Posts Tagged: Diversity

2021 Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Fellows Begin Summer Internships

The 6 BBA DEI Summer Fellows all started work in in early June. We checked in and asked “What are you most looking forward to this summer over the course of your Fellowship?”

Catherine Garcia

I am most excited to apply my legal research and writing skills to real world scenarios and see how what I have learned this past year translates into actual practice.  I am also very excited to network with the other fellowship recipients as well as BBA members and learn more about the various practice areas of law.  Because most law schools have been fully remote this past year, I feel like I have been in a bit of a bubble and am eager to meet people and talk about our experiences in school and in practice.

Jessie Baek

I am most excited to work with my attorney supervisor to gain a better understanding of how the MCAD resolves discrimination complaints. By engaging in legal research and writing, I hope to become a stronger advocate for future clients. 

Alfred Spencer

This summer over the course of my Fellowship placement I am looking forward to being able to witness progressive prosecution firsthand while I work with the Chelsea District Court Division. I am also excited to finally be able to work on something that I am truly passionate about, criminal justice reform. Being able to work in such a progressive legal environment where I can see firsthand how these new policies directly impact individuals and communities is an experience that I know will help me hone the skills needed to [SN1] contribute to ongoing conversations that can truly bring about criminal justice reform. I know that what I learn and what I experience will stay with me for the rest of my legal career.

Kajahna Matos

I am most excited about meeting attorneys in the Boston CPCS office and engaging in their community efforts by providing great defense to indigent people. I am looking forward to the diverse environment that Boston brings and seeing it fill the Boston CPCS office. I am ready to learn new things and how to become the best public defender I can be by being mentored from those in CPCS. 

Dhairya Bhatia

I am most interested in learning more about issues consumers are facing, since bankruptcy covers such a diverse set of consumer issues! I am also excited to get to write about some of these topics and attend hearings!

Travis Salters

I am one week into my Fellowship at the Massachusetts’s Office of the Attorney General, and I have already had an amazing experience! The meaningful and substantive work of the office has challenged me to employ the knowledge and skills that I have developed during my first year of law school. Particularly, my Law Practice class at Boston College, where Professor Mary Ann Chirba was exceptional at teaching me how to draft memos and briefs, has been critical in my ability to perform in this role. In my first week, I participated in a moot court to help an attorney prepare for an Appeals Court argument, and I have met with several attorneys to receive feedback and direction. I look forward to building mentor relationships with attorneys throughout the office that will hopefully last beyond this Fellowship. I am also excited to expand my personal community by getting to know other Fellows and Interns.

Funding for the position with the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office and the Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General has been provided by the Boston Bar Foundation (BBF) Beacon Fund. The position at the Massachusetts Office of the Inspector General has been sponsored by the Foley Hoag Foundation. The position at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Massachusetts is made possible by the Charles P. Normandin Fund, the position at the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) is made possible through the law firm Pierce Atwood, and the position at the Committee for Public Counsel Services (CPCS) is sponsored by the law firm Nutter. For more information about how to support the BBF, please contact Solana Goss at

Students Selected for the BBA’s Diversity & Inclusion Fellowship Program

Earlier this winter, The Boston Bar Association announced its new Diversity & Inclusion Summer Fellowship Program, giving two outstanding law students access to critical work experience through paid summer internships. These internships provide practical experience in developing legal research and writing skills, expanding professional networks, and accessing tailored programming at the BBA.

This year’s summer interns are Anna Cardoso, a first-year Boston University Law student, who will be interning at the Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General, and Emaan Syed, second-year Suffolk University Law student, who will be interning at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Massachusetts, under Justice Melvin S. Hoffman.

