The BBA and Lutheran Social Services teamed up to train attorneys to take special immigrant juvenile status cases.
The BBA continued the trend of hosting pro bono trainings with BBF grantees by partnering with Lutheran Social Services for a training on Special Immigrant Juvenile Status. While it was the first time we hosted the training at the BBA, it was a hit among attendees. Beyond the Billable reached out to Christina M. Borysthen-Tkacz (Lutheran Social Services), who ran the training with Tilman Jacobs (Lutheran Social Services), to hear more about the training.
Take a look at what she had to say:
What do you hope attendees learned from the training?
“We hope that our training provided a good introduction to pro bono opportunities in immigration law, and to the challenges that unaccompanied immigrant children face, as well as the legal relief available to them.”
Why should attorneys volunteer to take these types of cases?
“All of our cases, and Special Immigrant Juvenile cases especially, offer attorneys an opportunity to gain valuable litigation experience. Most importantly, attorneys should take these types of cases pro bono because they are a great opportunity to make a lasting impact on a child’s life and to give that child a chance at a successful and happy life in the United States.”
The Victim’s Rights Center was a 2013 BBF Grantee. The BBA also supports grantees in other capacities including holding pro bono trainings and recruiting volunteers for their efforts. In the photo above, staff from the Victim’s Right Center discuss volunteer opportunities with interested law students at the Suffolk Pro Bono Fair in October.
On February 4th, the Boston Bar Foundation (BBF) released its application for the 2014 grants cycle. As you probably know, the BBF grants support programs and organizations that advance access to legal services, improve fair administration of justice, and help expand public understanding of the law. Combined with money raised from events such as the John & Abigail Adams Benefit, the BBF grants its portion of Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts (IOLTA) funds to legal service organizations. However, in response to the decline in IOLTA funding, the BBF has stepped up and increased its commitment to funding legal services by granting a greater portion of its own fundraising. Within the past ten years, the BBF’s contributions to the total funds granted to legal services organizations has increased by more than 35 percent.
So how does the grant making process work? Beyond the Billable is bringing you a firsthand look at how the grant decisions are made. Take a look below:
The members of the BBF Grants Committee spend countless hours reviewing each application, discussing the current needs within legal services and the Greater Boston area, and examining emerging issues affecting low-income individuals in our community. While reviewing applications, the BBF Grants Committee looks for organizations that:
- Provide civil legal services to low-income people and/or underserved populations, especially organizations and programs that address an unmet legal need.
- Develop or strengthen pro bono programs through which the private bar delivers substantial voluntary legal services to low-income and underserved populations.
- Demonstrably enhance the administration of justice in Massachusetts (i.e. improve the courts’ effectiveness, address systemic problems in the court system or provide information to low-income, underserved or special needs populations regarding their legal rights and/or accessibility to the courts).
Last year, the BBF granted $900,000 to 28 community legal service providers. Among the grantees are organizations working to assist low-income families and individuals who face problems relating to immigration, domestic violence, and homelessness, as well as increasingly prevalent issues such as human trafficking and environmental justice. To learn more about last year’s grantees, please check out our website.
Please contact the BBA/BBF Public Service Manager Sonia Shah at [email protected] if you have any questions about the BBF grant process.
Mayor’s Youth Council Representative and former Summer Jobs Student Benjamin Haideri introduced Mayor Thomas Menino at the 20th Anniversary of the Mayor’s Youth Council Celebration.
When BBA President Paul Dacier and Executive Director Rich Page attended the 20th Anniversary Celebration of the Mayor’s Youth Council (MYC), they saw a familiar face introducing Mayor Thomas Menino. That face was Ben Haideri’s, who represents his community of Roslindale on the MYC and interned at the Suffolk District Attorney’s Office through the BBA Summer Jobs Program last summer.
Beyond the Billable sat down with Ben to talk to him about his experiences with the MYC and BBA Summer Jobs Program.
We started by discussing Ben’s experience at the Dorchester District Court Branch of the Suffolk DA’s Office — where he spent most of his summer (you may remember him from this article). As an aspiring lawyer, he felt that the courtroom experience would be particularly valuable:
“I spent a lot of time in the courtroom watching trials. One of the trials lasted two days, and I decided that I would write a closing statement just for fun. I gave it to the prosecutor to review and she ended up using a chunk of it in her closing statements.”
