On Feb. 6, the current Public Interest Leadership Program
(PILP) class discussed the importance of diversity and inclusion (D&I) for
organizations and how to support successful D&I programs in the workplace
with two guest experts, Audrey Grace (Northeastern University) and Patricia
Hennessy (Burns & Levinson).
Effective D&I strategies start at the individual level,
Attorney Grace and Attorney Hennessy told the PILP class. To help propel
D&I strategies, you have to “walk the walk.”
During the session, the experts and PILP class engaged in a
meaningful discussion about the importance of D&I (“when individuals are
lifted up and celebrated, their workplace is also elevated”) and how to
operationalize an effective D&I strategy (“buy-in from leadership is key”).
Although the scope and substance of what organizations
consider to be included in D&I efforts has evolved over time, Attorney
Grace and Attorney Hennessy agreed that institutional change takes time, and
being intentional and thoughtful about D&I strategies is a must from the
When implementing a D&I strategy, you must consider your
communities, your stakeholders, and of course your own biases, Attorney Grace
It’s also important to remember your positions of power and
privilege in your own organization and your community, Attorney Hennessy said.
These insights greatly resonated with the PILP class, as
class members asked thoughtful and engaging questions about how to implement
effective D&I strategies in their own organizations and with their own
Meeting recap provided by PILP members Cory Lamz (Buoy
Health) and Jessica Powell (The Davis Companies).
The BBA’s M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program
concludes with a “Consequences” session at the United States Bankruptcy Court,
District of Massachusetts. This consists of a mock trial portion in which the
students participate as well as a discussion and Q&A portion between the
volunteers and the students.
This session serves to expose students to the ultimate
consequences of misusing or abusing credit, as well as to introduce them to the
legal profession via interactions with lawyers and a bankruptcy judge.
Attorneys with prior or current experience related to bankruptcy law are
encouraged to sign up for one of our three confirmed sessions. We are seeking
five volunteers for each session, and it is possible that additional sessions
may be added in the coming weeks. We are currently seeking volunteers from 9:30
to 11:30 AM at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Boston for the following three
April 1, 2020
April 29, 2020
May 7, 2020
Please contact Doug Newton at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-778-1918 with any questions. If you are interested in volunteering for any of the above sessions, please sign up here.
The M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program is made possible by the Charles P. Normandin Fund. This fund provides critical support for the bankruptcy-related pro bono, public service, and civic programs of the Boston Bar Association. For more information on the BBF or this fund, please click here.
In 2002, Chief Judge Mark Wolf and then-BBA President
Michael Keating began discussing the need for younger lawyers to become more
engaged as community leaders earlier in their careers. One year later, PILP was
launched to help new lawyers understand the meaning of community leadership and
develop lasting connections beyond their existing legal networks.
This selective program attracts a diverse group of talented,
motivated attorneys who have:
Graduated law school within the last 10 years
Demonstrated a commitment to pro bono and public service
Have a history of organizing bar action
The 2020-21 PILP class will meet roughly twice per month, typically
on the first Thursday and third Wednesday of each month. PILP participants
connect with prominent community leaders at meetings and events, learn about
the challenges confronting local organizations and take part in efforts to
address specific community needs. PILP participants work together to create
and execute a public service project focused on advancing the BBA’s goals
related to access to justice, diversity & inclusion, and serving the
community at large.
January 15th, the Public Interest Leadership Program (PILP) learned
from experts about the housing crisis in Massachusetts. As part of this
program, PILP heard from Eric Shupin, the Director of Public Policy for the
Citizens Housing and Planning Association (CHAPA), and Brad Kramer, the
Director of Public Policy for One Family. CHAPA is a public policy oriented
organization whose goal is to encourage the production and preservation of
housing that is affordable to low and moderate income families and individuals
and to foster diverse and sustainable communities through planning and
community development. One Family is a service provider aiming to prevent
family homelessness by promoting pathways to economic independence through
advocacy, education, and innovation.
gave an overview of the state of the housing crisis in Massachusetts and
explained the dire need for action to counteract it. CHAPA focuses on solving
the housing crisis through production of more homes that are affordable,
preserving existing affordable housing and the ability of residents to stay in
their communities, planning for more diversity in the state’s housing stock,
and policies that provide everyone with opportunities to prosper. Eric also
discussed emerging housing policy issues in the state, including zoning reform,
new revenue for housing, and anti-displacement and tenant protections.
discussed One Family’s approach to preventing family homelessness, which
includes the One Family Scholars program as well as career coaching. One Family
Scholars receive coaching and financial assistance to help them earn a higher
education degree, which in turn makes it possible for them to become financially
independent and more likely to be able to afford housing. 91% of the program’s
alumni are stably housed. One Family also engages in public policy work to
further the goal of preventing family homelessness through economic
more information on CHAPA’s public policy work, please click here. For more information on One Family’s
programs, please click here.