Cardoso previously interned with Bay Area Legal Aid as a JusticeCorps member, where she discovered how income equality and lack of access to healthcare, healthy housing, and support keeps domestic violence victims in a cycle of violence. She also assisted litigants with filing court forms and writing declarations in support of these forms, which helped her effectively communicate legal issues to individuals without legal experience. She noted on her application, “I am dedicated to advancing social justice and equity from all sides. Preventing health care abuse is particularly important to me because no one deserves to be exploited at their most vulnerable.”

Syed’s focus is on bankruptcy law. She worked at BNY Melon as a fund accountant, where she managed accounting and custody reporting for several billion-dollar portfolios. She also interned at both the Massachusetts Division of Professional Licensure and at the Massachusetts Appleseed Center, where she researched the effects of the court cell phone ban policy on indigent clients. From her application, she stated, “As a Pakistani Muslim immigrant, I understand that it is of utmost importance to look at the disparity of low-income families and individuals and address the issues the people in these communities face. As an intern at the Bankruptcy Court, I will use my experience to pursue a career in protecting and advocating for the underprivileged, an opportunity that I hold as an honor in the ability to better their lives.”   

These new internships supplement the BBA’s longstanding summer internship program, which has been providing unpaid legal internships for law students from diverse backgrounds to work in courts and government offices across the Commonwealth for nearly a decade. More than 130 promising law students have participated in the program, gaining critical work experience through this unique opportunity.

Funding for these new positions has been provided by the Boston Bar Foundation (BBF). A generous donation provided to the BBF will provide a $5,000 stipend to the intern at the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office. Funding for a second $5,000 stipend for the intern working in the judges’ chambers of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court will be provided by the BBF’s Charles P. Normandin Fund. Established in 2006, this fund supports the BBA’s bankruptcy law-related public service projects, including our popular M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program.

We’re proud to expand our existing diversity initiatives, and to further support the passion and commitment of law students dedicated to the public interest.

A Year in Photos – Public Service in 2017

From teaching a record 1,700 students through Law Day in the Schools to releasing a compelling report on criminal justice reform, 2017 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 service initiatives over the past year.

The 2017 Public Service Award presented at the Boston Bar Foundation’s annual John & Abigail Adams Benefit Ball honored Chief Justice Margaret H. Marshall in January. Chief Justice Marshall addresses the crowd at the Museum of Fine Arts, reminding every one of the importance of being good and just in their work.

MIT Bhangra, an award-winning dance group, entertained the crowd at the Adams Benefit. 2017’s Ball raised over $650,000 in support for local legal services organizations providing civil legal services to those in need. In June, the Foundation granted $960,000 to 20 such organizations.

Each January, hundreds of attorneys travel to the State House to Walk to the Hill for Civil Legal Aid. The Equal Justice Coalition coordinates this annual event to call on our legislators to adequately fund the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation through the state budget. Carol Starkey, 2016-2017 BBA President, highlights the importance of civil legal aid as noted in the BBA’s Investing in Justice report, which details that 2 out of 3 income eligible clients are turned away from legal services due to a lack of resources.

In response to President Trump’s Executive Order Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States, then BBA President Carol Starkey reaffirmed the BBA’s aim to “support the rule of law, as well as the core values of access to justice and diversity and inclusion, which help keep the fundamental promise that all of us will enjoy due process and equal protection under the law.” Over the course of the year, the BBA worked with many legal services organizations to connect attorneys to volunteer opportunities. Political Asylum/Immigration Representation (PAIR) Project presented a number of Know Your Rights trainings for attorneys wishing to present to community groups about their immigration rights. Here, attorneys William Graves (Graves & Doyle) and Seth Purcell (PAIR Project) welcome over 60 attorneys to the first training at the BBA.

Paulette Brown (left, Locke Lord) accepts the Beacon Award for Diversity and Inclusion for her work as president of the American Bar Association convening the Diversity and Inclusion 360 Commission. One result of the Commission’s work was the passage at the ABA of Resolution 113, an initiative designed to increase diversity in the legal profession. In November of 2016, the BBA announced its strong support for the Resolution and is working with other partners in Boston on its implementation.

