Why was a workshop on Drafting a Fee Agreement so important for attorneys practicing LAR?

“Talking about how to do something is easy but putting it in practice is where questions often arise. The LAR fee agreement is perhaps the most important component of beginning an attorney-client journey, and to be able to have hands-on time to screen for LAR appropriate situations and craft an agreement and discuss questions at the same time is the best way to learn to do it!”

What is the biggest takeaway that attorneys should remember from the program?

“Communication with your client and making sure they understand their responsibilities and what it means to be working with an attorney on an LAR basis is crucial. In my opinion, it matters less how you do it technically (whether bullet points or check boxes in your agreement) than that you actually DO it in a way that works for you and that the client understands. You could have as many check boxes as you want but if the client does not fully grasp what all of it means, those check boxes don’t mean much.”

Don’t miss the rest of the LAR Practical Skills series. Sign up for one of the upcoming sessions on how to use LAR in particular courts:

LAR Practical Skills: Housing Court
February 29th 12-1:30 pm

LAR Practical Skills: Probate & Family Court
March 22nd 12-1:30 pm

LAR Practical Skills: Boston Municipal Court & District Court
April 28th 12-1:30 pm

LAR Practical Skills: Land Court
May 24th 12-1:30 pm

Annual Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Pro Bono Training Draws Crowd

Hsindy Chen (Volunteer Lawyers Project), Jesse Redlener (Dalton & Finegold, LLP), Warren Agin (Swiggart & Agin, LLC), Kate Nicholson (Nicholson Shepard LLC), and Keri Wintle (Duane Morris LLP) led a training on taking Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases pro bono.

Hsindy Chen (Volunteer Lawyers Project), Jesse Redlener (Dalton & Finegold, LLP), Warren Agin (Swiggart & Agin, LLC), Kate Nicholson (Nicholson Shepard LLC), and Keri Wintle (Duane Morris LLP) to prepare attorneys to take pro bono Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases.

Last week, the BBA’s Bankruptcy Public Service Committee teamed up with the Volunteer Lawyers Project (VLP) for the annual Representing a Pro Bono Debtor in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy training. The training aims to recruit attorneys to participate in the Fresh Start Bankruptcy Legal Clinic at VLP and to take pro bono bankruptcy cases.

Beyond the Billable caught up with BBA Bankruptcy Public Service Committee Co-Chair Keri Wintle (Duane Morris LLP) to learn more. Here’s what she had to say about the training:

 What do you hope attorneys learned from the training?

 “I hope that the training demystified the process of filing a consumer chapter 7 bankruptcy case a bit and that we were able to convey just how important the volunteer attorneys are to the program.”

 Why should attorneys volunteer for VLP’s Pro Bono Bankruptcy Clinic?

“The Clinic provides an important and necessary service to those who need it the most, while also providing a practical and gratifying experience to the volunteer.”

Are you interested in getting involved in pro bono work? Check out these two upcoming pro bono trainings: Pro Bono Training: CORI Matters— Learn How to Help Low Income Clients Seal Criminal Records and Pro Bono Training: Family Law Court Clinic

Attorneys Learn about the Ethics of Practicing LAR

Debra A. Squires-Lee (Sherin and Lodgen LLP), Christopher Saccardi (The Law Office of Christopher T. Saccardi), and Paul Rezendes (Board of Bar Overseers) discussed the ethical considerations that attorneys must make when choosing to practice LAR.

Debra A. Squires-Lee (Sherin and Lodgen LLP), Christopher Saccardi (The Law Office of Christopher T. Saccardi), and Paul Rezendes (Board of Bar Overseers) discussed the ethical considerations that attorneys must make when choosing to practice LAR.

Yesterday, an all-star panel presented on the ethical considerations attorneys must make when practicing Limited Assistance Representation (LAR). The panel, which included Debra A. Squires-Lee (Sherin and Lodgen LLP), Christopher Saccardi (The Law Office of Christopher T. Saccardi), and Paul Rezendes (Board of Bar Overseers), discussed the ethical cautions or concerns an attorney may face, as well as the steps attorneys can take to protect him/herself.

This program is the second in a seven-part series to help attorneys better utilize LAR in their practice. Be sure to check out one (or more!) of the upcoming programs:

LAR Practical Skills: Drafting a Fee Agreement
January 26th 4:30- 6pm

LAR Practical Skills: Housing Court
February 29th 12-1:30 pm

LAR Practical Skills: Probate & Family Court
March 22nd 12-1:30 pm

LAR Practical Skills: Boston Municipal Court & District Court
April 28th 12-1:30 pm

LAR Practical Skills: Land Court
May 24th 12-1:30 pm

Pro Bono Trainings Draw Crowds Aiming to Give Back

The BBA teamed up with Greater Boston Legal Services and the Legal Service Center of Harvard Law School for the second in a series of three pro bono trainings to assist low-income taxpayers.

The BBA teamed up with Greater Boston Legal Services and the Legal Service Center of Harvard Law School for the second in a series of three pro bono trainings to assist low-income taxpayers.

