Name: Sally Mengual (Ogine-Noel) BBA Summer Jobs Program Participation Year: 1996 BBA Summer Jobs Program Employer: Attorney General Office (AGO) High School: West Roxbury High School College: Regis College Any Additional Schools: Northeastern University, Paralegal Certificate Current Employer: Massachusetts Department of Public Health Current Position: Paralegal Specialist
How did the BBA Summer Jobs Program prepare you for your current position/overall career?
The BBA Summer Jobs Program opened the door for me to be where I am today. Working at the AGO was my first professional office job. It taught me how to act like a professional, dress like a professional and be a professional. It also taught me valuable job skills such as communication, organizational and management skills. Because of the BBA Summer Jobs Program, I was able to make the connections needed to apply for an internship 2 years later while at Regis College, which turned into a full time position after I graduated.
Click here to see how the Department of Public Health is giving back.
BBA Summer Jobs Students Nensi Gjata and Kevin Truong sit down with their supervisor Edie Fedder, a Human Resource Specialist at Goodwin Procter.
Two bright students, two very different paths to the law: for the third consecutive year, Goodwin Procter is hosting two students this summer as they learn about what law firm life is really like.
The students tell their stories about how they came to be interested in the law with enthusiasm. “I was actually born in Europe, in Albania,” explains Nensi Gjata, a student at Boston Latin School. “When we came over to the United States, we had to go through the immigration process, and that’s when I got my first dose of the legal system here. It got me interested in immigration law specifically.”
Kevin Truong, also a BLS student, cheerfully notes that he was born and raised in the Boston area, but has an equally engaging story to tell: “My parents are trying to build a new house. They bought the land for it and are working on starting the building, and we’re seeing the legal ramifications and intricacies firsthand. I’m interested in studying the law so I can try to understand and help with this process.”
The students have very personal connections to the legal system, and there’s no better place to learn about it than Goodwin Procter, one of the largest law firms in the city and the original office of the now-international firm. The students are splitting their time between the Conflicts department and Court Procedures department – Nensi currently in the former, while Kevin spends time in the latter – and will be switching shortly.
What have they done so far? “It’s not all Law & Order!” Nensi laughs. “There’s a lot more that happens behind the scenes – it’s not just litigation. I’m working on digitally filing certain client forms so that they’re more readily available for the attorneys in the office.” Kevin details his trips to the different courthouses with filings for the administrative offices, calling the experience “eye-opening.”
This is the third year in a row that Goodwin Procter has hired two Boston public high school students through the BBA Summer Jobs Program.
Each task that they complete is a smaller part of a much larger whole, their supervisor Edie Fedder, Human Resources Specialist at Goodwin, adds. “They’re zeroed in on these projects, and what they don’t see yet is that they’re actively helping Goodwin to reach its goals and initiatives. The work they’re doing is really necessary.”
Fedder notes that a summer job like those that are offered through the Summer Jobs Program might be a student’s first professional experience, and that Goodwin is an eager participant in the program to help the students jumpstart their careers and build their resumes. She hopes that their summer jobs will give them exposure to the experience of working in a law firm and help them to gain insight about their career paths, regardless of whether it leads to the legal profession or not.
The jury is still out on that, so to speak – after all, while they’re both interested in the law, Nensi and Kevin are still in high school and just starting to think about college. But they know that what they have gained already over this summer will have a huge effect on how they approach their future professional lives. “It’s been very eye-opening,” Kevin says. “And you can’t just do the tasks without understanding them. When I go to the courts, I have to know what the documents are, what they mean, and what the process is before bringing a case to court, in case the court office asks questions.”
Nensi agrees that the experience has changed the way she perceives the legal field. “This experience with the law is definitely different from what I expected. When I’m doing my work, I can hear some of the conversations the attorneys are having – it’s so complex. With my own work, I’ve really learned patience and diligence.”
