Two law students who were selected for the BBA’s Diversity & Inclusion Summer Fellowship Program began working at their respective offices this month. Anna Cardoso, a rising 2L at Boston University School of Law, is working at the Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General, and Emaan Syed, a rising 3L at Suffolk Law School, is working at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Massachusetts, under Justice Melvin S. Hoffman. Both of these students have outstanding records of academic and professional accomplishments, and have demonstrated a strong commitment to advancing diversity and inclusion within the legal profession. To learn more about the 2019 Fellows and the program, please click here.
Each year, thanks to generous donations to the Boston Bar Foundation’s M. Ellen Carpenter Fund, high school students are provided with the opportunity to work in local legal services organizations, courts, and government offices through the BBA’s Summer Jobs Program. This summer, six Boston Public School students will have the opportunity to earn a paycheck through Boston Bar Foundation funding while developing critical professional skills and providing support to a legal office in the city. The following organizations will be hosting BBF-sponsored interns:
• Executive Office of Health and Human Services
• Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation
• Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office
• U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Massachusetts, Clerk’s Office
• U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts, Ward Fellowship
• Volunteer Lawyers Project
We’re also grateful to the 22 law firms and government agencies that are directly hiring students this summer.
The Summer Jobs Program will kick off its 26th year on July 8. In addition to working at the employer offices, the students will participate in special enrichment programming at the BBA each week to learn about the legal field and gain professional skills. Stay tuned for updates on the students’ activities throughout the summer!
In two months, Boston public high school students will gather at the BBA on the morning of their first day of a 7-week summer internship. Each of the students applied to the program hoping to gain insight into the legal profession while honing critical office skills. Throughout July and August they will work with attorneys and office staff assisting with general administrative tasks such as data entry and front desk coverage, as well as more specialized project including translation. Over 20 firms and law offices have already pledged to hire a student this summer, but there’s still time for your office to come on board.
The BBA’s Summer Jobs Program is one of many programs partnering with Mayor Walsh’s Summer Jobs Initiative, which aims to employ over 10,000 Boston teens each summer. However, it is the only opportunity available to BPS students interested in pursuing a legal career, and these opportunities wouldn’t be possible without the commitment of numerous firms, in-house departments, government agencies, courts, and legal services organizations.
To learn more about how to hire a student this summer or if you’d like to donate to support a student’s position at a non-profit or government agency contact Cassandra Shavney at [email protected] by May 15th.
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.
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].
Since 2015, the Boston Bar Exam Coaching Program has matched 141 coaches and 205 bar applicants ahead of each bar exam iteration in Massachusetts. Involvement in this program offers both exam takers and coaches a unique opportunity to form a mentor and mentee connection that may extend beyond the volunteer months.
For this week’s Throwback Thursday, let’s take it back to 2015 and read the first-hand experience of former Bar coach, Kate Cook of Sugarman Rogers, that proves hard work and determination pay off, and the importance of remaining positive while mentoring an aspiring lawyer.
If you are taking the Bar Exam in July and would like the support of a coach, or are interested in volunteering as a coach, please click here.
Civil Rights & Civil Liberties Co-Chair Kate Cook Reflects on Bar Coaching
Original Publication Date: 2015
“As BBA Civil Rights & Civil Liberties Section Co-Chair Kate Cook left the BBA’s Annual Meeting Luncheon last week, she checked her phone and saw she had a missed call. It was from the law school graduate Cook had mentored as part of the BBA’s Bar Coaching Program.
The pair first met in January, after Cook’s mentee had not passed the Bar Exam on her first attempt. In spite of young woman’s continued diligence and Cook’s best efforts as a coach, the bar exam applicant did not pass a second time over the summer. Cook felt she had let the aspiring lawyer down. But after a pep talk from Chief Justice Ordonez, who helped launch the Bar Coaching Program in 2015, Cook resolved to stay focused, positive, and determined to help her coaching partner pass.
When Cook was able to connect with her coaching partner last week, she learned their hard work had paid off!
“I believe the Bar Exam Coaching Program can and does make a difference. I am so pleased that my mentee (and now friend) will soon join the Bar. I can’t wait to see all the great things she accomplishes,” Cook said.
For more information on the Bar Coaching Program, please click here.”
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.
Beck Reed Riden LLP
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts
Boston Planning & Development Agency
Burns & Levinson
Casner & Edwards
Committee for Public Counsel Services
Fitch Law Partners LLP
Krokidas & Bluestein
Laredo & Smith, LLP
Locke Lord LLP
Office of the Corporation Counsel of the City of Boston
Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General
Peabody & Arnold
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.
Earlier this winter, The Boston Bar Association announced its new Diversity & Inclusion Summer Fellowship Program, giving two outstanding law students access to critical work experience through paid summer internships. These internships provide practical experience in developing legal research and writing skills, expanding professional networks, and accessing tailored programming at the BBA.
This year’s summer interns are Anna Cardoso, a first-year Boston University Law student, who will be interning at the Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General, and Emaan Syed, second-year Suffolk University Law student, who will be interning at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Massachusetts, under Justice Melvin S. Hoffman.
Cardoso previously interned with Bay Area Legal Aid as a JusticeCorps member, where she discovered how income equality and lack of access to healthcare, healthy housing, and support keeps domestic violence victims in a cycle of violence. She also assisted litigants with filing court forms and writing declarations in support of these forms, which helped her effectively communicate legal issues to individuals without legal experience. She noted on her application, “I am dedicated to advancing social justice and equity from all sides. Preventing health care abuse is particularly important to me because no one deserves to be exploited at their most vulnerable.”
