From teaching a record 1,700 students through Law Day in the Schools to releasing a compelling report on criminal justice reform, 2017 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 service initiatives over the past year.
Posts Tagged: summer jobs
At the Boston Private Industry Council (PIC) Annual Meeting last week, attendees heard Boston Public Schools Superintendent Tommy Chang, Chief of Economic Development for the City of Boston John Barros and GE Foundation President Ann Klee express the importance of connecting young people with employment opportunities.
The BBA is proud to have partnered with Boston PIC for the past 23 years on the mayor’s Summer Jobs Campaign. In our copy of PIC’s annual report, we were pleased to find that the BBA is sixth on the list of PIC’s top employers.
This year, we placed 58 students with more than 40 employers for the summer. They picked up many new skills in the offices of law firms, legal services organizations, and even here at the BBA. Thanks to funding from the Boston Bar Foundation, 10 organizations were able to employ a student at no cost to them, a benefit to some of our employers that are legal services organizations, government agencies, or courts.
In order to adequately prepare teens for the kinds of jobs that are available and desirable today, the team at the PIC has broadened the training students complete before they apply for a summer job, School-to-Career Director Josh Bruno said.
Before, career specialists focused on getting students through the interview process with flying colors – conducting mock interviews and building resumes. Now, students also receive a crash course in using common computer programs like Microsoft Office. The PIC also does an assessment of each student to determine his or her interests and strengths. For example, bilingual students in the BBA’s Summer Jobs program were able to assist with translating documents and promotional materials.
Bruno said one of the biggest benefits of the BBA’s program is that students are exposed not only to an office environment, but to enrichment seminars meant to promote career exploration and critical thinking.
“The orientation, morning meetings with attorneys, and field trips to places like the State House and the courthouses show students that the BBA is not just made up of lawyers. There are a lot of other jobs that keep the legal system running. All of that builds a student up and gets him or her thinking about their choices for their future career,” he said.
For more information on the BBA Summer Jobs Program or the work of the Boston Private Industry Council, please contact Cassandra Shavney at [email protected]
To begin one of their final enrichment seminars of the summer, our Summer Jobs students filed through security, rode the courthouse elevators and took their places in the courtroom to watch a bankruptcy case unfold.
The court session may have been a mock proceeding, but the goal was to teach the students real lessons about the consequences failing to meet financial obligations.
Janet Bostwick, a longtime co-chair of the BBA’s Financial Literacy Program, offered narration as other attorneys acted out the parts of a debtor, trustee and creditor in two hypothetical scenarios. Hon. Joan Feeney, who welcomes Financial Literacy participants into her courtroom multiple times throughout the year, walked students through a mock session in which a creditor repossessed a debtor’s car.
Both Bostwick and Judge Feeney emphasized that most debtors are law-abiding people who fall behind, and not criminals. During the play-acted scenarios, the debtors racked up interest on credit card bills or fell behind on car payments. Judge Feeney explained that bankruptcy exists so that people failing to make ends meet don’t have to spend time in prison.
“Bankruptcy is meant to be a fresh start for the honest but unfortunate debtor,” Judge Feeney said, quoting the decision in Grogan v. Garner.
Students asked insightful questions about the process. One student asked how a bankruptcy trustee acquires the money to pay back creditors if the person filing for bankruptcy has no money. When asked what the hypothetical debtors could have done differently, students observed that they could have done more to save, spent less money on frivolous items, and paid more than the minimum on their credit card statements.
Hon. Serge Georges Jr. (Boston Municipal Court, Dorchester Division) once again helped us commemorate another successful season of the BBA Summer Jobs Program. In his keynote speech to our Summer Jobs Students at a celebration for them last week, Judge Georges clued them in on traits that are essential to being successful in the legal profession.
“The two things that I hope you all develop are empathy and resilience,” he said.
The students will need empathy in order to understand the challenges other people are facing, Judge Georges said. Lawyers and other professionals are often tasked with helping other people, but Judge Georges emphasized the importance of compassion beyond professional obligations.
Resilience is required, he said, because other people will not always show the same compassion. But Judge Georges reassured students that they will be successful if they hold true to their values.
