On Wednesday of last week, the BBA was proud to host a
training for prospective volunteers for the Eastern Housing Court’s Lawyer for
the Day program. The training was conducted by Geraldine Gruvis-Pizarro, Colin
Harnsgate, and Sarah Lee, who coordinate the program as staff attorneys from the
Volunteer Lawyers Project (VLP). The Hon. MaryLou Muirhead, 1st
Justice of the Eastern Housing Court, gave the opening remarks.
Her words of advice for future volunteers? Try not to end up
in front of her. In fact, most tenant-landlord disputes are settled by
mediation. She also urged the audience to take advantage of the Eastern court’s
extra “amenities.” From the experienced housing specialists in the clerk’s
office, to Rosie’s Place advocates,
to the RAFT
homelessness prevention programs, there is a range of in-house resources
available to help volunteers help their clients.
During the comprehensive training, VLP lawyers explained the
major legal and procedural issues surrounding summary process for evictions.
They discussed the defenses available to tenants, requirements for landlords
initiating evictions, the acceptable forms of prima facie evidence, important
filing deadlines, and much more.
VLP hosts free Landlord/Tenant Law trainings regularly, and
both law students and attorneys with minimal housing case experience are
encouraged to attend. The Eastern Housing Court sees up to 200 cases on the
docket per week. With many low-income tenants and landlords going without
representation, volunteer lawyers play a vital role.
To register for their next training on January 15th,
For more information on how to volunteer, visit the VLP
website. And for more volunteer opportunities at the Cambridge session of
Eastern Housing court on Fridays, contact Susan
Corcoran at De Novo.
The Boston Bar Association is excited to announce the continuation of our monthly CORI Sealing Clinic in to 2020. Our CORI Sealing Clinic assists low-income clients in asking courts to seal their criminal records with help from volunteer attorneys. The BBA conducts this clinic along with our partner, Greater Boston Legal Services (GBLS).
A CORI(Criminal Offender Record Information)
report is the official log of any charges brought against someone by the state
of Massachusetts. CORI reports can be used by employers and landlords to deny
people access to employment, housing, and educational opportunities.
law allows people to “seal” their CORI records from public view by meeting
certain legal requirements. The BBA’s CORI Sealing Clinic will help low-income
individuals get copies of their CORI and seal their past records when possible.
BBA’s CORI Sealing Clinic will be located at:
Edward W. Brooke
Boston Municipal Court, Central Division
24 New Chardon St. 2nd Floor
Boston, MA 02114
Walk-in clinics will take place from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM on the following dates. No advance registration is required.
The BBA is thrilled to announce that our we have matched
thirty-five applicants sitting for the bar exam in February with Attorney
volunteers for our Bar Exam
Coaching Program! In this program, Attorneys provide guidance on the
non-substantive aspects of preparing for the bar exam (stress management, study
tips, etc.) to bar applicants who are re-taking the bar exam. On Monday,
December 9th, the BBA officially launched our February 2020 Bar Exam
Coaching Program with our Volunteer Training and Kickoff Reception events.
The training consisted of a comprehensive seminar presented
by Kandace Kukas, Assistant Dean and Director of Bar Admission Programs at
Northeastern University School of Law. Kandace provided an overview of the bar
exam, as well as tips on helping bar applicants with organizational skills and
emotional wellness as they prepare. At the reception, we were thrilled to have
a former participant in the program who passed the bar exam with the help of
her coach speak to our applicants and coaches in attendance. She noted that her
score increased nearly fifty points from her first attempt and described how
her coach was instrumental in helping her to understand exactly which preparation
habits would be beneficial. Attendees of the reception also heard from Wadner
Oge, Staff Attorney at the Massachusetts Board of Bar Examiners. Wadner
described the rigor of preparing for the exam, noting that there are no ways
around putting in many hours of preparation over the course of several months.
As part of this program, we have also planned two workshops
for our bar applicants and coaches. The first, taking
place on January 6th from 5:00 PM to 6:30 PM, will be presented
by Jonny Schreiber of Iron Mountain as well as Adrian Velazquez with the Commonwealth
of Massachusetts. This workshop will offer guidance on the essay portions of
the bar exam. The second will be presented by Barbara Bowe, who works in
Clinical Services at Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers. Barbara will educate our
coaches on recognizing signs of stress and anxiety in bar applicants as they
prepare for the exam.
We at the BBA thank each of these excellent speakers for
supporting our coaches and applicants as they prepare for the bar exam. If you
are a bar applicant interested in participating in this program, or if you have
any questions, please contact Doug Newton at email@example.com.
The BBA is currently seeking volunteers for our M.
Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program! This program helps students
across Massachusetts develop the skills necessary for effective financial management
through educational and experiential opportunities. Through this program,
volunteers present one of three modules (Personal Finance & Budgeting,
Using Credit & Credit Cards, and Financing a Large Purchase) to a group of
students in the Greater Boston Area. The program concludes with a mock-trial
presentation on the consequences of poor financial management in a federal
bankruptcy courtroom. The following Eastern Massachusetts schools are
participating in the program:
Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical
High School (New Bedford)
Woburn High School
Bridge Over Troubled Waters (Brighton)
Madison Park Technical Vocational High School
The Compliance Mentor Group (Sites in Cambridge
Charlestown High School
The English High School (Jamaica Plain)
The BBA thanks Liberty
Mutual for adopting Madison Park Technical Vocational High School as well
as Bridge Over Troubled Waters. Since the program’s inception in 2005, over
1,400 volunteers have reached over 5,800 students statewide. The total time
commitment for a volunteer, including training, classroom preparation, and
classroom time, averages 3-5 hours. No specific experience is required to
volunteer, and all materials are provided by the BBA. This is a unique
opportunity to help the next generation develop practical skills that will
better their lives in the present and future. If you would like more
information on the program, please contact Doug Newton at firstname.lastname@example.org. A training video
for volunteers can be found at this link.
If you are interested in signing up to teach a module at one of the above locations,
please click here
to do so. Please also check back in the spring for volunteer opportunities at
the “Consequences of Poor Financial Management” sessions!
The M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program is made
possible by the Charles P. Normandin Fund. This fund provides critical support
for the bankruptcy-related pro bono, public service, and civic programs of the
Boston Bar Association. For more information on the BBF or this fund, please
We’re already looking
to summer here at the BBA and are gearing up for our Summer Jobs Program. The
program is an integral part of Mayor Walsh’s Summer Jobs Initiative to hire
over 10,000 Boston teens each summer. With the help of over 24 law offices, our
program is one of the top eight largest private sector employers in the city.
The program is a long-time partnership between the BBA, the City of Boston,Boston
Public Schools, and the Boston Private Industry Council (PIC),
and provides students who attend public high schools in the city of Boston with
the chance to gain professional experience and earn a paycheck.
seeking legal offices that have the capacity to hire and support a youth intern
for seven weeks over the summer. Our Summer Jobs students have a successful
record of helping with many tasks in a busy professional environment, including
data-entry, filing, research, receptionist duties, and more. Many of the
students selected for the program have prior work experience and all are
invested in learning more about the legal profession. We encourage you to
contact us to find out how hiring a student can make a difference, for them and
for your office!
upcoming year of the program will run from Monday, July 6th, 2020 to
Friday, August 21st, 2020. We are asking that students be paid
$13.75 per hour. We also ask that employers contribute a $150 administrative
fee to the BBA.
If your office is
interested in providing a Boston public high school student with a meaningful
professional experience over the upcoming summer, please complete the online form
at this link. Please
contact Doug Newton at email@example.com
with any questions.
The BBA is thrilled to announce that applications are now open for our 2020 Diversity & Inclusion Summer Fellowship. We are seeking law students who have demonstrated a commitment to advancing diversity and inclusion within the legal profession, and who will have completed their 1L or 2L year by the summer of 2020. Fellowships offer an opportunity for substantive work in a public interest law office, including supervision, skill development, and building one’s professional network. In addition to gaining work experience, Fellows attend professional development programming at the BBA and receive a mentor through the BBA’s Diversity & Inclusion section. The program aims to ensure that law students from all backgrounds can gain experience in public interest law. Those interested in applying for the program can do so at this link.
In Summer 2020, three Fellowship positions will be
available: The Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General, the U.S.
Bankruptcy Court for the District of Massachusetts, and the Massachusetts Commission
Against Discrimination. Applications to this program will be due back to the
BBA on January 16, 2020. Each host
office will select a fellow to participate. All Fellows will receive a stipend
of $5,000 for the summer. Please see each application for more details. You can
read about the experiences of last year’s Fellows here.
Funding for this program is made possible by the Boston Bar Foundation. Thank you to Pierce Atwood for their sponsorship of the Diversity & Inclusion Summer Fellowship Program.
As part of the BBA’s ongoing focus on lawyer well-being, the
Delivery of Legal Services Section recently held a workshop entitled
“Addressing Vicarious Trauma: Practical Skills and Planning.” This was the second
in a two-part series on vicarious trauma featuring professionals from Resilience Works.
This second installment was presented by Lisa Tieszen, a
social worker by training, who has been working on the issue of vicarious
trauma for the past two decades. After reviewing the definitions of trauma and
vicarious Trauma, Tieszen offered strategies for attendees to deploy to address
the stress of their jobs in the moment. Focusing on one’s breathing, for
instance, was identified as a helpful strategy. Tieszen explained that
breathing is “one of the areas we can control when we are most anxious or
distressed.” She demonstrated one technique with the attendees in the room,
encouraging all to take time out of the day when necessary to do such
Tieszen also addressed things at an organizational level, stressing
the importance of having a workplace that is vicarious trauma-informed. She noted
that it is incumbent on organizations to recognize the toll of the work, and to
proactively ensure that their employees are prepared to handle the impacts of
the job. Tieszen further identified several characteristics of a
trauma-informed practice and urged the importance of peer support in ensuring
the health and safety of each team member.
