Posts Tagged: Public Service

New Lawyers Volunteer for Prison Book Program

Attorneys volunteered at the Prison Book Program with the New Lawyers Public Service Committee.

Attorneys volunteered at the Prison Book Program with the New Lawyers Public Service Committee.

The red line issues didn’t deter a group of New Lawyers from traveling to Quincy this weekend to volunteer at the Prison Book Program. The Prison Book Program sends thousands of free books to prisoners every year, and the books offer escape, entertainment, and practical information. Throughout the morning, the volunteers read the prisoner’s request, found the appropriate book for each prisoner, and prepared the books for mailing.

Lianne Henderson, a 3L at New England Law School, organized the volunteer event on behalf of the New Lawyers Public Service Committee. Here’s what she had to say about why new attorneys and law students should take advantage of these volunteer events:

“I think new lawyers and law students should participate in the BBA’s weekend volunteer opportunities because they allow you to see the community in which you work in a different light with people you may not usually work with. It is fun to do some good work while meeting new people, and doing service is a good way to reflect on your life and career and all of the opportunities you have had. “

Are you interested in weekend volunteer opportunities? Don’t miss the opportunity to volunteer at Greater Boston Food Bank on March 21st. Click here to learn more.

BBF Honors John Hancock with 2015 Public Service Award

Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Chief Administrative Officer James Gallagher, accepted the BBF's 2015 Public Service Award on behalf of his company for John Hancock’s commitment to the Boston community at Saturday's John and Abigail Adams Benefit.

Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Chief Administrative Officer James Gallagher, accepted the BBF’s 2015 Public Service Award on behalf John Hancock at Saturday’s John and Abigail Adams Benefit.

If you were one of the 1,000 attorneys who got dressed up and came out to the Museum of Fine Arts on Saturday night for the John and Abigail Adam’s Benefit, you probably saw John Hancock receive the 2015 Boston Bar Foundation Public Service Award. The award, which was accepted by Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Chief Administrative Officer James Gallagher, honored John Hancock’s commitment to the Boston community. This year will mark the 30th year of John Hancock’s well known and landmark sponsorship of the Boston Marathon.  As part of that sponsorship, they donate hundreds of entries to area non-profits to help them raise money for causes ranging from state of the art medical care to homelessness.  Perhaps not as well-known are the company’s efforts to support and empower Boston youth through the MLK Summer Scholars Program– a cause shared by the Boston Bar Association and Foundation.

Every year, the BBA and our participating employers join hundreds of other employers throughout the city who are committed to Boston future by providing summer jobs to Boston teens through the Mayor Walsh’s Summer Jobs Program.  John Hancock is another all-star employer. Through the MLK Summer Scholars Program, John Hancock provides grants to local non-profits to hire over 650 Boston teens every summer!

If you’re feeling inspired by John Hancock’s generosity, don’t forget that your legal office has an opportunity to support Boston teens through the BBA Summer Jobs Program. Click here to learn more and to view the 29 employers who have already committed to hiring 43 Boston teens this summer.

Wrapping Up Pro Bono Month at the BBA

Joanna Allison (Volunteer Lawyers Project of the Boston Bar Association) welcome 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.

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.

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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.

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October 18th: Members of the New Lawyers and Environmental Law Sections spent the morning outdoors working on the farm and supporting The Food Project.

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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.

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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

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October 28th: The BBA and VLP trained attorneys to work with pro se landlords and tenants through the BBA Lawyer for the Day in the Boston Housing Court Program at the annual Landlord Tenant Pro Bono Training.

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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.

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Lawyers Lend a Hand to Local Nonprofits

Last spring, nonprofit employers gathered at 16 Beacon to learn about the new Employment Law Pro Bono Project, a partnership between Lawyers Clearinghouse and the BBA’s Labor & Employment section

Last spring, nonprofit employers gathered at 16 Beacon to learn about the new Employment Law Pro Bono Project, a partnership between Lawyers Clearinghouse and the BBA’s Labor & Employment section

 

Our dedicated readers may remember this post about the launch of the Lawyers Clearinghouse and BBA Labor and Employment Section’s Employment Law Pro Bono Project last spring. If you happened to miss it, here’s the deal. This new project pairs pro bono attorneys with local nonprofits who need help with employment related issues, such as compliance, wage and hour law, and more. The program is officially underway and volunteers have been helping local nonprofits on a range of issues.

mbWhile we can’t share the specifics of the cases, we can find out more from our lawyer volunteers.  Mike Birch (Lurie, Lent & Friedman, LLP), for example, recently assisted a local nonprofit with a complicated employment termination. We asked him why other attorneys should get involved in this initiative. Here’s what he had to say:

“I believe there are many reasons to get involved with the program and assist nonprofits with employment issues.

