CEASE Network Combats Human Trafficking in Boston

Last week, representatives from Cities Empowered Against Sexual Exploitation (CEASE) – Boston spoke to attorneys on the prevalence of human trafficking in Boston. As a topic not widely discussed, it’s easy to assume human trafficking does not happen in our city. However, 14 is the average age of young women in Boston entering the sex trade and over 20,000 ads for paid sex are posted monthly in Boston alone. Lieutenant Donna Gavin (Boston Police Department) and Dhakir Warren (Demand Abolition) belong to the CEASE Network and presented these statistics along with their approach to combat demand. Through “buyer beware” campaigns, they hope to dissuade buyers, primarily older, married men with expendable income, from searching for and purchasing sex online.  Warren noted that when one sex trafficker is arrested, four more will pop up to take over the lucrative business. By curbing demand, CEASE hopes to halt the business altogether.

A recent Boston Globe article quotes Lieutenant Gavin and features a young woman whose story is like so many of those who are swept into the sex trade. For a glimpse of what’s happening in Boston, read the article here.

If you were unable to attend the program at the BBA and would like to view a video recording, please email Cassandra Shavney at [email protected].

PILP Meets with Juvenile Probation Officer Michael Gilraine

Rounding out the Public Interest Leadership Program’s month discussing juvenile justice, the class heard from Michael Gilraine, a juvenile probation officer at Suffolk Juvenile Court. Gilraine opened by describing the basic difference between child delinquency cases, when a juvenile is charged with a crime, and Child Requiring Assistance (CRA) cases, ones in which a child’s guardian or school files with the court on behalf of a child requiring assistance. A child may be referred to the court for a number of reasons (stubbornness, truancy, etc.) which are outlined in the Suffolk Juvenile Court’s Handbook. The Handbook also describes the various courses of action a juvenile may take after their initial meeting with a probation officer. The severity of a child’s situation generally determines the child’s plan.

Gilraine’s work is rewarding, he says. Friday is his favorite day of the week, when he visits area schools to check in with students and their teachers. He said it’s great to see when students are in school and are proud of the work they’re accomplishing.

If you’d like to work on family law issues, the Volunteer Lawyers Project of the Boston Bar Association* hosts both a Family Law Clinic and Guardianship Clinics. You can find more information on their website.

*The Volunteer Lawyers Project of the Boston Bar Association is a 2016 grantee of the Boston Bar Foundation.

Host a High School Student During Job Shadow Day

Don’t miss the Boston Private Industry Council (PIC)’s annual Job Shadow Day. As you may know, the PIC is one of our partners for the BBA Summer Jobs Program. With nearly 1,000 Boston public high school students participating each year, Job Shadow Day is a great place for employers to meet high school students who are eager to explore legal careers. This event, which serves as a precursor to Mayor Walsh’s citywide Summer Jobs Program, allows students to shadow professionals for a morning to give them a firsthand look into the skills and education needed to pursue a career in the legal field.

In the past, many of our Summer Jobs employers have identified eager students through this program to work in their offices through the BBA Summer Jobs Program.

Interested in getting involved? This half day program will take place on Friday, March 10th. If you’d like to host a student, please email Cassandra Shavney at [email protected].

Legal Services Organizations Detail Upcoming Pro Bono Trainings

Over the next few weeks, we have a busy schedule of pro bono trainings available to attorneys who are looking for ways to help those in need. Besides the clients who benefit from pro bono services, there’s no one better to explain why these trainings are so important than the attorneys who lead them!

We asked Emily Jarrell (Volunteer Lawyers Project of the Boston Bar Association) and Seth Purcell (Political Asylum/Immigration Representation Project) to talk about two panels coming up at the BBA.

How to Prepare a Pro Bono Bankruptcy Case
Tuesday, January 31, 2017 3:30 PM to 7:00 PM
Boston Bar Association – 16 Beacon Street, Boston, MA

“At this training, attorneys will learn the basics of filing Chapter 7. It will have a particular emphasis on helping low-income clients. The Volunteer Lawyer’s Project works with low-income clients with a simple Chapter 7 case, but having an attorney makes a big difference for the client, because it stops the debt collection calls and stops the court proceedings that may be taking them out of work and causing extra stress. The training is tailored to attorneys looking to take their first bankruptcy case,” Jarrell said.

She also noted that attendees will get an overview of the resources available to them through VLP, such as mentoring for new attorneys and a bankruptcy filing system.

