As our beyond the Billable readers know, the BBA recently announced the class for our twelfth iteration of the Public Interest Leadership Program. The BBA is pleased to welcome 16 attorneys into our Public Interest Leadership community!
On Tuesday, the new PILP class, a.k.a. PILP 12, held its first meeting at the BBA and discussed plans and goals for the upcoming year. Afterwards, PILP 12 met and mingled with the outgoing PILP 11 class and celebrated the achievements of the current class. For those of you needing a refresher ,the PILP 11 class spent the past year partnering with the BBA Reentry Education Program to deliver civil legal education workshops to probationer’s ages 18-24 participating the CHOICE program at the Boston Municipal Court in Roxbury. Take a look below for more images from the evening:
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!
Last week, the BBA Reentry Education Program changed locations and held a session at the Coolidge House, a Residential Reentry Center for offenders under contract with the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Ashley Mann-McLellan, the Deputy Director at New Lease for Homeless Families, met with a group of probationers and case managers to give participants practical tips on navigating the affordable housing application process.
Beyond the Billable reached out to Ashley to learn more about the importance of this session. Here’s what she had to say:
“If you ask someone without a home what their most pressing need is, generally the answer is simply a home. It can be extremely daunting to try to thrive in a homeless situation; finding jobs, maximizing income, and tending to health and wellness issues can be almost impossible during a precarious housing situation. Additionally, there is no text book or simple map sheet to figure out how to obtain affordable housing; the training was so important to the audience because it provided concrete tools, directions and strategies to access affordable homes.”
Panelist share what they know about veterans discharge upgrade cases with attorneys interested in taking on similar cases.
Did you know that veterans who receive a less than honorable discharge may not be eligible for VA health care or other veterans benefits that they need to maintain a stable life? This past Tuesday, attorneys gathered at the BBA for training on how to best represent veterans in discharge upgrade cases.
Panelist Dana Montalto (Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School), Daniel Nagin (Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School), Major Susan Lynch (U.S. Army Reserve), Dr. Sandy Dixon (William James College), and Betsy Gwin (Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School) gave an in depth training that prepped attorneys with information about relevant military review board procedures and regulations. The attorneys who attended this training are now eligible to join the inaugural pro bono discharge-upgrade panel of the Veterans Legal Clinic of the Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School. The clinic allows attorneys and law students to represent veterans and their families in cases to obtain maximum stability and well-being.
Here is what panelists Dana Montalto and Dan Nagin had to say about why they believe it is important for attorneys to join the veteran’s pro bono discharge-upgrade panel:
“Despite a consistently high demand for assistance, remarkably few lawyers are available to represent veterans separated under less than honorable conditions in correcting that status and even fewer available to represent low-income veterans pro bono. By uniting the experience and expertise of the Legal Services Center with the dedication and civic-mindedness of private attorneys, the Veterans Justice Pro Bono Partnership can help close that gap. We look forward to working with the many attorneys who have joined to Pro Bono Partnership to ensure fairness and justice for those who served our country.”
“Providing pro bono representation to veterans who have unmet legal needs is our shared obligation as a profession. Veterans who unjustly received a less-than-honorable discharge are among the veterans who need our help. Providing pro bono representation in discharge upgrade and correction of military record cases can help restore honor to these veterans’ military service and remove barriers that deny them critical services and resources.”
If you missed the training but are still interested in getting involved, please contact Katie D’Angelo at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Lawyers and judges from all over the city visit Boston public school classes to share their passion for the law with students.
