Celebrating Pro Bono Month: A Recap

As October comes to a close, another Pro Bono Month is in the books, and we have a lot to celebrate.

In total, the BBA trained over 200 attorneys to take pro bono cases and engage with the BBA’s public service projects. This included trainings on representing low-income debtors pro bono and preparing attorney volunteers to teach high school students the importance of making informed decisions through the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program.

Take a look below for highlights from this month and check out our photo album here:

October 2ndThe BBA teamed up with lawyers from the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) New England Chapter, Massachusetts Law Reform Institute (MLRI), and the Protecting Immigrant Families (PIF) Coalition to provide information about the new Public Charge regulation. Though the regulation has thus far been blocked from going into effect, advocates were trained on how to talk about the topic with clients.

Public Charge Attorney Training

October 10thThrough our longstanding partnership with the Volunteer Lawyers Project (VLP), a Boston Bar Foundation grantee, dozens of attorneys were trained on all aspects of representing a low-income consumer debtor in a chapter 7 bankruptcy case pro bono through VLP’s bankruptcy panel.

Pro Bono Training: Chapter 7 Consumer Bankruptcy Basics

October 15th – BBA staff joined hundreds of law students and attorneys at Suffolk University Law School for the Annual Pro Bono Recruitment Fair & Open House, sponsored by the BBA and Suffolk. This provided an opportunity for attendees to learn about pro bono opportunities with local nonprofits and legal services organizations.

Pro Bono Recruitment Fair & Open House at Suffolk Law

October 18thRepresentatives from the Mass Health Connector and Health Law Advocates hosted a training to help lawyers understand the most common legal concerns that individuals face when they consider applying for healthcare through the Health Connector, including immigration concerns.

October 22ndBBA members joined volunteer attorneys from Massachusetts Legal Answers Online (MLAO) and VLP  to answer legal questions for low-income Massachusetts residents through the MLAO website, as part of our recurring “Pizza and Pro Bono Blitz” programming. During the session, 11 individuals received online pro bono advice for their legal concerns. 

October 23rdAttendees received information about how to volunteer with the BBA’s M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program to help high school students across Massachusetts build the foundational skills to make informed and effective decisions regarding their finances. Keynote speaker State Senator James Eldridge described why efforts to increase financial literacy are so important to the Boston community and the entire Commonwealth.

Financial Literacy Info Session with Senator James Eldridge

October 24thThe BBA hosted a speed networking event with representatives from VLP, MLAO De Novo, the Court Service Centers, and the Women’s Bar Foundation to learn about family law pro bono opportunities.

October 28th Attendees learned the skills needed to volunteer at the BBA’s monthly CORI Sealing Clinic and help low-income clients who have questions about their Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) records. CORI records can pose significant barriers to housing, employment, and educational opportunities, and as such advising on sealing and expungement is a critical way for lawyers to help.

Pro Bono Training for Attorneys to Help Clients Seal Their CORI Records

Thank you to our members who donated their time and talents in support of Pro Bono month—and to those who embody the spirit of Pro Bono all year round by providing the unique services to our community that only attorneys can. Even though October is over, there are still more opportunities to engage: On Thursday, November 7th, the BBA will be hosting a Fall Networking Breakfast for Law Students and New Lawyers Exploring Public Interest Careers and Pro Bono Opportunities. Find out more and register today.

Missed any of these programs, but still want to find a way to get involved?  Reach out to Community Programs Assistant Doug Newton with questions at dnewton@bostonbar.org.

Boston Bar pro bono and public service projects are made possible by funding from the Boston Bar Foundation. To support our pro bono and public service initiatives click here or contact Erica Southerland at esoutherland@bostonbar.org.