Monthly Archives: December 2019

BBA CORI Sealing Project Releases 2020 Dates

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).

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.

Massachusetts 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.

The BBA’s CORI Sealing Clinic will be located at:

Edward W. Brooke Courthouse
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.

Bar Exam Coaching Program in Full Swing!

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 protected].

Public Service Spotlight: M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program Now Seeking Volunteers!

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 (Roxbury)
  • The Compliance Mentor Group (Sites in Cambridge and Boston)
  • 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 [email protected]. 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 click here.

BBA Summer Jobs Program Now Seeking Employers!

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.

We’re 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!

This 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 protected] with any questions.

Applications for the BBA Diversity & Inclusion Summer Fellowship are Now Open!

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.

BBA Hosts Second in two-part Series on Vicarious Trauma

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 exercises.

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.

Lisa Tieszen of Resilience Works presents at the BBA