Over the weekend, members from the Boston Bar Association volunteered at the Greater Boston Food Bank helping to sort and pack food for families across Eastern Massachusetts. The volunteers for the day made 13, 356 meals possible and sorted over 16, 500 lbs of food. Thank you to our BBA members dedicated to giving back to the community!
At a reception at the John Adams Courthouse on Thursday, March 2, 2017, Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants and Appeals Court Chief Justice Scott L. Kafker delivered remarks and honored three volunteers for their outstanding pro bono work in the Civil Appeals Court Clinic run out of the Appeals Court Clerk’s Office. Since 2015, volunteer attorneys from the Volunteer Lawyers Project and Boston-area law firms have helped at least 230 low income litigants who are representing themselves in civil appellate court matters on a number of issues, ranging from housing to family law. The Civil Appeals Court Clinic volunteers who were presented with certificates were: Kimberly Parr, Daniel Goodrich, and Conlan Orino. For more information about the Civil Appeals Court Clinic, including how to get involved, visit https://www.vlpnet.org/volunteer/item.6901-Civil_Appeals_Clinic.
The Boston Bar Association’s Active Duty Military, Family Members, and Veterans Committee will host its next Military and Veterans Meet & Greet Luncheon on Thursday, March 23rd from 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM. Current members of the military, veterans, and their families and friends in the legal community are invited for lunch at the BBA. This is an opportunity to meet your fellow attorneys who served in the military and attorneys currently working in veterans legal services.
We’re excited to welcome two speakers from the Veteran Entrepreneurial Training & Resource Network (VETRN) to speak about their organization. Leland Goldberg (Founder) and Marie Shirley (Program Manager) will discuss VETRN’s work training veterans with the skills necessary to manager a successful small business. Veterans in their program participate in a six month program that provides the knowledge needed to grow their business. To learn more about the VETRN program and how you can volunteer as a mentor, attend our luncheon on March 23rd!
To register for the event, please visit our website here.
On February 27, several dozen people gathered at the BBA to learn about the Access to Justice Fellows Program, an innovative collaboration between the Lawyers Clearinghouse* and the Massachusetts Access to Justice Commission that pairs retired attorneys and judges with non-profits to work on year-long access to justice projects.
Program director Mia Friedman, co-founders Martha Koster (a partner at Mintz Levin) and Sue Finegan (co-chair of the Access to Justice Commission and the pro bono partner at Mintz Levin), and several Fellows spoke to the group about the increasing need for pro bono work, and the diverse range of projects available. This year, for example, Fellows are: representing low-income veterans, advocating for policies that promote clean renewable energy, mentoring new attorneys working with clients of modest means, writing about the vital services provided by the legal aid community, supporting a new website that provides pro bono advice online, and promoting quality educational standards in the Boston Public School system.
It was also noted that there is a great level of personal enrichment and intellectual satisfaction that goes along with serving as an Access to Justice Fellow. Mia spoke about the rich community of Fellows, who exchange ideas, volunteer on each other’s projects, and form friendships. Martha noted that many Fellows continue to work on their projects for several years. There are now 74 Access to Justice Fellows who have completed well over 50,000 hours of pro bono service.
To learn how you can get involved with the Access to Justice Fellows program, please visit their website here.
*Lawyers Clearinghouse is a 2016 Grantee of the Boston Bar Foundation
Each year, the Boston Bar Association’s New Lawyers Public Service Committee organizes a volunteer event at Pine Street Inn, an organization dedicated to helping Boston’s homeless. Recently, BBA members volunteered to serve dinner at The Men’s Inn, a nightly emergency shelter service which supports 350 men each night. We’re proud of our members helping our community!
If you’re interested in Pine Street Inn’s work, you can read about their services online.