Meeting recap provided by PILP member Charlie Ahern (Massachusetts State Senate)
On Wednesday of last week, the BBA was proud to host a
training for prospective volunteers for the Eastern Housing Court’s Lawyer for
the Day program. The training was conducted by Geraldine Gruvis-Pizarro, Colin
Harnsgate, and Sarah Lee, who coordinate the program as staff attorneys from the
Volunteer Lawyers Project (VLP). The Hon. MaryLou Muirhead, 1st
Justice of the Eastern Housing Court, gave the opening remarks.
Her words of advice for future volunteers? Try not to end up
in front of her. In fact, most tenant-landlord disputes are settled by
mediation. She also urged the audience to take advantage of the Eastern court’s
extra “amenities.” From the experienced housing specialists in the clerk’s
office, to Rosie’s Place advocates,
to the RAFT
homelessness prevention programs, there is a range of in-house resources
available to help volunteers help their clients.
During the comprehensive training, VLP lawyers explained the
major legal and procedural issues surrounding summary process for evictions.
They discussed the defenses available to tenants, requirements for landlords
initiating evictions, the acceptable forms of prima facie evidence, important
filing deadlines, and much more.
VLP hosts free Landlord/Tenant Law trainings regularly, and
both law students and attorneys with minimal housing case experience are
encouraged to attend. The Eastern Housing Court sees up to 200 cases on the
docket per week. With many low-income tenants and landlords going without
representation, volunteer lawyers play a vital role.
To register for their next training on January 15th,
For more information on how to volunteer, visit the VLP
website. And for more volunteer opportunities at the Cambridge session of
Eastern Housing court on Fridays, contact Susan
Corcoran at De Novo.
The Boston Bar Association is excited to announce the continuation of our monthly CORI Sealing Clinic in to 2020. Our CORI Sealing Clinic assists low-income clients in asking courts to seal their criminal records with help from volunteer attorneys. The BBA conducts this clinic along with our partner, Greater Boston Legal Services (GBLS).
A CORI(Criminal Offender Record Information)
report is the official log of any charges brought against someone by the state
of Massachusetts. CORI reports can be used by employers and landlords to deny
people access to employment, housing, and educational opportunities.
law allows people to “seal” their CORI records from public view by meeting
certain legal requirements. The BBA’s CORI Sealing Clinic will help low-income
individuals get copies of their CORI and seal their past records when possible.
BBA’s CORI Sealing Clinic will be located at:
Edward W. Brooke
Boston Municipal Court, Central Division
24 New Chardon St. 2nd Floor
Boston, MA 02114
Walk-in clinics will take place from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM on the following dates. No advance registration is required.
The BBA is thrilled to announce that our we have matched
thirty-five applicants sitting for the bar exam in February with Attorney
volunteers for our Bar Exam
Coaching Program! In this program, Attorneys provide guidance on the
non-substantive aspects of preparing for the bar exam (stress management, study
tips, etc.) to bar applicants who are re-taking the bar exam. On Monday,
December 9th, the BBA officially launched our February 2020 Bar Exam
Coaching Program with our Volunteer Training and Kickoff Reception events.
The training consisted of a comprehensive seminar presented
by Kandace Kukas, Assistant Dean and Director of Bar Admission Programs at
Northeastern University School of Law. Kandace provided an overview of the bar
exam, as well as tips on helping bar applicants with organizational skills and
emotional wellness as they prepare. At the reception, we were thrilled to have
a former participant in the program who passed the bar exam with the help of
her coach speak to our applicants and coaches in attendance. She noted that her
score increased nearly fifty points from her first attempt and described how
her coach was instrumental in helping her to understand exactly which preparation
habits would be beneficial. Attendees of the reception also heard from Wadner
Oge, Staff Attorney at the Massachusetts Board of Bar Examiners. Wadner
described the rigor of preparing for the exam, noting that there are no ways
around putting in many hours of preparation over the course of several months.
