BBA Steps up Mentoring Programs in the Face of Uncertainty in the Profession

Law School Graduate Mentoring:

The 2020 Law School Graduates face unprecedented barriers to entering the legal profession and the BBA rolled out an expanded mentoring program to help in this time of transition. The expanded mentoring program consists of two forms of mentorship: Bar Coaching and Career Transition Coaching. You can learn more about the programs here.

We have already successfully matched nearly 40 pairs of mentors and mentees who are meeting regularly (virtually, of course). Mentors and mentees alike are benefiting from the program. Some early feedback we have received on the program so far includes: “The conversation [with my mentor] was very helpful and motivating. She helped me think through some important study habits and offered some guidance and insight that was very productive.” Another participant remarked, “I found [my mentor] exceptionally kind and willing to help, which was very nice and very welcome. I am grateful for this program this year, since the future seems so uncertain. Thank you so much for administering it!”

If you are interested in signing up to receive a mentor, you can do so by completing this sign-up form. Those seeking to participate as a mentor can sign up here.

Family Law Mentoring:

This year, the Family Law Section launched a new pilot mentoring program that matched experienced family law practitioners willing to offer guidance to new lawyers practicing, or considering practicing, family law. Mentors offer newer lawyers guidance on topics like: networking and business development skills, resume writing or interview prep, professionalism, general information regarding the Boston legal community and what it’s like to practice family law here. To date we have matched 16 pairs of mentors and mentees who are connecting regularly.

If you are interested in signing up to receive a mentor, you can do so by completing this sign-up form. Those seeking to participate as a mentor can sign up here.

Active Duty Military and Veterans Forum Mentoring:

The BBA remains committed to service members, and those that support them, in the legal community. The BBA’s Military & Veterans Mentoring Program connects students, or those new to the Boston area or legal practice, with more senior members that share their unique perspective: they are, were, or advocate for, our service men and women. Over the last few years of the program we have supported as many as 55 matched pairs of mentors and mentees, we currently support 22 pairs of mentors and mentees that meet regularly, and we are always looking to make additional matches for this one of a kind program.  

Mentees of this program benefit from guidance on resume writing, interview prep, learning about Boston’s legal community, as well as the aspects of mentoring that can only be found in this forum: transitioning from the military to a legal career or how to balance both military and civilian lives.

If you are interested in signing up to receive a mentor, you can do so by completing this sign-up form. Those seeking to participate as a mentor can sign up here.

Lawyers for Civil Rights – Pro Bono Housing Opportunity

Lawyers for Civil Rights (“LCR”) is seeking volunteer attorneys, paralegals, and law students to help low-income families at risk of housing insecurity to apply for rental relief through the Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (“RAFT”) program, a one-time grant administered by MetroHousing Boston that provides financial support to families experiencing housing crisis. The concurrent and overlapping public health and economic crises have devastated low-income communities of color and exacerbated housing instability. For many, RAFT is the only way to weather this storm and gain life-saving rental assistance. 

LCR is recruiting volunteers to work with families applying for RAFT assistance. Volunteering will provide opportunities to work one-on-one with clients, collecting and analyzing documentation, liaising with property owners, and completing RAFT application materials. In addition to a one-time 2 hour training, all volunteers will be asked to devote at least 15 hours to supporting RAFT applicants. This time can be committed in a 1 week period or across multiple weeks. RAFT is not adversarial, but we will provide information for conflict checks or due diligence to volunteers to help them make the appropriate determinations before accepting a particular case.

No background knowledge of housing issues or the RAFT program is required.

Volunteers proficient in Spanish are particularly encouraged to apply!

For inquiries, please contact

BBA Hosts “How to be an Effective Ally” Webinar

On Tuesday, June 30th, the BBA was honored to host a webinar on allyship in the workplace sponsored by the BBA’s Diversity & Inclusion Section. The program focused on the importance of allies to marginalized groups, as well as on practical tips for those who seek to be allies and what they can do to be more impactful and considerate. 300 individuals registered to attend the program, moderated by Bill Gabovitch, In-house Counsel at Primark US Corporation. Our four distinguished panelists were as follows:

  • Laura Rees Acosta: Managing Director of Diversity & Inclusion at Goodwin
  • Ben Sigel: Candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in Massachusetts’ 4th Congressional District and President of the Hispanic National Bar Association – Region 1
  • Nahomi Carlisle: Director of Diversity & Inclusion & ADA Compliance at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health
  • Jamie Whitney: Senior Vice President and Head of Legal at State Street Corporation.