To wrap-up their meetings on domestic violence, PILP met last week with Carrie Spiros (Assistant District Attorney at the Middlesex County’s DA’s Office) and Jennifer Bolton (Senior Manager of Prevention & Education at Domestic Violence Ended). Spiros reviewed the laws guiding her office’s prosecution of domestic violence. Chapter 209A legally defines domestic violence in Massachusetts and was expanded in 2014 by Chapter 260 to include strangulation and suffocation as indicators that the abuser has a higher risk of homicide. Both Spiros and Bolton noted that if an abuser strangles their victim, they are more likely to fatally harm the victim at a later time.
Describing the work of Domestic Violence Ended (DOVE), Bolton noted that her organization and most other domestic violence organizations in the state belong to the Jane Doe Inc. coalition. The coalition works toward providing services for domestic violence victims. DOVE specifically provides shelter services, legal advocacy, counseling, community educational trainings and more. If you’re interest in the work of DOVE, you can find more information on their website: http://dovema.org/
PILP’s back-to-back sessions focusing on domestic violence fell shortly before White Ribbon Day, an initiative of Jane Doe, Inc. which encouraged men and boys to become an active part of the effort to end domestic violence. Governor Charlie Baker joined 115 communities and organizations around Massachusetts in recognizing White Ribbon Day on March 1.
Earlier this week, the Volunteer Lawyers Project of the Boston Bar Association (VLP), hosted a training corresponding with the launch of their Lawyer for the Day in Small Claims Court program. VLP now coordinates Small Claims Clinics at the Boston Municipal Court Central Division, Cambridge Small Claims Court, and Quincy Small Claims Court. The training covered the debt collection industry, common defenses to consumer debt collection suits, and litigating Fair Debt Collection Practices Act claims in these cases, as well as how to represent a low-income debtor in negotiations and small claims trials. Attorneys and law students of all experience levels are able to volunteer. Please see the clinic schedule below and if you’d like to volunteer with VLP, please reach out to Hsindy Chen at [email protected].
- Boston Municipal Court, Central Division
- Every Thursday, 1:30 PM – 4:30 PM
- 24 New Chardon Street, Boston, MA, 5th Floor in front of Courtroom D
- Cambridge Small Claims Court
- First Tuesday of the month, 1:30 PM – 4:30 PM
- 4040 Mystic Valley Parkway, Medford, MA
- Quincy Small Claims Court
- Every Thursday, 8:30 AM – 11:00 AM
- 1 Dennis Ryan Parkway, Quincy, MA
The BBA’s Law Day in the Schools program is now signing up classrooms for the spring. From April 26th through June 2nd, attorneys will head out across the city to teach Boston public school students about due process. Do you know a Boston public school teacher who may be interested in participating? The program is open to students kindergarten through 12th grade.
If you know a teacher interested in participating or would like to get your child’s school involved, please email Cassandra Shavney at [email protected].
The Boston Bar Association is pleased to announce that it is now accepting applications for its 2017-2018 class of Public Interest Leaders. The BBA’s Public Interest Leadership Program (PILP) is a unique leadership program for new lawyers which promotes civic engagement and public service by advancing the leadership role of lawyers in service to their community, the profession and the Commonwealth. Over the past few months, Beyond the Billable has been recapping PILP’s monthly meetings. If you’d like a refresher on what they’ve been up to this year, find their stories here.
If you’re interested in the program, we invite you to join us on Monday, March 6, 2017 from 5:30 PM – 7:00 PM to learn more. PILP 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.
- 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 on Monday, please sign up here.
This month, the BBA’s Reentry Education Program held a workshop at the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts for probationers looking for guidance on reinstating their driver’s license. Benjamin Richard (Law Office of Benjamin Richard) led the presentation and reviewed the basic guidelines to reinstate one’s license. In many cases, there may be unresolved child support or parking tickets that need to be paid before it’s possible to apply for reinstatement. By outlining a three-step plan to reinstate one’s license, Richard was able to help the attendees figure out their next steps and priorities. Obtaining a driver’s license is a critical step for returning citizens who may need a car or license for employment.
The next Reentry Education workshop will focus on managing one’s Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI).
If you’re interested in volunteering to lead a Reentry Education workshop, please contact Cassandra Shavney at [email protected].