Under the leadership of alums from the BBA’s Public Interest Leadership Program (PILP), the BBA is gearing up for the annual Law Day in the Schools Program scheduled to be held on May 1st, 2nd and 3rd. Funded by the Boston Bar Foundation , this public service initiative began in 1986 — to celebrate Law Day and to introduce students to both the legal profession and the role the law has played in shaping our constitutional democracy.
Through this interactive civics program, lawyers donate time to visit classrooms throughout city, teaching elementary, middle school and high school students and leading mock trials focusing on constitutional issues.
The theme for 2012 will be “No Courts, No Justice, No Freedom.” The exercise provided to volunteers will focus on due process and ensuring access to the criminal justice system amid growing state budget constraints. A highlight of the 2012 curriculum developed by the PILP alums will be a mock trial involving stolen property. Students will play the role of the victim, the accused, law enforcement, prosecutor and defense counsel.
Volunteers aim to teach the lesson within a class period, but are flexible to the teacher’s schedules. The BBA provides volunteers with all the written materials for the Program. The commitment for the Program — including preparation, travel and teaching time– is no more than six hours.
If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, we will be hosting a training on April 24, 2012. To RSVP, please click here.
We would like to thank the following Public Interest Leadership Program alumni for their valuable assistance in developing the Program:
After visiting 7 schools, convening 52 classes and reaching over 430 students, the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program has concluded its 2012 program year. This year’s program represented a high water mark in both the number of students served and the number of volunteers mobilized. 87 lawyers, law students, and financial planners donated over 420 hours to teach high school juniors and seniors in Boston, Greater Boston, Worcester and Springfield. The M. Ellen Carpenter represents a public service partnership between the Boston Bar Association and the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Massachusetts, and is now in its 8th year.
At the heart of the program is teaching students the importance of making sound financial decisions, and avoiding the poor credit choices that can result in bankruptcy. Through interactive discussions held over the course of four sessions, the students and volunteers covered personal finance, budgeting, credit cards , financing a car, and personal bankruptcy. With support from the Boston Bar Foundation, students traveled to the U.S. Bankruptcy Courts in Boston, Worcester, and Springfield for the final session, a mock bankruptcy hearing.
Hear what volunteers have to say about the students, the Program and why they donate their time:
“I volunteered because I cannot believe that a course in basic financial literacy is not required to receive a high school diploma. I was lucky to have parents who taught me the basics- like how to make a budget (i.e, how to figure out that you can’t afford even 10% of the stuff that your teenage self wants), how to live within (or even remotely close to within) your budget, how to balance your checkbook, how to save for college (or a car or a computer or a trip abroad), and how to not go crazy with credit cards. But not everyone has someone to teach them the basics. And I don’t know how we expect these kids to become functioning, let alone successful, adults without these skills. I wish that financial literacy was a part of every school’s curriculum. – Kristin Davis of K&L Gates
“I was worried that it would be like pulling teeth to get high school kids interested in credit, but they were very eager to learn and participate. I was most impressed when the students had questions or wanted to participate without being asked to do so. They seemed genuinely interested in learning the subject matter.”- Jessica Massey of the Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General
“I would hope students understood that credit cards are more than likely going to be a part of their lives and that if used responsibly, they do provide benefits. However, at the same time, if used the wrong way, they can be very dangerous and lead to major financial problems.”- Michael Licker of Foley Hoag
“The most memorable part of the session was when the students shared with us their experiences with lending and borrowing money. For those that had borrowed from friends and family in the past, it was interesting to see how many of them had in fact been charged interest. Upon learning of the inordinately high interest that some of the students had paid to their friends, we shared a few laughs with the students as we explained “loan sharking” to them. – Shemane Amin of Brown Rudnick LLP
The M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program would not be possible without volunteers committed to giving back to the children and youth in our community. A special thanks to the following volunteers for the time they have donated to planning the 2012 Program and teaching the classes:
Honorable Joan Feeney, Program Co-Chair, U.S. Bankruptcy Court
Honorable Frank Bailey, U.S. Bankruptcy Court
Honorable Henry Boroff, U.S. Bankruptcy Court
Honorable Melvin Hoffman, U.S. Bankruptcy Court
Janet Bostwick, Program Co-Chair, Janet E. Bostwick, PC
Jeanne Darcey, Program Co-Chair, Sullivan & Worcester LLP
Adam Ruttenberg, Looney & Grossman LLP
Adrienne Walker, Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo P.C.