Last week, you read about our successful Law Day in the Schools Program in this article. Our program wouldn’t be possible without the dedication of our volunteers who helped draft the curriculum and teach the sessions to 1,000+ Boston public school students. Beyond the Billable would like to thank the following individuals for donating their time to this program:
Jeremy Eisemann, Liberty Mutual Group
Dara Kesselheim, Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office
Anuj Khetarpal, Committee for Public Counsel Services
Matthew Welnicki, Melick & Porter, LLP
Warren Agin, Swiggart & Agin, LLC
Thomas Ahmadifar, Sullivan & Worcester
Stephen Brake, Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP
Heidi Brewster, Biogen
Christopher Candon, Sheehan Phinney Bass + Green
Alison Casey, Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP
Stephen M. Cohen, Choate Hall & Stewart LLP
Rebecca De Chellis
Ty Edmondson, Biogen
Nathan Edwards, Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP
David Ferrera, Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP
Tammie Garner, Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP
Emily Gianetta, Jones Day
Galen Gilbert, Gilbert & O’Bryan, PC.
Daniel Gleason, Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP
Marcia Gookin, Biogen
Alexandra Gorman, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP & Affiliates
Richard Goulding, Sullivan & Worcester
Jeffery Habenicht, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP
Yomarie Habenicht, Ernst & Young LLP
Brenda Hansen, Biogen
Richard Harper, U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission
Rachel Hershfang, Securities & Exchange Commission
Emily Hodge, Choate Hall & Stewart LLP
Yalonda Howze, Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.
Elizabeth Kayatta, Arrowood Peters LLP
Bethany Keating, Biogen
Sarah Kelly, Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP
Dara Kesselheim, Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office
Justin Kesselman, Supreme Judicial Court
Lindsay Kosan, Supreme Judicial Court
Nathaniel Koslof, Sullivan & Worcester
Anthony Low, Shapiro Law Group, PC
Stephanie Macholtz, Biogen
Andrew McArdell, Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP
Rakel Meir, Tufts Health Plan
Lisa Menelly, Raytheon Company
Laura Miller, Sullivan & Worcester
Rebecca Morton, Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP
Maxine Norgard, Biogen
Elianna Nuzum, Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office
Wadner Oge, Massachusetts Board of Bar Examiners
Alexa O’Keefe, Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP
Gregory Pakhladzhyan, American Student Assistance
Shirley Paley, Sonus Networks, Inc.
Michael Parran, Biogen
Nency Salamoun, The Victim Rights Law Center, Inc.
Jordan Scott, Strang, Scott, Giroux & Young, LLP
Gregory Shiferman, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP & Affiliates
Jennifer Sieczkiewicz, Biogen
Alex Sugerman-Brozan, Segal Roitman LLP
Shagha Tousi, Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP
Stephen Vander Stoep, Biogen
Appellate and legal services attorneys discuss appellate procedure and strategies, and highlight special considerations for housing and family law appeals.
Every day, self-represented litigants make their way through the justice system bringing appeals before the court; and until now, they were doing so entirely on their own.
In response to this unmet need, the Pro Bono Appellate Committee recently established a pro bono civil appellate program designed to assist low-income litigants recommended by the Volunteer Lawyer Project by offering brief legal consultations or legal representation in court.
The program, managed by the VLP and supported by Mintz Levin, will operate out of the established Court Service Center at the Brooke Courthouse, which houses the Central Division of the Boston Municipal Court, the Boston Housing Court, the Suffolk County Juvenile Court, and Suffolk Probate & Family Court.
The BBA recently held an initial training for the clinic, featuring remarks from justices of the Appeals Court and panels consisting of representatives from across legal services, private practice, and the courts.
How was this need determined? In 2013, the Massachusetts Access to Justice Commission established the Pro Bono Appellate Committee to study self-represented appellants in the court system and whether a pro bono program should be established to assist them.
The data doesn’t lie: It showed that a significant number of appeals-related cases were brought up in the SJC for the County of Suffolk every week – from formal appeals to informal requests for advice. As of January 2014, over 225 civil appeals that involved at least one self-represented litigant were pending. Most of these cases are based in family law or landlord-tenant law issues, as well as some prisoners’ rights, mortgage forfeitures, and contract or tort cases.
