Posts Categorized: Volunteering

School Discipline Rights Presentation at Brookview House

Attorneys Paula Bagger and Erin Brummer speak to students at Brookview House.

On Monday, July 21, as part of the BBA’s Service Innovation Project on Dismantling the Cradle-to-Prison Pipeline, attorneys Paula Bagger (Law Office of Paula M. Bagger LLC) and Erin Brummer (Fragomen) met with middle and high schoolers at Brookview House shelter to discuss the students’ rights with regards to school discipline. In particular, the attorneys ensured that students knew that, following a 2018 settlement agreement between Greater Boston Legal Services and Boston Public Schools, the rights of students around suspension from school had been expanded.

The attorneys discussed how important it is that students who are suspended receive a letter detailing the reasoning behind their suspension and the length of time a suspension is in effect. They also emphasized that students have the right to a suspension hearing and the ability to appeal suspensions that they disagree with.

Students asked insightful questions about suspensions, such as whether they are allowed to be on school grounds during the time of the suspension. They also asked the attorneys about their rights around school detention and about the consequences of being truant.

Many thanks to Attorney Bagger and Attorney Brummer for their help in spreading the word about students’ rights, and to the students at Brookview for an engaging discussion!

The BBA’s Service Innovation Project on Dismantling the Cradle-to-Prison Pipeline is made possible by the Boston Bar Foundation’s Burnes Innovation in Service Fund.

BBA CORI Sealing Project Overview


Paul Kominers, Samuel Dinning, Ray Doucette, Grant Glovin, and Ezra Dunker-Polier of
Anderson & Kreiger; Brandon Schneider, Ryan Rosenblatt, Matt Bailey, Rachel Centz, and Jillian Friedman of Sullivan Law; and Gina Makarem of Boston College Law School volunteered at the CORI Sealing Clinic on July 3rd.

Criminal records are often an obstacle to qualified individuals obtaining housing or employment. And since having a job and a permanent place to live are correlated with successful re-entry, individuals with a publicly-accessible CORI (Criminal Offender Record Information) record have greater rates of recidivism.

The Boston Bar Association highlighted the importance of reforms to the length of time that people must wait before their CORI can be sealed, along with other key criminal justice reforms, in our 2017 report No Time to Wait: Recommendations for a Fair and Efficient Criminal Justice System. The report advocated for a reduction in the amount of time individuals must wait to seal their CORI records. In 2018 the Massachusetts Legislature, with the support of Governor Charlie Baker, did indeed reduce the waiting time to seal criminal records; the previous wait time of five years to seal misdemeanors was reduced to three years, and the wait time of ten years to seal felonies was reduced to seven years.

This past February, the BBA launched a CORI Sealing Pilot Project in partnership with Greater Boston Legal Services. The project relies on volunteer attorneys, who assist low-income clients in obtaining, reviewing, and, if eligible, sealing and expunging their CORI records. So far, the CORI Sealing Clinic has helped more than 50 individuals seeking to seal their criminal records. This is a critical service, as sealing can remove or mitigate the barrier that CORI records pose to obtaining housing and employment.  Thank you to our partners, Pepper Hamilton LLP and Sullivan & Worcester LLP for collaborating with us on this project and engaging their attorneys as volunteers.

The Boston Bar Association’s CORI Sealing Clinic takes place the first Wednesday of each month from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at the Boston Municipal Court – Central Division (24 New Chardon Street, 2nd Floor). The clinic would not be possible without the help of our volunteer attorneys. These attorneys can have a life-changing impact when they assist in sealing records. Volunteering also allows attorneys to connect with fellow practitioners and gain clinic experience in a new area of law. 

Volunteers will be trained in advance on CORI laws and procedures and are able to sign up for the clinic dates that work best for their schedules. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Hannah Poor at [email protected].

Good Luck to July 2019 Bar Applicants

The BBA wishes the best of luck to all applicants sitting for the July 2019 Bar Exam! The Exam will take place on July 30th and July 31st in Boston and Springfield.

Volunteers with the BBA’s Bar Exam Coaching Program, which matches applicants sitting for the bar exam with attorney coaches, are currently supporting 13 bar applicants as they study. Coaches provide study tips, time and stress management assistance, and moral support as the applicants prepare for the exam.

Good luck!

Law Students & New Lawyers Explore Public Interest Careers and Pro Bono Opportunities at the Summer Kickoff Breakfast

Attendees mingle at the Summer Kickoff Breakfast

On Monday, June 24th, the Delivery of Legal Services Section and Law Student Forum hosted a Summer Kickoff Breakfast for Law Students and New Lawyers Exploring Public Interest Careers and Pro Bono Opportunities. Over 80 people attended the networking breakfast, which offered an opportunity for new lawyers and law students to talk with attorneys from non-profit organizations that provide legal services, as well as attorneys who work in government agencies and those who coordinate pro bono efforts at law firms.  Whether the law students and new lawyers were  considering careers in the public interest, or seeking pro bono opportunities, it was a great chance to connect with attorneys experienced in those areas.  Thanks to all who attended!

