Posts Categorized: Uncategorized

PILP Discusses Boston’s Police Body Camera Pilot Program

As discussions around criminal justice reform continue, the Public Interest Leadership Program (PILP) recently heard from Segun Idowu, the Co-Organizer of the Boston Police Camera Action Team (BPCAT). In addition to his role with BPCAT, Idowu works at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate where he is currently the Visitor Services Manager, and is the 3rd Vice-President for the Boston chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. He helped organize BPCAT after the shooting of Michael Brown in 2014 and in September 2016, the Boston Police Commissioner announced the start of the body camera pilot program and in March, the program was extended to allow more time for data collection. BPCAT worked with community partners such as the ACLU of Massachusetts to help develop the pilot program’s policy that was adopted by the City of Boston and they continue to follow the results of the program.

You can read more about the work of BPCAT on their website.

Call for Volunteer Attorneys to Coach July Bar Exam Applicants

We are seeking attorneys to serve as coaches to bar exam applicants sitting for the Massachusetts Bar Exam this July. This is a short term commitment with a big impact. Coaches are not expected to answer substantive law questions, but will be trained to offer guidance on mental preparation, confidence, study tips, time & stress management, and dealing with anxiety. Coaches will communicate with their applicant by e-mail, by phone, or in person.

A training video and coaching guidelines will be provided. You will also have the option of attending our in-person training on May 1.

If you would like to volunteer as a coach, please fill out this online information form.

If you have any questions, please contact Cassandra Shavney at [email protected] or at 617-778-1918.

Still Time to Hire a BPS Student This Summer!

With less than a month to go before Casino Night, we can’t hold in our excitement for another round of the Summer Jobs Program. Law firms, government agencies, and in-house legal departments will be hiring students for seven weeks over the summer, with the proceeds from the Boston Bar Foundation’s Casino Night helping to hire students to work at legal services organizations. We’re so thankful to the organizations that have already signed up to hire a student and for those pledging to support the program through Casino Night.

To truly understand the impact of the program, we’re revisiting the experience of Sherley Muscade. Sherley was the first student the Boston Planning and Development Agency (known as the Boston Redevelopment Authority last summer) hired and was a wonderful resource for their office. When we visited her office last August, Sherley’s enthusiasm for the work was obvious. Check out her story here.

There’s still time to sign-up to hire for 2017, so please email Cassandra Shavney at [email protected] for more information.

VETRN Founder Highlights Entrepreneurial Program for Veterans

At the last Veterans Meet & Greet Luncheon, two dozen active duty military and veteran attorneys and law students, members of the BBA’s Military & Veterans Committee, and fellow BBA members mingled over lunch at the BBA. Attendees also met with two guests from the Veteran Entrepreneurial Training & Resource Network (VETRN).

Leland Goldberg, Founder, and Marie Shirley, Program Manager, of VETRN were invited to provide information on their organization. Goldberg shared that after he returned from duty in Vietnam, he was hired by a veteran to work at John Hancock. Since then, Goldberg has been the CEO of numerous companies and started VETRN’s StreetWise ‘MBA’ program to help veteran small business owners grow their business. Program participants participate in a 26-week program that includes educational sessions and mentorship.

VETRN is currently recruiting for their next program year and is accepting applications. Goldberg encouraged the group to share the program application with anyone that may be interested. Additionally, the program is always looking for mentors. As a mentor, you’ll be matched with a veteran in the program to help guide them as they work on implementing the lessons learned in their business.

Please email Cassandra Shavney at [email protected] if you’d like to connect with VETRN on mentorship opportunities.

Suffolk Family Law Court Clinic Training Readies Attorneys for New Volunteer Opportunity

The Volunteer Lawyers Project, in partnership with the Women’s Bar Foundation and Community Legal Services and Counseling Center*recently began a weekly Family Law Clinic at the Court Service Center in the Edward Brooke Courthouse in Boston. The clinic provides legal advice and helps draft pleadings on family law issues including divorce, custody, and more. The Boston Bar Association recently hosted a training for attorneys and law students interested in volunteering with the clinic. This opportunity is open to attorneys of all skill levels. Law students and new lawyers are able to build skill sets by interacting with clients and drafting pleadings. More experienced practitioners are able to do pro bono work without commitment of full case and have mentorship opportunities.