Raquel Webster (right, National Grid) introduces presenter Brian McLaughlin (McLaughlin Law) to a group of probationers at the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts. The BBA’s Reentry Education Program, which was developed by the Public Interest Leadership Program, engages with dozens of probationers annually on useful topics related to community reentry, including family law, reinstating a driver’s license, public benefits, and more.

Secretary Francisco A. Ureña (Massachusetts Department of Veterans’ Services) addresses the crowd at a Memorial Day reception hosted by the BBA’s Active Duty Military & Veterans Forum. The reception was held after the annual pro bono training for attorneys representing veterans in discharge upgrade cases. Since 2015, the BBA has worked with the Veterans Legal Clinic at the Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School to hose these trainings to support their Veterans Legal Clinic.

One night a year, the BBA is transformed from a meeting space to a casino floor. Seventeen organizations sponsored this year’s Casino Night for Summer Jobs, the proceeds of which support the Summer Jobs Program and support internships for high school students at legal services organizations, government agencies, and courts. Attendees at Casino Night celebrate beating the house and eagerly await the mystifying reveal of a magic trick.

Law Day in the Schools, one of the BBA’s most popular volunteer opportunities, introduces Boston Public School students to the legal profession and particular areas of the law. This year, volunteers including Jill Brenner Meixel (left) and Allison Belanger (right) of Krokidas & Bluestein introduced students to due process and the importance of having fair rules and laws for all. There were a record 15 schools and over 1700 students in the program this year.

Throughout the year, the New Lawyers Section’s Public Service Committee coordinates volunteer events with organizations throughout the city. In addition to serving food at the Pine Street Inn, attorneys also helped sort donations at Cradles to Crayons, keep the esplanade clear at the Charles River Clean-up, and other important volunteer initiatives in the area.

High school students convene with Chief Justice Melvin S. Hoffman (U.S. Bankruptcy Court) after listing to a mock hearing in bankruptcy court. This session, which teaches students about the consequences of filing for bankruptcy is part of the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program, which began in 2005. Since it began, over 5800 students statewide have been introduced to the importance of budgeting, understanding credit, and financing a large purchase.

Over 1,000 attorneys came together for this year’s Law Day Dinner in Back Bay. Congressman Seth Moulton provided keynote remarks and highlighted the importance of lawyers and upholding the rule of law now more than ever.

This year’s Thurgood Marshall Award, honoring an attorney in private practice in Greater Boston for their extraordinary efforts in enhancing the human dignity of others by providing legal services to Massachusetts’ low income population, went to Elaine Blais (Goodwin). Blais volunteers with both the Political Asylum/Immigration Representation (PAIR) Project and Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) representing both children and adults in various immigration cases.

Anne Mackin (Greater Boston Legal Services) accepts the John G. Brooks Legal Services Award, an award presented to professional legal services attorneys for their outstanding work on behalf of indigent people in the Boston area. Mackin has worked in legal services for nearly 30 years, and joined GBLS’s Immigration Unit in 2013. Since then, she has helped people from all over the world who have witnessed or experienced unspeakable tragedies and faced severe persecutions. Her efforts have ensured that many who are fleeing extreme discrimination and danger are able to seek justice and safe harbor.

Members of the Society of Fellows experience a tour of the Museum of Fine Arts’ summer exhibit, Matisse in the Studio. Each Fellows pledge supports the work of the Boston Bar Foundation’s many public service initiatives. The growing number of Fellows, now over 400, learn about the work their gifts support, including programs supporting Boston’s youth and grants to legal services organizations, at events throughout the year.

Boston Public High School students stand with Natashia Tidwell (center left, Collora) and Mark Smith (center right, BBA President, Laredo & Smith) on the morning of the first day of work with the Summer Jobs Program. The program, a partnership with the City of Boston and the Boston Private Industry Council, employs students in internships at legal offices across the city. In 2017, 52 students gained valuable office experience and were given insight into the legal profession.