With this evidence in mind, and knowing that many self-represented litigants struggle with the complexities of the court system, the Pro Bono Appellate Committee began working with the VLP to create this pilot program. The program has three main aspects: a weekly Lawyer for the Day appellate clinic; referral to a Pro Bono Appellate Screening Panel that reviews potentially meritorious cases; and assignment of pro bono attorneys for cases selected by that Panel. This arrangement allows attorneys and court staff to give some guidance to cases that don’t necessarily need full representation, while also allowing for greater involvement if a case warrants it.
The program also represents the cooperation of the courts, legal services, and private practice. While the VLP is overseeing the program in the court, volunteers from Mintz Levin will assist with coordinating clinic volunteers and tracking cases. Over time, the program is expected to expand to include other legal services organizations in the Boston area and enlist the assistance of area law firms.
As with programs like Lawyer for the Day in Housing Court and the Court Service Center, the pilot pro bono civil appeals clinic could fundamentally change the way the court interacts with self-represented litigants and vice versa, and allow justice to be served properly.
If you are interested in volunteering, we at the BBA will keep you updated about the progress of the program and future training opportunities.
The BBA Law Day Dinner is the largest annual bench-bar event in Massachusetts. Each year, the event draws over 1,000 judges, policymakers and lawyers from all sectors of the bar.
The 2015 Law Day Dinner, featuring Keynote Speaker Attorney General Maura Healey, is just around the corner! As the designated public service blog of the BBA, we are particularly excited for the public service awards, which will be presented to three of our members who demonstrate an extraordinary commitment to our community.
Take a look below for more on the award-winners:
The Boston Bar Association will present Barbara Mitchell, the Executive Director of Community Legal Services and Counseling Center, with the John G. Brooks Legal Services Award to honor her leadership and commitment to legal services. Barbara is a long-term member and former co-chair of the BBA’s Delivery of Legal Service Section. More recently, she has spearheaded the section’s public policy committee, weighing in on key policy discussions within the BBA. For the past eight years, she has served as the executive director of the Community Legal Services and Counseling Center (CLSACC), a long-time grantee of the Boston Bar Foundation.
Al Wallis, the Executive Director of Brown Rudnick Center for Public Interest, will receive the Thurgood Marshall Award for his leadership in public interest and corporate social responsibility. He is also a member and former co-chair of the BBA’s Delivery of Legal Service Section. Additionally, he served on the BBA Council and as a co-chair and long-term member of the Public Service Oversight Committee. In addition to his work at the BBA, he has served as legal counsel for the BBA’s Summer Jobs partner, the Boston Private Industry Council, for over a decade.
Jack Ward, the Associate Director for Finance & Development at Greater Boston Legal Services, will receive the President’s Award for this leadership and guidance at Greater Boston Legal Services. Jack has helped the organization navigate the difficult funding environment in the wake of a decline in IOLTA funding and helped establish one of the most diversified funding bases of any legal program. He is a nationally recognized fundraising expert for legal service organizations.
Beyond the Billable congratulates and extends our gratitude to these award winners for their ongoing commitment to our community.
If you’re interested in learning more about the award winners, take a look at this recent Issue Spot post. Don’t miss the opportunity to see the honorees receive their awards in person. Click here for more information on attending the 2015 Law Day Dinner.
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.
Last year, attorneys loved the opportunity to work with Boston public elementary, middle, and high school students through the BBA Law Day in the Schools Program.
Spring is finally here and the BBA is gearing up for the annual Law Day in the Schools Program. If you’re interested in sharing your passion for the law with Boston public high school students, don’t miss the opportunity to volunteer for this year’s program on April 29th, April 30th, May 1st, May 4th, May 5th, or May 6th. Volunteers will teach elementary, middle, and high school students about the theme, “Magna Carta: Symbol of Freedom Under Law” during one class period. Don’t be scared off if you can’t remember your high school lesson on the Magna Carta! Attorneys can volunteer in pairs, and we provide all of the materials needed to present on the topic.