The Family Law Clinic is every Wednesday from 9-1 PM at the Suffolk Probate & Family Court. Volunteers are able to sign-up online for any week and as often as one would like.

*The Volunteer Lawyers Project, Women’s Bar Foundation, and Community Legal Services and Counseling Center are 2016 Grantees of the Boston Bar Foundation.

Rep. Michael Day Recounts How PILP Encouraged Him Toward Public Service

Earlier this month, the Public Interest Leadership Program (PILP) welcomed Representative Michael Day to the Boston Bar Association. Rep. Day is currently in his second term in the Massachusetts State House representing the 31st Middlesex District of Massachusetts, which includes Stoneham and Winchester. Rep. Day is also a partner at Torres, Scammon, Hincks & Day, LLP where his practice focuses on business and criminal litigation.

When asked what prompted his interest in public service, Rep. Day cited his time in PILP in 2008-2009 as the tinder that lit the fire. Working on programs like Law Day in the Schools and the Charitable Board Service Information Session helped Rep. Day realize his passion for community based work. After PILP, Rep. Day joined the BBA’s Civil Rights & Civil Liberties Section Steering Committee and went on to co-chair that section until he was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 2015.

Rep. Day described his schedule to PILP and explained how he balances his political duties and being a firm partner. He also described how PILPers, as residents of Massachusetts, can raise concerns with their representatives and become more civically engaged on issues they’re passionate about. On the state level, Rep. Day noted that one’s state representative has the closest tie to their constituents because they represent an area far smaller than state senators. PILP was encouraged to reach out to their state representative with any question or concern.

You can read more about Rep. Day here.

If you’re interested in applying to PILP, applications for the 2017-2018 Class are being accepted until March 31, 2017. Please contact Cassandra Shavney at [email protected] if you’d like to apply.

Volunteers from the Civil Appeals Court Honored

Pictured from left: Joanna Allison, Executive Director of the Volunteer Lawyers Project; Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants; Attorney Kimberly Parr, Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office; Conlan Orino, Analyst, Analysis Group; Attorney Daniel Goodrich, Law Clerk, Massachusetts Appeals Court; Appeals Court Chief Justice Scott L. Kafker; and Attorney Susan Finegan, a Member of the Litigation Section and the Pro Bono Partner of Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.

At a reception at the John Adams Courthouse on Thursday, March 2, 2017, Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants and Appeals Court Chief Justice Scott L. Kafker delivered remarks and honored three volunteers for their outstanding pro bono work in the Civil Appeals Court Clinic run out of the Appeals Court Clerk’s Office. Since 2015, volunteer attorneys from the Volunteer Lawyers Project and Boston-area law firms have helped at least 230 low income litigants who are representing themselves in civil appellate court matters on a number of issues, ranging from housing to family law. The Civil Appeals Court Clinic volunteers who were presented with certificates were: Kimberly Parr, Daniel Goodrich, and Conlan Orino. For more information about the Civil Appeals Court Clinic, including how to get involved, visit https://www.vlpnet.org/volunteer/item.6901-Civil_Appeals_Clinic.

PAIR Hosts Asylum Training at BBA

Anita Sharma, executive director of the PAIR Project.

At a recent well-attended training at 16 Beacon Street, the Boston Political Asylum/Immigration Representation (PAIR) Project brought experts in the legal and medical fields to talk about best practices for representing asylum seekers.

The training was geared toward those who have never taken on an asylum case before, and introduced attendees to PAIR’s method of assigning teams of attorneys to tackle these multifaceted, challenging cases. PAIR’s executive director, Anita Sharma, stressed the importance of teamwork, creative thinking and empathy in asylum cases, which require a mix of legal prowess and sensitivity from attorneys.

“It’s one thing to read the language of this law, but when you are dealing with an actual human being who has been through terrible trauma, and you’re trying to … check off all the boxes (to make sure they meet the qualifications to obtain asylum), it becomes very difficult,” she said.