Attorneys network surrounding the chocolate fountain, a staple at this year’s Boston Bar Foundation Summer Fundraiser. Guests at the event are treated to delicious dishes from area restaurants while learning about the public service programs their contribution supports.

The Public Interest Leadership Program’s class of 2016-2017 hosted their symposium, Constitutional Battlegrounds: Civil Rights in a Changing Landscape, earlier this year. The event’s speakers addressed a number of issues recently in the national spotlight, both in the media and the courts. Nearly 100 attorneys and interested members of the community packed the BBA to hear insights from the panels of experts.

This fall, the 14th Public Interest Leadership Program (PILP) started their term. Twenty attorneys were selected for the program based on their experience and dedication to public service and civic engagement. The program now includes nearly 200 alumni who’ve gone on to serve the BBA in other capacities and carry their passion for serving the public interest into the community.

Piper Kerman, author of Orange is the New Black, addressed the audience at the BBA’s Annual Meeting. Kerman, a former prisoner, discussed her work bringing prison issues to the forefront of national conversation. She also acknowledged the BBA’s report No Time to Wait: Recommendations for a Fair and Effective Criminal Justice System, which was released this fall. The report commends the reforms proposed earlier this year by Massachusetts leaders based on research by the Council of State Governments (CSG), but strongly urges lawmakers to enact broader reforms designed to further reduce recidivism, and make the criminal justice system fairer and more cost-efficient.

Lawyer Referral Service (LRS) staff attend the Massachusetts Conference for Women to introduce the public to the services it offers. Thousands of requests come through each year and referrals are made out to experienced attorneys practicing nearly 350 areas of law. The LRS also houses a dedicated Military Legal Help Line, which connects veterans, military personnel, and their families with lawyers and other legal resources appropriate to their needs.

The three award recipients at November’s Beacon Award for Diversity & Inclusion stand with members of the Beacon Award Selection Committee. Brent Henry received the Voice of Change Award for his work recruiting and retaining diverse legal talent while at Partners Healthcare. The Empowerment Award went to Iván Espinoza-Madrigal for his work on civil rights issues, including racial justice, immigrant rights, and LGBT/HIV equality, as the Executive Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice. Susan Alexander accepted the Corporate Champion Award on behalf of Biogen. Biogen’s legal department has developed a system of diversity metrics which the legal team uses when choosing outside counsel.
Above, left to right: Brent Henry (Mintz Levin), Iván Espinoza-Madrigal (Lawyers’ Committee), Susan Alexander (Biogen), Sarah Kim (Treasurer and Receiver General of Massachusetts), Kate Cook (Sugarman Rogers), Stephen Hall (Holland & Knight), and Damon Hart (Liberty Mutual).

Hosted at Suffolk University Law School, the annual Pro Bono Recruitment Fair and Open House connects law students and attorneys to volunteer opportunities across the state. Over 25 organizations recruited at the fair this year.

BBA President Mark Smith (right) met with Principal Danladi Bobbitt of the John D. Philbrick Elementary School in Roslindale. As a participant in the Principal Partners event, hosted by Boston Public Schools, Boston Plan for Excellence, and Bank of America, the BBA President has the opportunity to visit a school and engage in meaningful conversations about the role of education in our society.

Summer Internship Applications Being Accepted Through March 7, 2016

The deadline for the BBA Summer Internship Program has been extended to March 7, 2016.

The deadline for the BBA Summer Internship Program has been extended to March 7, 2016.

The Boston Bar Association’s Diversity & Inclusion Section’s Summer Internship application deadline has been extended to Monday, March 7, 2016. Placements are available in the following courts: Boston Municipal Courts, Land Court, Massachusetts District Courts, the Massachusetts Superior Court, the Probate and Family Court, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Massachusetts, and the United States Bankruptcy Appellate Panel for the First Circuit.  Placements are also available with the Massachusetts Department of Labor Standards, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and the Roxbury and Quincy offices of the Committee for Public Counsel Services (CPCS). The application period for the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office placements has ended.