The BBA Summer Jobs students headed to Boston City Hall yesterday to hold a mock City Council hearing with former Boston City Council President Larry DiCara (Nixon Peabody LLP).
Guest Post: Jennifer Le is one of the Summer Jobs Student working at the Boston Bar Association. Jennifer recently graduated from Boston Community Leadership Academy in Hyde Park and will be participating in the Foundation Year Program at Northeastern University next year.
I had an experience I could not forget at the Boston City Hall yesterday but it was even better to be able to share the experience with my fellow Summer Jobs interns. Former City Council President Larry DiCara – who currently works at Nixon Peabody LLP – shared entertaining stories about his past experiences and how he got to where he is now. He spoke about how he was technically Mayor for 2 days during a harsh winter years ago and discussed the difficult decisions you have to make when working for the government.
After his humorous wise words, he divided us in five groups to participate in a mock City Council hearing:
The City Council
Boston Senior Alliance—a group of senior citizens supporting the law
Pediatricians for Peace – a group of doctors that work with young people and support the law
Boston Teen Council—a group of teens opposed to the proposed law
Neighborhood Merchants Association—a group of small business owners against the law
The proposed law was “Effective September 1, 2015, it will be unlawful for any person under the age of 17 to loiter or remain in outdoors public places between the hours of 9:00 PM and 5:00 AM unless s/he is participating in an organized recreational or social activity. Persons traveling to and from employment and school shall not be subject to this curfew.”
I was placed in the Boston Senior Alliance Group, and each group discussed ideas and then one representative per group presented the group’s arguments. In my group, I was the person who wrote down all the ideas to oppose the proposed law. After each group murmured their thoughts, it was time to present in the front of the City Council. It was amazing to hear all the thoughts of all the interns and the presenters, and how emotional they felt for this mock hearing. Imagine a real hearing! These students are so passionate and amazingly smart. It was a very wonderful experience to attend this fieldtrip!
Zaek Rodriguez Kelly, a recent graduate of Excel High School in South Boston, is interning at the Office of the Attorney General through the BBA Summer Jobs Program.
For the first time in eight years, the Office of the Attorney General has a new leader. Just a few months into her tenure as Attorney General, Maura Healey is already working on initiatives as the people’s lawyer and forging connections in the community – one of which is particularly meaningful to an Excel Academy student and future Marine.
Zaek Rodriguez Kelly has impressive goals: a recent graduate, he will spend the next four years in the Marines and hopes to study engineering or counter-intelligence after that. “I wanted to start in a law environment to get some background skills and knowledge about the justice system,” he explained when asked why he had applied to the program. “It’s certainly opening doors for me and helping me to understand this side of the law.”
With his direct supervisor Ellen Tierney, an administrator in the Trial Division of the office, and Jean Mejia, the office’s Director of Employee Relations & Recruitment, it’s clear that Zaek has found a supportive educational setting: the three comfortably chatted with an unforced rapport, and he listened closely as Tierney discussed with him some of the upcoming proceedings he would be seeing, such as a motion to dismiss at the U.S. District Court and more opportunities to see trial attorneys in action.
And for their part, Tierney and Mejia were enthusiastic about Zaek’s presence in the office. “Because he’s new to the law, and because he’s appreciative about having this job, Zaek is so much more willing to learn everything; it’s refreshing,” Tierney said. Mejia added, “He is fully committed to the work every day he is here.”
Tierney agreed. “Zaek is an awesome listener and very thoughtful with his work. And he’s fast! I told him that we were more concerned with accuracy than speed – but it turns out he’s fast and accurate.”
So far, Zaek has worked on archiving projects; helped to organize medical records for a specific case; studied as a witness for a mock trial; photographed maps for land registration cases; and gained other useful general office skills. As the summer continues, he will continue to meet attorneys in the office and get a closer look at what the Office of the Attorney General is all about and what the life of a trial attorney is like.