Some topics covered included the importance of tact when seeking to be an ally. Allies need to be mindful of how marginalized communities have felt the pain that comes with the subject matter, and avoid the contention “I’ve read all the books, therefore I understand.” It was also noted that the action of allyship must be shared by all, not simply by one department in a company or exclusively by marginalized groups.

A list of additional resources on the topic of allyship compiled by Jameel Moore of the U.S. Department of the Interior can be found at this link. This includes suggested readings, books, podcasts, films and other resources on the topic.

If you missed the program, don’t worry – it can be viewed in full for no charge at this link. You can also listen to the program as a podcast here. If you have any questions about this program, please contact Doug Newton at

BBA & SJC Standing Committee on Lawyer Well-Being Collaborate on Affinity Bar Town Halls

The Boston Bar Association is pleased to collaborate with the SJC Standing Committee on Lawyer Well-Being to support a series of Affinity Bar Town Halls engaging with members of the legal community in candid discussions on well-being challenges.

The SJC Committee’s July 2019 Report identified the need for “[a] strong and on-going commitment to enhancing diversity, equity and inclusion in all our practices to improve our individual and collective well-being.” As a way to foster conversation on that topic, the SJC Committee is hosting a series of Town Hall style meetings with individual Affinity Bar Associations to discuss specific well-being challenges for their communities and ideas for change. We want to thank the Affinity Bar Associations – listed below – that have already hosted Town Halls in the pursuit of greater well-being for lawyers and legal professionals throughout the Commonwealth. We encourage interested members to reach out to Heidi Alexander at for more information.

BBA Announcing 2020 Law School Graduate Mentoring Program!

The BBA is thrilled to announce our new mentoring program that will provide mentorship to recent law school graduates! Our program consists of two forms of mentorship: Bar Coaching and Career Transition Coaching.

Bar Coaching will assist new graduates as they prepare to sit for the most unique bar exam in recent history. There will be additional hurdles and stressors unique to this bar exam season. This year’s Bar Coaching Program will address these unique concerns and offer support to exam takers. Coaches will assist graduates with study schedules, stress management, and other non-substantive aspects of preparing for the exam. Graduates can also expect supplemental programming from the BBA such as essay writing and attacking the multiple choice.

Career Transition Coaching takes graduates beyond the Bar Exam and helps prepare them for entering the practice of law. Graduates can expect help with their resumes, networking, interview preparation as well as general guidance on practicing in the Boston area. The program will also be supported by regular roundtable events in which participants can network and learn from each other’s experiences.

Graduates and Mentors can sign up to participate in one or both programs!

If you are a recent graduate that would like to participate in one or both programs, please complete this online information form

Interested in volunteering as a mentor?:

We are seeking lawyers who are interested in coaching recent graduates as they study for the bar and prepare to enter the profession of law. Mentors can volunteer to coach graduates for the bar, transitioning into the profession, or both. Training resources and guidance are provided by the BBA. Meeting schedules are determined by the mentor-mentee pair, though roughly once every 1-2 weeks is typical.

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

For more information on the Bar Exam and Transition Coaching Program, please contact Doug Newton, Community Programs Assistant, at or 617-778-1918.

BBA Announces New Family Law Mentoring Program

How to participate (Mentors):

The Family Law Section is launching a new pilot mentoring program. We are currently seeking experienced family law practitioners willing to offer guidance to new lawyers who are practicing family law or considering practicing family law. BBA members with five years or more of family law experience are eligible to sign-up as mentors. Mentors will be matched with a new lawyer. A mentor can offer guidance on topics like networking and business development skills, resume writing or interview prep, professionalism, general information regarding the Boston legal community and what it’s like to practice family law here. Mentors are asked to commit to connecting with their mentee 1-2 times a month for a 12-month period for this pilot programming.

Click here to complete the online sign-up form. We will begin matching mentors and mentees in mid June, and continue to make matches as new mentors and mentees sign up. The Section will host a roundtable on tips and tricks for mentoring.

How to participate (Mentees):

New or aspiring family law practitioners are invited to sign up to receive mentorship through the BBA’s Pilot Family Law Mentoring Program, which connects new lawyers to the Boston area with more senior members of Bar. 

BBA members who are less than 5 years in practice are invited to sign-up. Mentees can request mentorship and guidance on specific skills, like resume writing or interview prep, or may simply be seeking to connect with a more experienced attorney to learn about the ins and outs of Boston’s legal community.

