Posts Categorized: Civil Legal Aid

A Year in Photos – Public Service in 2017

From teaching a record 1,700 students through Law Day in the Schools to releasing a compelling report on criminal justice reform, 2017 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 service initiatives over the past year.

The 2017 Public Service Award presented at the Boston Bar Foundation’s annual John & Abigail Adams Benefit Ball honored Chief Justice Margaret H. Marshall in January. Chief Justice Marshall addresses the crowd at the Museum of Fine Arts, reminding every one of the importance of being good and just in their work.

MIT Bhangra, an award-winning dance group, entertained the crowd at the Adams Benefit. 2017’s Ball raised over $650,000 in support for local legal services organizations providing civil legal services to those in need. In June, the Foundation granted $960,000 to 20 such organizations.

Each January, hundreds of attorneys travel to the State House to Walk to the Hill for Civil Legal Aid. The Equal Justice Coalition coordinates this annual event to call on our legislators to adequately fund the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation through the state budget. Carol Starkey, 2016-2017 BBA President, highlights the importance of civil legal aid as noted in the BBA’s Investing in Justice report, which details that 2 out of 3 income eligible clients are turned away from legal services due to a lack of resources.

In response to President Trump’s Executive Order Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States, then BBA President Carol Starkey reaffirmed the BBA’s aim to “support the rule of law, as well as the core values of access to justice and diversity and inclusion, which help keep the fundamental promise that all of us will enjoy due process and equal protection under the law.” Over the course of the year, the BBA worked with many legal services organizations to connect attorneys to volunteer opportunities. Political Asylum/Immigration Representation (PAIR) Project presented a number of Know Your Rights trainings for attorneys wishing to present to community groups about their immigration rights. Here, attorneys William Graves (Graves & Doyle) and Seth Purcell (PAIR Project) welcome over 60 attorneys to the first training at the BBA.

Paulette Brown (left, Locke Lord) accepts the Beacon Award for Diversity and Inclusion for her work as president of the American Bar Association convening the Diversity and Inclusion 360 Commission. One result of the Commission’s work was the passage at the ABA of Resolution 113, an initiative designed to increase diversity in the legal profession. In November of 2016, the BBA announced its strong support for the Resolution and is working with other partners in Boston on its implementation.

Raquel Webster (right, National Grid) introduces presenter Brian McLaughlin (McLaughlin Law) to a group of probationers at the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts. The BBA’s Reentry Education Program, which was developed by the Public Interest Leadership Program, engages with dozens of probationers annually on useful topics related to community reentry, including family law, reinstating a driver’s license, public benefits, and more.

Secretary Francisco A. Ureña (Massachusetts Department of Veterans’ Services) addresses the crowd at a Memorial Day reception hosted by the BBA’s Active Duty Military & Veterans Forum. The reception was held after the annual pro bono training for attorneys representing veterans in discharge upgrade cases. Since 2015, the BBA has worked with the Veterans Legal Clinic at the Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School to hose these trainings to support their Veterans Legal Clinic.

One night a year, the BBA is transformed from a meeting space to a casino floor. Seventeen organizations sponsored this year’s Casino Night for Summer Jobs, the proceeds of which support the Summer Jobs Program and support internships for high school students at legal services organizations, government agencies, and courts. Attendees at Casino Night celebrate beating the house and eagerly await the mystifying reveal of a magic trick.

Law Day in the Schools, one of the BBA’s most popular volunteer opportunities, introduces Boston Public School students to the legal profession and particular areas of the law. This year, volunteers including Jill Brenner Meixel (left) and Allison Belanger (right) of Krokidas & Bluestein introduced students to due process and the importance of having fair rules and laws for all. There were a record 15 schools and over 1700 students in the program this year.

Throughout the year, the New Lawyers Section’s Public Service Committee coordinates volunteer events with organizations throughout the city. In addition to serving food at the Pine Street Inn, attorneys also helped sort donations at Cradles to Crayons, keep the esplanade clear at the Charles River Clean-up, and other important volunteer initiatives in the area.