“You will realize that what you accomplish just doesn’t matter if you don’t care about each other,” he said.
BBA President-elect Carol Starkey, who assumes the presidency next week, emceed the ceremony addressing attorneys and other personnel from the law firms who hired students this year.
Ben Tayag, the Celebration’s Student Speaker, said that he learned that “all jobs are what you make of them.” He said the Summer Jobs Program taught him that even small tasks represent opportunities to learn more and hone your skills.
“Moving forward, I will be more prepared for other internships and jobs I may have,” he said.
He also thanked his office at Holland & Knight for making him feel welcome and always taking the time to explain something new.
Starkey summed up another amazing year of the Summer Jobs Program when, at the end of her speech, she said, “Our future looks bright, don’t you think?”
For their last enrichment seminar of the summer, the students in the BBA Summer Jobs Program got to tour the three branches of government by going behind the scenes at the Massachusetts State House and the John Adams Courthouse, which houses the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.
The students had a few favorite oddities about which they asked many questions – including the “sacred cod” in the House of Representatives’ chambers, a large fish that hangs from the ceiling. But they also asked many insightful questions about the process of passing a bill through the Legislature and signing it into law. At the courthouse, students got to try out the chairs used by the Supreme Judicial Court Justices.
The students demonstrated the knowledge they have gained about the legal system in their summer positions. When asked about the function of the appeals court, one student replied that its function is to “go back over cases and look for a mistake.”
At the State House, students enjoyed the Great Hall, where flags from cities and towns in Massachusetts hang. At the courthouse, they showed a lot of interest in the Sacco and Vanzetti trial, which resulted in two Italian immigrants being convicted for a murder they may or may not have committed. The two men were put to death.
When one student asked why the court would choose to commemorate that trial in spite of its negative implications for the justice system, she started a conversation between students and the tour guide about what lessons could be gleaned from the infamous case.
This group of Summer Jobs students was the first to take a combined tour of both buildings, and they said it was a worthwhile experience. We will definitely be back next summer!
Alicia Zhang, a recent graduate of Boston Latin School, knew for sure last summer that her dream is to become an attorney. This summer, at Peabody & Arnold, she feels she is taking one step closer to that goal.
Whether the task at hand is observing a hearing in court or helping to rearrange the firm’s library, Alicia said spending time at Peabody & Arnold has helped her better understand workplace dynamics at an office job. While her previous experience working at a popular downtown café bustled with activity, this summer job has given her practical experience that she hopes to apply to her career someday, she said.
“Being in court is really different from what you see on TV,” she said. “It’s not as dramatic as I thought it would be. But I really feel like I am getting to learn more about the field of law.”
Alicia said she has fun working with the legal secretaries because she enjoys learning more about cases, especially trials, by reading the notes. The area of law to which she has had the most exposure to so far – insurance law – is not where she wants to focus in her own career, but Alicia said she has enjoyed getting to see the workings of the firm from a variety of perspectives.
“I like how I get to work for a lot of different departments, like human resources and accounting,” she said. “I definitely feel more comfortable than when I started with talking to people and asking what I can do to help.”
Alicia is headed to Washington University in St. Louis in the Fall, where she is considering majoring in psychology and international relations. She hopes that this will put her on the path to law school, something she learned more about at the first Summer Jobs Program enrichment seminar she attended two weeks ago. The session focused on the steps students typically take on their journey to the bar exam.
“[The seminar] was great because it really helped me create a loose track in my mind of what I want to do in college,” she said.
In her application, Alicia talked about how much personal meaning it held for her when she volunteered to assist Somali refugees in Maine last summer. The stories they told her, along with her own family’s story of pursuing the “American dream,” make her want to be a lawyer.
“Striving to serve others and provide them justice is extremely important,” she wrote. “My work this summer will be just a foot in the door into my future career. I hope someday I will completely cross that threshold.”