Pro Bono Training: Representing Asylum Seekers
Monday, February 6, 2017 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Boston Bar Association – 16 Beacon Street, Boston, MA

“We are one of many organizations watching closely, and we anticipate a lot of rapid policy changes under the new administration. This training will give attorneys the opportunity to become familiar with the basics of asylum law, including the differences between filing an affirmative application and a defensive application. Asylum law is something that many attorneys may not be familiar with from their regular practice, so we always appreciate the opportunity to hold these trainings at the BBA,” Purcell said.

Purcell also said the training will cover important issue associated with asylum cases, such as strategies for helping clients that have been through extreme physical and/or emotional trauma. The training will also cover the importance of testimony from medical experts in asylum cases.

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.

PILP Kicks Off the New Year Discussing Juvenile Justice

Earlier this month, the Public Interest Leadership Program (PILP) met with Professor Francine Sherman of Boston College Law School who has been teaching Juvenile Justice and Children’s Rights & Public Policy for two decades. Professor Sherman founded and directs the Juvenile Rights Advocacy Program at BC Law and is certainly an expert on the subject, and she provided a comprehensive overview of the topic for PILP. She discussed the two approaches to juvenile justice, social welfare and social control, and the historical practices behind both concepts.

Over the past century, juvenile justice has varied from being an institutionalized system linked to criminal justice to a support system for children whose parents are unable to care for the child. More recently, from the 1990s to mid-2000s, juvenile justice took on the “do the crime, do the time” mantra and resulted in more youth entering the adult criminal justice system.  Then, Professor Sherman described the switch that’s been taking place from 2005 for juvenile justice to move back to the social welfare concept. Supreme Court cases including Roper v Simmons (2005), Graham v. Florida (2010), and Miller v. Alabama (2012), which extended Graham v. Florida all moved juvenile justice away from mirroring the adult system. Juvenile justice continues to evolve as many of laws are state/county based and after Miller v. Alabama, many states’ laws were unconstitutional. Professor Sherman also noted the movement toward “fairness” in the system and acknowledging childhood development.

Concluding, Professor Sherman noted the 3 “R’s” of supporting juveniles who’ve found themselves in the justice system: rights, remedies, and resources. From her perspective, the resources component is the most lacking. However, if you would like to support youth in need of legal aid, there are a number of organizations in the Boston area in need of volunteers and support. Two organizations Professor Sherman suggests looking into are the EdLaw Project* and Citizens for Juvenile Justice.

*The EdLaw Project’s parent organization, the Children’s Law Center of Massachusetts is a 2016 grantee of the Boston Bar Foundation.

Walk to the Hill is Almost Here! Speak Up For Civil Legal Aid

Join the BBA on Thursday, January 26th as we advocate for state funding of civil legal aid and equal justice for all at Walk to the Hill! Funding is critical to legal aid programs around the state that provide free legal advice and representation to low-income individuals and families that are facing critical, non-criminal legal problems.  At Walk to the Hill, after a short speaking program, attorneys and law students visit the offices of their representatives and senators and voice their support for civil legal aid.

We invite you to join us to show your support!

Schedule of Events:

9:00AM – Meet at Boston Bar Association for Breakfast and Discourse;

11:00AM to 11:30AM – Walk over to State House and Check-In;

11:30AM to 12:00PM – Speaking Program at State House, featuring

  • Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph Gants
  • Boston Bar Association President Carol Starkey
  • Equal Justice Coalition Chair Louis Tompros
  • Massachusetts Bar Association President Jeffrey Catalano
  • Client speaker
  • Greater Boston Legal Services Executive Director Jacquelynne Bowman

12:00PM   Conclusion of speaking program; beginning of legislative visits

12:30PM    Lunch and return of legislative response sheets

The BBA will be hosting a breakfast for all those participating on January 26, 2016, at 9:00AM here at 16 Beacon Street, then take the short walk to the State House together at 11:00AM. Register here!

Support Increased Funding for Civil Legal Aid

Step up with more than 500 attorneys and law students on Thursday, January 26 as they Walk to the Hill in support of Civil Legal Aid.

You’ll be in good company with notable participants including managing partners of Boston’s largest law firms, legal services & bar association leaders, and fellow members of the Boston Bar Association – all joining together to meet with State Representatives at the Massachusetts State House.

What is Walk to the Hill?

Walk to the Hill is one of the largest lobby days at the Massachusetts State House, bringing people from all corners of the Commonwealth’s legal community together for the cause of equal access to justice for all.