CORI Sealing Clinic

The BBA’s CORI Sealing Clinic, which launched in January 2019, will have its fifth clinic date next Wednesday, June 5, at the Edward W. Brooke Courthouse. This project, which engages volunteer attorneys in helping low-income clients seal their criminal records through the courts, has assisted close to 40 people over the past four months. We are excited to have volunteers from BBA Sponsor Firm Pepper Hamilton staff the clinic next week!

Such assistance is critical, as prior criminal records can create barriers to obtaining housing, employment, and educational opportunities. Massachusetts law permits people with a criminal record to have their records “sealed” from public view after a waiting period by meeting certain legal requirements. The CORI Sealing Clinic helps those who may not be able to undertake this process without the assistance of an attorney, but cannot afford to pay for counsel.

To learn more about the program, click here. If you are interested in volunteering with the clinic, please email Hannah Poor at [email protected]

Taking the Massachusetts Bar Exam in July 2019? Sign up for Bar Exam Coaching!

The BBA invites those taking the Massachusetts Bar Exam in July 2019 to sign up for our Bar Exam Coaching program. We know you’ve got the academic part of your bar prep under control, but let us help with the mental, emotional, and practical preparation. We are ready to connect you with attorney-coaches from diverse personal and professional backgrounds to offer guidance on time management, effective study techniques, and stress management. Our program is designed for those who are retaking the Uniform Bar Examination (UBE) in Massachusetts, but first-time takers can also be matched to a coach, based on availability.

To sign-up for the program, please fill out this online information form.

The program has successfully helped more than 200 applicants to pass the exam. Earlier this year, we interviewed Kate Cook of Sugarman Rogers on the success of her coaching partner, a repeat bar applicant who passed the July exam. You can read that story here.

Attorneys Assisting Veterans Pro Bono Hear from Military Review Boards

The Boston Bar Association is proud to have hosted a training on representing veterans pro bono in military discharge upgrade cases this April. The training, sponsored by the Active Duty Military & Veterans Forum, offered volunteers and those working with veterans seeking discharge upgrades with the opportunity to meet and hear from the leaders of the military review boards. Joseph Masterson (Army Review Boards Agency), Elizabeth Hill (Board for Correction of Naval Records), Sean Schrock (Board for Correction of Naval Records), and Nicole Jackson (Air Force Board for Correction of Military Records), reviewed how their boards operate and how pro bono attorneys can best advocate for their veteran clients.

This presentation was the fifth annual pro bono training put on by the Veterans Legal Clinic at the Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School, as part of its Veterans Justice Pro Bono Partnership. Dana Montalto (Veterans Legal Clinic) provided the training’s attendees with an overview of discharge upgrades and the Partnership, which connects local veterans seeking discharge upgrades with pro bono attorneys who want to give back to those who served in uniform. The Legal Services Center provides ongoing case support throughout the representation. Over the past five years, the Partnership has allowed more than 60 local veterans unjustly discharged from the military obtain pro bono assistance.

This pro bono assistance is critical because many of the men and women who served in the U.S. armed forces are cut off from veterans’ services and benefits because they were given a less-than-honorable discharge. They may have served in combat, experienced military sexual trauma, or have suffered physical or mental wounds, but are nevertheless unable to access much-needed treatment and support from federal and state veterans agencies because of their discharge status. In many cases, the origin of their need for support—for example, service-related post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injury—also contributed to the conduct that led to their less-than-honorable discharges.

If you’d like access to the training’s materials, please email Francine Alexandre at [email protected]. If you would like to get involved with the Veterans Justice Pro Bono Partnership, please email Dana Montalto at [email protected].

Law Day in the Schools Starts Next Week!

Over the next month, volunteer attorneys and law students will visit Boston Public School classrooms to celebrate Law Day. This annual celebration highlights the foundations of law and justice in the United States and reminds the public and legal professionals how the law interacts with everyday life. This year, the Boston Bar Association is joining the American Bar Association in teaching youth about free speech. Our Law Day in the Schools volunteers will guide students through a lesson demonstrating the importance of free speech rights in creating an equitable society.

We’re very thankful to the below BBA Sponsor Organizations that have pledged volunteers and Adopted-a-Classroom this spring.

Arrowood LLP
Barclay Damon
Beck Reed Riden LLP
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts
Boston Planning & Development Agency
Burns & Levinson
Casner & Edwards
Committee for Public Counsel Services
Conn Kavanaugh
Fitch Law Partners LLP
Krokidas & Bluestein
Laredo & Smith, LLP
Locke Lord LLP
Mintz
Office of the Corporation Counsel of the City of Boston
Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General
Peabody & Arnold
Prince Lobel
Ropes & Gray
Schmidt & Federico, P.C.
Sherin and Lodgen
Sullivan & Worcester

There are still a few spots available for BBA Members to volunteer next month. View the open spots and sign-up here.

