Posts Tagged: volunteer training

October is Pro Bono Month!

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.

Law Students and attorneys meet with numerous organizations and hear about their work and pro bono opportunities at the 2016 Pro Bono Recruitment Fair & Open House.

Attorneys Learn to Lead Know Your Rights Presentations to Immigrant Communities

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].

Anita Sharma and Courtney Snegroff (PAIR Project) train attorneys to lead Know Your Rights presentations.

Call for Volunteers: Lawyer for the Day in the Boston Housing Court

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].

VLP Trains BBA Members for Small Claims Court Clinic

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

VLP Holds Training for New Debt Collection Clinic

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.”

Attend an Upcoming Public Service Program at the BBA!

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.

A Year in Photos – Public Service in 2016

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.

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!

Attorneys Learn Basics of Landlord/Tenant Law and Discover Volunteer Opportunities

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.

Pro Bono Preparation for Boston’s Citizenship Day

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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.

Pro Bono Opportunities This Fall

As the weather cools down and the leaves change color, the BBA is getting excited for the best month of the year: Pro Bono Month! While October is officially designated Pro Bono Month, we’d like to make sure you’re aware of all Pro Bono events throughout the fall. See below for programs happening at the BBA and in our community.


September:

Legal Clinic for the Homeless (St. Francis House)
Friday, September 9, 2016, 9:30 AM – 12:00 PM
Lawyers Clearinghouse – St. Francis House, 39 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02111
Work with homeless clients seeking legal assistance.

What You Need to Know About Naturalization: Pro Bono Preparation for Boston’s Citizenship Day
Monday, September 12, 2016, 4:00 – 6:00 PM
Boston Bar Association – 16 Beacon Street, Boston, MA 02108
The training will include an overview of citizenship, eligibility, the impact of a criminal history for an applicant, as well as important issues and red flags.

Bankruptcy Roundtable for Pro Bono Lawyers in Massachusetts
Tuesday, September 13, 2016, 12:00 – 1:00 PM
Volunteer Lawyers Project – 99 Chauncy St, Suite 400, Boston, MA 02111
Join us for a question and answer session with experienced consumer bankruptcy attorneys. It will be a forum for discussing case and practice issues with each other and a place where newer attorneys can get advice from experienced practitioners.

Landlord-Tenant Law 101
Tuesday, September 13, 2016, 4:30 – 6:00 PM
Volunteer Lawyers Project – 99 Chauncy Street, Suite 400, Boston, MA 02111
Join us for a one-session training on working with tenants and landlords facing eviction.

Citizenship Day
Saturday, September 17, 2016, 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM
Project Citizenship – 205 Roxbury Street, Roxbury, MA 02119
Volunteer through Project Citizenship to help over 300 applicants complete their paperwork and start their journey to US citizenship.

Mass Legal Answers Online – An Innovative New Way to Do Pro Bono
Monday, September 26, 2016, 12:30 – 1:30 PM
Boston Bar Association – 16 Beacon Street, Boston, MA 02108
At this program, attorneys will learn more about this innovative pro bono opportunity and how participating in this “bite size pro bono” project can make a real difference for people in need.

Wage and Hour Training
Monday, September 26, 2016, 4:00 – 7:00 PM
Volunteer Lawyers Project – Mass. Attorney General’s Office – Suffolk Law School: Faculty Meeting Room
120 Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02108
This one-session training will give you the basics on initiating a wage and hour claim for your client.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Basics
Monday, September 26, 2016, 4:00 – 5:30 PM
Volunteer Lawyers Project – 99 Chauncy Street, Suite 400, Boston, MA 02111
This training will give VLP volunteers the information they need to handle a pro bono Chapter 7 bankruptcy case using Best Case software.

Unemployment Insurance Appeals
Tuesday, September 27, 2016, 4:00 – 5:30 PM
Volunteer Lawyers Project – 99 Chauncy Street, Suite 400, Boston, MA 02111
This training is designed for attorneys who are seeking to represent on a pro bono basis clients who are pursuing unemployment benefits.

Family Law 101
Wednesday, September 28, 2016, 4:00 – 6:00 PM
Volunteer Lawyers Project – 99 Chauncy Street, Suite 400, Boston, MA 02111
Attend an introductory training on Domestic Relations Law. This one-session training will give you the basics on initiating a divorce. It will cover filing the Complaint and all the accompanying documents, and serving the opposing party.

