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: volunteer training
The BBA’s Council has officially recognized October as Pro Bono Month, joining the American Bar Association and Governor Charlie Baker in promoting service and access to justice. We hope you can explore one of these opportunities to connect with a new organization in the month ahead and serve the community in the year beyond.
Pro Bono Recruitment Fair & Open House
Monday, October 23, 2017, 4:30 PM – 6:00 PM
Suffolk Law School, 120 Tremont Street, Boston, MA
This event is offered to attorneys of all levels, as well as law students. Attendees are encouraged to drop in and meet representatives from local legal services organizations and to learn more about the pro bono opportunities in our community.
Pro Bono Training: Identifying and Pursuing an Innocent Spouse Claim in Tax Cases
Tuesday, October 24, 2017, 4:30 PM to 6:30 PM
Boston Bar Association, 16 Beacon Street, Boston, MA
This program will help practitioners identify cases in which the innocent spouse defense can be claimed to relieve the client from joint tax liability. This defense is available to taxpayers under the Tax Code and Massachusetts law. Attorneys handling restraining orders and/or divorce cases, as well as advocates of survivors of domestic violence, are most likely to encounter these issues and will benefit from knowing how to identify them.
Pro Bono Training: Representing Limited English Proficient Clients and Working with Interpreters
Thursday, November 2, 2017, 12:00 PM to 2:00 PM
Foley Hoag, 155 Seaport Blvd, Boston, MA
Sharpen your pro bono skills and attend this training addressing the effects of trauma and its impact on communication with your client, cultivating cultural competency, working with interpreters during court proceedings, and more.
Pro Bono Training: Why Immigration Advocates Should Care About PATH
Monday, November 6, 2017, 4:30 PM to 6:30 PM
Boston Bar Association, 16 Beacon Street, Boston, MA
This training will create alert advocates who will know how to spot tax issues and related tax benefits for their immigrant clients, and may be able to prevent clients from missing deadlines for those benefits.
On September 27th, the BBA hosted a second training for attorneys and law students to learn how to present to immigrant communities about their rights. Political Asylum/Immigration Representation (PAIR) Project’s Anita Sharma (Executive Director) and Courtney Snegroff (Community Engagement Manager) led the training, which provided an overview of the immigration executive orders from the past year, information on resources available to assist immigrants, and an update on DACA. PAIR first started holding Know Your Rights trainings around the community after the 2016 election. Since then, they have coordinated over 400 presentations and they continue to train lawyers to carry out these efforts. Thirty attorneys attended the training at the BBA and are now equipped to sign-up for a presentation through PAIR.
If you are an attorney or law student and would like access to a video recording of the training and to be connected with PAIR for this volunteer opportunity, please email Cassandra Shavney at [email protected].
Since 1999, volunteers at Lawyer for the Day in the Boston Housing Court have helped landlords and tenants by providing advice, mediation, and even case litigation. The program is a partnership between the BBA, Volunteer Lawyers Project of the Boston Bar Association, Greater Boston Legal Services, the Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School, and the Boston Housing Court. Attorneys and 3:03 certified law students are able to volunteer with Lawyer for the Day through a variety of opportunities:
- Staff an advice and information table (one-day commitment).
- Accompany parties into mediation sessions (time commitments vary).
- Provide full representation to individuals during eviction trials (time commitments vary; the Court aims to process matters quickly when possible).
The Volunteer Lawyers Project frequently hosts trainings for those unfamiliar with Housing Court to prepare to volunteer at Lawyer for the Day. We encourage anyone interested in volunteering to attend VLP’s next Landlord-Tenant Law 101 Training on Tuesday, April 11th from 4:30 – 6:00 PM. You can sign-up here.
Lawyer for the Day occurs each Wednesday from 9:30 AM – 12:00 PM (public housing cases) and Thursday from 9:30 AM – 3:30 PM (private housing cases) in front of Courtroom 15 at the Edward W. Brooke Courthouse, 24 New Chardon Street, Boston, MA. If you have questions about volunteering or would like to learn more, please contact Milton Wong at [email protected].
Earlier this week, the Volunteer Lawyers Project of the Boston Bar Association (VLP), hosted a training corresponding with the launch of their Lawyer for the Day in Small Claims Court program. VLP now coordinates Small Claims Clinics at the Boston Municipal Court Central Division, Cambridge Small Claims Court, and Quincy Small Claims Court. The training covered the debt collection industry, common defenses to consumer debt collection suits, and litigating Fair Debt Collection Practices Act claims in these cases, as well as how to represent a low-income debtor in negotiations and small claims trials. Attorneys and law students of all experience levels are able to volunteer. Please see the clinic schedule below and if you’d like to volunteer with VLP, please reach out to Hsindy Chen at [email protected].