As part of this program, we have also planned two workshops
for our bar applicants and coaches. The first, taking
place on January 6th from 5:00 PM to 6:30 PM, will be presented
by Jonny Schreiber of Iron Mountain as well as Adrian Velazquez with the Commonwealth
of Massachusetts. This workshop will offer guidance on the essay portions of
the bar exam. The second will be presented by Barbara Bowe, who works in
Clinical Services at Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers. Barbara will educate our
coaches on recognizing signs of stress and anxiety in bar applicants as they
prepare for the exam.
We at the BBA thank each of these excellent speakers for
supporting our coaches and applicants as they prepare for the bar exam. If you
are a bar applicant interested in participating in this program, or if you have
any questions, please contact Doug Newton at email@example.com.
The BBA is currently seeking volunteers for our M.
Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program! This program helps students
across Massachusetts develop the skills necessary for effective financial management
through educational and experiential opportunities. Through this program,
volunteers present one of three modules (Personal Finance & Budgeting,
Using Credit & Credit Cards, and Financing a Large Purchase) to a group of
students in the Greater Boston Area. The program concludes with a mock-trial
presentation on the consequences of poor financial management in a federal
bankruptcy courtroom. The following Eastern Massachusetts schools are
participating in the program:
Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical
High School (New Bedford)
Woburn High School
Bridge Over Troubled Waters (Brighton)
Madison Park Technical Vocational High School
The Compliance Mentor Group (Sites in Cambridge
Charlestown High School
The English High School (Jamaica Plain)
The BBA thanks Liberty
Mutual for adopting Madison Park Technical Vocational High School as well
as Bridge Over Troubled Waters. Since the program’s inception in 2005, over
1,400 volunteers have reached over 5,800 students statewide. The total time
commitment for a volunteer, including training, classroom preparation, and
classroom time, averages 3-5 hours. No specific experience is required to
volunteer, and all materials are provided by the BBA. This is a unique
opportunity to help the next generation develop practical skills that will
better their lives in the present and future. If you would like more
information on the program, please contact Doug Newton at firstname.lastname@example.org. A training video
for volunteers can be found at this link.
If you are interested in signing up to teach a module at one of the above locations,
please click here
to do so. Please also check back in the spring for volunteer opportunities at
the “Consequences of Poor Financial Management” sessions!
The M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program is made
possible by the Charles P. Normandin Fund. This fund provides critical support
for the bankruptcy-related pro bono, public service, and civic programs of the
Boston Bar Association. For more information on the BBF or this fund, please
We’re already looking
to summer here at the BBA and are gearing up for our 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 over 24 law offices, 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 with
the chance to gain professional experience and earn a paycheck.
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 a successful
record of 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!
upcoming year of the program will run from Monday, July 6th, 2020 to
Friday, August 21st, 2020. We are asking that students be paid
$13.75 per hour. We also ask that employers contribute a $150 administrative
fee to the BBA.
If your office is
interested in providing a Boston public high school student with a meaningful
professional experience over the upcoming summer, please complete the online form
at this link. Please
contact Doug Newton at email@example.com
with any questions.
The BBA is thrilled to announce that applications are now open for our 2020 Diversity & Inclusion Summer Fellowship. We are seeking law students who have demonstrated a commitment to advancing diversity and inclusion within the legal profession, and who will have completed their 1L or 2L year by the summer of 2020. Fellowships offer an opportunity for substantive work in a public interest law office, including supervision, skill development, and building one’s professional network. In addition to gaining work experience, Fellows attend professional development programming at the BBA and receive a mentor through the BBA’s Diversity & Inclusion section. The program aims to ensure that law students from all backgrounds can gain experience in public interest law. Those interested in applying for the program can do so at this link.
In Summer 2020, three Fellowship positions will be
available: The Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General, the U.S.
Bankruptcy Court for the District of Massachusetts, and the Massachusetts Commission
Against Discrimination. Applications to this program will be due back to the
BBA on January 16, 2020. Each host
office will select a fellow to participate. All Fellows will receive a stipend
of $5,000 for the summer. Please see each application for more details. You can
read about the experiences of last year’s Fellows here.
Funding for this program is made possible by the Boston Bar Foundation. Thank you to Pierce Atwood for their sponsorship of the Diversity & Inclusion Summer Fellowship Program.