Posts Tagged: Volunteers

Bar Exam Coaching Program July 2022 Recap

Since its inception in 2015, the Boston Bar Association’s Bar Exam Coaching Program has matched 341 exam takers with coaches that assist with the non-substantive aspects of the bar exam. The program has two sessions each year, preparing exam takers for both the February and July exams. We recently wrapped up the July session for those taking the bar on July 26th and 27th.

This program would not be possible without our volunteer coaches. Coaches provide applicants with advice as they prepare for the bar-exam as well as a direct support system from someone who has been in the applicant’s shoes before. Join us in thanking our list of volunteers below!

Jon Bartelson (Committee for Public Services)

Karen Bobadilla (De Novo)

Sydney Burns (Prince Lobel Tye LLP)

Jessica Conklin (Laredo & Smith, LLP)

Lesley Chuang (DLA Piper)

Alexa Daniel (Boston Bar Association)

Blair Edwards (Cooley LLP)

Rontear Farmer (Department of Labor Standards)

Scott Garland (Affiliated Monitors, Inc.)

Lauren Hamill (Day Pitney LLP)

Kaitlyn Hansen (Peabody & Arnold LLP)

Alexandra Klindienst (Massachusetts Appeals Court)

Kristy Lavigne (Massachusetts Office of Bar Counsel)

Ginny Lee (Mintz)

Cathleen Liacos (Arrowood LLP)

Leslie Ann Lopez (Buoy Health)

Sara Mackey (Boston Bar Association)

Mackenzie Mayberry (Buoy Health)

Jenna Miara (MA IOLTA Committee)

Josh Miller (Acadia Management Co.)

Carlos Monroy (Chartwell Law)

Chris Mooney (Sullivan & Young, LLP)

Kaitlin Morel (Strang, Scott & Giroux)

Sean Nabi (Olympus Corporation)

Kianna Phillips (Mintz)

Mikaela Rice (Strang, Scott & Giroux, LLP)

Julia Royce (Sherin & Lodgen)

Anant Saraswat (Wolf Greenfield)

Dimitri Skuret (Rob Levine & Associates)

Rachna Vyas (Choate)

William Walsh (Sugarman and Sugarman, P.C.)

In addition to the coaching component of our program, the BBA also hosted four workshops. These workshops provided substantive and practical advice to applicants, providing them with crucial information to help improve their scores and overall well-being while preparing for the bar exam.

Our first workshop, led by Adrian Velazquez (Committee for Public Counsel Services), Eunice Aikins-Afful (Dragonfly Therapeutics), and Jonathan Schreiber (Massachusetts Association of Realtors) on June 1st, provided attendees with crucial tips for the essay portions of the exam. Our Stress Management workshop on June 8th, led by Dr. Healy (Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers, Inc.), encouraged our bar applicants to prioritize their mental health as they prepare for the exam and it provided them with valuable resources to rely on for support. Our last set of workshops, led by Nicholas Horan (Boston University School of Law) on June 14th and June 15th, focused on preparing for the MBE and MPT portions of the bar exam.

We wish all of the July 2022 applicants in our Bar Exam Coaching Program the greatest luck and success with the exam and we look forward to offering this program again to February 2023 applicants!

The BBA Bar Exam Coaching Program is made possible by the Boston Bar Foundation Public Service Grant, which supports the public service and pro bono projects of the BBA.

Bar Exam Coaching Program February 2022 Recap

Since its inception in 2015, the Boston Bar Association’s Bar Exam Coaching Program has matched 311 exam takers with coaches that assist with the non-substantive aspects of the bar exam. The program has two sessions each year, preparing exam takers for both the February and July exams. We recently wrapped up the February session for those taking the bar on February 22nd & 23rd, 2022.

This program would not be possible without our volunteer coaches. Coaches provide applicants with advice as they prepare for the bar-exam as well as a direct support system from someone who has been in the applicant’s shoes before. Join us in thanking our list of volunteers below!