Zaek has worked on a number of projects, including archiving and photographing maps at the AG’s Office.
But more than that, Zaek has the chance to experience the camaraderie of the office and have the chance to prep for his future. “Seeing a professional work environment is great – it’s very helpful,” he said simply; his smiling interactions with other members of the office suggest that his time so far in the office has meant a lot to him.
And it means just as much to the office to have him there. “Attorney General Healey is very excited to host a Summer Jobs student. Our participation in the program is one way to strengthen connections with the people who are the fabric of the Boston community,” Mejia said. “There’s no better way to do that than through connections with the city’s schools and really impacting the future of students who are at the early stages of their careers. Everyone feels the benefit of having more diverse perspectives in the office.”
Beyond participating in the BBA’s Summer Jobs Program, the Attorney General’s Office also initiated the Summer Youth Jobs Grant Program, which this year awarded over $300,000 in grants to fund about 200 summer jobs for youth across 46 organizations.
Hermuna Taib, a recent graduate of East Boston High School, works at DLA Piper through the BBA Summer Jobs Program.
A large international law firm like DLA Piper works on global projects across a range of practice areas: real estate, litigation, corporate and IP, pro bono work, and more. For the average Boston public high school student, it would be a lot to take in; but Hermuna Taib, placed at DLA Piper for the summer, is not your average student.
Few students grow up with Hermuna’s background: born in a Sudanese refugee camp after her family fled from their native Eritrea in the late 1980s, she and her family were relocated to Boston in 2011. In her application essay to the program, Hermuna explained: “Africa is…known for the horrible genocides that have happened. And, this has all happened because there was no law to protect the people from such injustices. One day, I want to work with the law to be able to help people from my country and communities have peace, justice, and a better life.”
Her drive to learn as much as possible about the legal profession led her to participate in the Summer Jobs Program not just once, but twice – first as a summer intern at the BBA itself, and now this summer at DLA Piper.
What’s special about her experience at DLA Piper is the range in the types of projects and practice areas she gets to see. “When I found out I’d be in a different office, I thought, ‘that’s exciting – meeting new people and finding other stuff that I might like about law,’” Hermuna said about spending her second summer in the program at DLA Piper. “I didn’t learn about real estate at the BBA, or business, or other work that DLA Piper does. When Elaine [Carmichael, Office Administrator at DLA Piper] told me about the pro bono work they do, I didn’t know much about it, or about litigation. I kept asking the question, ‘What is DLA Piper all about?’”
Hermuna works on a variety of different projects, including assisting the firm with database, accounting, and pro bono projects.
DLA Piper is all about excellence in the law and helping Hermuna find her place in the office environment. “Hermuna came in very positive and with a lot of enthusiasm,” said Carmichael, Hermuna’s supervisor. “She’s always after me to give her more work! She’s been able to adapt to different administrative tasks in different practices – she’s working with our records department on a database project, has helped in the accounting department, and in real estate has worked with signature pages on documents, which required a lot of attention to detail – she did a splendid job on that.”
One of the most compelling projects that Hermuna has helped with relates to international pro bono work in Uganda, with attorney Sara Andrews, the firm’s senior pro bono counsel. Recently, DLA Piper sent a team of lawyers to train East African government lawyers on contract negotiations. “As part of our training program, we have the lawyers we’re training fill out evaluation forms about how the experience went, and we had a pile of these feedback forms,” explained Andrews. “Hermuna was instrumental in helping to review and provide analysis of those – transcribing the answers and then making sense of them to help us as we engage in future training programs.”
But above all, both Hermuna and her team of supporters at DLA Piper are making the summer fun. “The Summer Jobs students are always a lot of fun!” laughed Carmichael, noting that DLA Piper has been a major supporter of the program for over ten years. Added Andrews, “It’s really been a pleasure to get to know Hermuna and hear about her story and passion for learning about law, as she figures out her future. It’s fun to be exposed to that energy and enthusiasm of someone who’s starting out on their career path.”