The BBA’s internship experiences are complemented by a series of career exploration programs at the BBA, observation in a number area courts, as well as opportunities to connect with leaders in the BBA community and our affinity bar partner organizations. Law students of all backgrounds are invited to participate in this valuable opportunity to grow in understanding of one another and to ask deeper questions about what they can expect as they move forward in the profession.

There are specific guidelines and requirements for each placement. Students are encouraged to carefully read the application requirements and specifications for each position sought before submitting your application. Application instructions are available on our program website along with instructions for how to apply.


Looking for an Internship This Summer? Apply now for The BBA’s Diversity & Inclusion Section’s Internship Program

The Judicial Internship Program offers law students valuable work experience. The 2015 Judicial Interns worked at nine courts in Greater Boston for a total of over 4,100 hours throughout the summer.

The Judicial Internship Program offers law students valuable work experience. The 2015 Judicial Interns worked at nine courts in Greater Boston for a total of over 4,100 hours throughout the summer.

Are you – or do you know – a law student looking to spend their 1L or 2L summer gaining professional legal experience? The BBA’s Diversity & Inclusion Section’s Internship Program is an unpaid, non-credit internship in which students work directly with a judge or public agency legal team during their 1L or 2L summer. The program provides law students with the valuable mentoring and professional experience needed to succeed after graduation.  The program also has a long-term goal: to bolster efforts to retain a diverse and inclusive population of young lawyers here in Boston. Throughout the course of the summer, interns observe courtroom proceedings and enhance their legal research and writing skills. In addition to their work, they engage with BBA Members and one another at professional development seminars and career exploration programs held at the BBA.

The Diversity & Inclusion Section launched the Judicial Internship Program in 2010, and for six years has facilitated this unique opportunity for Boston area law students to gain access to internships in the Boston Municipal Courts, Massachusetts State District Courts, the Massachusetts Superior Court, the Probate and Family Court, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Massachusetts, and the United States Bankruptcy Appellate Panel for the First Circuit. More than 100 law students have participated in this program since 2010.

This year we are expanding the program to include placements in state government. Interns may apply for the BBA’s Diversity & Inclusion Section’s Internship Program, with placements in the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, the Massachusetts Department of Labor Standards, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and the Roxbury and Quincy offices of the Committee for Public Counsel Services (CPCS).

To apply, students must have completed the 1L or 2L year (or the equivalent) and must be able to work a minimum of 15 hours per week for a total of 8 weeks for most placements. There are specific guidelines and requirements for each placement. Students are encouraged to carefully read the application requirements and specifications for each position sought before submitting your application.

An information session will be held on Friday, January 22, 2016 from 5:00pm – 7:00pm at the Boston Bar Association. Click here to register.

Details about the following internship placements for these internships are available on our program website along with instructions for how to apply.

Thank you to these courts for their ongoing participation: The Boston Municipal Courts, the Massachusetts State District Courts, the Massachusetts Superior Court, the Probate and Family Court, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Massachusetts, and the United States Bankruptcy Appellate Panel for the First Circuit.  And a warm welcome to our new internship providers: The Committee for Public Counsel Services (CPCS) – Quincy, the Committee for Public Counsel Services (CPCS) – Roxbury, Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH), Massachusetts Department of Labor Standards (DLS), and the Office of Massachusetts Attorney General.

Law students may contact our program administrator, Joe McKenzie with questions or concerns.

We invite government agencies, legal services offices, and courts seeking talented law student interns to connect with us to get involved engaging students through this initiative. Please contact our Diversity & Inclusion Section’s Pipeline and Recruitment Committee Co-Chairs,  Sarah  Kim, General Counsel to the Treasurer and Receiver General of Massachusetts and Redi Kasollja of Foley & Lardner LLP.