Karen Bobadilla (De Novo)

Sydney Burns (Prince Lobel Tye LLP)

Rick Darst (Brown Rudnick LLP)

Brian Galletta (Brian K. Galletta –Attorney at Law)

Kaitlyn Gauck (Women’s Bar Foundation)

Lauren Hamill (Day Pitney LLP)

Karen Iovaine (Iovaine Legal, PC)

Cory Lamz (Buoy Health, INC)

Kristy Lavigne (MA Office of Bar Counsel)

Ginny Lee (Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky, and Popeo, P.C.)

Leslie Ann Lopez (Buoy Health)

Kianna Phillips ((Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky, and Popeo, P.C.)

Cassandra Prince (Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP)

Cassie Ramos (Biogen Inc)

Simone Shapiro (Atwood & Cherny)

Erica Tritta (Law Office of Erica J. Tritta)

Benn Waters (Lusha Systems)

Cecily Wilbanks (Greenberg Traurig, LLP)

In addition to the bar coaching component of our program, the BBA also hosted three workshops. These workshops provided substantive and practical advice to applicants, providing them with crucial information to help improve their scores and overall well-being while preparing for the bar exam.

Our first workshop, led by Adrian Velazquez (Committee for Public Counsel Services) and Eunice Aikins-Afful (Dragonfly Therapeutics) on January 4th, provided attendees with crucial tips for the essay portions of the exam. Our Stress Management workshop on January 11th, led by Dr. Healy (Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers, Inc.), encouraged our bar applicants to prioritize their mental health as they prepare for the exam and it provided them with valuable resources to rely on for support. Our last workshop, led by Professor Robert Coulthard (New England School of Law) on February 9th, focused on preparing for the MBE and MPT portions of the bar exam.

We wish all of the February 2022 applicants in our Bar Exam Coaching Program the greatest luck and success with the exam and we look forward to offering this program again to July applicants!

The BBA Bar Exam Coaching Program is made possible by the Boston Bar Foundation Public Service Grant, which supports the public service and pro bono projects of the BBA.

Law Day in the Schools Starts Next Week!

Over the next month, volunteer attorneys and law students will visit Boston Public School classrooms to celebrate Law Day. This annual celebration highlights the foundations of law and justice in the United States and reminds the public and legal professionals how the law interacts with everyday life. This year, the Boston Bar Association is joining the American Bar Association in teaching youth about free speech. Our Law Day in the Schools volunteers will guide students through a lesson demonstrating the importance of free speech rights in creating an equitable society.

We’re very thankful to the below BBA Sponsor Organizations that have pledged volunteers and Adopted-a-Classroom this spring.

Arrowood LLP
Barclay Damon
Beck Reed Riden LLP
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts
Boston Planning & Development Agency
Burns & Levinson
Casner & Edwards
Committee for Public Counsel Services
Conn Kavanaugh
Fitch Law Partners LLP
Krokidas & Bluestein
Laredo & Smith, LLP
Locke Lord LLP
Mintz
Office of the Corporation Counsel of the City of Boston
Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General
Peabody & Arnold
Prince Lobel
Ropes & Gray
Schmidt & Federico, P.C.
Sherin and Lodgen
Sullivan & Worcester

There are still a few spots available for BBA Members to volunteer next month. View the open spots and sign-up here.

Payal Salsburg and Jessica Conklin (Laredo & Smith, LLP) answer student questions at Samuel Adams Elementary in East Boston last year.

Lead Students Through Interactive Lessons on Free Speech

Our popular Law Day in the Schools Program kicks off in May in Boston Public School classrooms across the city. Over 70 classrooms will be visited by volunteer lawyers and law students where youth in kindergarten through 12th grade will learn about free speech rights. This year’s lesson will introduce those rights and will demonstrate their importance in creating an equitable society. The younger students will learn about Malala Yousafzai’s mission to promote education for all, while the older students will participate in a mock city council meeting regarding Confederate monuments. For many of the students, this program offers the only opportunity for them to meet and talk with a lawyer.