Hermuna may not know yet what type of law she’d want to focus on if she continues on to law school, but she has no shortage of opportunities to learn at DLA Piper, including seminars and training programs with different firm attorneys coming up. “I know a lot more than I did my first day here, and I’m so glad I’m working here and know all of these great people,” Hermuna said with a smile. “If I decide to go to law school and already know all of this legal knowledge, it could really help me. It’s been a great opportunity for me.”
Erika Reis (City of Boston, Office of the Corporation Counsel) presented the new Law 101 enrichment seminar to the BBA Summer Jobs students yesterday.
Yesterday, the BBA Summer Jobs students gathered for their first Wednesday morning enrichment seminar on a brand new topic called Law 101. With the help of Erika Reis (City of Boston, Office of the Corporation Counsel), the students learned the ins and outs of how to become an attorney, the structure of the Massachusetts court system, basic legal jargon, and the key players in the courtroom. The students then put their new knowledge to the test in a competitive game of Jeopardy.
Here’s what the students had to say about the enrichment seminar:
“Today’s enrichment seminar provided me with knowledge on what goes on in the “law world.” Moreover, I enjoyed the jeopardy game at the conclusion of the seminar. This enrichment seminar prepared me to understand what sorts of cases are dealt with in my internship at the Attorney General’s Office.” Zaek Rodriguez Kelly, an intern at the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office and a recent graduate of Excel High School in South Boston.
“Today’s seminar provided insight about what a first year law student would learn, and I was able to ask questions and get answers from a lawyer outside the mists of office life — I liked that. The way it prepared me for my internship is that it gave me basic knowledge about law that I could take back with me and help me to continue to have conversations about the law with those who work in my office. For me, my internship is about learning as much as I can about the law this summer and what it means to be a lawyer. This seminar started for me a long journey of learning that I will use to enrich myself this summer, and I will continue my eagerness to always be asking questions.” Fatuma Mohamed, an intern at Anderson & Kreiger and a recent graduate of Excel High School in South Boston.
Michaela Duff, HR Specialist at Sullivan & Worcester, and Danielle Miles-Langaigne, a rising junior at Boston Latin Academy, will be working together through the BBA Summer Jobs Program.
Last Wednesday, the BBA Summer Jobs students headed out for the first day of work. Many of our students have never had a professional job before, and they were quite nervous about starting their summer internships in the legal field. However, the students are quickly getting settled thanks to the support of our employers.
Here’s what Danielle Miles-Langaigne, a rising junior at Boston Latin Academy, had to say about her first day of work at Sullivan & Worcester in an email to her PIC Career Specialist Terry Alleyne:
“My first day, Michaela Duff [Human Resources Generalist at Sullivan & Worcester], hospitably showed me around the law office. The building was beautiful and the layout was very structured. Everyone there is also very courteous and welcoming, which was very comforting and made me feel less uneasy. Seeing the various faces and ranging ages of people there definitely interested me.
Also, I found out that I would not only be getting my own cubby/desk, but I would also be acquiring my own phone and PC. There’s a name plate outside of my little space that I nearly lost it over because it was surreal to see my name plastered on a decal in front of a mini-office. All in all, being in the atmosphere of an actual law firm was more exhilarating than I thought it would be, even if I was assigned to filing and cleaning up a data base. I told the woman who was teaching me about software on my PC that even if I was not being paid, I would still continue with the job anyways. I look forward to continuing my intern experience at the firm this summer.”
We were thrilled to hear about how much fun Danielle had on her first day at Sullivan & Worcester and are looking forward to hearing more stories from students as they immerse themselves into their new positions. Stay tuned for more updates about our Summer Jobs students and their experiences over the next couple of months.
BBA summer jobs students with keynote speaker Rahsaan Hall, and Summer Jobs Steering Committee co-chairs Matt Mctygue and Colin Van Dyke.