PILP Meets with Carol Fulp

Carol Fulp (The Partnership, Inc.) met with PILP about the importance of diversity in the legal field.

Carol Fulp (The Partnership, Inc.) met with PILP about the importance of diversity in the legal field.

On November 4, 2015, Carol Fulp, President and CEO of The Partnership, Inc. addressed members of the BBA’s Public Interest Leadership Program (PILP). The Partnership is an organization dedicated to enhancing the competitiveness of the region by attracting, developing, retaining and convening multicultural professionals. In addition to being the President and CEO of The Partnership, Ms. Fulp is a Trustee of the Boston Public Library, and was appointed by President Obama as a Representative of the United States to the Sixty-fifth Session of the United Nations General Assembly.

During the discussion, Ms. Fulp gave an outline of the work that The Partnership, Inc. does, and why diversity is important not just in the legal workplace, but in all sections of civil society. She emphasized that Boston is a city of innovation, and from a business perspective, having a diverse work place isn’t just the right thing to do, but the smart thing to do. “The world is changing, and we, Boston-the city of innovation- need to be at the forefront of this change and stay ahead of the curve in every way we can.”

Ms. Fulp ended the talk by asking each of the attendees to mention why they believe diversity is important, or what actions they hope to see in the future in order to have a more diverse legal community.  PILP member Christopher Hart said the following about the meeting :

Carol led an engaging, productive, and eye-opening discussion about diversity in each of our professional environments and in the greater Boston area.  I felt like I learned a great deal from my PILP peers about what concerns they have, and issues they’re facing, when it comes to diversity in the workplace.  And I thought Carol did a great job not only encouraging our candor, but making us feel empowered to act to shape and improve diversity in the legal community.  Aside from all of that, Carol’s optimism and enthusiasm is infectious; the time we had with her was incredibly well-spent and appreciated.

PILP and the BBA would like to take this opportunity to thank Ms. Fulp for taking the time to speak at this meeting.

Judicial Interns Wrap Up Another Successful Summer

The 2015 Judicial Interns worked at nine courts in Greater Boston for a total of over 4,100 hours throughout the summer.

The 2015 Judicial Interns worked at nine courts in Greater Boston for a total of over 4,100 hours throughout the summer.

Beyond the Billable would like to congratulate the 2015 Judicial Interns on all of their hard work volunteering in the courts. The program gives law students the opportunity to gain firsthand experience while working closely with a judge at one of nine participating courts in and around the Greater Boston area.

This summer marks the fifth year since the internship was created by the BBA’s Diversity & Inclusion Section, with the goal of retaining a diverse population of young lawyers here in Boston. Additionally, the program aims to provide law students with the valuable mentoring and professional experience needed to succeed after graduation. This year we had a total of 24 students from our five sponsor schools, George Mason University School of Law, and Western New England School of Law collectively volunteer over 4,000 hours!

We caught up with Alexander Conley (New England Law | Boston Class of 2017) to hear more about his experience working with Judge Catherine K. Byrne in Boston Municipal Court; here’s what he had to say:

“One of the most memorable moments during my internship happened after being on the job for only a little while.  After observing a motion to suppress, the judge that I was working with asked me if I ’wanted to take this one.’  At first I had no idea what she meant. However, when she explained that she wanted me to draft the opinion for her I was very surprised. It was the first time during the internship that I was asked to do something of such substance, and when I got the assignment I was both excited and nervous.”

When we asked Christopher Boutin (Suffolk University Law, Class of 2017) what his most memorable moment during the internship was, here’s what he told us:

“The most memorable experience of the summer was getting the opportunity to watch the Tsarnayev sentencing hearing in the Federal Courthouse. Judge Tochka urged us to attend so we could experience how a high profile case differs from other cases.

