Law Student Forum Holds Mental Health Panel

Last week, the BBA’s Law Student Forum hosted a panel discussion on managing mental health in law school in partnership with the BBA’s Committee for Attorneys with Disabilities. The event, led and organized by Suffolk Law Student Ambassadors Brittney McCartney and Jeremy Siegel, tackled head-on the pervasive mental health issues plaguing law school campuses. Attendees of all ages heard from experts, Marilyn Wellington (Board of Bar Overseers), Shawn Healy (Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers), and Professor Lisle Baker (Suffolk University Law School), as they gave their advice on law student well-being, mental health, and bar admission. The panel also featured a question and answer portion, during which a student panel shared their perspectives on the issue.

The idea for the panel came from student representatives on the BBA’s Law Student Advisory Committee, who voiced concerns about the issue from their respective student bodies. More specifically, New England Law students Philjay Solar and Benjamin Cabezas felt the discussion was a necessary step towards reconciliation after having dealt with suicides within their own student body in the past few years. The two students issued the following statement regarding the event:

“Those of us in law school are given the great pleasure of learning the rule of law that governs our society. This endeavor however is not without its pitfalls. The rigorous nature of law school and the emotional toll it takes is well known. We at New England Law | Boston take mental health very seriously. We’re proud to be working with the Boston Bar Association and our fellow Boston law schools to help bring awareness and resources to our collective student populations.”

Overall, the panel served as part of a long-overdue conversation within the legal community about an issue that affects many well before they ever begin practicing. The panelists emphasized that it is imperative that the bar continue to raise awareness around the issue. The diverse range of people in attendance at the event speaks to the fact that there is a widespread desire to finally erase the stigma of mental health issues within the legal community. The BBA is proud to have been able to help our students join this important discussion.

Seeking help? There are several resources available for those who may need assistance, including Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers, which provides free and confidential mental health resources and addiction recovery support for law students and legal professionals. To learn more about Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers, please click 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.

Casino Night: Support the Summer Jobs Program & Boston’s Youth

The Boston Bar Association’s Summer Jobs Program employs dozens of teens each year and is an integral component in connecting high school students with law firms and offices looking to make a positive impact in a student’s life. During employment, students develop invaluable skills in an educational and hands-on professional environment.

Erica Juris, a former intern at Nelson Mullins and current freshman at Pace University, spoke about her time participating in the program. “Last summer I was exposed to so many new aspects of the law that I was unaware of. Between informational interviews with attorneys in the office and having the opportunity to sit in on a hearing in a current case, and just working day-to-day in the office on ongoing cases, I got to learn so much and have experiences I wouldn’t be able to have unless I was a working attorney. This opportunity was crucial in helping me decide the path I want to follow in my future, and my decision to attend law school and become a lawyer.”

Erica shares the same reflective memories with Sarah Ramírez, a former intern at the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, a position that was sponsored by the Boston Bar Foundation’s M. Ellen Carpenter Fund. “The best part of my internship was second sitting ADAs on jury and bench trials at the Dorchester Division of the Boston Municipal Court. There, I studied the cases (the charges, defendants’ and victims’ story) before the trial dates. It was a really good experience for me to witness objections and hear the judges’ rulings on them, in addition to listening to the witness’s testimonies and feeling the tension when cross examination happens.”

Now a junior at Fenway High School, Sarah understands the unique opportunity the Summer Jobs Program provided. “Overall, I got to do office work and witness court proceedings and would recommend this program because this experience opened my eyes to a whole new world about prosecution and it was really interesting to see and learn about talking to witnesses and defense lawyers.”

As we ramp up to celebrate the 10th Annual Casino Night on April 18, 2019, we must recognize that Sarah’s position, as well as seven other positions in 2018, were made possible by the M. Ellen Carpenter Fund. Proceeds from Casino Night support the M. Ellen Carpenter Fund, which provides stipends to a handful of student interns in the Summer Jobs Program, as well as supporting other youth initiatives of the BBA. The interns sponsored by the Carpenter Fund work at public interest organizations, including legal services and courts, over the summer. These students participate in the program alongside interns hired directly by law firms and other legal offices.

Legal offices that choose to participate in the Summer Jobs Program find the experience equally as rewarding as the students. Connecting, mentoring, and educating the youth of Boston creates a brighter and more meaningful future for all.

If you are interested in hiring a student in 2019 or would like more information, please contact Cassandra Shavney at [email protected]. And don’t forget to purchase your tickets to the 10th Annual Casino Night to support the M. Ellen Carpenter Fund!

