The Boston Bar Association’s Environmental Public Service and New Lawyers Public Service Committees have planned three outdoor volunteer events in the coming weeks. Click the links below to reserve your spot at these events and enjoy the sun while helping beautify your community.
The Charles River Cleanup aims to provide Bostonians with a cleaner, healthier and more beautiful Charles River. Come join members of the New Lawyers Section and the Environmental Law Section as we partner with over 3,000 volunteers from various neighborhood, school and professional organizations to help clear trash, debris and other harmful items from the banks of the Charles River.
The Food Project is a non-profit devoted to promoting sustainable food systems. The Food Project Serve & Grow Program is focused on growing food for hunger relief organizations and local distribution. Volunteers will participate in discussions about the food system as you cultivate and maintain the land – all while making a difference for those who lack healthy, affordable food in the Greater Boston area.
In partnership with the Boston Parks and Recreation Department’s Urban Wilds Initiative, we will perform trail maintenance, invasive plant control, and pruning of plantings at the Allandale Woods Urban Wild.
With temperatures hitting 60 degrees this week, we can’t help but dream of the warmer weather to come. Looking ahead to spring, the BBA has a number of one-time volunteer opportunities working with various community and environmental organizations. We hope you’ll sign-up for one (or more!) of the below events to give back to your community while meeting other BBA members!
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.
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!
Last week’s Environmental Law brown bag focused on how and why to get involved in your local conservation commission.
Last week, the Environmental Law Public Service Committee hosted an interactive brown bag program called “Getting to Know Conservation Commissions: Their Role as a Local Environmental Agency and How to Get Involved in Your Local Commission.”
So what can attorneys do to support their local conservation commission? They can help draft orders and other regulatory documents for the commission, help the commission understand regulations, and keep the commission consistent with the Open Meetings Law and Public Records Law.
Here are eight reasons why Eugene Benson, the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions, thinks you should get involved in your local commission:
Help your city or town protect wetlands and open space
Add your expertise and knowledge to a local regulatory body implementing state law
Gain experience in administering an environmental statute and regulations
Gain visibility in your community
Meet and work with the wonderful people on your local commission
A group of attorneys volunteered at the Food Project last month and helped to harvest and cultivate the land.
BBA members have been taking advantage of this fall’s beautiful weather by spending weekends outside and giving back. During October, the Environmental Law Public Service Committee, New Lawyers Public Service Committee, and Bankruptcy Public Service Committee participated in the Franklin Park Clean Up and Food Project. These events give attorneys an opportunity to give back, while meeting other attorneys in a more informal, relaxed setting.
If you’re committed to helping the environment but you want to get involved in a legal-related volunteer opportunity, check out the Conservation Law Center’s Legal Services Food Hub Program. Here’s more information on the opportunity:
Because many farmers and food entrepreneurs in New England struggle to overcome the high legal fees associated with doing business, the Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) has established the Legal Services Food Hub (Hub), which is designed to connect eligible lower-income farmers, food entrepreneurs and food related organizations/groups with experienced attorneys from a growing network who work on the farmers’ legal issues on a pro bono basis. Participation in the Hub program is based on an income cap for the farmers, and the initial focus is on cases involving transactional issues, such as land acquisition/transfer, estate issues, taxes, contracts and incorporation. The Hub has already provided pro bono legal services to numerous clients, including a group of farmers seeking to form an agricultural cooperative in New Hampshire, and a fruit-based ice cream company in Massachusetts seeking trademark advice. For more information, check out the Hub website at: http://www.legalservicesfoodhub.org.
Give back to your community and expand your professional network by volunteering for these upcoming public service opportunities.
16th Annual Charles River Clean Up
Saturday, April 25, 2015 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Come join members of the New Lawyers Section as we partner with over 3,000 volunteers from various neighborhood, school and professional organizations to help clear trash, debris and other harmful items from the banks of the Charles River. A picnic will follow the event at 1 pm.
Spring Woodland Restoration Event at Roslindale Urban Wild
Friday, May 8, 2015 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Five years ago, members of the Environmental Law Section’s Public Service Committee established a tradition for our community of performing ecological restoration work and planting trees in a local Boston Urban Wild. Join the tradition, enjoy nature and the company of your colleagues while also serving the community. This year, in partnership with the Boston Parks and Recreation Department’s Urban Wilds Initiative, we will perform trail maintenance, invasive plant control, and pruning of 2008 restoration plantings at the Roslindale Urban Wild. Participants should bring work gloves and water. Children with parental supervision are welcome! Space is limited, so pre-registration is required.
Volunteer on the Farm: The Food Project Serve & Grow
Saturday, May 30, 2015 9:15 AM to 12:30 PM
Join your BBA colleagues for a morning outdoors working on the farm and supporting The Food Project. The Food Project is a non-profit devoted to promoting sustainable food systems. The Food Project Serve & Grow Program is focused on growing food for hunger relief organizations and local distribution. Volunteers should bring a water bottle, sunscreen, work gloves, and rain gear (if necessary). The Food Project will supply all tools necessary to work in the field.
BBF President Lisa Goodheart (Sugarman, Rogers, Barshak & Cohen, P.C.) and Gene Benson (Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions) discussed the City of Brockton v. Energy Facilities Siting Board case at last Friday’s brown bag.