Stay tuned for more well-being programming here at the BBA!
This programming is made possible in part by the Boston Bar Foundation’s Joan B. DiCola Fund. This fund provides critical support for Boston Bar Association programs and initiatives that foster the education and professional development of lawyers. For more information on the BBF or this fund, please click here.
As part of the BBA’s ongoing focus on lawyer wellbeing, earlier this
month the Delivery of Legal Services Section held an introductory workshop for
pro bono and legal services lawyers on understanding vicarious trauma.
The program, led by Katherine Manners of Resilience Works, provided an
overview of vicarious trauma, which represents an occupational challenge for
those working with trauma survivors.
Citing a 2011 study, Manners said that 34% of attorneys working with
traumatized clients meet the criteria for PTSD, and 75% meet the criteria for functional
impairment, such as disruption in one’s personal and family life. She noted that, if left unaddressed,
vicarious trauma can have significant physical, behavioral, emotional,
spiritual, cognitive, and relational effects, and can negatively impact
professional performance. An interactive
activity helped attendees reflect on how some of these effects may have
manifested in their own lives.
Manners stated that vicarious traumatization is inevitable in
workplaces where employees are exposed to the effects of trauma, but that the
negative impacts can be managed, and that both individual practitioners and
entire organizations can adopt practices to increase vicarious resilience,
vicarious transformation, and “compassion satisfaction.” She discussed factors that improve resilience,
and suggested some practical coping tools.
A second program on this topic, “Addressing Vicarious Trauma: Practical
Skills and Planning,” will be held on Thursday, December 12, from 4:00-6:00pm.
The program will focus on helping attendees integrate trauma-informed
principles into their practice, establish professional boundaries, and consider
ways to strengthen team and organizational responses to vicarious trauma. For
more information and to register, click
This programming is made possible in part by the Boston Bar
Foundation’s Joan B. DiCola Fund. This fund provides critical support for
Boston Bar Association programs and initiatives that foster the education and
professional development of lawyers. For more information on the BBF or this
fund, please click here.
The BBA is thrilled to begin a new year of our M.
Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program. Volunteers can now sign up to
present classroom modules (Personal Finance & Budgeting; Credit & Credit
Cards; and Financing a Large Purchase) at participating schools! Our volunteers
help high school students across Massachusetts learn about making informed and
effective decisions regarding their finances through educational and
experiential opportunities. Since 2005, over 1,400 volunteers have reached close
to 7,000 students statewide.
To sign up to volunteer in a classroom, click here.
To view the volunteer training video for volunteers, click here.
The M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program is made possible by the Charles P. Normandin Fund. This fund provides critical support for the bankruptcy-related pro bono, public service, and civic programs of the Boston Bar Association. For more information on the BBF or this fund, please click here.
Earlier this year, the Boston Bar Association in collaboration
with the Greater Boston Legal Services launched a monthly CORI Sealing Clinic
that assists low-income clients in asking courts to seal their criminal
records. The clinic is held monthly at the
Edward W. Brooke Courthouse in downtown Boston and clients can receive
assistance with obtaining, reviewing, and, if advised, sealing or expunging
their records. With the help from our volunteer attorneys, we have
helped nearly 100 members of the community remove the barriers of a CORI in
order to be in a better position to obtain jobs, housing, educational
We would like to thank our volunteer attorneys, law students,
paralegals, and summer associates for dedicating time and hard work to
assisting members of the community in need.
Doucette (Anderson & Kreiger Summer Associate)
Rosenblatt (Sullivan & Worcester)
Bombaugh (Sullivan & Worcester)
Dinning (Anderson & Kreiger)
Finklea (Liberty Mutual)
Cunha (Liberty Mutual)
Dennis (Greater Boston Legal Services)
Wise (Liberty Mutual)
Robinson (New England Law Student)
This project was made
possible through collaboration with the private bar, legal services agencies,
law schools and the court system. The BBA is grateful for the support of
sponsor firms Sullivan &
Worcester LLP and Pepper Hamilton LLP , who have committed to
staffing the clinic with volunteer attorneys during its pilot phase. The launch
of this clinic would also not be possible without the expertise of Greater
Boston Legal Services’ CORI & Re-Entry Project Director Pauline Quirion and
New England Law Center for Law and Social Responsibility Director David
If you are an attorney interested in volunteering with the CORI Sealing Clinic, please click here for more information.