Pro Bono Opportunity: Assist Veterans Seeking Discharge Upgrades

Established in 2015, the Veterans Justice Pro Bono Partnership at the Veterans Legal Clinic at the Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School assists veterans seeking discharge upgrades. The partnership connects veterans to private attorneys and provides ongoing support and expert resources to those attorneys throughout the case. For the past four years, the BBA has hosted an annual training to introduce interested attorneys to this opportunity and bolster the skillset and knowledge of existing pro bono volunteers. The next training will provide attendees the chance to hear perspectives from the military board of directors for the Air Force, Army, and Navy. They will discuss how the boards operate and how pro bono attorneys can best advocate for their veteran clients. The pro bono training will also include an update about recent changes in the law. You’re invited to attend on Thursday, April 25th from 2:30 – 5:00 PM at the BBA. A networking reception with the Active Duty Military and Veterans Forum will immediately follow the training. Read more and register to attend here.

Note that this training will build on those from 2015-2018. Convenient videos and materials from past trainings are available through our Learn Online library’s dedicated pro bono and public interest page. Easily watch the videos and review the materials whenever your schedule permits and wherever works for you, whether at your office or on the go!

Public Interest Leadership Program Alumni Mingle with Prospective Applicants

Earlier this week, the BBA hosted an information session and alumni reception for its Public Interest Leadership Program. The program, which now includes nearly 200 alumni, is currently seeking applicants for its 16th class. At the information session, Rich Baldwin (PILP 2016-2017, Foley Hoag) described his experience in the program as both inwardly and outwardly fulfilling. Participants in the program meet twice a month and hear from guest speakers across a variety of public interest issue areas. These presentations and conversations enrich the PILP members’ understanding of their community and introduce them to new ways to volunteer and engage with service providers in the Greater Boston area. Additionally, PILP members are each responsible for planning and executing two meetings for the class, as well as working together toward a culminating project for the year. Baldwin spoke about how this project is a significant outward facing element of the program. Each class has the opportunity to dive into a public interest issue area and educate and support their peers and the public through the project. During Baldwin’s PILP year, his class organized and held a symposium at the Boston Bar Association focusing on Constitutional Battlegrounds: Civil Rights in a Changing Landscape. After hearing from Baldwin and BBA Staff, prospective applicants were able to mingle with PILP alumni and hear their perspectives on the program.

The application for the 2019-2020 class is available to download here and is due on March 29th. Applicants must be attorneys within their first 10 years of practice, public interest minded, and able to commit to the 14-month program, beginning in June 2019. Questions about the program or application can be directed to Cassandra Shavney at [email protected]

Members of the first PILP class in 2003-2004 pose in front of the Boston Bar Association’s historic building, the Chester Harding House.

Need an Extra Hand around the Office this Summer?

We’re already looking to summer here at the BBA and are gearing up for our much loved Summer Jobs Program. The program is an integral part of Mayor Walsh’s Summer Jobs Initiative to hire over 10,000 Boston teens each summer. With the help of 24 law offices to secure jobs for nearly 40 teens last year, our program is one of the top eight largest private sector employers in the city. The program is a long-time partnership between the BBA, the City of Boston, Boston Public Schools, and the Boston Private Industry Council (PIC), and provides students who attend public high schools in the city of Boston the chance to gain professional experience and earn a paycheck.

We’re seeking legal offices that have the capacity to hire and support a youth intern for seven weeks over the summer. Our Summer Jobs students have had a successful record helping with many tasks in a busy professional environment, including data-entry, filing, research, receptionist duties, and more. Many of the students selected for the program have prior work experience and all are invested in learning more about the legal profession. We encourage you to contact us to find out how hiring a student can make a difference, for them and for your office!

For more information on the program, please click here. If your office is interested in providing a Boston public high school student with a meaningful professional experience in 2019, please contact Cassandra Shavney at [email protected] for additional information.

Thank you to the firms and law offices that have already pledged to hire a student intern this summer. We’re grateful for your support and dedication to youth employment:

Chu, Ring and Hazel LLP
Conn Kavanaugh
LPL Financial
Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office
Mintz
Nixon Peabody
Nutter
Office of the Corporation Counsel of the City of Boston*
Proskauer
Ropes & Gray*
Sugarman, Rogers, Barshak & Cohen, P.C.
Sunstein Kann Murphy Timbers LLP
Verrill Dana LLP
WilmerHale*

*Hiring more than one student intern

Last year’s interns posed together after their orientation in July. The BBA works with the Boston Private Industry Council to recruit applicants who reside in and attend school across Boston’s 23 neighborhoods.

Public Interest Leadership Program Application Available Now

The Boston Bar Association is pleased to announce that it is now accepting applications for its 2019-2020 class of Public Interest Leaders. The BBA’s Public Interest Leadership Program (PILP) is a unique leadership program for new lawyers that promotes civic engagement and public service by advancing the leadership role of lawyers in service to their community, the profession, and the Commonwealth.

If you’re interested in learning more the program, we invite you to join us on Tuesday, March 12th from 5:30 PM – 7:00 PM at the BBA. The information session will feature PILP alumni who will provide insight into the program, discuss the application process, reflect on their experiences, and answer questions. If you’d like to attend, please register here.