Even a phrase as seemingly straightforward as a “well-founded fear of persecution,” which one must demonstrate to qualify for asylum, is subject to multiple interpretations. The panel of experts walked attendees through each piece of the legal requirements for asylum. They also discussed the distinction between asylum status and refugee status, gave tips on working with interpreters, and offered advice on coaxing clients to talk about what they have endured.

“It’s human instinct: you go through something horrible and you want to forget it. But we (as attorneys) are in this terrible position where we have to ask for every single detail” in order to strengthen the client’s case, Sharma said.

Sonda Crosby, a physician at Boston Medical Center and an associate professor of medicine at the Boston University School of Medicine, spoke about the importance of a forensic medical examination in proving a client’s claims in a situation where they have been physically harmed.

Ilana Greenstein (Law Office of Macias & Greenstein) and David McHaffey (McHaffey & Associates) also lent their expertise to the training.

Check out our calendar page for more public service programs and pro bono trainings and if you’re interested in volunteer opportunities related to immigration issues, please complete this online survey.

The Political Asylum/Immigration Representation (PAIR) Project is a 2016 Grantee of the Boston Bar Foundation.

Reentry Education Program Addresses Family Law with Probationers

Reentry Education Program Committee member Raquel Webster (National Grid, far right), introduces speaker Brian McLaughlin (McLaughlin Law, center).

The Reentry Education Program engages those reentering the community post-incarceration by providing workshops on a range of relevant topics.  In the first presentation of 2017 at the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts, Attorney Brian McLaughlin, McLaughlin Law, presented on a variety of family law issues. While the presentation was a broad overview, the content was extremely useful to those who’ve never navigated family law issues before or who may have questions on ongoing matters. From paternity and child support to child custody and parenting time, McLaughlin defined many of the common terms associated with family law matters and explained the Probate and Family Court’s role in these affairs. The attendees were also provided with a comprehensive list of resources to further research how to navigate the court and find legal counsel if needed.

The Reentry Education Program continues next month with a workshop on Driver’s License Reinstatement. Future topics will include CORI management, employment law, public benefits, and more, please email Cassandra Shavney at [email protected] if you’re interested in becoming a presenter.

Peek into the Pro Bono Fair

On Tuesday, law students and attorneys mingled with legal services organizations at Suffolk University Law School to learn about pro bono opportunities across the Commonwealth. Over 30 organizations passed out flyers and collected information on potential volunteers. If you were unable to make it to the event, we’ve included a few photos from the evening below and we hope you join us next year!

Representatives from Mass Legal Answers Online and the Volunteer Lawyers Project of the Boston Bar Association speak with attendees.

Representatives from Mass Legal Answers Online and the Volunteer Lawyers Project of the Boston Bar Association speak with attendees.

 

Ting Chiu tables for Greater Boston Legal Services

Ting Chiu tables for Greater Boston Legal Services.

 

A Suffolk law student hears more information on Political Asylum Immigration Representation (PAIR) Project

A Suffolk law student hears more information on the Political Asylum Immigration Representation (PAIR) Project.

 

Abbe Hershberg, BBA Family Law Public Service Committee Co-Chair, Carolyn Mitchell and Cassandra Shavney of the BBA, and Michael McDermott, New Lawyers Section Public Service Committee Co-Chair, table on behalf of the Boston Bar Association

(Left to Right) Abbe Hershberg, BBA Family Law Section Public Service Committee Co-Chair, Carolyn Mitchell and Cassandra Shavney of the BBA, and Michael McDermott, BBA New Lawyers Section Public Service Committee Co-Chair, table on behalf of the Boston Bar Association.

 

Law Students and Attorneys meet with numerous organizations and hear about their work and pro bono opportunities.

Law Students and attorneys meet with numerous organizations and hear about their work and pro bono opportunities.

 

An attendee learns about the work of Project Citizenship

An attendee learns about the work of Project Citizenship.

 

Barbara Oro and Rochelle Hahn prepare to explain the new Mass Legal Answers Online Project.

Barbara Oro and Rochelle Hahn gladly explain the new Mass Legal Answers Online Project.

 

If you’d like information on the organizations present at the fair, please email Cassandra Shavney at [email protected]