Posts Tagged: Volunteers

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 [email protected].

Thank You to the 2018 Bar Exam Coaches

The BBA is grateful for the below attorneys who supported bar applicants ahead of the February and/or July exam in Massachusetts. They worked with bar applicants offering encouragement and assisting with time management and developing effective study techniques.

Ruth Adeyinka, Massachusetts Trial Court Administrative Office
Eunice Aikins-Afful, Alliance Foundation Trials, LLC
Ana Alvarado
Anne Archbald, Beaumont Financial Partners
Brittany Besler
Rose Billeci, Housing Opportunities Unlimited
Olympia Bowker, McGregor & Legere, P.C.
Elmira Cancan-Zenger
Kate Cook, Sugarman, Rogers, Barshak & Cohen, P.C.
Susan Corcoran, Community Legal Services and Counseling Center
Jessica Corr
Shaneka Davis, Boston Children’s Hospital
Emma Days, Ropes & Gray
Jasmine Elatab
Tony Faillaci, Mintz
Natalie Feigenbaum, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
Joseph Flynn, Molina Flynn Law Offices/Latino Law Center
Brian Galletta
Laurel Gilbert, Hinckley Allen
Caitlin Gossett, Massachusetts Department of Children and Families
Naitasia Hensey, State Street Corporation
Christopher Huntsman, Goodwin
Paul Koch, Jr., Finard Properties LLC
Robert Kubica, The Davis Companies
Szeman Lam, Proskauer
Kristy Lavigne, Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General
Jin Lin
Michael McDermott, Dain Torpy
Marc Parsons, Ascensus College Savings
Robert Quinan, Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General
Carla Reeves, Goulston & Storrs
Alexandra Rubin, Massachusetts Department of Public Health
Jonathan Schreiber, Iron Mountain
Alicia Selman, Davis, Malm & D’Agostine, P.C.
Shane Setalsingh, Competition Dynamics
Pamela Swanson, Sherin and Lodgen
Sheba Varughese, Greater Boston Legal Services
Robert Ward, Law Offices of Kenneth V. Kurnos, PC
Doyon Won, Fish & Richardson P.C.

If you’re interested in acting as a Bar Exam Coach ahead of the February 2019 exam, you can read more and sign-up on our website: http://www.bostonbar.org/in-the-community/bar-exam-coaching

We Thank Our 2017-2018 Financial Literacy Volunteers!

Over the summer, 45 of the 542 high school students that participated in the past year’s M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program heard from volunteer attorneys about the importance of finance and budgeting and visited the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Massachusetts. The BBA is proud to have reached so many students through this statewide program and is grateful for the support of Chief Judge Melvin S. Hoffman, Judge Frank J. Bailey, Judge Joan N. Feeney, Judge Elizabeth D. Katz, and Judge Christopher J. Panos, as well as the Hampden and Hampshire County Bar Associations.

This past year, over 160 volunteers taught in 13 schools and to the interns participating in the U.S. District Court’s Nelson Fellowship and the BBA’s Summer Jobs Program. Prior to the first sessions, the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Committee updated the materials provided to the students, which now include an expanded focus on financing “large purchases”, including automobiles, furniture, renting an apartment, and paying for college.

Thank you to all of this year’s volunteers who make the program possible!