From a professional development standpoint, it provides the opportunity to gain additional experience with employment law issues.  The employment law issues that arise in an employment lawyer’s practice and the factual settings in which they arise are almost innumerable.  The more I am able to think through employment law issues in different factual contexts, the better able I am to address them as they arise in my practice, for all of our employer clients.

Also, nonprofits often operate on limited financial resources.  Nonprofits are often spread thin and the time of the people who run them (such as Executive Directors) is limited.  These people often wear multiple hats, juggling the administration of the nonprofit and provision of the nonprofit’s valuable services to the community.  Dealing with unfamiliar employment law issues can be overwhelming, worrisome, and time consuming.  With us assisting, the nonprofit can devote its limited resources and time to doing what it does best—providing the services that are at the core of its mission.  By assisting nonprofits with their employment law issues, we are playing a meaningful part by assisting them to focus on their provision of those services.”

Welcome to Pro Bono Month!

The annual Pro Bono Fair at Suffolk University is one of many exciting trainings and events during Pro Bono Month

The annual Pro Bono Fair at Suffolk University is one of many exciting trainings and events during Pro Bono Month

October 1st means one thing—Pro Bono Month has officially kicked off! If you’re not familiar with Pro Bono Month, here’s the deal: Each year Governor Deval Patrick issues a proclamation naming October Pro Bono Month (you can read last year’s version here). With the help of the Courts and our Boston Bar Foundation Grantees, we’ve put together a calendar packed full of pro bono trainings to prepare you to get involved in the community.

Don’t waste any time—the events begin this week! Take a look below for some highlights:

CORI Training
October 9th 3:00 to 6:00 pm
The BBA is teaming up with Greater Boston Legal Services 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.

Pro Bono Recruitment Fair & Open House at Suffolk University
October 20th 4:30 to 6:30 pm
This event, sponsored by the Boston Bar Association and Suffolk University Law School, allows attorneys and law students to meet representatives from local legal services organizations and to learn more about the pro bono opportunities in our community.

Landlord Tenant Law and Practice Training 

October 28th 3:00 to 6:00 pm
This training will prepare attorneys to work with pro se landlords and tenants through the BBA Lawyer for the Day in the Boston Housing Court Program.

Representing Survivors of Human Trafficking: An Introduction for Attorneys
October 29th 4:00 to 6:00 pm
Join an expert panel who will walk you through two human trafficking case studies, highlighting common challenges and identifying helpful resources to keep in mind when representing clients.

There are many more events and trainings planned this October. See the full Pro Bono Month calendar here.

Click here to view the full list of events.

BBA LRS Expands Reach to Hispanic Community

LRS ESPANOL Last week, the BBA Lawyer Referral Service (LRS) launched a new Spanish-language website.   The website provides all of the same features found on the main site, and has a fully responsive design to mobile and tablet technologies. The BBA LRS has been committed to connecting historically underserved populations with lawyers and legal resources for over 50 years.  The LRS has a bilingual staff member and developed the site in response to the increase of Spanish callers over the years.

Beyond the Billable reached out to Solana Goss, the coordinator of the Lawyer Referral Service, to learn more about the website expansion. Here’s what she had to say: “We have recognized the language barrier gap for many Spanish speaking callers seeking legal assistance.  Ensuring the Spanish-speaking population has access to our information on how to connect with legal resources is vital to our goal of increasing access to justice.  I think it is important that we empower people from the public to stick up for their legal rights by making them aware of their options and how to access help.”

Check out the Lawyer Referral Service’s new Spanish site directly at www.bostonbarlawyer.org/es or through the language toggle option located at the top of www.bostonbarlawyer.org.

If you are a bilingual attorney interested in joining the BBA Lawyer Referral Service, please email LRS Intake Coordinator, Solana Goss at sgoss@bostonbar.org.   Members from the public can call the LRS at 617-742-0625 or request an attorney online at any time through the website.