Legal Clinic for the Homeless (Pine Street Inn)
Friday, September 30, 2016, 9:30 AM – 12:00 PM
Lawyers Clearinghouse – Pine Street Inn: 444 Harrison Avenue, Boston, MA 02118
Work with homeless clients seeking legal assistance.


October:

Landlord-Tenant Law 101
Tuesday, October 4, 2016, 4:30 – 6:00 PM
Volunteer Lawyers Project – 99 Chauncy Street, Suite 400, Boston, MA 02111
Attend this one-session training on working with tenants and landlords facing eviction.

Family Law 102
Wednesday, October 5, 2016, 4:00 – 6:00 PM
Volunteer Lawyers Project – 99 Chauncy Street, Suite 400, Boston, MA 02111
Family Law 102 covers Temporary Orders, Pre-Trial Conferences, and how to finalize a divorce or other family law matter.

Pro Bono Work: Serving the Community, Advancing Your Career
Friday, October 14, 2016, 12:30 – 2:00 PM
Boston Bar Association – 16 Beacon Street, Boston, MA 02108
Join us to hear about how public service and pro bono work shaped the careers of our panel of attorneys and how the work they performed has impacted the community.

Legal Clinic for the Homeless (Medeiros Center)
Friday, October 14, 2016, 9:30 AM – 12:00 PM
Lawyers Clearinghouse – Cardinal Medeiros Center, 25 Isabella Street, Boston, MA 02116
Work with homeless clients seeking legal assistance.

Family Law 103
Wednesday, October 19, 2016, 4:00 – 6:00 PM
Volunteer Lawyers Project – 99 Chauncy Street, Suite 400, Boston, MA 02111
Family Law 102 covers joint petition for divorce, Complaint for Modification, Complaint for Contempt, and more!

Political Asylum/Immigration Representation Project, Representing Asylum Seekers
Friday, October 21, 2016, 2:00 – 5:00 PM
PAIR – Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education, 10 Winter Place, Boston, MA 02108
This Asylum 101 training will cover asylum law and procedure, packaging the I-589 application, how to work with traumatized clients, tips for immigration court practice, and perspectives from the bench.

Pro Bono Recruitment Fair & Open House at Suffolk Law
Tuesday, October 25, 2016, 4:30 – 6:00 PM
Boston Bar Association & Suffolk Law School – 120 Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02108
This event introduces attorneys and law students with a range of pro bono opportunities.

Family Law 104
Wednesday, October 26, 2016, 4:00 – 6:00 PM
Volunteer Lawyers Project – 99 Chauncy Street, Suite 400, Boston, MA 02111
Family Law 103 covers establishing paternity, separate support, and adoption.

Legal Clinic for the Homeless (Southampton Shelter)
Friday, October 28, 2016, 9:30 AM – 12:00 PM
Lawyers Clearinghouse – Southampton Shelter, 112 Southampton St. , Boston, MA 02118
Work with homeless clients seeking legal assistance.

Unemployment Insurance: Helping Out-of-Work Clients Navigate the Unemployment System
Friday, October 28, 2016, 1:00 – 4:30 PM
Volunteer Lawyers Project – Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education, 10 Winter Place, Boston, MA 02108
This seminar provides you with the expertise you need to understand the UI system and to help your clients get the UI benefits they are legally entitled.


November:

Introduction to Guardianship of Minors
Wednesday, November 2, 2016, 4:00 – 6:00 PM
Volunteer Lawyers Project – 99 Chauncy Street, Suite 400, Boston, MA 02111
This nuts and bolts training will give participants the tools they need to handle simple guardianship of minor cases from the filing of the petition through the establishment of a permanent guardianship.

Landlord-Tenant Law 101
Thursday, November 8, 2016, 4:30 – 6:00 PM
Volunteer Lawyers Project – 99 Chauncy Street, Suite 400, Boston, MA 02111
A one-session training on working with tenants and landlords facing eviction.

Legal Clinic for the Homeless (Bridge Over Troubled Waters)
Sunday, November 18, 2016, 9:30 AM – 12:00 PM
Lawyers Clearinghouse – Bridge Over Troubled Waters, 47 West Street , Boston, MA 02111
Work with homeless clients seeking legal assistance.