Payal Salsburg and Jessica Conklin (Laredo & Smith, LLP) answer student questions at Samuel Adams Elementary in East Boston last year.

VLP Announces January – March Lawyer for the Day in the Housing Court Honor Roll

The Volunteer Lawyers Project of the Boston Bar Association* thanks the following attorneys who accepted cases or provided consultation in January, February, and March through Lawyer for the Day at the Eastern Housing Court:

Dustin Baker
Rachel Bier
James Bor-Zale
Kathleen Conley
Kenneth Corson
Seth Davis
Meghan Fay
Matt Feuerman
Alyssa Fixsen
Tess Foley
Soren Gabrielsen
Andres Garron
Steven Garza
Mindy Green
Cecilie Gromada
Shayla Harlev
Anna Hunanyan
Kathryn Johnson
Sharon V. Jones
Kim Karon
Monica Kwok
Madeleine Laupheimer
Chelsea Lawson
Gregory Malloy
Louis Mattei
Colin McKee
Kyle Merrigan
Marc Migliazzo
Madelyn Morris
Ravenna Neville
Vanessa A. O’Connor
Amy Pearlman
Gary Prado
Julia Prochazka
Stephen Provazza
Jacob Rauer
Joel M. Reck
Evan Tallmadge
Brenna Toomey
Marty Topol
Natasha Vedananda
Susan Wang
Emily Willey

*The Volunteer Lawyers Project of the Boston Bar Association is a 2018 Boston Bar Foundation grant recipient.


If you’re interested in becoming involved with the Lawyer for the Day Program, attend an upcoming training at the Boston Bar Association. Attorneys from Volunteer Lawyers Project will guide attendees through trying a case in housing court on Wednesday, April 17th from 2:30 – 5:00 PM. Read more information about the event and register to attend here.

Thank You to our Bar Exam Coaching Program Volunteers!

Ahead of the February 2019 Uniform Bar Exam in Massachusetts, 45 attorneys provided coaching and guidance to individuals taking the bar exam. The BBA’s Bar Exam Coaching Program matches coaches with bar applicants to act as a cheerleader throughout the process. Coaches keep applicants on track with a study schedule and provide tips for managing stress and time.

This program targets working with applicants who are retaking the exam in Massachusetts, and of this winter’s participants, 38 were retaking the exam in February. Through this program, we hope to provide support and community during what can feel like an isolating experience. Thank you to all of the coaches who provided support this winter:

Ana Alvarado, Northeastern University School of Law
Brittany Besler
Elizabeth Broderick, Committee for Public Counsel Services
Laura Brown, Law Office of Laura Anastasia Brown
Elmira Cancan Zenger, WGBH
James Coffey, Polsinelli
Joshua Cohn, Holland & Knight LLP
Susan Corcoran, De Novo
Emma Days, Ropes & Gray LLP
Janelle Dempsey, Moriarty Troyer & Malloy LLC
Jessica DiBacco
Christopher Dodge, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP
Anthony Faillaci, Burns & Levinson LLP
Tess Foley, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP
Robert Friedman, Burns & Levinson LLP
Nicole Gallerano, Nixon Peabody LLP
Alexandra Gill, Gill Law
Eric Haskell, Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General
Naitasia Hensey, State Street Corporation
Stephanie Holding, Boston University School of Law
D. Paul Koch, Jr., Finard Properties LLC
Szeman Lam, Proskauer Rose LLP
Kristy Lavigne, Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General
Katie Leung
Brendan Lowd, Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.
Jessica Lu, Brown Rudnick LLP
Yakov Malkiel, White & Case LLP
Lauren Maloney, Vigorito Barker Porter & Patterson LLP
Christina Miller, Suffolk University Law School
Geraldine Muir, Boston University School of Law
Emily Notini, Goodwin Procter LLP
Nicole Phe, Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP
Dana Pierce, State Street Corporation
Amy Pimentel, McDermott Will & Emery
Alex Praschma, Spartan Race, Inc.
Rebekah Provost, Justice Resource Institute: Health Law Institute
Abbigail Shirk, MetroWest Legal Services
Christina Simpson, The Law Office of Christina Simpson
Eileen Sprague, Glynn Law Offices
Katie Stock, Miyares and Harrington, LLP
Ben Towbin, LibbyHoopes, P.C.
Sheba Varughese, Greater Boston Legal Services
Christine Wahr, McDermott Will & Emery
Chaloea Williams, U.S. District Court-MA
Samuel Zuckernik, Smith Duggan Buell & Rufo LLP

If you’re interested in signing up either as a bar applicant or a coach ahead of the July exam, please visit our website here.