Amy Azza, Bendett & McHugh, P.C.
Hon. Frank J. Bailey, U.S. Bankruptcy Court
Ana Balcarcel, Charles River Associates
Joseph Baldiga, Mirick O’Connell – Westborough Office
Tristan Benoit
Amanda Blaske, Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.
Janet Bostwick, Janet E. Bostwick, PC
Christopher Candon, Sheehan Phinney Bass & Green PA – NH
Paul Carey, Mirick O’Connell – Worcester Office
Michael Cavoto
David Chenelle, Perkins & Anctil, PC
Ariel Clemmer, Hampden County Bar Association
Christopher Condon, Murphy & King
Kali Crocker, Fidelity Investments
Gary Cruickshank, Law Office of Gary W. Cruickshank
Kathleen Cruickshank, Murphy & King
John Davis, Cooley Shrair, P.C.
Emma Days, Ropes & Gray LLP
Mark DiOrio, Bulfinch Companies, Inc.
Jessica Drew, South Coastal Counties Legal Services, Inc. – Fall River
Magdalena Ellis, U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission
Julie Evrard, Liberty Mutual Group
Lisa Fassberg Weller, Liberty Mutual Group
Hon. Joan N. Feeney, U.S. Bankruptcy Court *
Frederick Fierst, Fierst, Kane & Bloomberg, LLP
Kate Foley, Mirick O’Connell – Westborough Office
Eric Forni, U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission
David Gabor, Wagner Law Group, PC
Henry Geberth, Hendel & Collins, PC
Alice Giannino, U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission
Lane Goldberg, Goldberg Law
Michelle Greco, Sun Life Financial
William Harrington, U.S. Department of Justice – Office of the U.S. Trustee
Rachel Hershfang, U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission
Ruth Anne Heselbarth, U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission
Hon. Melvin S. Hoffman, U.S. Bankruptcy Court
Caitlin Jacques, DiFilippo Corporate Finance Group, Inc.
Matthew Jacques, AlixPartners
D. Ethan Jeffery, Murphy & King
Kevin Jourdain, The Law Offices of Kevin Jourdain
Hon. Elizabeth D. Katz, U.S. Bankruptcy Court
Kristen Kearney, LibbyHoopes, P.C.
Ginger Kelly
Justin Kesselman, Posternak Blankstein & Lund LLP
Ann King, Sun Life Financial
Anna Kordan, Liberty Mutual Group
Eric Kornblum, Law Office of Eric D. Kornblum
Peter Lane, Fierst, Kane & Bloomberg, LLP
Donald Lassman, Law Office of Donald R. Lassman
Amy Lipman-White, Lipman & White
Lisa Lippiello, Olin Lippiello LLP
Marques Lipton, Parker & Associates
John Loughnane, Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP *
Cornelio Lozada
David Madoff, Madoff & Khoury LLP
Alexandra Mansfield, Mirick O’Connell – Worcester Office
Carolyn Marcotte, Barclay Damon, LLP
Janice Marsh, Janice G. Marsh, LLC
Laura Martin
Alex Mattera, Demeo, LLP
Martha Mazzone, Fidelity Investments
Dragica Mijailovic, Sun Life Financial
Cara Murphy
Sarah Murphy-Holroyd, Maged & Rost, PC
Thomas Murray, Sun Life Financial
Patrick Noone, U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission
Martin O’Connell, Morisi & O’Connell
Helen O’Rourke, Liberty Mutual Group
David Ostrander, Ostrander Law Office
Bridget O’Sullivan Somogie, Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Securities Division
Maureen Pachucki, Liberty Mutual Group
Hon. Christopher J. Panos, U.S. Bankruptcy Court *
Mark Papirio, Law Offices of Mark A. Papirio
Marc Parsons, Ascensus College Savings
Steffani Pelton Nicholson, Madoff & Khoury LLP
Mark Powers, Bowditch & Dewey, LLP – Worcester Office
Diane Rallis, U.S. Bankruptcy Court
Kara Rescia, Rescia & Shear, LLP
Stephen Reynolds, U.S. Bankruptcy Court
Louis Robin, Law Offices of Louis S. Robin
Alex Rodolakis, Fletcher Tilton, PC
Douglas Rosner, Goulston & Storrs PC *
Natalie Rowles
Adam Ruttenberg, Posternak Blankstein & Lund LLP
Kathleen Ryan, Morgan Lewis
Robert Sacco, Lyon & Fitzpatrick, LLP
Armand Santaniello
Natalie Sawyer
Megan Schaubhut, U.S. Bankruptcy Court
Tony Scibelli, Barclay Damon, LLP
Molly Sharon, U.S. Bankruptcy Court
Gordon Shaw, Community Legal Aid
Denise Shear, Rescia & Shear, LLP
Richard Sheils, Bowditch & Dewey, LLP – Worcester Office
Jacob Simon, Simon Law
Christina Simpson, The Law Office of Christina Simpson
Shipra Singh, Sun Life Financial
Stephen Smith, National Association of Consumer Advocates
Leslie Storm, U.S. Bankruptcy Court
Erica Sullivan, Liberty Mutual Group
Christina Turgeon, Law Office of Christina M. Turgeon
Kevin Walsh, Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.
Thomas Wilson, Dunn & Wilson
Keri Wintle, Duane Morris LLP
Jessica Youngberg, Veterans Legal Services *
David Zou, Harvard Kennedy School

*Denotes members of the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Committee

Doug Rosner (Far right, Goulson & Storrs) moderates the final Financial Literacy session, Consequences of Poor Financial Management, at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Boston. Summer Jobs interns look on as they learn about bankruptcy.

Summer Jobs Students Learn About the Importance of Money Management

Over the course of two seminars, our Summer Jobs interns rounded out the real-world experience from work with a financial literacy program designed to provide guidance as they begin to make impactful financial decisions.

Molly Sharon (U.S. Bankruptcy Court) and Leslie Storm (Bankruptcy Appellate Panel) guided the students through financial basics, such as the differences between checking and savings accounts, what to look for in a bank/credit union, and how to read credit card statements. They emphasized the importance of making your money work for you by researching the benefits and fees associated with certain accounts and credit cards. The students also learned about creating a budget that takes all their expenses into account and ensures they can meet their obligations. The students were able to ask questions they had about the taxes withheld from their paychecks and learned how to understand their pay stubs.

The lesson served as a foundation for the following week’s seminar, in which students witnessed a simulated meeting of creditors that explained the consequences debtors face when they can no longer keep up with their expenses. While the lesson itself illustrates someone filing for bankruptcy in part because of irresponsible money management, the bankruptcy attorneys who conducted the presentation emphasized that most of their clients are forced to file for bankruptcy due to circumstances beyond their control.

Alex Mattera, a partner at Demeo LLP, played the role of the debtor during the faux bankruptcy hearing the students observed.

“In this case, I (the debtor) didn’t have to get into this situation, but most people have no choice. For example, many people file for bankruptcy because of mounting medical bills due to something like a catastrophic injury,” he said.

Co-chair of the BBA’s Financial Literacy Committee Douglas Rosner (Goulston & Storrs) and attorneys Jessica Youngberg (Veterans Legal Services), Gary Cruickshank (Law Office of Gary W. Cruickshank) and Kathleen Cruickshank (Murphy & King) also participated in the mock hearing.

After the meeting of the creditors, students watched a mock court hearing play out over the debtor’s continued failure to pay his car payments. Judge Joan N. Feeney presided over the matter, and students had the opportunity to volunteer to play the role of counsel on either side and as volunteer law clerks. Afterwards, Judge Feeney answered their questions about how she got into bankruptcy law and the interesting and challenging aspects of being a judge. She and the bankruptcy attorneys in the room described pursuing bankruptcy law because they wanted to help people and businesses with their chance to start over financially after facing a hard time.

Holland & Knight intern, Lily Kelly, confers with Mary Murray (Courtroom Deputy) with Judge Joan N. Feeney presiding.