I would highly recommend the judicial internship to ALL law students. Overall, this experience provided me with the kind of knowledge that you cannot learn in the classroom. It provides with the knowledge that only comes from years of experience.”

Congratulations to all of the 2015 summer interns, and we wish you all the best of luck during this upcoming school year!

Diversity Speaks: Strategies for Success Sails into its 17th Year

The Strategies for Success Luncheon brought together diverse summer associates, summer interns, and New Lawyers to gain career advice from a diverse panel of Boston-based lawyers.

The Strategies for Success Luncheon brought together diverse summer associates, summer interns, and New Lawyers to gain career advice from a diverse panel of Boston-based lawyers.

Wednesday, July 8th marked the 17th annual “Strategies for Success Luncheon for Diverse Summer Associates, Summer Interns, and New Lawyers,” where a diverse panel of Boston-based lawyers met and spoke with an audience of seventy new and future attorneys about their own individual journeys and experiences within the legal profession.

The panel offered encouragement and valuable insight to these undergraduates, law students, and new lawyers as they face difficult career decisions. This year’s panelists included Adrian Bispham, an Assistant District Attorney in the Major Crimes Unit of the Suffolk County DA’s office, Christina Chan, an Assistant Attorney General, Salomon Chiquiar-Rabinovich, an attorney at HUD and also the current President of the Massachusetts Association of Hispanic Attorneys (MAHA), Jennifer Fang, an Associate at Goodwin Procter LLP, and Jennifer Watson, who serves as Corporate Counsel at Liberty Mutual. Kevin Nolan of Proskauer Rose LLP chaired the program for the BBA’s Diversity & Inclusion Section. The lunch and discussion was expertly moderated by Marguerite Fletcher of Fletcher Legal Consulting. Those in attendance learned that despite the challenges sometimes associated with the expression of one’s personal identity; including race, gender, and sexual orientation, each one of the panelists have been able to find success as lawyers in the Boston area.


The first topic to be discussed by the panel was to describe why the Boston area is a great place to practice. Since none of the panel members were native to the city of Boston, the audience was introduced to diverse opinions and point of views on their adopted city. Each panelist happily agreed that Boston is now much more diverse than they could ever have imagined and that the size and culture of this city has created an appropriately-sized legal community where reputation, connections, and personality truly matters. Jennifer Fang pointed out that Boston’s pace matches extremely well with the legal profession when compared to the laid-back lifestyle of California or the stress-filled life of New York City. Christina Chang made a note that Boston has always been at the forefront of education, innovation, and legislative changes,  making it “a truly exciting place to be an attorney.”

When asked to discuss the challenges associated to their personal identities within the legal profession, the panel opened up about personal obstacles they have faced and the best way to overcome them. Whether these challenges related to race or gender, the entire panel agreed that making as many connections as possible is the best course of action to feel less isolated in the workplace. “Talking to people allows you to get to know someone on the individual level,” Adrian Bispham pointed out, “try not to perceive people a certain way without first getting to know them. You never know, you might have more in common than you can believe.” Moderator Marguerite Fletcher explained that while equality has been improving and will continue to do so, it is up to each individual to make the difference by networking and communicating about perceived social injustices with people similar to you in an attempt to help fix them.



Since most in attendance had yet to graduate from law school, Fletcher took time to ask the panel to give advice on the transition from school to practice. In general, the panel discussed that you truly need to understand what part of law you want to focus on.  Christina Chan who graduated from Northeastern University School of Law described that Northeastern’s unique Co-Op program, which allows law students to participate in four paid or non-paid internships, allowed her to gain a sense of direction. Her advice: no matter which law school a student attends, apply to as many internships as possible—even if it extends the time it takes to graduate. Networking in and out of school was also heavily discussed.

