Join us at the BBA for a pro bono pizza party while we work with volunteer attorneys from Mass Legal Answers Online (MLAO) and the Volunteer Lawyers Project to answer legal questions for low-income Massachusetts residents through Mass Legal Answers Online. You can make an immediate difference to someone struggling to resolve their legal problem.
This event, Mass Legal Answers Online Blitz, will take place on Wednesday, July 19th from 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM at the Boston Bar Association, 16 Beacon Street, Boston, MA 02108.
What is MLAO? MLAO is a secure and confidential website where low-income Massachusetts residents can ask a lawyer for help with a legal issue. Qualified users post questions about civil legal problems. When a volunteer lawyer logs in to the site, there is a list of questions that the volunteer can pick from to answer. It’s like a virtual walk-in legal clinic! MLAO is a limited scope service — all help is provided through the website, and there is no expectation of long-term representation. There is no fee for the use of the system or for the advice and information provided by the attorney.
What’s a Q and A Blitz? It is an in-person session where attorneys and law students gather to research and brainstorm answers to questions that have been posted to MLAO. Experienced attorneys and MLAO staff will be on hand to guide you in answering questions. It’s a great way to get started using MLAO, an opportunity to provide pro bono service from your desk! The most common question topics are family law, housing, and consumer law, but help with all civil issue areas is needed.
Both attorneys and law students are invited to participate in this Blitz – those who are not yet licensed will work with an attorney volunteer who is registered with Mass Legal Answers Online.
Please bring a laptop if you have one! Attorneys who have not yet registered with MLAO directly are encouraged to do so in advance of this event; register at this link. It only takes a minute.
Last month, the BBA Reentry Education Program wrapped up their final community presentation of the spring. Since 2013, following the formation of this program by the BBA’s Public Interest Leadership Program (PILP), volunteers have been educating probationers and those recently incarcerated on issues faced while reentering society: driver’s license reinstatement, obtaining affordable housing and public benefits, finding employment, and more. This year, the program reached 68 individuals through workshops held at the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts, Coolidge House, and Hope House. We value our partnership with the Court Assisted Recovery Effort (CARE) and Reentry: Empowering Successful Todays and Responsible Tomorrows (RESTART) programs of the U.S. District Court and with Coolidge and Hope House.
We’re also thankful for the dedication of the Reentry Committee for all their efforts in coordinating each workshop and working with the volunteer presenters to update the materials as necessary. The volunteers are experts in their field and provided workshop participants with invaluable information.
2016-2017 Committee Members
Julia Devanthéry, Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School, Committee Co-Chair
Sarah Schendel, Irish International Immigrant Center, Committee Co-Chair
Brendan St. Amant, Donnelly, Conroy & Gelhaar, LLP
Raquel Webster, National Grid USA
Anuj Khetarpal, Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General
Emily Hodge, Choate Hall & Stewart LLP
Julie Heinzelman, Prince Lobel Tye LLP
D’Andre Fernandez, Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General
Renay Frankel, Harvard Law School
Lizbeth Ginsburg, Greater Boston Legal Services
Brian McLaughlin, McLaughlin Law, LLC
Benjamin Richard, Law Office of Benjamin Richard
Ryan Sakoda, Committee for Public Counsel Services
The Boston Bar Association’s Environmental Public Service and New Lawyers Public Service Committees have planned three outdoor volunteer events in the coming weeks. Click the links below to reserve your spot at these events and enjoy the sun while helping beautify your community.
The Charles River Cleanup aims to provide Bostonians with a cleaner, healthier and more beautiful Charles River. Come join members of the New Lawyers Section and the Environmental Law Section as we partner with over 3,000 volunteers from various neighborhood, school and professional organizations to help clear trash, debris and other harmful items from the banks of the Charles River.
The Food Project is a non-profit devoted to promoting sustainable food systems. The Food Project Serve & Grow Program is focused on growing food for hunger relief organizations and local distribution. Volunteers will participate in discussions about the food system as you cultivate and maintain the land – all while making a difference for those who lack healthy, affordable food in the Greater Boston area.
In partnership with the Boston Parks and Recreation Department’s Urban Wilds Initiative, we will perform trail maintenance, invasive plant control, and pruning of plantings at the Allandale Woods Urban Wild.
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@example.com.
At this month’s BBA Reentry Education Workshop at the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts, volunteers spoke to probationers about how to manage their Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI). In Massachusetts, all criminal records and information is stored on an individual’s CORI and can be requested for viewing through the Department of Criminal Justice Information Services (DCJIS). Often potential landlords or employers will access one’s CORI during the housing or employment application process. Our presenters, D’Andre Fernandez (Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office) and Renay Frankel (Harvard Law School), instructed the attendees how to access their CORI, check it for potential mistakes, and search who has requested their CORI in the past. They also reviewed the criteria for CORI sealing and provided information on legal clinics that can assist with sealing.
Presenters D’Andre Fernandez and Renay Frankel review CORI management with the attendees.
Over the weekend, members from the Boston Bar Association volunteered at the Greater Boston Food Bank helping to sort and pack food for families across Eastern Massachusetts. The volunteers for the day made 13, 356 meals possible and sorted over 16, 500 lbs of food. Thank you to our BBA members dedicated to giving back to the community!
BBA members after their volunteer shift at the Greater Boston Food Bank.
Each year, the Boston Bar Association’s New Lawyers Public Service Committee organizes a volunteer event at Pine Street Inn, an organization dedicated to helping Boston’s homeless. Recently, BBA members volunteered to serve dinner at The Men’s Inn, a nightly emergency shelter service which supports 350 men each night. We’re proud of our members helping our community!
If you’re interested in Pine Street Inn’s work, you can read about their services online.
BBA members volunteered at the Pine Street Inn in February.
With temperatures hitting 60 degrees this week, we can’t help but dream of the warmer weather to come. Looking ahead to spring, the BBA has a number of one-time volunteer opportunities working with various community and environmental organizations. We hope you’ll sign-up for one (or more!) of the below events to give back to your community while meeting other BBA members!
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.
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!
Over the weekend, BBA members volunteered their time at The Greater Boston Food Bank helping sort donated food for distribution. During the 2.5 hour shift, the BBA members and other volunteers sorted 23,567 pounds of food, making 17,675 meals possible for those in need in the Greater Boston Area. If you couldn’t make it out on Saturday or would like to participate in a similar volunteer opportunity in the future, the New Lawyers Public Service Committee is planning events throughout 2016 and 2017. Keep an eye out for a second event at The Greater Boston Food Bank over the next few months.
Nine volunteers donated their time to The Greater Boston Food Bank