Society of Fellows Program Grows as BBF’s Community Impact Expands

In April, members of the Society of Fellows were invited to an exclusive Spring Fellows reception to honor their contributions.

In April, members of the Society of Fellows were invited to an exclusive Spring Fellows reception to honor their contributions.

While our readers know about the Boston Bar Foundation’s impact in our community, you may be less familiar with the group of people who make this work possible—the BBF’s Society of Fellows Program. The Fellows are a community of philanthropic lawyers dedicated to advancing the BBF’s mission of increasing the availability of legal help to those in need, supporting innovative legal services projects and programs, and providing meaningful ways for lawyers to connect with our community.   We’ve noticed amazing growth from the Fellows Program since the beginning of this year, so we crunched some numbers to calculate how the Society of Fellows impacts the BBF.

As of today, 45 Fellows have either joined or upgraded their memberships for this year alone, pledging a total of $335,000.  This support has allowed us to use fundraising revenues for specific causes. For example:

  •  This year, 100 percent of the proceeds from Casino Night will be dedicated to the BBA’s Summer Jobs program, helping to provide paid summer employment for Boston teens.  In addition, the upcoming Passport to Pairings event (formerly Justice is Sweet) will be dedicated to funding the full portfolio of BBA public service programs.
  • The BBF devoted $300,000 in Adams Benefit proceeds this year to legal service grants that advance access to justice for those in need, including immigrants, victims of domestic violence and low income children and families – a need that continues to grow as IOLTA funding continues to decline.
  • The BBF is only $1.4 million away from its long-term goal of $5 million for the endowment, which will provide invaluable long term support for the BBF’s efforts.

Don’t just take it from us.  Hear firsthand from some of the individuals who have joined this year on why they made the decision to pledge as a Fellow:

“The BBF’s mission to support pro bono work and access to justice for Boston’s needy is so critical to us as lawyers and citizens, and I am really grateful and excited for the opportunity to work with the BBF and the Society.” – Karen M. O’Toole, Fidelity Investments

“Each day, too many of our fellow citizens must face serious legal issues – from the loss of disability benefits to eviction – while being unable to afford having a lawyer at their side.  I am proud to support the Boston Bar Foundation’s mission of expanding legal service, assistance and access to all in our communities.” – Scott A. Roberts, Hirsch Roberts Weinstein LLP

“All lawyers have a professional responsibility to assist those with limited means.  I admire the work of the Boston Bar Foundation and the tangible, positive impact of the Foundation in the lives of those who most need its help.  I am proud and thankful to be a Junior Fellow and to assist in this work.”—Kimberly Butler-Rainen, Tamkin & Hochberg, LLP

If you are interested in supporting the BBF’s public service, find out more about joining the Society of Fellows here. Take a look at the current list of fellows here.

Pairing Public Service with Gourmet Food and Drinks

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Don’t miss out on the Boston Bar Foundation’s newest event, Passport to Pairings, next Thursday! Not only will the event be fun and delicious, but 100% of the proceeds are going to a great cause all of the—BBA public service programs!

It goes without saying (as the BBA’s Public Service Blog) that Beyond the Billable is pretty excited about this event. Here’s a sneak peek at what guests can expect on June 26th:

  • The event will feature gourmet food and beverage pairing stations celebrating the BBF’s partnership with the BBA.
  • Some of the Pairings stations include sushi & Saki, craft beer & gourmet hot dogs, artisanal donuts & specialty coffee, and much more.
  • Each ticket gets you access to deluxe food & beverage stations, beer & wine, live music and our raffle, so don’t miss out on all of the fun!

BBF Events like Passport to Pairings make it possible for the BBA to continue to strengthen and expand our public service efforts, including the Marathon Assistance Project, the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program,  the BBA Summer Jobs Program, and the Lawyer for the Day in the Boston Housing Court Program. Thanks in large part to the support of the BBF (our partner in public service) this year marked a very successful year for the BBA’s programs. The numbers below are all the proof you need:

  • 23 pro bono trainings trained nearly 600 attorneys to take cases ranging from special education appeals to veterans benefits.
  • 64 Boston public high school students were placed in summer internships in local Boston law firms and offices through the BBA Summer Jobs Program.
  • 1,300 Boston public school students learned about the importance of voting through our annual Law Day in Schools program.
  • 18 schools state wide received Financial Literacy Training in the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program’s 10th year.
  • 275 calls were fielded from active duty military members and veterans since the BBA began hosting the Veterans helpline in September.
  • Continued to assist individuals and businesses that were affected by the tragic events on Marathon Monday in areas, including employment and tax issues. Since the program began last year, 84 attorneys have helped over 70 individuals and small businesses owners.