As the event came to a close members of the audience began to ask their questions. With no surprise the students and recent-graduates all asked questions revolving around the same topic: How exactly do I get a job? Salomon Chiquiar-Rabinovich explained that while grades are extremely important to an interviewer, job-seekers need to act calmly and be themselves while interviewing. Extracurricular activities, Fletcher pointed out, are great ways to connect with the interviewer since they can provide potential discussion topics. Fang, who has served as an interviewer herself for some time, explained that “if you cannot advocate for yourself, how can I expect you to do the same for your clients?”

The 17th annual Summer Associates Luncheon was a great success and the guests left with useful and encouraging tips for taking on a legal career in Boston.




BBA Kicks Off Sixth Year of Group Mentoring Program

More than 300 new lawyers have participated in the Diversity & Inclusion Section’s Group Mentoring Program.

More than 300 new lawyers have participated in the Diversity & Inclusion Section’s Group Mentoring Program.

The BBA’s Group Mentoring Program officially kicked off year six last week, as 65 eager young attorneys in pursuit of expanding their professional support network stopped by 16 Beacon Street. The mentees got to connect with one another and to get a taste of the meetings and career development programs on tap for the current year thanks to an orientation and kickoff reception.

This year, eight seasoned attorneys from various practice areas have volunteered to serve as mentors. The Program has two main goals: to encourage leadership and success of diverse lawyers while exposing them to the Boston legal community by building personal relationships.

Stay tuned for more on this program.

Summer Judicial Interns Get Schooled in Criminal Law

In addition to working in the courts, the Summer Judicial Interns have had the opportunity to attend a number of enrichment events.

In addition to working in the courts, the Summer Judicial Interns have had the opportunity to attend a number of enrichment events.

The BBA’s Summer Judicial Interns have started off their summers strong, not only putting in the hours in the courtroom but also getting first-hand knowledge of the profession thanks to BBA enrichment programs. Earlier this month they got their first taste of the BBA’s Summer Career Series, designed to give the interns a better sense of what lies ahead for them after graduation. In addition to volunteering at least 15 hours per week in the courts, they are taking part in numerous enrichment activities put on by the BBA.  A particularly engaging day of enrichment activities for these law students took place early this month to expose the students to the practice of criminal law.

The series kicked off with “What’s It Like to Practice Criminal Law,” featuring speakers Christina Miller (Chief of District Courts and Community Prosecutions at the Suffolk County DA’s Office) and Lisa Medeiros (Committee for Public Counsel Services Supervising Attorney for Roxbury, Dorchester and West Roxbury), sharing stories about their respective career paths and cases they had worked on “while in the trenches.”

Beyond the Billable wouldn’t be doing our duty if we didn’t check in with our interns to see how the session was, so we asked Boston University School of Law student Chris York  for some feedback on the talk:

“It was interesting to hear their humorous, candid, and differing views on the judicial process and their respective roles in it.”

We have more judicial intern takeaways from the talk here.

While others might have called it a day after that session, our interns did the opposite – they took a walk to the John Adams Courthouse   to observe and also serve as jurists for the 2014 Advanced Trial Training Program’s final competition. Initiated by Judge Robert N. Tochka, the Program pairs newer prosecutors and defense attorneys from across Massachusetts with seasoned mentors for a trial advocacy skills competition (it’s friendly, we promise). Essex County, Norfolk County, Suffolk County, and Worcester County with seasoned mentors for friendly competition on trial advocacy skills.

Our interns observed and judged opening statements through direct and cross examinations, the two-person advocacy teams argued the mock case, “Commonwealth v. Green” with students from the Another Course to College charter school making a guest appearance as witnesses.

Silvia Stockman, a law student at Boston University, gave Beyond the Billable her impressions of the experience:

“The event was an entertaining way to observe real lawyers engaging in a colorfully written case, followed by a very moving reception that honored two fallen members of the legal community. It was a great way to bond with our fellow interns and do some networking with the competitors and audience members!”

As you can see, our Summer Judicial interns have a packed summer ahead of them, so be sure to check Beyond the Billable regularly for updates!