Posts Tagged: Bar Exam Coaching Program

#TBT | The Experience of a Bar Coach

Since 2015, the Boston Bar Exam Coaching Program has matched 141 coaches and 205 bar applicants ahead of each bar exam iteration in Massachusetts. Involvement in this program offers both exam takers and coaches a unique opportunity to form a mentor and mentee connection that may extend beyond the volunteer months.

For this week’s Throwback Thursday, let’s take it back to 2015 and read the first-hand experience of former Bar coach, Kate Cook of Sugarman Rogers, that proves hard work and determination pay off, and the importance of remaining positive while mentoring an aspiring lawyer.

If you are taking the Bar Exam in July and would like the support of a coach, or are interested in volunteering as a coach, please click here.

Civil Rights & Civil Liberties Co-Chair Kate Cook Reflects on Bar Coaching
Original Publication Date: 2015
“As BBA Civil Rights & Civil Liberties Section Co-Chair Kate Cook left the BBA’s Annual Meeting Luncheon last week, she checked her phone and saw she had a missed call. It was from the law school graduate Cook had mentored as part of the BBA’s Bar Coaching Program.

The pair first met in January, after Cook’s mentee had not passed the Bar Exam on her first attempt. In spite of young woman’s continued diligence and Cook’s best efforts as a coach, the bar exam applicant did not pass a second time over the summer. Cook felt she had let the aspiring lawyer down. But after a pep talk from Chief Justice Ordonez, who helped launch the Bar Coaching Program in 2015, Cook resolved to stay focused, positive, and determined to help her coaching partner pass.

When Cook was able to connect with her coaching partner last week, she learned their hard work had paid off!

“I believe the Bar Exam Coaching Program can and does make a difference. I am so pleased that my mentee (and now friend) will soon join the Bar. I can’t wait to see all the great things she accomplishes,” Cook said.

For more information on the Bar Coaching Program, please click here.”

Inspiration and Encouragement at the Bar Exam Coaching Kickoff Reception

On November 29th, over 20 bar applicants and volunteer coaches gathered to kick off the Bar Exam Coaching Program ahead of the February Massachusetts bar exam. The BBA’s Coaching Program matches volunteer coaches with bar applicants to provide encouragement and accountability in the weeks leading up to the exam. Over 90% of the bar applicants participating in the program this winter are repeat applicants. At the Kickoff, applicants heard from two successful lawyers who provided their advice for tackling the exam again. Chief Justice Angela Ordoñez (Massachusetts Probate & Family Court), who was instrumental in starting this program and who has been dedicated to mentorship initiatives throughout her career, shared her insight into the bar exam and urged the applicants to stay positive and diligent over the next few months. The Kickoff attendees also heard from Eunice Aikins-Afful, a recent bar admittee who participated in the program with her coach, Kate Cook (BBA Civil Rights & Civil Liberties Section Co-Chair). Eunice described her experience studying while also working full-time and the steps she took to successfully prepare for the July exam. We wish all of the February bar applicants good luck as they begin to prepare for the exam.

For anyone taking the February 2018 bar exam who wishes to sign up for the program, please complete this online information form.

A Year in Photos – Public Service in 2016

From teaching over 1,500 students their Miranda Rights to instituting a Bar Exam Coaching Program, 2016 was a successful year at the BBA. For highlights and our favorite photos from the year, read on to see how you and your colleagues contributed to our public services initiatives in 2016.

Over 1,000 guests attended the 2016 John and Abigail Adams Benefit at the Museum of Fine Arts. Each year, our premier fundraiser provides support for the legal services organizations in our community. We're grateful for the over $600,000 raised in 2016.

Over 1,000 guests attended the 2016 John and Abigail Adams Benefit at the Museum of Fine Arts. Each year, our premier fundraiser provides support for the legal services organizations in our community. We’re grateful for the over $600,000 raised in 2016.

Molly Baldwin, Executive Director of Roca, accepts the 2016 Public Service Award on behalf of the organization. Roca was recognized for their work reducing recidivism and improving employment rates for young men in Massachusetts.

Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants, Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, addresses the crowd at Walk to the Hill for Civil Legal Aid. Each year, hundreds of private attorneys and civil legal aid advocates converge on the Massachusetts State House to demonstrate their support for state funding of civil legal aid.