The Claflin Center was packed last Friday for the Environmental Public Service Committee’s brown bag program called “Learning From City of Brockton v. Energy Facilities Siting Board: Environmental Justice Strategies and Collaboration.” If you’re not familiar with the case, here’s why it’s such a big deal:
The case involved multiple appeals from a decision of the EFSB regarding the siting of a fossil-fuel powered power plant on the Brockton-West Bridgewater line. The case raised new issues of the application of the Commonwealth’s Environmental Justice Policy to administrative decisions. Although the SJC ultimately upheld the EFSB’s decision, its decision included language suggesting that state agencies will have to think hard about how they approach decisions affecting environmental justice communities in light of the policy.
We reach out to panelist Gene Benson (Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions) to learn more about the important role of attorneys in pro bono environmental justice efforts. Here’s his take:
“There is a great need for lawyers to assist environmental justice community residents pro bono. Working with low income community residents is a terrific experience and an opportunity for environmental lawyers to use their special expertise and experience to help people achieve a safe and healthy environment. The Massachusetts Environmental Justice Assistance Network, co-founded by the BBA and ACE, does a great job connecting lawyers with lower income community residents needing assistance.”
For more on assisting low-income residents in need, read BBA President Julia Huston’s blog, Let the Record Show.
Joanna Allison (Volunteer Lawyers Project of the Boston Bar Association) welcomed attendees and encouraged them to get involved in VLP’s pro bono efforts at the annual Pro Bono Fair, one of the many events that took place during Pro Bono Month.
As October comes to a close, that means another Pro Bono Month is in the books. This month has been packed with pro bono trainings, volunteer opportunities, and of course, the release of the BBA Statewide Task Force to Expand Civil Legal Aid report,Investing in Justice. Many of our members took advantage of all the opportunities available this month, but we created a comprehensive recap for those who may not have stepped through the doors at 16 Beacon,
Take a look below for highlights from this month:
October 9th: GBLS & the BBA teamed up for the annual CORI Training to train attorneys to help clients from Roxbury, Dorchester and other low-income Boston communities to seal their records and break the cycle of poverty and unemployment. Click here for more on this training.
October 15th: The BBA Statewide Task Force to Expand Civil Legal Aid in Massachusetts released its long-awaited report called Investing in Justice, which found that the majority of clients seeking legal assistance are turned away and made the business case for $30 million in civil legal aid funding. For more on the report, click here.
October 18th: Members of the New Lawyers and Environmental Law Sections spent the morning outdoors working on the farm and supporting The Food Project.
October 20th: Crowds of law students and new lawyers showed up to find out about pro bono opportunities with legal service organizations and local nonprofits at the Pro Bono Fair, which is co-hosted by the BBA and Suffolk Law School. Read a full run down of the event here.
October 25th: Members of the New Lawyers and Environmental Law Sections headed back outside to partner with the Franklin Park Coalition’s Woodland Volunteer Team to remove invasive species and plant flowers
October 29th: At the Representing Survivors of Human Trafficking: An Introduction for Attorneys Program, an expert panel walked attendees through two human trafficking case studies, highlighting common challenges and identifying helpful resources to keep in mind when representing clients.
Attorneys learned about recent changes in Boston zoning codes, which impact urban agriculture at a recent brown bag.
On Thursday, the Environmental Law Public Service Committee and the Health Law Social Action Committee sponsored a panel discussion on “Cultivating Local, Healthy Food: Urban Agriculture Initiatives & Pro Bono Opportunities.” Despite the recent cold snap, it’s not too early to plan on making your spring more sustainable. Here are four volunteer opportunities to check out.
The Conservation Law Foundation’s (CLF) Pro Bono Legal Services Food Hub: CLF is launching a pro bono legal services network for farmers, food entrepreneurs, and food-related organizations. The focus will be in cases involving transactional issues, land acquisition/transfers, contracts, taxes, and corporate formation, among others. For more information, contact Jenny Rushlow, Director of CLF’s Farm & Food Initiative at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Green Bro Bono: Through Green Pro Bono, lawyers can help environmental non-profits, and social enterprises access legal services. For more information, visit their website.
The Food Project Serve & Grow Program:Join your BBA colleagues on April 8th for a morning outdoors working on the farm and supporting The Food Project, a non-profit devoted to promoting sustainable food systems. For more details, please visit the event page on the BBA’s website.
A group of the volunteers who helped clean up Franklin Park on Saturday morning.
More than 25 volunteers joined the New Lawyers and Environmental Public Service Committees for their annual Franklin Park Clean Up on Saturday morning. Volunteers collected trash and helped remove buckthorn, an invasive species that deprives surrounding plants and trees of nutrients and contributes to erosion.
Beyond the Billable checked in with Environmental Public Service Committee Co-Chair Staci Rubin (Alternatives for Community & Environment) to find out why attorneys should take advantage of these community service opportunities.
Volunteers helped clean up trash and remove invasive species.
“One-day public service activities contribute to environmental restoration, assist organizations that depend on volunteers, allow you to spend time outdoors, and provide an opportunity to meet and build relationships with other Boston-area attorneys.”
Are you interested in getting outside and giving back? Volunteer at the Food Project with the Environmental and New Lawyers Public Service Committees on November 2nd. Click here for more information.