As a volunteer, you’ll sign-up for the 1-hour slot that works for your schedule and location preferences. Each class has space for two volunteers, so you’re also able to sign-up with a friend or colleague (all volunteers must be BBA Members). The BBA provides a step-by-step lesson plan to all volunteers, as well as detailed information about the class you’ll be visiting. Ahead of the first session in May, volunteers are also invited to attend an optional training session to review the lesson plans and meet with two Boston Public School teachers.

Spots are filling quickly! Sign-up today to secure your volunteer slot. View all available slots and sign-up here.

Attorneys and law students with Spanish or Mandarin language skills are especially encouraged to sign-up.


VLP Announces January – March Lawyer for the Day in the Housing Court Honor Roll

The Volunteer Lawyers Project of the Boston Bar Association* thanks the following attorneys who accepted cases or provided consultation in January, February, and March through Lawyer for the Day at the Eastern Housing Court:

Dustin Baker
Rachel Bier
James Bor-Zale
Kathleen Conley
Kenneth Corson
Seth Davis
Meghan Fay
Matt Feuerman
Alyssa Fixsen
Tess Foley
Soren Gabrielsen
Andres Garron
Steven Garza
Mindy Green
Cecilie Gromada
Shayla Harlev
Anna Hunanyan
Kathryn Johnson
Sharon V. Jones
Kim Karon
Monica Kwok
Madeleine Laupheimer
Chelsea Lawson
Gregory Malloy
Louis Mattei
Colin McKee
Kyle Merrigan
Marc Migliazzo
Madelyn Morris
Ravenna Neville
Vanessa A. O’Connor
Amy Pearlman
Gary Prado
Julia Prochazka
Stephen Provazza
Jacob Rauer
Joel M. Reck
Evan Tallmadge
Brenna Toomey
Marty Topol
Natasha Vedananda
Susan Wang
Emily Willey

*The Volunteer Lawyers Project of the Boston Bar Association is a 2018 Boston Bar Foundation grant recipient.


If you’re interested in becoming involved with the Lawyer for the Day Program, attend an upcoming training at the Boston Bar Association. Attorneys from Volunteer Lawyers Project will guide attendees through trying a case in housing court on Wednesday, April 17th from 2:30 – 5:00 PM. Read more information about the event and register to attend here.

A Morning with Lawyer for the Day at the Housing Court

Guest Post: Elena Kuran is the current Lawyer Referral Service Intern at the Boston Bar Association. Elena is a third-year International Affairs major at Northeastern University.

On any given Thursday, the fifth floor of the Edward W. Brooke Courthouse is crowded before most people even begin their workday. Landlords, tenants, and attorneys representing both groups drift in and out of Courtroom 10, filling out paperwork, trying to quiet children, and navigating the sprawling Courthouse.

At the center of the Housing Court’s activity are the Lawyer for the Day clinic tables, organized by organizations including Volunteer Lawyers Project, Greater Boston Legal Services, Harvard Law School, and New England School of Law. Volunteer Lawyers Project (VLP) organizes and trains volunteer attorneys who provide pro bono services each week. The volunteers represent firms ranging from boutique to some of the largest in Boston.

The volunteer lawyers provide legal advice and strategy, help fill out forms, provide referrals to service agencies, and on occasion, represent pro se defendants. These attorneys help fill a critical gap: roughly 95% of tenants in Housing Court are without counsel. A majority of advised clients choose mediation over going straight to a bench trial and leave Courtroom 10 to meet with their landlord’s attorney a few floors below.

After observing the volunteer lawyers interact with the pro se defendants, it was clear to me that they also serve a less direct but equally important role: to send a message to those tenants facing eviction that they have someone who will vouch for them, who cares about the outcome of their case, who is sympathetic to the fact that the system has let them slip through the cracks.

At the same time, it was also easy to see that the volunteers are well versed in speaking with the attorneys representing the landlords who are handing out the eviction notices. In one instance, an attorney representing a management company expressed regret that he was helping to evict a young, single mother. The volunteer attorney suggested he take a more sympathetic approach, and give the tenant an extra month to find a new apartment.