Eligible applicants are BBA Members who have graduated law school within the past 10 years and demonstrate a commitment to public service and their community. The Program has four specific purposes:

  • To identify and recognize present and future leaders in the BBA and the Boston legal community.
  • To contribute to the professional and leadership development of promising young attorneys.
  • To integrate young leaders into the BBA and its public service landscape — at the same time significantly contributing to the public interest.
  • To build a powerful alumni network of lawyer leaders who, by their actions, demonstrate that part of being a successful lawyer is giving back to the community.

To download the application, please click here. Applications are due March 29, 2019  to Francine Alexandre at [email protected]

The current PILP class consists of 23 accomplished attorneys selected due to their commitment to pro bono and community service. Each accomplished in their field, they’re joining a network of nearly 200 PILP alumni who’ve gone on to serve the BBA in other capacities and carry their passion for serving the public interest into the community.

CORI Experts Train Over 50 Potential Volunteers

Ahead of the Boston Bar Association’s first CORI Sealing Clinic over 50 attorneys and law students attended a training to learn about the sealing process. As many of the potential volunteers were new to this topic, Agapi Koulouris (Department of Criminal Justice Information Services) opened by reviewing precisely what information is kept on a CORI (Criminal Offender Record Information) and the visibility of that information to potential employers or housing providers. Following Koulouris, Sarah Joss (Office of the Commissioner of Probation) reviewed the administrative sealing process, which individuals can pursue when they have met the sealing waiting periods. These waiting periods were recently decreased (from 5 years to 3 years for a misdemeanor and from 10 years to 7 years for a felony) with the passage of the Criminal Justice Reform Bill last year. To start, the BBA’s clinic will primarily assist clients with obtaining their CORI and administrative sealing, and then it will transition into assisting clients with sealing prior to hitting their waiting period benchmark. Pauline Quirion and Vanessa Dennis (Greater Boston Legal Services) reviewed that process and also touched on the new expungement laws related to juvenile and certain adult criminal records. David Siegel (New England Law | Boston) moderated the panel and encouraged attendees to volunteer for the clinic.

At the first clinic on February 6th, five clients were assisted by our volunteers. These individuals were seeking help requesting their CORI and navigating the administrative sealing process. We anticipate that a few of those individuals will return to the clinic for follow-up and that we’ll see more clients visit in the coming months.

The clinic will take place every first Wednesday of the month from 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM at the Edward Brooke Courthouse. If you or your firm is interested in becoming involved, contact Cassandra Shavney at [email protected]

VLP Announces October – December 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 October, November, and December through Lawyer for the Day at the Eastern Housing Court:

Gary Allen
Jessica Bergin
Rachel Bier
James Bor-Zale
Gerard Cedrone
Matt Costello
Sarah Frazier
Steven Garza
Sharon V. Jones
Kim Karon
Jeanette Leopold
George Manley
Rachel McCarthy
Madelyn Morris
Kevin C. Mortimer
Yavor Nechev
Vanessa O’Connor
Amy Pearlman
Tim Perla
Julia Prochazka
Stephen Provazza
Joel M. Reck
Rian Rosetti
Greg Schmidt
David Soutter
Lu Wang
Emily Whelan
Lawrence A. Wind
Angela Yoon

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

PILP Hears from ACLU’s Racial Justice Program Director

Guest Post: Janette Ekanem (Greater Boston Legal Services) is a member of the BBA’s 2018-2019 Public Interest Leadership Program.

This past fall, Rahsaan Hall, Director of the Racial Justice Program for the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, spoke to the Public Interest Leadership Program (PILP) about the history of the criminal legal system, (a term he prefers to criminal justice system) and efforts to reform the system within Massachusetts.

In Massachusetts last year, five out of eleven races for district attorney were contested and as a result, reform of the criminal legal system has been at the forefront of voters’ minds.  Attorney Hall noted that although police have power, district attorneys are the most powerful people in the criminal legal system because they decide who gets charged with a crime, and they determine how most criminal cases are resolved.  

Attorney Hall’s remarks challenged PILP participants to deeply examine the historical roots of the criminal legal system and how the history of the system has continued to further racial disparities.  PILP members learned that despite being branded as a liberal state, Massachusetts has some of the worst racial disparities in the criminal legal system when compared to other states in the country.     

The need to address these troubling disparities guided the Boston Bar’s own report on criminal justice reform released in the lead-up to the reforms made last session. You can learn more about that report, titled, No Time to Wait, here.  

Due to the renewed attention on criminal justice reform in Massachusetts, Attorney Hall urges voters to reframe how they think about the criminal legal system and use their voice for the change that they want to see within the system.

For more information on the ACLU’s Racial Justice Program, visit https://www.aclum.org/en/rahsaan-d-hall-director-racial-justice-program.