Syed’s focus is on bankruptcy law. She worked at BNY Melon as a fund accountant, where she managed accounting and custody reporting for several billion-dollar portfolios. She also interned at both the Massachusetts Division of Professional Licensure and at the Massachusetts Appleseed Center, where she researched the effects of the court cell phone ban policy on indigent clients. From her application, she stated, “As a Pakistani Muslim immigrant, I understand that it is of utmost importance to look at the disparity of low-income families and individuals and address the issues the people in these communities face. As an intern at the Bankruptcy Court, I will use my experience to pursue a career in protecting and advocating for the underprivileged, an opportunity that I hold as an honor in the ability to better their lives.”
These new internships supplement the BBA’s longstanding summer internship program, which has been providing unpaid legal internships for law students from diverse backgrounds to work in courts and government offices across the Commonwealth for nearly a decade. More than 130 promising law students have participated in the program, gaining critical work experience through this unique opportunity.
Funding for these new positions has been provided by the Boston Bar Foundation (BBF). A generous donation provided to the BBF will provide a $5,000 stipend to the intern at the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office. Funding for a second $5,000 stipend for the intern working in the judges’ chambers of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court will be provided by the BBF’s Charles P. Normandin Fund. Established in 2006, this fund supports the BBA’s bankruptcy law-related public service projects, including our popular M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program.
We’re proud to expand our existing diversity initiatives, and to further support the passion and commitment of law students dedicated to the public interest.
Our popular Law Day in the Schools Program kicks off in May in Boston Public School classrooms across the city. Over 70 classrooms will be visited by volunteer lawyers and law students where youth in kindergarten through 12th grade will learn about free speech rights. This year’s lesson will introduce those rights and will demonstrate their importance in creating an equitable society. The younger students will learn about Malala Yousafzai’s mission to promote education for all, while the older students will participate in a mock city council meeting regarding Confederate monuments. For many of the students, this program offers the only opportunity for them to meet and talk with a lawyer.
As a volunteer, you’ll sign-up for the 1-hour slot that works for your schedule and location preferences. Each class has space for two volunteers, so you’re also able to sign-up with a friend or colleague (all volunteers must be BBA Members). The BBA provides a step-by-step lesson plan to all volunteers, as well as detailed information about the class you’ll be visiting. Ahead of the first session in May, volunteers are also invited to attend an optional training session to review the lesson plans and meet with two Boston Public School teachers.
Spots are filling quickly! Sign-up today to secure your volunteer slot. View all available slots and sign-up here.
Attorneys and law students with Spanish or Mandarin language skills are especially encouraged to sign-up.
Each year, the BBA connects with outgoing Summer Job Students to hear how their experience in the program shaped future goals, helped to develop personal and professional skills, and what lessons were learned during this one-of-a-kind mentorship opportunity. With warm weather and the BBA Summer Jobs Program quickly approaching, let’s dive into the archives of the Summer Jobs Student Spotlights and revisit a few of the most memorable student recounts.
After walking down memory lane with us, consider hiring a student in your office this summer. If your firm or office is interested in participating, please contact Cassandra Shavney at [email protected].
Relationship Building at Mintz – Vivian Tran – 2018
While Tran isn’t sure whether she wants to go to law school or pursue a career in a law firm, she picked up many administrative skills that are transferable to any office environment. Perhaps more importantly, Tran feels that she learned how to come out of her shell in a professional setting.
“Everyone talks about how important it is to develop relationships, so I’ve tried to really overcome being shy. Compared to when I started, meeting people is much less awkward,” she said.
#tbt to 2002 when these interns were eagerly awaiting the release of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets in theaters that fall
Personalities Shine Through at Nelson Mullins – Lily Doyle – 2017
Working at a law firm helped to prepare her for future office experiences.
“I got a sense of a nine-to-five job for the first time. This is also my first job where I am the only person my age,” she said.
Doyle says she could see herself becoming a litigator in the future, because she finds litigation to be the most fascinating aspect of practicing law. She also enjoyed learning more about city government during the BBA’s mock city council hearing, which the students participated in by debating a fictional city ordinance.
“Working here was different than I expected. From the outside, law firms can seem bureaucratic and not as personal, but I saw the attorneys laugh with each other a lot and everyone seems very close. I’m glad I had the opportunity to learn more about the people,” she said.
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.”
#tbt to when the BBA’s Conference Center sported floor length curtains and Michael Phelps won 6 gold medals at the 2004 Athens Summer Olympics
Hermuna may not know yet what type of law she’d want to focus on if she continues on to law school, but she has no shortage of opportunities to learn at DLA Piper, including seminars and training programs with different firm attorneys coming up. “I know a lot more than I did my first day here, and I’m so glad I’m working here and know all of these great people,” Hermuna said with a smile. “If I decide to go to law school and already know all of this legal knowledge, it could really help me. It’s been a great opportunity for me.”
Erik says he was previously interested in law and criminal justice, and wanted to learn more about how lawyers practiced in a company like LPL Financial. “The most interesting part is seeing myself grow and getting a new perspective. It’s different from a normal law firm – what I do has a financial basis, and I’m not working with specific cases. I wanted to explore this side of the law because I’d never thought about it before.”
#tbt to blue BBA banners and Wicked opening on Broadway in 2003
“Thanks to the Boston Bar Association and Nixon Peabody, and all the amazing, dedicated people I met there from the mail rooms to the corner offices, I’m going into my senior year with skills that some only acquire after college, experience that is usual for second-year law students, and I’m very grateful for that chance. I sincerely hope that this program can continue and keep giving kids like me and all my fellow students in the audience this kind of chance to make money, learn, and excel.”