Click here to complete the online sign-up form. We will begin matching mentors and mentees in mid June, and continue to make matches as new mentors and mentees sign up.

For more information contact Doug Newton at

Students Selected for the BBA’s Diversity & Inclusion Fellowship Program

Last year, the Boston Bar Association announced its new Diversity & Inclusion Summer Fellowship Program, which gave two outstanding law students access to critical work experience through paid summer internships. This year, three fellowship positions were made available through generous support of the Boston Bar Foundation.

These internships provide practical experience in developing legal research and writing skills, expanding professional networks, and access to programming at the BBA. In addition, the three fellows will be paired with a mentor from the BBA’s Diversity & Inclusion Section.

This year’s summer interns are Rosa Kim, a second-year student from Boston College Law School, who will be interning at the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, Farnaz Daneshvaran, a second-year student from New England Law | Boston, who will be interning at the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, and Donald Slater, a second-year student from Suffolk University Law School, who will be interning at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Massachusetts.

During Rosa Kim’s undergraduate studies at the University of Texas at Austin, she championed the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women as the Philanthropy Chair. This helped fuel her desire for public advocacy and to bring awareness to this underground crime. Her philanthropic nature is also demonstrated by her volunteer work for the Lawyer’s Clearinghouse Clinic where she interviewed clients to assist them with finding the legal help they need for a variety of topics, including public benefits and access to subsidized housing. In her application, Rosa notes, “It is my goal to use my voice on behalf of those who do not have one. As a woman of color, in the legal field, I hope to be a fierce advocate of those who might not have the resources, the means, or the education to advocate for themselves”.

During her undergraduate studies at George Mason University, Farnaz Daneshvaran pursued a degree in Criminology and Psychology with a concentration in Law and Society. Prior to law school, Farnaz worked at a wellness clinic where she assisted in group therapy for children, refugees & asylum seekers. In addition, volunteers with New England Law’s Boston CORI initiative. She notes in her application, “With a legal degree, I can create lasting change in my clients’ lives. The invaluable experience I would obtain at MCAD would propel me to advance in this field”. Farnaz speaks four languages, and further notes, “all of my life experiences introduced me to differing perspectives that increased my awareness. They have encouraged me to lead a life that promotes inclusivity and fairness.”

During his undergrad at University of Connecticut, Donald was initially a computer science major, but transitioned to Political Science to further develop his analysis, research, and writing skills. During this, he grew drawn to finance and started an internship at Trinity College as an operations and logistics manager where he became further interested in business, contracts, and negotiations. His skills and experience in these areas has led him to be interested in bankruptcy law. In his application, Donald notes, “This is the perfect opportunity for me to gain valuable experience and exposure in fields I am interested in as well as fields completely foreign to me. This fellowship will undoubtedly develop me into a more versatile legal scholar and professional.”  Donald also notes about the opportunity to work in the courtroom in Judge Frank J. Bailey’s Chambers, “I aim to learn the intricacies of the legal process from within the courtroom and experience the critical thinking skills of a judge to understand what it takes to represent either side of a legal dispute in my field.”

These fellowships advance the mission of the BBA’s longstanding summer internship program, which has previously provided 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 three 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 has been provided by the BBF’s Charles P. Normandin Fund. Funding for the third position at the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination was made possible by the law firm Pierce Atwood.

Due to the COVID-19 public health crisis, all three fellows will be trained and working remotely.

BBA Interview with David Colarusso, Director of Suffolk University’s Legal Innovation and Technology Lab

Practitioner-in-residence Colarusso, Director of Suffolk University’s Legal Innovation and Technology (LIT) Lab, volunteered some time to catch the BBA up on the new and exciting project the lab is working on in conjunction with the ATJC’s COVID-19 Task Force–one that has the potential to change the way we access the courts entirely. 

What is the document assembly line project? 

Simply put, Colarusso describes it as an open source coding project that creates mobile friendly court forms that can be accessed on any internet device and sent directly to the court. Colarusso, together with Quinten Steenhuis, a clinical fellow in the LIT Lab, as well as a myriad of volunteers, have created a novel digital platform to change the way pro se litigants and advocates alike access the courts. This tightly knit group of volunteers has used an assembly line method (each person completing one piece of the document and then passing it to the next volunteer in the chain) to create mobile friendly court forms that can be accessed and filled out on any internet device–including the ability to sign the document. The forms themselves will be available in multiple languages and work by guiding pro se litigants through plain language interviews so pro se litigants, and/or the advocates assisting them, can easily complete necessary court forms from any computer or mobile device. The completed forms can then be sent directly to the courts for filing. No printing, no physical signing, and no clerk’s windows. 