While finishing up his senior year at Boston Latin Academy, Ben is also enjoying his second year serving on the MYC. As a representative, Ben participates in two meetings each month, identifies issues affecting his community, such as integration, and works with other representatives to brainstorm solutions. When we asked him to tell us a highlight from his time on the MYC, he mentioned his speech about the important of getting youth involved in government. It’s probably worth mentioning that the speech was given in front of 3,000 people, including mayors from across the country, at the National League of Cities Conference.
Ben is waiting to hear back from colleges and hopes to study political science before going on to attend law school. “I came into the BBA Summer Jobs Program knowing that I wanted to be a lawyer and the experience solidified it. Through the Mayor’s Youth Council, I gained experience with outreach, writing, and giving speeches. These skills are important because you need to be a good communicator to be an effective lawyer.”
It’s also worth noting that Ben’s position was funded thanks to contributions to the Boston Bar Foundation, which provided funding for 13 positions for Boston Public High School students to work at nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and courts last summer.
The BBA and MassCOSH hosted a program on occupation disease claims on Monday night.
On Monday night, the BBA and BBF grantee the Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health (MassCOSH), teamed up to host a program on occupational disease claims. The training offered a in depth look at occupational disease claims – both the legal analysis now being applied by the courts and the medical analysis applied by occupational health professionals.
Beyond the Billable reached to Marcy Goldstein-Gelb, the Executive Director of MassCOSH, to learn more about the training.
What key topics did you touch on during the training?
“The training focused on occupational health trends in Massachusetts and recent legal developments pertaining to toxic tort case law.”
What do you hope that attendees learned from the event?
“With clinicians, attorneys, labor union representatives and state agency representatives in attendance, we engaged in a rich discussion of the continuum of approaches to ensuring worker health – from preventing exposures through safety measures and effective public policy to ensuring swift treatment of occupational diseases to pursuing compensation through toxic tort cases.”
The BBA will be presenting Jay McManus, the Director of the Children’s Law Center of Massachusetts (CLCM), with the John G. Books Legal Service Award at the Annual Meeting Luncheon this Friday. Jay epitomizes the public service-focused attorney that Beyond the Billable admires. Since 1999, Jay has served as a director of CLCM where he represented children on a number of issues, ranging from abuse and neglect to immigration concerns. The Boston Bar Foundation (BBF) began working with Jay in the same year when CLCM received a grant for its EdLaw Project. Under Jay’s leadership, attorneys work to ensure that Boston’s highest risk children receive a quality education by advocating for students in the school systems. The BBF has continued to support this initiative since 1999.
All the while, Jay has also been active in championing legislation addressing the legal needs of children and supporting children of Irish political prisoners affected by the conflict in Northern Ireland through the Massachusetts chapter of the IPPCH—“Because of the Children Program.”
Click here to learn more about Jay and his commitment to assisting children.
The BBF hosted a breakfast this morning for the 13 BBF-funded Summer Jobs students, their employers, and the sponsoring firms.
This morning, the BBA’s Claflin Center was abuzz with Summer Jobs students exchanging stories about their summer positions, including interesting office projects and recent courtroom experiences at the BBF Summer Jobs breakfast. Thanks to donations from a number of local law firms, the BBF increased its support of the Summer Jobs Program by funding 13 positions at nonprofit and government agencies this year. In order to celebrate this record-breaking year and the hard work of the students, the BBF hosted a celebratory breakfast to thank the firms for their donations and congratulated the students on their hard work this summer. Last week BBF students shared their favorite experience of the summer with BBA Week, and this morning they had the chance to share with those who made their summer experience possible.
The BBF would like to thank the following firms for their generous contribution to the Summer Jobs Program:
Dain Torpy, P.C.
Hemenway & Barnes LLP
Hirsch Roberts Weinstein LLP
Jackson Lewis LLP
Morrison Mahoney LLP
Here are a few highlights from the morning:
Christina Miller (Suffolk District Attorney’s Office) and her summer intern Benjamin Haideri and Georgia Katsoulomitis (Massachusetts Law Reform Institute) and her summer intern Sarah Williams shared their summer experiences with Kate Carter (Dain Torpy, P.C.). Dain Torpy, P.C. generously donated to the BBF to support the Summer Jobs Program.