Anuj Kheterpal, Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, leads a session of the Reentry Education Program at the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts. Presenting on topics ranging from family law, affordable housing, and CORI sealing, the Reentry Education Program provides useful information and resources to probationers in our community.

The BBA’s Military and Veterans Committee works throughout the year to both address the legal needs of our veterans community and also provide a space for attorneys who have served or are serving in the military the chance to connect. Luncheons held throughout the year provide an informal, conversational means for veteran attorneys to connect.

One of the most anticipated events of the year is always the BBA’s Casino Night for Summer Jobs. Inside the BBA, the rooms are transformed into a functioning casino spaces for guests to enjoy throughout the building. All proceeds from the event support our Summer Jobs program. Specifically, donations allow high school students the opportunity to work at legal services organizations, courts, and government agencies that may not otherwise have the resources to hire a student.

For over ten years, the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy program has taught high school students financial responsibility. Above, students from Peabody Veterans Memorial High School visit Judge Joan N. Feeney’s courtroom to learn the consequences of filing for bankruptcy.

Members of the Boston Bar Foundation’s Society of Fellows gaze at an exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts last spring. The Society of Fellows is a group of over 400 attorneys who’ve pledged their support for the BBA’s public service initiatives.

An active group within the BBA, the New Lawyers Public Service Committee plans nearly monthly volunteer events for attorneys to give back to their community through direct service. Here, BBA volunteers are working with the Charles River Watershed Association to clean-up the banks of the Charles River.

As part of the annual Law Day activities each spring, the BBA hosts its Law Day in the Schools program through which attorney volunteers introduce students in kindergarten to 12th grade to the legal profession and legal issues. In 2016, Law Day in the Schools focused on Miranda Rights, which seemed especially to resonate with students during a year marked by discussion of the balance of power between law enforcement and citizens.

At the 2016 Law Day Dinner, former BBA President Jack Regan, WilmerHale, was presented the Thurgood Marshall Award for his commitment to public service. Regan has tirelessly worked to support pro bono services for military personnel, veterans, and their families.

The John G. Brooks Legal Services Award was presented at Law Day Dinner to Daniel Nagin, founder of the Veterans Legal Clinic at the Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School. Nagin also helped start the Low Income Tax Clinic at the Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School.

Pairings: A Gourmet Evening for Public Service supports all of the public service programs of the BBA. Guests of the event are treated to delicious dishes from area restaurants while learning about the programs their contribution supports.

Throughout the year, the BBA hosts numerous pro bono trainings on a range of practice areas. We partner with many legal services organizations to connect our members to their pro bono opportunities. Above, attorneys lead a training on how to volunteer for the Family Law Court Clinic at the Court Service Center.

Massachusetts State Senator Jamie Eldridge addresses the audience at the BBA’s Juvenile Restorative Justice Program. The symposium focused on restorative justice initiatives in the Commonwealth as particularly related to the state’s youth. This event was the culmination of the 12th Public Interest Leadership Program (PILP) class’ 14-month program. PILP promotes civic engagement and public service by advancing the leadership roles of new lawyers. Throughout the program, the class examines various issues facing our community and concludes with a symposium of entirely their design.

Summer is a beloved time at the BBA because it means that law firms, courts, government agencies, and legal services organizations across the city will host high school student interns as part of our Summer Jobs Program. Students gain valuable insight into the legal profession and office work experience as they intern during their summer break. Students are also provided Enrichment Seminars, which enhance their experience and provide exposure to various legal careers, the workings of the Supreme Judicial Court, and more.

Janet Bostwick, Janet E. Bostwick, PC, was acknowledged this past year for her devotion to the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program. Bostwick was appointed head of the Financial Literacy Committee by her dear and late friend, M. Ellen Carpenter in 2004 and has since grown the program to teach over 500 students a year. Bostwick stepped down from the Committee after 12 years and we’re thankful for her service.

Law students and attorneys met with various legal services organizations and government agencies as they browsed the Pro Bono Fair & Open House in October. The event draws scores of people each year and provides organizations the chance to attract new volunteers.

BBA President Carol Starkey, Conn Kavanaugh Rosenthal Peisch & Ford, LLP, meets with Katy Buckland, principal of UP Academy Boston. The BBA President participates in Principal for a Day each year to gain insight into the day-to-day activities of the students many of our public service programs impact.


Thank you for a wonderful year, we can’t wait to kickoff 2017 with you!