The Boston Bar Association (BBA) today announced a new
collaboration with Greater Boston Legal Services (GBLS) to provide a series of presentations
designed to increase awareness about students’ rights, following a recent class
action settlement agreement. This new project is the first of its kind and
establishes a new collaboration model for a bar association, the private bar,
and the legal services community.
The program will feature presentations given by BBA members currently enrolled in its Public Interest Leadership Program (PILP) to a series of community groups, including community centers, health service organizations, and parent and student groups. The program is part of the BBA’s larger Service Innovation Project, designed to advance efforts to dismantle the cradle-to-prison pipeline in Massachusetts. The cradle-to-prison pipeline is a mechanism by which social and economic disparities contribute to a “pipeline” where children of color, children with disabilities, and children from low-income families are disproportionately funneled into the system of mass incarceration. The BBA’s project focuses on the educational system’s role in the pipeline.
are thrilled by this partnership with the BBA to spread the word of this new
settlement agreement,” said Elizabeth McIntyre, Staff Attorney and Director of
the School to Prison Pipeline Intervention Project at GBLS. “It is
absolutely critical that the families most affected by this settlement are able
to use it as a tool as they continue to fight for their schools.”
“This project gives our class the opportunity to create
meaningful change in our communities and demonstrate the value that lawyers can
bring in jumpstarting social change,” said Jared Shwartz, a current member of
PILP and an associate at Hinckley Allen. “An education can open so many doors;
dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline ensures that we do not unduly
disadvantage a segment of our community that needs access to these types of
The settlement stems from a complaint, filed against
Boston Public Schools by GBLS, which asserted that the school system had
unlawfully suspended three minor clients of GBLS. Boston Public Schools has
committed to several changes that aim to end unlawful student suspensions,
decrease overall suspensions, and foster powerful, compassionate learning communities.
PILP participant Lavinia Weizel, associate at Mintz, said, “Working on a project to help dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline in Massachusetts seemed like a great fit for our PILP class this year. As a group, we were eager to participate in a project that would enable us to connect with the broader community and contribute to tackling important legal and social issues. Our work in this initiative has been a great learning experience.”
The Boston Bar Association is pleased to announce that it is now accepting applications for its 2019-2020 class of Public Interest Leaders. The BBA’s Public Interest Leadership Program (PILP) is a unique leadership program for new lawyers that promotes civic engagement and public service by advancing the leadership role of lawyers in service to their community, the profession, and the Commonwealth.
If you’re interested in learning more the program, we invite you to join us on Tuesday, March 12th from 5:30 PM – 7:00 PM at the BBA. The information session will feature PILP alumni who will provide insight into the program, discuss the application process, reflect on their experiences, and answer questions. If you’d like to attend, please register here.
Eligible applicants are BBA Members who have graduated law school within the past 10 years and demonstrate a commitment to public service and their community. The Program has four specific purposes:
To identify and recognize present and future leaders in the BBA and the Boston legal community.
To contribute to the professional and leadership development of promising young attorneys.
To integrate young leaders into the BBA and its public service landscape — at the same time significantly contributing to the public interest.
To build a powerful alumni network of lawyer leaders who, by their actions, demonstrate that part of being a successful lawyer is giving back to the community.
Citizenship Day in Boston is the largest citizenship workshop in New England. This year, Project Citizenship*, the Mayor’s Office for Immigrant Advancement, Goodwin Procter, and Eastern Bank are hosting the 4th annual event.
Since 2014, over 600 people have applied for citizenship on Citizenship Day in Boston. Project Citizenship expects to serve over 350 this year!
Citizenship Day in Boston provides free legal services to hundreds of immigrants but they are in need of volunteers for the event. Citizenship Day 2017 will take place on Saturday, September 23rd at the Reggie Lewis Center (1350 Tremont St. Roxbury, MA 02120). Volunteers will assist with a variety of tasks including assisting applicants with completing the 20-page application. Attendance is mandatory at one of Project Citizenship’s training sessions if you want to assist with completing the forms, even if you have volunteered at the event in the past.
To volunteer for the event and select which training you would like to attend, please fill out this form.
If you have any questions regarding the event, don’t hesitate to reach out to Project Citizenship at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 617-694-5949.
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!
Start your new year by attending one of the BBA’s upcoming public service programs. From pro bono trainings to informational brown bags, there’s sure to be a program that interests you. Take a look below!
No Buyers, No Business. Combatting Human Trafficking by Targeting the Demand Monday, January 23, 2017, 12:30 PM to 1:30 PM
At this program, you’ll learn the role of demand reduction in combatting commercial sexual exploitation, the scope of the issue of commercial exploitation in Boston, local efforts deployed by CEASE Boston to combat demand, and the role prosecutorial innovation can play in support of efforts to increase the consequential penalties for the purchase of illegal commercial sex by buyers.
Pro Bono Training: Representing Debtors in Small Claims Court Thursday, February 9, 2017, 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM
The panelists will discuss the launch of the Lawyer for the Day Fair Debt Collection Clinic in Small Claims Court at the Boston Municipal Court Central Division and how attorneys can volunteer at the clinic.
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!
