Attorneys learned how to seal criminal records at last night’s pro bono training at the BBA.
Last night, attorneys packed into the Claflin Center to attend the annual Criminal Offender Record Information(CORI) training, a free, pro bono training run in collaboration with Greater Boston Legal Services. Agapi Koulouris (Department of Criminal Justice Information Services), Christina Miller (Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office), and Pauline Quirion (Greater Boston Legal Services) trained attorney to help clients from Roxbury, Dorchester and other low-income Boston Communities to seal their criminal records and break the cycle of poverty and unemployment. In exchange for attending this free training, participants are encouraged to take a pro bono case, staff the CORI help table at the Roxbury Court, or help with a community education event in Roxbury and other Boston locations to educate low income individual about their rights to seal their records.
To learn more about the BBA’s Public Service work, click here.
The Boston Debate League judges training is one of the many public service-related events taking place at the BBA this month.
If you are interested in diving into public service this fall, Beyond the Billable has you covered. The month of September offers a number of occasions to receive specialized training and information on opportunities to get more involved in the community.
Here is a look at the upcoming events:
• Calling all new lawyers— join the New Lawyers Section for a Pro Bono Kick Off Meeting and Info Session on September 11th from 5:30-7:30 to learn how you can get more involved in public service activities through the BBA. Click here to register.
• Are you looking for a new pro bono opportunity? Attend to the CORI Training on September 16th from 3-6 pm. The training will prepare you 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 to sign up.
• Learn how to be an effective volunteer judge for the Boston Debate League (BDL) at the training on September 24th from 4:30-6 pm. BDL offers busy attorneys low-commitment and meaningful volunteer opportunities. Attorneys can use their unique skills to help Boston Public High School students improve their critical thinking, public speaking, and argumentation skills. Click here to sign up for the training.
Stay tuned for more public service opportunities coming up later this fall. With Pro Bono Month fast approaching in October, the calendar will continue to fill up.
BBA volunteer attorneys have provided legal assistance to victims and small businesses in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings, including assistance filling out 14 One Fund claims.
The BBA’s weekly e-publication, BBA Week, has periodically been sending out updates about the work of volunteers aiding victims of the Boston Marathon bombings. Beyond the Billable thought last week’s article, titled “BBA on the Road” would be of particular interest to our readers. This article highlighted some volunteer BBA attorneys who offered to go on “home visits”, traveling across Massachusetts and to New Hampshire to meet with victims still recovering from injuries and unable to leave their homes. We hope you will find these stories of people helping in a time of need as inspiring as we did. To read the article, click here.
At Beyond the Billable, we know that lawyers are passionate about giving back to their legal community through pro bono and public service activities. However, finding volunteer opportunities and selecting the right one is no easy task. That’s why last week, the BBA welcomed speakers Patrick J. McDermott (Norfolk Probate and Family Court), Robin D. Murphy (Verrill Dana LLP), Karen Stuntz (McEvoy & Stuntz LLP), and Martin F. Kane (McGrath & Kane) to highlight opportunities for attorneys to gain legal experience while giving back to the Probate and Family Court.
The event, “What Can I Do to Help? Volunteer Opportunities in the Probate and Family Court,” highlighted ways for volunteers to get more involved in the Probate and Family Court.
If you missed the program, no problem, that’s why Beyond the Billable is here. Available opportunities include the Lawyer of the Day Program, Conciliation Program, DOVE—Domestic Violence Ended, Attorneys Representing Children (ARC), the Guardianship Clinic, and Limited Assistance Representation. If you want to learn more, or volunteer for these programs, click here.
Susan Finegan (Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.), Honorable Maureen Monks (Middlesex Probate and Family Court), and Manisha Bhatt (Greater Boston Legal Services) discussed how their commitment to pro bono and public service work has shaped their careers.
Last night, the BBA’s Family Law section held a roundtable discussion at the 16 Beacon Street discussing ways pro bono work can shape your legal career. Three pro bono connoisseurs, Honorable Maureen Monks (Middlesex Probate and Family Court), Manisha Bhatt (Greater Boston Legal Services) and Susan Finegan (Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.) served as panelists and shared their personal experiences with the audience and discussed ways for others to get involved.
Last Thursday, the BBA’s Northeastern Co-op students visited the Lawyer for the Day at the Boston Housing Court project to see the volunteers in action. Since the programs inception in May 1999, volunteers have assistant more than 15,000 landlords and tenants. Here’s what the co-op students had to say about their experience:
BBA Co-op students Alixandra Powers and Gaciru Matathia visited the Boston Housing Court last Thursday.