Last Thursday, the Boston Bar Foundation (BBF)’s Society of Fellows held its annual summer reception at 16 Beacon Street to celebrate the important work in our community that it helps make possible. Comprised of more than 400 of Boston’s leading attorneys, the Society of Fellows comes together several times throughout the year to mingle with friends and colleagues while learning more about the programs they are supporting as Fellows. Click here to see photos from last Thursday’s reception.
BBF President Lisa Goodheart gave a few remarks about the Society’s pivotal role in enabling the BBF to hit a major milestone: $1 million in legal services grants in the year ahead, with more than 50 percent of this funding coming from BBF fundraising and the minority coming from IOLTA.
“I am pleased to share the exciting news that the BBF will be granting $1 million in the upcoming year to 21 community organizations that work to provide legal services to those in need,” Lisa said. “More than half of this $1 million comes directly from BBF funds, and this incredible level of support from the BBF would not be possible without the support of all of you.”
In addition to funding this $1 million in grants to legal services organizations, the BBF funds all of the pro bono and public service initiatives of the Boston Bar Association (BBA).
The Society’s guest of honor for the evening was Cinique Weekes, an alumnus of the BBA’s Summer Jobs Program who is now a fifth-grade literacy teacher in his native Dorchester. Cinique participated in the Summer Jobs Program – which provides unique educational and professional opportunities for nearly 60 diverse youth in Boston each year – for two summers during his high school years.
Through the Summer Jobs Program, Cinique spent one summer at the firm that is now Sunstein Kann Murphy & Timbers and one the at the U.S. District Court. After graduating from Boston College, he joined Teach for America to work as a full-time teacher while simultaneously completing his Master’s degree in Teaching and Curriculum from Boston University. He spoke to the crowd about the formative impact the Summer Jobs Program had on his life.
“I want to emphasize the importance of [the Summer Jobs] Program, because programs like this and others allowed me to become a thinker, a dreamer and someone won’t take no for an answer,” Cinique told a rapt audience. “Programs like this allowed me to be who I wanted to be and open the doors for me to still grow, and I hope that 10 years from now my students can say they are a part of this organization and organizations like it because Mr. Weekes gave them the courage to shine… Thank you to the donors and supporters that make this possible.”
To learn more about how you can become a part of this enthusiastic group of BBF supporters, please contact Tara Trask at [email protected] or (617) 778-1984.
At our Summer Jobs Orientation this week, we were pleased to meet all of our Summer Jobs students in person. We all know that getting a new job involves a lot of paperwork, and everyone has faced a learning curve adapting to their new surroundings at work.
We strive to help students by making sure they have a professional headshot, providing training on business etiquette, and assisting them with many human resources tasks. The students were enthusiastic and receptive, and we are looking forward to the official Summer Jobs kickoff next week!
For more information about the program, please click here.
We have been talking a lot about our Summer Jobs Program, and now that the students have come together for their orientation, we wanted to share a little bit about them.
When applications start coming in, we are always excited to learn more about the students. Their backgrounds contribute to their unique talents and skill sets. Many of our students are bilingual, and some have exposure to the technical skills they will need at an office job through their coursework or hobbies.
To us, an employer’s commitment to a Summer Jobs student represents their commitment to the future of our community, and we are glad to know that our students represent so many facets of the city of Boston.
The goal of Mayor Martin J. Walsh’s summer jobs initiative is to give as many teens as possible the opportunity to gain knowledge and earn money as seasonal employees, and the BBA is proud to have secured jobs for 58 of those students this year!
A recent Boston Globe piece highlights the difficulty faced by Boston teens looking for summer jobs. Whether it’s to build their resumes, help earn for their families, for personal fulfillment, or all of the above – Boston students are competing for a smaller number of seasonal positions than in years past.
Fortunately, the Boston Bar Association and many other organizations in the city have once again stepped up to support Mayor Walsh’s Summer Jobs Initiative, which aims to provide 11,000 teens with employment this summer. To date, 40 employers have committed to hiring 58 students, giving them the chance to gain real-world experience in a professional setting.
We would like to thank our Summer Jobs Sponsors for 2016!
Don’t worry, it’s not too late to step up and hire a student! Contact Cassandra Shavney at [email protected] for more information on the BBA Summer Jobs Program.