Daily Archives: Thursday, June 4, 2015

Celebrating 5 Years of Opportunity: The Diversity & Inclusion Section’s Judicial Internship Program


On Monday, June 1, 2015, the BBA’s Diversity & Inclusion Section hosted a celebration to mark its Judicial Internship Program’s fifth year.  Participating judges, interns past and present, and members of the BBA gathered to recognize this important milestone in the BBA’s efforts to retain a diverse and inclusive population of young lawyers in Boston.

Since 2010, the BBA’s Diversity & Inclusion Section has facilitated this Judicial Internship Program to provide law students with the valuable professional experience of access to internships in the Commonwealth’s Trial Courts, including the Boston Municipal Court, District Court, Superior Court, and the Probate and Family Court.  Students are also placed in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Massachusetts and the United States Bankruptcy Appellate Panel for the First Circuit (“BAP”). More than 125 law students have participated since the program’s inception.

Offering remarks about the program’s launch at the BBA, the 2010 Diversity Inclusion Section’s Co-Chair, E. Macey Russell of Choate Hall & Stewart, reflected on the win-win impact of a judicial internship.  Students obtain immeasurable benefits from the education and career development opportunities related to working with a Judge, and the understaffed trial courts are appointed some extra pairs of hands.  Hon. Robert N. Tochka spoke about the importance of offering opportunities to students of all backgrounds.  It was his personal effort to bring on rising 2L law student interns when he was a judge in the Boston Municipal Court that inspired the BBA to formalize the internship program.  But for Judge Tochka’s support and persuasive skills in recruiting judges to take on BBA interns, this program would not have reached this milestone.


Massachusetts District Court Judge Paul M. Yee, Jr. , E. Macey Russell of Choate Hall & Stewart LLP, and Superior Court Judge Robert N. Tochka

This year’s class of 24 Summer Judicial Interns  includes students from Boston College Law School, Boston University School of Law, George Mason University School of Law, New England Law | Boston, Suffolk University Law School, and Western New England University School of Law.  The interns are fully immersed in what is shaping up to be a very busy summer.

In addition to their work in the courts, interns will attend weekly enrichment activities held at the BBA where they will be introduced to practitioners from various corners of the profession.  The interns will also attend the various programs and events sponsored by the Diversity & Inclusion Section this summer that seek to increase engagement and understanding among law students and attorneys of all backgrounds.


Judge Robert N. Tochka of the Superior Court, flanked by Paulette Pagan, his 2014 Judicial Intern, and Chris Boutin, who will be interning with Tochka this summer.



Suffolk Law Professional and Career Development Counselor Quaime Lee with Suffolk Law Students


Training Lawyers to Represent Veterans in Discharge Upgrade Cases

Panelist share their personal knowledge about veterans discharge cases with attorneys interested in taking on cases.

Panelist share what they know about veterans discharge upgrade cases with attorneys interested in taking on similar cases.

Did you know that veterans who receive a less than honorable discharge may not be eligible for VA health care or other veterans benefits that they need to maintain a stable life? This past Tuesday, attorneys gathered at the BBA for training on how to best represent veterans in discharge upgrade cases.

Panelist Dana Montalto (Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School), Daniel Nagin (Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School), Major Susan Lynch (U.S. Army Reserve), Dr. Sandy Dixon (William James College), and Betsy Gwin (Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School) gave an in depth training that prepped attorneys with information about relevant military review board procedures and regulations. The attorneys who attended this training are now eligible to join the inaugural pro bono discharge-upgrade panel of the Veterans Legal Clinic of the Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School. The clinic allows attorneys and law students to represent veterans and their families in cases to obtain maximum stability and well-being.

Here is what panelists Dana Montalto and Dan Nagin had to say about why they believe it is important for attorneys to join the veteran’s pro bono discharge-upgrade panel:

Montalto-Website-Photo-Cropped“Despite a consistently high demand for assistance, remarkably few lawyers are available to represent veterans separated under less than honorable conditions in correcting that status and even fewer available to represent low-income veterans pro bono. By uniting the experience and expertise of the Legal Services Center with the dedication and civic-mindedness of private attorneys, the Veterans Justice Pro Bono Partnership can help close that gap. We look forward to working with the many attorneys who have joined to Pro Bono Partnership to ensure fairness and justice for those who served our country.”


Dan“Providing pro bono representation to veterans who have unmet legal needs is our shared obligation as a profession.  Veterans who unjustly received a less-than-honorable discharge are among the veterans who need our help.  Providing pro bono representation in discharge upgrade and correction of military record cases can help restore honor to these veterans’ military service and remove barriers that deny them critical services and resources.”

If you missed the training but are still interested in getting involved, please contact Katie D’Angelo at kdangelo@bostonbar.org.