“Attending proceedings at the housing court was an interesting experience for me. I would have to say that the most fascinating aspect of the visit was the sheer volume of cases that the housing court deals with on a regular basis. During my visit, the clerk announced over 100 cases that were scheduled to be handled on that day alone. With such a huge number of cases, it is no surprise that the courtroom was packed to capacity with landlords, tenants and attorneys waiting patiently for their case number to be called. However, even with all the people in the room, there still managed to be a basic sense of order and structure which allowed for the proceedings to move along relatively quickly.”
Gaciru Matathia is working in the BBA Lawyer Referral Service until the end of June. Gaciru studies International Affairs, and is pursuing a minor in Social Entrepreneurship.
“Going to the housing court as an intern was a really interesting and educational experience. I learned a lot about how high volume legal issues are addressed in a court room setting and enjoyed being able to see court proceedings first hand. It was also nice to see so many lawyers volunteering their time to people in need.”
Alixandra Powers is working in the BBA Membership Department until the end of May. Alixandra is a History major, and is a cadet in the school’s ROTC program. She hopes to attend law school after graduation, and is interested in becoming a Judge Advocate General (JAG) in the Military.
Volunteers provide legal advice to landlords and tenants as part of the Lawyer for the Day in the Boston Housing Court Program.
For more information on the Lawyer for the Day in the Boston Housing Court Program, please contact Katie D’Angelo, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The BBA is offering pro bono legal assistance to individuals and small businesses affected by the Boston Marathon bombings.
As you may have heard, the BBA has taken an active role in moving Boston forward after the tragic events at the Boston Marathon by offering legal assistance to small businesses on Boylston and Newbury street affected by the bombing. Our members responded in force, with over 200 individuals offering assistance when we asked them to help. Nearly a month later, here’s an update:
Thanks to the commitment of our members, the BBA has offered legal assistance to 26 small business owners and individuals who were affected by the Boston Marathon attacks.
Through a collaboration with the Mayor’s Office and the Massachusetts Office of Victim Assistance, the BBA is continuing to get the word out about the available legal services and adapting to the needs of the victims and small businesses in order to effectively refer callers.
Do you know a small business owner or a victim in need of assistance? The Boston Bar Association is connecting those affected by the Boston Marathon bombing to lawyers that can provide pro bono legal assistance for issues such as insurance, labor and employment, relocation, health, and other issues. To access these services, please call the Lawyer Referral Service intake line at 617-742-0625, or Toll Free: (800) 552-7046, or submit an online request here.
Stay tuned for more information as the situation continues to develop.
For more information on the Marathon Monday Project, please contact Katie D’Angelo, Public Service Programs Coordinator, at email@example.com.
Last night, Judge Jeffrey Winik was honored with a Citation of Judicial Excellence for his leadership as the First Justice of the Boston Housing Court. In this role, Judge Winik has dedicated himself to advancing the Lawyer for the Day in the Boston Housing Court Program, which he describes as “access to justice in action.” Volunteer attorneys help provide legal advice and representation to landlords and tenants. Approximately 90 percent of tenants and 50 percent of landlords are unrepresented. Since the program began 14 years ago, 12,000 volunteers have helped more than 14, 500 individuals. However, the sheer volume of cases—the housing court can see about 200 eviction cases on a single day—calls for additional volunteer attorneys.
Judge Winik received a Citation of Judicial Excellence at the Law Day Dinner for his leadership as the First Justice of the Boston Housing Court
Here’s how Judge Winik described the volunteer experience:
I guarantee you, you will come away from the experience knowing you have done something important and have helped people who would have been far worse without your assistance.
Lawyer for the Day in the Boston Housing Court is the epitome of a meaningful pro bono opportunity. Just a few hours on a Wednesday or Thursday can make the difference between a family losing their home or a landlord being foreclosed on.
Last night the BBA’s Immigration Law Section held a CLE titled “Asylum: Application Through Appeal” where speakers led attendees through the entire life cycle of an asylum case and provided thorough review of the current law and standards of review. This CLE was a must for attorneys who want to understand the law as it applies to seekers of asylum and who are new to representing asylum clients.
Attorneys learn about the current laws and life cycle of an asylum case at the CLE “Asylum: Application Through Appeal.”
As our readers know, volunteer attorneys play a central role in these types of cases because asylum seekers often need pro bono representation. Beyond the Billable is always trying to help our lawyers find new ways to volunteer in the community, and it just so happens that two of the grantees of the Boston Bar Foundation (the BBA’s charitable arm) provide pro bono legal services to asylum seekers. Now it’s your turn. Read below for more:
Co-chair Kerry Spindler (Goulston & Storrs) will continue to work on follow up efforts to facilitate the transition to the MUPC and alleviate the burden on the courts. Click here to check out an article about this successful public service program.