- Boston Municipal Court, Central Division
- Every Thursday, 1:30 PM – 4:30 PM
- 24 New Chardon Street, Boston, MA, 5th Floor in front of Courtroom D
- Cambridge Small Claims Court
- First Tuesday of the month, 1:30 PM – 4:30 PM
- 4040 Mystic Valley Parkway, Medford, MA
- Quincy Small Claims Court
- Every Thursday, 8:30 AM – 11:00 AM
- 1 Dennis Ryan Parkway, Quincy, MA
In small claims court, there is a tremendous unmet need for counsel to help vulnerable clients argue their cases against collection agencies. With the launch of the Lawyer for the Day Fair Debt Collection Clinic in Small Claims Court, the Volunteer Lawyers Project of the Boston Bar Association (VLP) and its volunteer partners are hoping to change all that.
Hsindy Chen, a staff attorney at VLP, gave us some details on an upcoming training that will ready attorneys for participation in the clinic.
Pro Bono Training: Representing Debtors in Small Claims Court
Tuesday, February 28, 2017 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Boston Bar Association – 16 Beacon Street, Boston, MA
“This training is for the lawyer for the day clinic in small claims court which aims to level the playing field between debt collectors and pro se debtors. The debt collection industry has notoriously targeted the most vulnerable consumers, often without providing adequate proof that they own the debt. Approximately 75% of all small claims cases in Massachusetts are brought by debt collectors seeking to enforce debts against consumers. Nearly all of these consumers appear for trial without counsel. However these cases often have significant defenses, of which these consumers are unaware or unable to effectively argue. Attorneys will learn the substantive law for debt collection, as well as practical skills for client interview, negotiations, and making arguments before a clerk magistrate. After the training, attorneys will be ready to take their own pro bono cases at the lawyer for the day clinic in small claims court. The lawyer for the day clinic is a great opportunity to volunteer on a limited basis as the cases are typically resolved that same day through trial or settlement. Attorneys will get hands-on experience in court and develop litigation skills in a fast-paced but manageable environment.”
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: How to Prepare a Bankruptcy
Tuesday, January 31, 2017, 3:30 PM to 7:00 PM
This training will inform attendees how to take on pro bono bankruptcy cases and represent pro bono debtors.
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.
Thank you for a wonderful year, we can’t wait to kickoff 2017 with you!
This week, over 20 attorneys and law students attended the Boston Bar Association’s Pro Bono Training on Landlord/Tenant Law Basics. Attendees heard from Hon. Jeffrey M. Winik of the Boston Housing Court, Joanna Allison, Executive Director of Volunteer Lawyers Project, Dick Bauer, Of Counsel, National Consumer Law Center, and Felicia Higginbottom, Law Office of Vesper Gibbs Barnes & Associates. The training covered the basics of summary process and after the training, attendees were invited to volunteer with Volunteer Lawyers Project and Lawyers Clearinghouse.
Volunteer Lawyers Project hosts Lawyer for the Day in the Boston Housing Court on Wednesdays from 9:30 AM – 12:00 PM and Thursdays from 9:30 AM – 3:30 PM. Attorneys and 3:03 certified law students are able to advise and represent low-income tenants and landlords in the Boston Housing Court. For more information on how to become involved, please contact Milton Wong at [email protected].
Lawyers Clearinghouse runs a Legal Clinic for the Homeless at various area homeless shelters and welcomes attorneys wishing to do pro bono work. Please contact their Program Director, Mia Friedman, [email protected], for more information.
On Monday, September 12th, the BBA hosted its first pro bono training of the 2016-2017 program year. The training, run by Veronica Serrato of Project Citizenship and Joy DePina from the City of Boston, was designed to help prepare volunteer law students and attorneys for Citizenship Day in Boston, which will take place on Saturday, September 17th at the James P. Timilty Middle School in Roxbury.
Joy DePina began by expressing the commitment the City of Boston has to assisting the nearly 48,000 permanent legal residents currently living in the city. She also spoke about Mayor Marty Walsh’s own history regarding the naturalization of his parents, as well as the obligation he personally feels in assisting all immigrant residents in Boston.
Veronica Serrato then provided an extensive overview of the US naturalization process, from the general requirements which must be met by applicants, to the intricacies of the 20 page application itself. She also explained what the Department of Homeland Security looks for in these applications, and how to make sure they are being properly filed. The applications will be filled out with the assistance of a volunteer attorney and checked for quality to ensure applicants are not turned away due to errors that commonly occur when filing without legal assistance.
The BBA would like to thank all of those who attended the training, the speakers, and the many volunteers who will be assisting applicants during Citizenship Day.
If you would like to volunteer for Citizenship Day, please click here to sign-up.
“Citizenship Day in Boston” is an event where legal permanent residents across the state are able to receive free legal assistance and guidance in filling out the N-400 citizenship application. Project Citizenship, in unison with The Mayor’s Office for Immigrant Advancement and Goodwin Procter, is expecting to assist over 300 people apply for citizenship at this year’s event. Project Citizenship has been working year round since 2011 to provide assistance to those wishing to become citizens of the United States, and has so far assisted 8,100 applicants, with 3,194 last year alone. This year’s event will be the third yearly Citizenship Day so far, hopefully with many more to come.