Summer Jobs Steering Committee Co-Chair Ned Notis-McConarty (Hemenway & Barnes) thanked the sponsoring firms for their support of the program and encouraged the students to share what they have learned this summer.
Last Thursday, BBF supporters crowded into 16 Beacon to mingle and enjoy delicious treats – featuring four chocolate fountains scattered throughout the building — at the BBF’s annual Justice Is Sweet event. With the help of the 250 attorneys who attended and the 32 firms and companies who sponsored the event, the BBF raised over $31,000 to support its charitable mission. Fundraisers like Justice is Sweet help make the BBF’s work possible – including their funding of a number of our public service programs such as the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program, Lawyer for the Day in the Boston Housing Court, the Summer Jobs Program, and Law Day in the Schools.
Here are a few photos in case you missed the event:
Attendees enjoyed chocolate foundations, jazz, and good company at Justice is Sweet.
Vanessa Ebode-Messi (Boston College Law School), Alida Bogran-Acosta (Sugarman, Rogers, Barshak & Cohen, P.C.), and Manleen Singh (Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi L.L.P.).
Lisa Jacobson (O’Brien & Levine Court Reporting Services), Christopher Somma (Goodwin Procter LLP), and Richard Stanley (Goodwin Procter LLP).
To learn more about how the BBF supports several of the BBA’s public service initiatives, please visit the BBF’s new website here.
As you may have heard, the Boston Bar Foundation has generously sponsored 13 Boston Public High School students to work at government agencies and nonprofit organizations through the BBA’s record setting Summer Jobs Program. These students will have the opportunity to gain experience in a professional setting and participate in enrichment seminars on professional development, financial literacy, and student loans. Students will head off to their first day of work on July 8th following a kickoff event with Mayor Thomas Menino at the BBA.
Through the support of the BBF, 13 Boston Public School students will gain professional experience and exposure to the legal field while working in government agencies and nonprofit organizations.
Check out the list of placements below:
Committee for Public Counsel Services, Palmer Roxbury
Committee for Public Counsel Services, Roxbury
Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services
Greater Boston Legal Services
Interest on Lawyer Trust Accounts
Legal Advocacy and Resource Center
Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office
United States Bankruptcy Court
United States District Court
Volunteer Lawyers Project of the Boston Bar Association
To learn more about how the BBF supports the Summer Jobs Program, please visit the BBF’s new website here.
The BBF would like to thank Jackson Lewis, Hirsch Roberts Weinstein, Hemenway & Barnes, and Brennan, Dain, Le Ray, Wiest, Torpy & Garner, P.C. for their generous donations to the BBF to fund Summer Jobs positions.
A few weeks ago, I volunteered at the legal clinic at the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home and had the privilege of meeting a former World War II veteran who served in the South Pacific. My role was minor, as a staff attorney from Shelter Legal Services explained each of the legal documents in question. During this process, the client would intermittently interject with stories of his life and family which will stay with me for a lifetime. He shared his delight at being selected for the military band thinking he would not see combat, but then laughed as he told us that they, “shipped us off to the front anyway.” As I left the building, I couldn’t help but think how times are different and how lucky I am to be a lawyer. I felt privileged to meet these remarkable folks and help them, if only for a short time.
I’ve learned through my pro bono experiences with service members that they often have a lot bigger issues on their minds than just the legal issue in front of us and we need to be patient as attorneys. As a volunteer working with service members, I have been confronted with complex socioeconomic issues which are a different challenge from my day-to-day practice. Every time I take a case I always come away with a new appreciation for the service they provide us and am reminded to always be more patient with my clients. I think that these experiences have helped me to manage my other clients with more patience and empathy.
I found opportunities to help service members through the BBA’s Yellow Ribbon Events and through Shelter Legal Services, a non-profit funded in part by the Boston Bar Foundation.
When volunteering with Shelter Legal Services or at a Yellow Ribbon Event, you are supported by the experts for the entirety of the volunteer session. There is no need for formal training; you just need to have an open mind and a willingness to serve those who risked their lives for us.
To find out more about the Yellow Ribbon Events or Shelter Legal Services please contact Katie D’Angelo at [email protected].
Brian McLaughlin is the owner and sole proprietor of the Law Offices of Brian McLaughlin, specializing in the areas of education and family law. He is a Board Member at Shelter Legal Services and is a Yellow Ribbon panel attorney for the BBA.