Last week the BBA hosted two popular pro bono trainings to recruit volunteers to address unmet legal needs in our community. The trainings included the annual Landlord Tenant Law & Practice Pro Bono Training for the Lawyer for the Day in the Boston Housing Court Program and the second training in the series pro bono trainings for the Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic at the Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School.

So far this year, the BBA has held six pro bono trainings and trained over 200 attorneys to take pro bono cases through local legal service organizations. We are so grateful to our members who attended the trainings and who volunteer in the community.

Attorneys who attended the Landlord Tenant Law Pro Bono Training last week can now volunteer for the Lawyer for the Day in the Boston Housing Court Program pictured above.

Attorneys who attended the Landlord Tenant Law Pro Bono Training last week can now volunteer for the Lawyer for the Day in the Boston Housing Court Program pictured above.

If you’re interested in getting involved, don’t miss the pro bono trainings coming up this winter:

Volunteer Lawyer Training: Representing a Pro Bono Debtor in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Thursday, January 21, 2016 4:00 PM to 7:30 PM

CORI Matters— Learn How to Help Low Income Clients Seal Criminal Records
Tuesday, February 2, 2016 4:30 PM to 6:00 PM

Representing Low-Income Taxpayers When the IRS and/or DOR Audits Their Return: Part Three
Thursday, March 3, 2016 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM

Limited Assistance Representation Series Kicks Off

Emily Jarrell (Volunteer Lawyers Project), Ilene Mitchell (Probate & Family Court), and Thomas Beauvais walked attendees through everything they needed to know about practicing Limited Assistance Representation (LAR).

Emily Jarrell (Volunteer Lawyers Project), Ilene Mitchell (Probate & Family Court), and Thomas Beauvais walked attendees through everything they needed to know about practicing Limited Assistance Representation (LAR).

Last Thursday, the BBA held a Limited Assistance Representation (LAR) Training to qualify attendees to practice LAR and to teach them the basics of going into court for a single event in a case.

Don’t worry if you missed this program! The BBA is the hub of everything LAR and there are plenty more opportunities to learn how to effectively use LAR in your area of practice. Take a look below at the upcoming programs.

Do you still need to get certified to practice LAR? Visit this website and read the training guide or watch the video to get qualified to practice LAR. Then, sign up for one of our upcoming sessions to learn how to put your new skills to use!

Become an LAR Success Story

LAR Practical Skills: Ethical Considerations
Wednesday, December 2, 2015 – 4:30 PM to 6:00 PM

This program will feature a lively discussion about the ethical considerations attorneys must be aware of before taking on an LAR client (1.5 hours of CLE ethics credit will be available for attendees.)

LAR Practical Skills: Drafting a Fee Agreement
Tuesday, January 26, 2016 – 4:30 PM to 6:00 PM

Attendees will learn practical tips on how to talk to their client about LAR fees and gain hands on experience drafting an effective and comprehensive fee agreement.

Court Specific Practical Skills for LAR

LAR Practical Skills: Housing Court
Monday, February 29, 2016 – 12:00 PM to 1:30 PM

LAR Practical Skills: Probate & Family Court
Tuesday, March 22, 2016 – 12:00 PM to 1:30 PM

LAR Practical Skills: Boston Municipal Court & District Court
Thursday, April 28, 2016 – 12:00 PM to 1:30 PM

LAR Practical Skills: Land Court
Tuesday, May 24, 2016 – 12:00 PM to 1:30 PM

 

Fair Debt Collection Pro Bono Training Draws Crowd

Attendees at last week's Fair Debt Collections training took careful notes to prepare to volunteer for the Lawyer for the Day Program.

Attendees at last week’s Fair Debt Collections training took careful notes to prepare to volunteer for the Lawyer for the Day Program.

In honor of Pro Bono Month, the BBA partnered with the Volunteer Lawyers Project (VLP) and Senior Partners for Justice to hold a Lawyer for the Day: Fair Debt Collection training last week. Attendees learned about defending debt collection lawsuits, answering and filing discovery requests, asserting counterclaims under the FDCPA, and other consumer protection statutes. Now that the Lawyer for the Day Program is expanding outside of the Boston Municipal Court, volunteers are in high demand. Here’s why Emily Jarrell, a Staff Attorney at VLP, thinks you should volunteer for the program:

“The Lawyer for the Day Program allows volunteers to learn a new area of the law by seeing how the court works and watching more experienced volunteers take on cases.  It also allows volunteers to do pro bono work without needing to commit to a full representation case.  Volunteers can commit to just a couple hours a week using limited assistance representation.  The debt collection projects are also a great way to meet other lawyers and get experience litigating in District Court.”

If you’re interested in this project, VLP staff members will be talking about all of the pro bono opportunities available through their organization at the Pro Bono Fair on Monday, October 19th from 4:30-6 pm. Click here to learn more.