These volunteer attorneys help to remedy injustices which are the result of a long history of structural oppression and marginalization of communities of color in particular. The affordable housing crisis in Boston is exacerbated by expanding academic institutions and an increasing population of short-term renters. Secure housing is a right, and to guarantee it for all will require major governmental intervention. In the meantime, the donated time and expert advice of volunteer attorneys ensure a better outcome for tenants who would otherwise have no one on their side.  


If you’re interested in becoming involved with the Lawyer for the Day Program, attend an upcoming training at the Boston Bar Association. Attorneys from Volunteer Lawyers Project will guide attendees through trying a case in housing court on Wednesday, April 17th from 2:30 – 5:00 PM. Read more information about the event and register to attend here.

Boston Bar Leads Groundbreaking Collaboration to Provide Public Outreach for Students’ Rights

The Boston Bar Association (BBA) today announced a new collaboration with Greater Boston Legal Services (GBLS) to provide a series of presentations designed to increase awareness about students’ rights, following a recent class action settlement agreement. This new project is the first of its kind and establishes a new collaboration model for a bar association, the private bar, and the legal services community.

The program will feature presentations given by BBA members currently enrolled in its Public Interest Leadership Program (PILP) to a series of community groups, including community centers, health service organizations, and parent and student groups. The program is part of the BBA’s larger Service Innovation Project, designed to advance efforts to dismantle the cradle-to-prison pipeline in Massachusetts. The cradle-to-prison pipeline is a mechanism by which social and economic disparities contribute to a “pipeline” where children of color, children with disabilities, and children from low-income families are disproportionately funneled into the system of mass incarceration. The BBA’s project focuses on the educational system’s role in the pipeline.

“We are thrilled by this partnership with the BBA to spread the word of this new settlement agreement,” said Elizabeth McIntyre, Staff Attorney and Director of the School to Prison Pipeline Intervention Project at GBLS. “It is absolutely critical that the families most affected by this settlement are able to use it as a tool as they continue to fight for their schools.”

“This project gives our class the opportunity to create meaningful change in our communities and demonstrate the value that lawyers can bring in jumpstarting social change,” said Jared Shwartz, a current member of PILP and an associate at Hinckley Allen. “An education can open so many doors; dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline ensures that we do not unduly disadvantage a segment of our community that needs access to these types of opportunities.”

The settlement stems from a complaint, filed against Boston Public Schools by GBLS, which asserted that the school system had unlawfully suspended three minor clients of GBLS. Boston Public Schools has committed to several changes that aim to end unlawful student suspensions, decrease overall suspensions, and foster powerful, compassionate learning communities.

PILP participant Lavinia Weizel, associate at Mintz, said, “Working on a project to help dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline in Massachusetts seemed like a great fit for our PILP class this year. As a group, we were eager to participate in a project that would enable us to connect with the broader community and contribute to tackling important legal and social issues. Our work in this initiative has been a great learning experience.”

The presentations are expected to begin next month. Learn more about the BBA here and GBLS here.

The Service Innovation Project is made possible by the Burnes Innovation in Service Fund of the Boston Bar Foundation.

Thank You to our Bar Exam Coaching Program Volunteers!

Ahead of the February 2019 Uniform Bar Exam in Massachusetts, 45 attorneys provided coaching and guidance to individuals taking the bar exam. The BBA’s Bar Exam Coaching Program matches coaches with bar applicants to act as a cheerleader throughout the process. Coaches keep applicants on track with a study schedule and provide tips for managing stress and time.