Learn more by watching Colarusso explain the project in this short video.

How did the project come about?

The project arose from Chief Justice Gants’s call for novel ideas, and the willingness of the Trial Court to consider outside-the-box thinking to preserve access to the courts during the pandemic. The Lab and Steenhuis built upon his previous experience creating GBLS’ MADE tool as a model for how this project could function. Colarusso mobilized twitter and social media to band together over a hundred volunteers across ten time zones, and five continents to coalesce around an idea that has the ability to knock down barriers to justice. By making the code behind this novel platform open source, volunteers can hope to see this platform utilized in their own jurisdictions–with Massachusetts leading the way. This technology allows self represented litigants who may not have printers, scanners, or fax machines, available to most practitioners, to continue to file their necessary legal documents while courts remain closed. 

How can people get involved?

While this project is well on its way, it could still benefit from volunteers–especially subject matter experts like BBA members. If you are interested in learning more about volunteering please click here, or sign up through slack. You do not need to have a software or technology background, there is a job for everyone! 

BBA Interview with Heidi Alexander, Director of the SJC Standing Committee on Lawyer Well-Being

We caught up with Heidi Alexander, Director of the SJC Standing Committee on Lawyer Well-Being to learn about the committee’s latest efforts to help practitioners navigate their practices remotely and manage stress and anxiety during COVID-19.

What has the SJC Standing Committee for Lawyer Well-being seen as the most immediate need for lawyers, law students, and legal professionals as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic?

We know that everyone is experiencing elevated stress related to this pandemic. Many of the areas of need identified in the SJC Steering Committee on Lawyer Well-Being Report in July 19 are now amplified. For example, one of the recommendations from the Report focuses on addressing financial duress, particularly for small firms, government, and legal aid lawyers. Many attorneys are finding themselves under significant financial pressures, out of work, having to lay off employees, and uncertain about sustainability of their firm or job. Another recommendation from the Report encourages an expansion of awareness of, education related to, and resources around lawyer well-being. There couldn’t be a more significant need for resources and services to improve lawyer well-being at this time.

What is the Committee doing to help the legal community during this time? 

The Committee is working collaboratively with its Committee members and community partners to address concerns by the legal community. To keep the public informed as to the ongoing work of the Committee and provide well-being resources, the Committee has launched a website,

We have launched a TechLine to help attorneys navigate technical issues that arise in operating a virtual practice. The TechLine provides attorneys and legal professionals with live one-on-one assistance in selecting, implementing, and troubleshooting technology to operate their practices. Callers receive assistance and support from their fellow lawyers who can identify with and understand the struggles. 

TechLine is available Monday through Friday. Callers should leave a message with their name, phone number, and nature of their request. A volunteer will respond by 5pm. The number is (888) 314-7714. 

More information is available here

For attorneys who need a basic starting point for how to maintain continuity of their practice while away from their office, the Committee’s Simple Remote Work Guide is a distilled summary of the bare necessities for remote practice. The Guide includes questions attorneys should answer when transitioning to remote practice as well as specific options for low-cost technology and video tutorials for easy implementation. You can find that guide here

What is your advice to practitioners to manage stress, anxiety, and promote health & well-being during these uncertain times?

First, prioritize self-care, especially now. There are loads of fantastic resources on self-care and how to manage stress during this time. Second, avoid isolation. Do your best to remain connected to or create a new community. You are not in this alone. Third, and most importantly, if you are struggling, reach out for help. If you are employed by a firm or organization, check to see if your benefits include access to an “Employee Assistance Program” (EAP). EAPs provide mental health, financial, and well-being resources to employees and their family members. If you are a state or municipal employee, you have access to the EAP, Mass4You. Furthermore, Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers and its Law Office Management Assistance Program  have excellent resources, provide one-on-one consultations, and support groups.  

A Guide to the Boston Resiliency Fund: A Guest Blog Post by David S. Clancy and Jonathan M. Shine

In a rapid response to the ongoing Coronavirus emergency, Boston has established a “Resiliency Fund” which is making monetary grants to applicants.