Convinced? The event will take place on Thursday, June 26th at 6pm at 16 Beacon Street. Buy your ticket today to the maiden voyage of this event and help us continue to grow our public service programs!

New Lawyers Public Service Committee gives back to Greater Boston Food Bank

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Last Saturday, the BBA’s New Lawyers Public Service Committee took time out of their busy weekend to spend some time at the Greater Boston Food Bank, the largest hunger-relief organization in New England and among the largest food banks in the country. The lawyers inspected, sorted, and packed food and grocery products. The group’s efforts helped put together 4, 509 meals for local families. We reached out to some of the New Lawyers to get their take on this event and other public service events they participate in – here’s what they had to say:

“Under the strong leadership of Margaret Caulfield and Sara Shannon, the BBA New Lawyers Section’s Public Service Committee has cemented its role as the preeminent vehicle for new and experienced attorneys alike to work together in serving the community in the Greater Boston area.  The volunteer event at the Greater Boston Food Bank was one of many examples this BBA year where BBA members and their guests had the opportunity to interact in casual, collaborative settings while helping those in need.” – Paul Connors, Corporate Counsel, athenahealth

“Volunteering at the GBFB with the BBA is something we look forward to every year.  It is always a fantastic event.  However, it is just one of the many public service opportunities Margaret and I planned this past year.  To name a few, we worked with the Environmental Law Section to clean up Franklin Park.  We also volunteered at Cradles to Crayons, helping to put together book packets for kids around Boston.  In December we teamed up with the Social Committee of the New Lawyers Section and promoted the Toys for Tots Program by gathering gifts for children for the holidays.  We also volunteered with the Prison Book Program by sorting and sending books to various state prisons in the Commonwealth. We also continued our tradition in assisting with the Earth Day Cleanup by volunteering our time (rain or shine) to pick up trash on the Charles River organized by the Esplanade Association.

Not only are these public service events wonderful for networking with other attorneys, but they are also rewarding and a lot of fun.” – Sara Shannon, Assistant Attorney General, Environmental Crimes Strike Force

Legal Offices Share Their “Adopting a Classroom” Stories, Part Two

Stephen Cohen (Choate Hall & Stewart) and Eric Teasdale (Choate Hall & Stewart) taught seniors at Edward M. Kennedy Academy of Health Careers about the hidden costs of buying a car.

Stephen Cohen (Choate Hall & Stewart) and Eric Teasdale (Choate Hall & Stewart) taught seniors at Edward M. Kennedy Academy of Health Careers about the hidden costs of buying a car.

Last week, Beyond the Billable shared highlights from two legal offices’ experiences “adopting a classroom” through M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program. While Sun Life Financial and Liberty Mutual participated in the model in the past, two new legal offices also stepped up to the plate to provide volunteers for the three classroom-based sessions at two Boston public high schools. The U.S. Security and Exchange Commission adopted a classroom at Snowden International High School and Choate Hall & Stewart adopted a classroom at Edward M. Kennedy Academy for Health Careers.

Beyond the Billable checked in with attorneys from Choate Hall & Stewart to hear more about their experience. Here’s what they had to say:

Why did Choate Hall & Stewart choose to participate in the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program?

“Attorneys at Choate are long-time participants in and supporters of the Financial Literacy Program.  When the opportunity arose for the Firm to adopt a classroom this year, we jumped at the chance to expand our work with the Program.  Choate is pleased to serve the youth in our community by teaching them practical lessons in effective personal financial management.” – Meg McKenzie Feist, Choate Hall & Stewart LLP

What was the highlight of the Program for your volunteers?
 
“As a volunteer, I was very impressed with the knowledge the students already possessed, as well as their eagerness to learn more about budgeting, saving, and credit.  My group of students was engaged throughout the presentation and asked me pointed questions.  It was a joy to work with the students and I look forward to engaging with a new group next year.”  – Tyler Masse, Choate Hall & Stewart LLP