This program targets working with applicants who are retaking the exam in Massachusetts, and of this winter’s participants, 38 were retaking the exam in February. Through this program, we hope to provide support and community during what can feel like an isolating experience. Thank you to all of the coaches who provided support this winter:

Ana Alvarado, Northeastern University School of Law
Brittany Besler
Elizabeth Broderick, Committee for Public Counsel Services
Laura Brown, Law Office of Laura Anastasia Brown
Elmira Cancan Zenger, WGBH
James Coffey, Polsinelli
Joshua Cohn, Holland & Knight LLP
Susan Corcoran, De Novo
Emma Days, Ropes & Gray LLP
Janelle Dempsey, Moriarty Troyer & Malloy LLC
Jessica DiBacco
Christopher Dodge, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP
Anthony Faillaci, Burns & Levinson LLP
Tess Foley, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP
Robert Friedman, Burns & Levinson LLP
Nicole Gallerano, Nixon Peabody LLP
Alexandra Gill, Gill Law
Eric Haskell, Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General
Naitasia Hensey, State Street Corporation
Stephanie Holding, Boston University School of Law
D. Paul Koch, Jr., Finard Properties LLC
Szeman Lam, Proskauer Rose LLP
Kristy Lavigne, Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General
Katie Leung
Brendan Lowd, Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.
Jessica Lu, Brown Rudnick LLP
Yakov Malkiel, White & Case LLP
Lauren Maloney, Vigorito Barker Porter & Patterson LLP
Christina Miller, Suffolk University Law School
Geraldine Muir, Boston University School of Law
Emily Notini, Goodwin Procter LLP
Nicole Phe, Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP
Dana Pierce, State Street Corporation
Amy Pimentel, McDermott Will & Emery
Alex Praschma, Spartan Race, Inc.
Rebekah Provost, Justice Resource Institute: Health Law Institute
Abbigail Shirk, MetroWest Legal Services
Christina Simpson, The Law Office of Christina Simpson
Eileen Sprague, Glynn Law Offices
Katie Stock, Miyares and Harrington, LLP
Ben Towbin, LibbyHoopes, P.C.
Sheba Varughese, Greater Boston Legal Services
Christine Wahr, McDermott Will & Emery
Chaloea Williams, U.S. District Court-MA
Samuel Zuckernik, Smith Duggan Buell & Rufo LLP

If you’re interested in signing up either as a bar applicant or a coach ahead of the July exam, please visit our website here.

VLP Announces October – December Lawyer for the Day in the Housing Court Honor Roll

The Volunteer Lawyers Project of the Boston Bar Association* thanks the following attorneys who accepted cases or provided consultation in October, November, and December through Lawyer for the Day at the Eastern Housing Court:

Gary Allen
Jessica Bergin
Rachel Bier
James Bor-Zale
Gerard Cedrone
Matt Costello
Sarah Frazier
Steven Garza
Sharon V. Jones
Kim Karon
Jeanette Leopold
George Manley
Rachel McCarthy
Madelyn Morris
Kevin C. Mortimer
Yavor Nechev
Vanessa O’Connor
Amy Pearlman
Tim Perla
Julia Prochazka
Stephen Provazza
Joel M. Reck
Rian Rosetti
Greg Schmidt
David Soutter
Lu Wang
Emily Whelan
Lawrence A. Wind
Angela Yoon

*The Volunteer Lawyers Project of the Boston Bar Association is a 2018 Boston Bar Foundation grant recipient.

Teach Teens Lifelong Financial Skills

The Boston Bar Association’s M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program, in partnership with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, has been introducing high school students to essential financial concepts for 13 years. Sign-up is now open for the 2019 Financial Literacy sessions in high schools throughout the state. Attorneys and law students from all practice area backgrounds are welcome to participate and make an impact.

Through the program, volunteers sign-up for at least one 1-hour presentation in a classroom in the area. Presentation topics include Personal Finance & Budgeting, Using Credit & Credit Cards, and Financing a Large Purchase. As a volunteer, you’ll be provided with all of the training and materials needed to present to the students and guide them through lesson activities. Join us to educate high school students on the importance of making smart, informed financial decisions.

To view available volunteer slots and sign-up, please visit this website: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/20f0b4daeac28a1fa7-2019

If you have any questions or are interested in volunteer opportunities in the Springfield area, please email Cassandra Shavney at cshavney@bostonbar.org.