Let the BBA connect you with opportunities to serve the community alongside fellow Members – become trained as a Lawyer for the Day in the Boston Housing Court, volunteer at the Greater Boston Food Bank or with Cradles to Crayons. You can also help give hope and guidance to a law school grad preparing to take the Bar Exam.
Come join members of the New Lawyers Section as we partner with other volunteers to help “End Hunger Here.” This event will be an excellent opportunity to enjoy the company of fellow lawyers in a non-professional setting.
This training will cover the basics of summary process law in landlord / tenant cases and how to represent both landlords and tenants in a summary process eviction matter.You’ll be prepared to volunteer for Lawyer for the Day in the Boston Housing Court.
We are seeking attorneys to serve as coaches to bar exam applicants sitting for the Massachusetts Bar Exam this February. This is a short term commitment with a big impact. Coaches are not expected to answer substantive law questions, but will be trained to offer guidance on mental preparation, confidence, study tips, time & stress management, and dealing with anxiety. To sign-up to volunteer, fill out this information form. If you would like to share information about this program with a law school graduate preparing to take the February exam, please direct them to this sign-up form.
If able, please join us at the Bar Exam Coaching Kick-Off Reception. You’ll meet with applicants, coaches, judges, and bar leaders and talk with recent exam-takers about strategies that worked for them.
Join members of the BBA in processing and packaging donations that will be distributed to children across the state through Cradles to Crayons. Cradles to Crayons provide homeless or low-income children with the essential items they need to thrive at home, at school, and at play.
On Tuesday, law students and attorneys mingled with legal services organizations at Suffolk University Law School to learn about pro bono opportunities across the Commonwealth. Over 30 organizations passed out flyers and collected information on potential volunteers. If you were unable to make it to the event, we’ve included a few photos from the evening below and we hope you join us next year!
Representatives from Mass Legal Answers Online and the Volunteer Lawyers Project of the Boston Bar Association speak with attendees.
Ting Chiu tables for Greater Boston Legal Services.
A Suffolk law student hears more information on the Political Asylum Immigration Representation (PAIR) Project.
(Left to Right) Abbe Hershberg, BBA Family Law Section Public Service Committee Co-Chair, Carolyn Mitchell and Cassandra Shavney of the BBA, and Michael McDermott, BBA New Lawyers Section Public Service Committee Co-Chair, table on behalf of the Boston Bar Association.
Law Students and attorneys meet with numerous organizations and hear about their work and pro bono opportunities.
An attendee learns about the work of Project Citizenship.
Barbara Oro and Rochelle Hahn gladly explain the new Mass Legal Answers Online Project.
If you’d like information on the organizations present at the fair, please email Cassandra Shavney at email@example.com.
On Thursday, October 6th, the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Massachusetts held its Fourth Annual Pro Bono Awards Ceremony. The Bankruptcy Judges presented the Pro Bono Publico Awards, which are given for exceptional devotion to pro bono work in each of the state’s regions. The Boston Bar Association congratulates all of the awardees and distinguishes Janet Bostwick for receiving the District of Massachusetts Award.
While presenting the award to Bostwick, Judge Joan Feeney noted that the District of Massachusetts Award is not given every year, but Bostwick’s dedication to pro bono and the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program are deserving of the award. Bostwick was also recently honored at the Boston Bar Association for her work on the Financial Literacy program after she stepped down as Co-Chair of the Financial Literacy Committee after 12 years of service. You can read more on that honor here.
Following the Pro Bono Publico Awards, the 2016 Pro Bono Honor Roll certificates were presented to attorneys meeting the Honor Roll criteria outlined by the Court’s Pro Bono Legal Services Advisory Committee. The Boston Bar Association congratulates those awardees and thanks them for their service to the community.
Pro Bono Publico Awards:
Western Division Award – Henry E. Geberth, Jr.
Central Division Award – Judith Vassilovski
South Coast/Cape & Islands Division Award – David B. Madoff
Eastern Division Award – Neil D. Warrenbrand
District of Massachusetts Award – Janet E. Bostwick
Legal Services organizations need attorneys. Attorneys looking for pro bono work need the time and resources to complete it. One way to bridge that gap is to recruit retired lawyers into partnering with legal services organizations on important projects related to improving access to justice.
That’s how the Access to Justice Fellows Program was born.
A program run by the Lawyers Clearinghouse in collaboration with the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Access to Justice Commission, the Access to Justice Fellows Program pairs attorneys who have retired or are approaching retirement with organizations who need their services.
Here’s a snapshot of their five years of pro bono work, which Program Director Mia Friedman presented at a panel on the program hosted by the BBA’s Delivery of Legal Services section this week:
7 fellows participated during the program’s first year
19 fellows are now active in the Access to Justice Fellows program
55 fellows have participated in the program over five years
They have completed at least 40,000 hours of legal work
Program Director Mia Friedman said most of the attorneys who participate choose to stay with their project for longer than the mandatory commitment of one year. The work done by attorneys in the program varies greatly, from immigration and tax-related matters to probate and family cases. They work for 10-20 hours per week with the organization to which they volunteer their services.
“One of the important aspects of the program is the monthly lunches” where attorneys in the program get together, Friedman said. “It has developed into this wonderful exchange of ideas and a real sense of community between the fellows.”