State funding is absolutely critical to civil legal aid programs that provide free legal advice and representation to low-income individuals and families that are facing critical, non-criminal legal problems. These programs also offer valuable training and internship opportunities for law students like you. At Walk to the Hill, after a short speaking program, attorneys and law students visit the offices of their representatives and senators and voice their support for civil legal aid.

If you believe in access to justice, particularly for the most vulnerable members of our community, we invite you to JOIN US to show your support for state funding of civil legal aid on Thursday, January 26.

How can I get involved?

  • Listen to our Podcast – Take a listen to our podcast on the topic, Geeking Out on the State Budget.
  • Share with your friends! Know someone who has or who will be volunteering with a MA legal service organization? This lobby day is critical to the collective health of their programs. Don’t miss this opportunity to support the work they do in the community. Use hashtag #IWalkforJustice to engage with @EqualJusticeMA online.
  • Join us for Breakfast – On the morning of the event (Thursday, January 26) the BBA will host an open house breakfast from 8:30am – 10:30am where attorneys and law students can gather to discuss the issue of the day before heading across the street to the State House. Let us know to expect you by RSVP’ing here.
  • Attend Walk to the Hill! Come to the State House on January 26. Attorneys and law students will gather in the Great Hall of the Massachusetts State House from 11:00am – 1:00pm, drop in if your class schedule permits and rub elbows with political and legal movers and shakers who are like-minded!

Attend an Upcoming Public Service Program at the BBA!

Start your new year by attending one of the BBA’s upcoming public service programs. From pro bono trainings to informational brown bags, there’s sure to be a program that interests you. Take a look below!

No Buyers, No Business. Combatting Human Trafficking by Targeting the Demand
Monday, January 23, 2017, 12:30 PM to 1:30 PM
At this program, you’ll learn the role of demand reduction in combatting commercial sexual exploitation, the scope of the issue of commercial exploitation in Boston, local efforts deployed by CEASE Boston to combat demand, and the role prosecutorial innovation can play in support of efforts to increase the consequential penalties for the purchase of illegal commercial sex by buyers.

Pro Bono Training: How to Prepare a Bankruptcy
Tuesday, January 31, 2017, 3:30 PM to 7:00 PM

This training will inform attendees how to take on pro bono bankruptcy cases and represent pro bono debtors.

Pro Bono Training: Representing Debtors in Small Claims Court
Thursday, February 9, 2017, 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM

The panelists will discuss the launch of the Lawyer for the Day Fair Debt Collection Clinic in Small Claims Court at the Boston Municipal Court Central Division and how attorneys can volunteer at the clinic.

Gearing Up for Walk to the Hill on January 26, 2017

The BBA invites its members to support efforts to increase funding for legal aid by partaking in the 2017 Walk to the Hill on January 26, 2017. Walk to the Hill is one of the largest lobbying events held at the Massachusetts State House. This annual event is critical to obtaining funding for civil legal services. We’ll be gearing up all month to get you the information you need to know!

Here’s how you can get informed & get involved!

On Wednesday, January 11th, join us for a briefing about the issues at hand. We’ll welcome representatives from the Equal Justice Coalition who will outline this year’s appeal and speak with BBA Members about what to expect in advance of January 26th’s Walk to the Hill for Civil Legal Aid. Register to attend the Walk to the Hill Briefing here.

On January 26th, be sure to join us for Breakfast before heading to the State House. We’ll be welcoming members with hot coffee and breakfast treats starting at 9:00am and will walk over to the Great Hall at 10:30am. Let us know if you’ll be joining us for breakfast here.

2017 is a very important year for civil legal aid. Following “Investing in Justice,” the report of the BBA Statewide Task Force to Expand Civil Legal Aid in Massachusetts, we now know more about the justice gap than every before. We know that nearly 2/3 of eligible individuals are turned away from legal aid services for essential life necessities such as shelter or protection from an abuser due to lack of providers. This results in an untold amount of individual hardships and a glut of pro se litigants, straining the courts and hindering access to justice. In addition, our society must bear the costs of police, shelter, and medical services arising as a result. “Investing in Justice” demonstrates that funding civil legal aid will result in substantial cost savings for the Commonwealth.

Want to know more about the State Budget? Check out the BBA’s Government Relations Podcast, Geeking out on the State Budget!

Looking for even more information? Contact Cassandra Shavney at [email protected].