The 22ndBBA Summer Jobs Programs is officially underway. Yesterday, the students headed to 16 Beacon Street for a crash course in business etiquette at the program orientation. This morning, they returned to 16 Beacon to meet their employers at the annual Kickoff Event. This year’s keynote speaker Rahsaan Hall, the Deputy Director at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice, shared some words of wisdom and encouragement with the students.
Here’s what the BBA‘s own Summer Jobs interns had to say about the event:
It was amazing to attend the Kickoff Event. I really liked Rahsaan Hall’s speech. It was inspirational and motivating. It opened my mind to more possibilities.
Jennifer Le, a recent graduate of Boston Community Leadership Academy in Hyde Park
Rahsaan Hall’s speech at today’s Kickoff was very inspiring. I was feeling insecure and uncomfortable when I got here, but his speech about the man who chose the broken down bucket really spoke to me. The idea that we all offer something even if we don’t know what it is motivated me, and I am definitely ready for the rest of the summer.
Elijah Oyenuga, a recent graduate of Another Course to College in Brighton
As you may remember, the BBA Summer Jobs Program is part of the City of Boston’s citywide summer jobs initiative for Boston teens. If you missed this article last month, Mayor Marty Walsh announced that the city will be creating 200 more summer job positions for Boston youth in addition to the 10,000 positions already secured, including our 65 positions in the legal field.
Check out the pictures below for some highlights from this year’s Orientation and Kickoff event:
Boston PICs Senior Career Specialist Teresa (Terry) Alleyne gives the Summer Jobs students a few business etiquette tips at orientation.
Terry Alleyne helped the students get excited about their new Summer Job positions.
Summer Jobs Steering Committee co-chair Colin Van Dyke at this years Summer Jobs Kickoff event.
Summer Jobs Kickoff keynote speaker Rahsaan Hall.
Summer Jobs students listen attentively to Rahsaan Halls useful advice.
DLA Piper’s Elaine Carmichael and Summer Jobs student Hermuna Taib.
Vincent Fichera, Ashley Commito, and Jennifer Carpenter from LPL Financial and their Summer Jobs student Maylerin Valdez.
Stay tuned for more updates about the Summer Jobs students throughout the summer.
Every year the BBA brings in a bright group of Boston public school students who are eager to experience working in the legal field.
We have a great group of Summer Jobs students who will be heading out to their legal internships at various offices on July 1st. You’ll get the chance to meet our students throughout the summer as we feature them on the blog, but we wanted to give you a sneak peek at our interns. Take a look below to learn more about this impressive group of students:
Stay tuned to learn more about our students throughout the summer!
BBA Summer Jobs students got together at the BBA for a meet and greet with their summer jobs employers.
Last Thursday, 25 of our BBA Summer Jobs students dressed up and headed to 16 Beacon to interview with legal employers for this year’s program. For many of the students, this interview day marked their first professional job interview. While the students were guaranteed a position through our program regardless of the outcome of the interview, nerves were still running high. We are happy to report that all of students and employers came out of the interviews smiling and excited for the upcoming summer.
This year marks the 23rd time the BBA has partnered with the City of Boston and the Boston Private Industry Council (PIC) to provide internships to Boston teens. If you caught this article in the Boston Globe last week, you already know that teens from affluent families are twice as likely to secure a summer job as teens from low-income families. As such, these internships are as important as ever. Here’s what the article says about long-term impact of teen employment:
“This teen employment gap is another illustration of why the nation’s income divide is persistent and growing, as better-off families start with advantages that help their children get ahead, while low-income households struggle to break the cycle of poverty. Research shows that teens with summer jobs learn responsibility, punctuality, and other skills that give them a leg up when they enter the labor force as adults, helping them advance their careers and earn more over their working lives.”
Our program aims to provide meaningful work experience and professional development opportunities to prepare students for their future careers. Stay tuned for more on our students’ professional adventures this summer.