Nationally-Recognized Expert Visits BBA for Human Trafficking Training

Martina Vandenberg (The Human Trafficking Pro Bono Legal Center) and Julie Dahlstrom (Casa Myrna and Boston University School of Law Human Trafficking Clinic) led a training on using federal law to obtain justice for trafficking survivors.

Martina Vandenberg (The Human Trafficking Pro Bono Legal Center) and Julie Dahlstrom (Casa Myrna and Boston University School of Law Human Trafficking Clinic) led a training on using federal law to obtain justice for trafficking survivors.

At the end of September, the BBA hosted a very special guest from Washington, DC. Martina Vandenberg, the President and Founder of The Human Trafficking Pro Bono Legal Center traveled to the BBA to lead a training on using federal law to obtain justice for trafficking survivors. She was joined by local expert, Julie Dahlstrom, a Senior Staff Attorney at Casa Myrna and Clinical Legal Fellow at the Boston University School of Law Human Trafficking Clinic.

In the United States, trafficking survivors rarely have access to justice. In 2013, federal prosecutors brought just 161 criminal cases against traffickers in the entire country. Pro bono attorneys can play a huge role in advocating for the rights of survivors. We reached out to Attorney Vandenberg to learn more about the training. Take a look below to learn more:

What do you hope attendees learned from the program?

I hope that the attorneys who participated learned: 1) that pro bono lawyers can make a significant difference in the lives of trafficking survivors; 2) that trafficking survivors have the right to sue their traffickers for damages in federal court; and 3) that pro bono attorneys can get involved by volunteering with a local non-governmental organization or with HT Pro Bono [The Human Trafficking Pro Bono Legal Center].  Pro bono attorneys have a fantastic track record in this field.  HT Pro Bono has one key goal: ensuring that every trafficking victim who wants a lawyer gets a pro bono lawyer.

Why should attorneys get involved in pro bono human trafficking work?

This is some of the most rewarding pro bono work that an attorney can do. The cases are compelling.  The clients are inspiring.  Civil litigation against human traffickers draws on skills that attorneys in private practice have already mastered. Trafficking work also provides an opportunity to be on the cutting edge of a new legal field.  In October 2015, pro bono attorneys at WilmerHale filed the first-ever federal human trafficking civil suit ever brought in Massachusetts.  Pro bono attorneys can also fight to vacate convictions resulting from crimes that traffickers forced the victims to commit.  This is pro bono work that provides intellectual challenge, direct client interaction, and concrete results in trafficking survivors’ lives.  It is also an area where extensive technical assistance is available — from HT Pro Bono, from local NGO attorneys, and from experts throughout the United States.

If you’re feeling inspired to get involved in pro bono opportunities of any kind after reading this article, don’t miss the Pro Bono Fair at Suffolk University this Monday, October 19th from 4:30-6:00 pm. Representatives from local legal service organizations will be onsite to tell you about opportunities to volunteer with their organizations. Click here to learn more.

Hone Your Skills With the Pro Bono Panel for Low-Income Taxpayers

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Last week, the BBA kicked off the first of three pro bono trainings to help build the inaugural low-income taxpayer pro bono panel of the Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School and Greater Boston Legal Services. As you may remember from this article, the Boston Bar Foundation also supports the Low-Income Tax Clinic (LITC). Beyond the Billable reached out to Keith Fogg, the Director of the Federal Tax Clinic at the Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School, to learn more about the training. Here’s what he had to say:

Why should attorneys join the low-income tax pro bono panel?

It’s an easy way for them to receive pro bono case referrals.  They can refer individuals seeking pro bono assistance to one of the clinics to vet, and then get the cases that meet the pro bono criteria.  Aside from using the panel as a screening mechanism for handling pro bono cases, attorneys receive support on their cases from the clinicians if questions arise about facts or law in the cases they receive.

Also, working cases from the pro bono panel provides the opportunity to handle tax controversy cases the attorney might not handle in their ordinary practice, and so they can learn from the experience and gain valuable skills that might assist them in their practice.

But even without the other professional benefits mentioned, helping others who need it is very rewarding.  Pro bono panels provide an opportunity to help others while using and honing the skills that tax attorneys have learned through training and practice.  Rather than engaging in pro bono assistance in an area of the law in which they do not ordinarily practice, being a part of the pro bono tax panel will put their skills to use.”

What should attorneys expect in the next tax program?

Most of the clients seeking help do so because they cannot pay the liability already assessed against them.  This makes the collection panel the most relevant to pro bono practice.  Some of the clients with collection problems really need assistance reopening the question of whether they owe.  Others have no basis for challenging the assessment but very low prospects for paying the debt.  These clients need assistance pulling together their financial information in order to make a successful presentation to the IRS to obtain debt relief through an offer in compromise, debt forbearance through currently not collectible designation or debt postponement through an installment agreement.  The program will explain how to work with the client and the IRS to achieve a beneficial resolution.”

Click here to learn more about the upcoming collection panel.

If you’re interested in joining the pro bono panel, please contact Katie D’Angelo at [email protected].