On the day of its announcement (March 16), the Fund had $10 million in contributions.[1]  The initial press release predicted that the Fund’s operation will evolve over time, but this document summarizes the basic facts now, organized into two broad categories:  Information Regarding Applications, and Information Regarding Donations

Those interested in interacting with the Fund should seek more detail from the Fund’s website and/or from the Fund itself at

  1. Information Regarding Applications

In an “About the Fund” section of the website, the Fund describes its current focus as addressing “immediate and basic needs” in providing:  (i) food; (ii) technology to Boston public school students; and (iii) support to “first responders; front line workers; and health-care workers.”[2]

For illustration, the Fund’s grantees to date include:  Greater Boston Food Bank to expand food access for “children, families and seniors”; the Boston Public Schools ($2 million to help purchase 20,000 Chromebooks); and Boston Health Care for the Homeless to “serve those who are vulnerable or have complex needs.”[3]

The Fund predicts that it will “operate” with “a six-month horizon” but that  “the majority of its grants will be disbursed in April and May.”

At least now, the Fund is not making grants to individuals and businesses, but solely to “nonprofit partners” which are located “in the city of Boston”. [4]  A website section called “How to Submit An Interest Form” states that such organizations should:

  • Have a “demonstrated ability to quickly and efficiently serve Boston’s most vulnerable residents.”
  • “Fit[] within one of our two current focus areas.”  Here the website refers solely to the food and health-care priorities, not to the educational technology priority – the latter’s status is therefore unclear but could presumably be clarified by an interested applicant.
  • Has the ability to “[a]djust[] or expand[] service to meet the needs of Bostonians during this crisis.”
  • “Has a plan in place to implement and deliver services safely (ensuring social distance, etc.)”
  • Has the “ability to sustain services over the next 6-8 weeks.”

That same website section links to the “State of Interest Form” itself, which entails a process of answering a series of questions online.  There is a PDF “preview” of those questions here.

An organization must submit its most recent Form 990 (IRS tax return) and W-9 (Request for Taxpaper ID), and answer multiple questions about its plan, including who it serves, what neighborhoods it serves, and why “it is the most effective AND safe way to provide this service.”

Another note concerning the form:  here too, the Fund describes “two” focus areas (food and healthcare), not mentioning educational technology.  This area warrants clarification by the Fund.

  • Information Regarding Grants

The Fund’s website also contains guidance concerning donations, here.  Two notes:

  1. The Fund discourages earmarking donations for specified purposes within the Fund’s stated priorities.[5]
  2. The Fund does, however, provide instructions for making in-kind donations of medical supplies, here. (“Common Questions” — “How can I donate supplies to the City of Boston in support of first responders and other healthcare workers”).


David S. Clancy

In his 20-plus year career at the law firm Skadden Arps (2004-2016 as a partner), Mr. Clancy handled a wide variety of civil lawsuits in both state and federal court, both individual actions and class actions. Cases have spanned an array of industries with widely varying subject matters including alleged breach of contract, alleged sales or other misrepresentations, and employment disputes (e.g., regarding alleged trade secrets or noncompetition agreements). Mr. Clancy has also provided extensive pro bono assistance to individuals and organizations, and in 2016 won the Boston Bar Association’s President’s Award for his representation of victims of the Boston Marathon bombing in their efforts to obtain appropriate compensation from the public fund established in the aftermath of that incident (the One Fund). A former three-term member of the Board of Editors of the Boston Bar Journal, Mr. Clancy has written numerous articles on legal topics. Full bio.

Jonathan M. Shine

Over a 20 year legal career at Skadden Arps and BLA Schwartz, PC, Mr. Shine has represented clients in a diverse array of civil litigation in both state and federal courts and arbitrations before JAMS, AAA and FINRA. Such matters have spanned the fields of securities investigations and litigation (representation of mutual funds in governmental investigations, evaluation of threatened domestic and international litigation on behalf of potential plaintiffs, and sales practice arbitrations involving individual investors), intellectual property (copyright and trademark enforcement matters), employment (wage act, trade secret and non-competition matters), and general business to business contractual disputes. Through his experience as a litigator at both a larger firm and a litigation boutique, Mr. Shine can provide large firm experience and work product with small firm cost-effective attentiveness. Full bio.


[2]  (“About the Fund”)

[3]  (“Grants Awarded to Date”)

[4]  (“Common Questions” — “I am an individual or business which has been impacted by Covid-19.  Am I eligible for the Boston resiliency fund?”).

[5]  (“Common Questions” — “Can I target my donation to a specific interest area?”).