High school students convene with Chief Justice Melvin S. Hoffman (U.S. Bankruptcy Court) after listing to a mock hearing in bankruptcy court. This session, which teaches students about the consequences of filing for bankruptcy is part of the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program, which began in 2005. Since it began, over 5800 students statewide have been introduced to the importance of budgeting, understanding credit, and financing a large purchase.

Over 1,000 attorneys came together for this year’s Law Day Dinner in Back Bay. Congressman Seth Moulton provided keynote remarks and highlighted the importance of lawyers and upholding the rule of law now more than ever.

This year’s Thurgood Marshall Award, honoring an attorney in private practice in Greater Boston for their extraordinary efforts in enhancing the human dignity of others by providing legal services to Massachusetts’ low income population, went to Elaine Blais (Goodwin). Blais volunteers with both the Political Asylum/Immigration Representation (PAIR) Project and Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) representing both children and adults in various immigration cases.

Anne Mackin (Greater Boston Legal Services) accepts the John G. Brooks Legal Services Award, an award presented to professional legal services attorneys for their outstanding work on behalf of indigent people in the Boston area. Mackin has worked in legal services for nearly 30 years, and joined GBLS’s Immigration Unit in 2013. Since then, she has helped people from all over the world who have witnessed or experienced unspeakable tragedies and faced severe persecutions. Her efforts have ensured that many who are fleeing extreme discrimination and danger are able to seek justice and safe harbor.

Members of the Society of Fellows experience a tour of the Museum of Fine Arts’ summer exhibit, Matisse in the Studio. Each Fellows pledge supports the work of the Boston Bar Foundation’s many public service initiatives. The growing number of Fellows, now over 400, learn about the work their gifts support, including programs supporting Boston’s youth and grants to legal services organizations, at events throughout the year.

Boston Public High School students stand with Natashia Tidwell (center left, Collora) and Mark Smith (center right, BBA President, Laredo & Smith) on the morning of the first day of work with the Summer Jobs Program. The program, a partnership with the City of Boston and the Boston Private Industry Council, employs students in internships at legal offices across the city. In 2017, 52 students gained valuable office experience and were given insight into the legal profession.

Attorneys network surrounding the chocolate fountain, a staple at this year’s Boston Bar Foundation Summer Fundraiser. Guests at the event are treated to delicious dishes from area restaurants while learning about the public service programs their contribution supports.

The Public Interest Leadership Program’s class of 2016-2017 hosted their symposium, Constitutional Battlegrounds: Civil Rights in a Changing Landscape, earlier this year. The event’s speakers addressed a number of issues recently in the national spotlight, both in the media and the courts. Nearly 100 attorneys and interested members of the community packed the BBA to hear insights from the panels of experts.

This fall, the 14th Public Interest Leadership Program (PILP) started their term. Twenty attorneys were selected for the program based on their experience and dedication to public service and civic engagement. The program now includes nearly 200 alumni who’ve gone on to serve the BBA in other capacities and carry their passion for serving the public interest into the community.

Piper Kerman, author of Orange is the New Black, addressed the audience at the BBA’s Annual Meeting. Kerman, a former prisoner, discussed her work bringing prison issues to the forefront of national conversation. She also acknowledged the BBA’s report No Time to Wait: Recommendations for a Fair and Effective Criminal Justice System, which was released this fall. The report commends the reforms proposed earlier this year by Massachusetts leaders based on research by the Council of State Governments (CSG), but strongly urges lawmakers to enact broader reforms designed to further reduce recidivism, and make the criminal justice system fairer and more cost-efficient.

Lawyer Referral Service (LRS) staff attend the Massachusetts Conference for Women to introduce the public to the services it offers. Thousands of requests come through each year and referrals are made out to experienced attorneys practicing nearly 350 areas of law. The LRS also houses a dedicated Military Legal Help Line, which connects veterans, military personnel, and their families with lawyers and other legal resources appropriate to their needs.

The three award recipients at November’s Beacon Award for Diversity & Inclusion stand with members of the Beacon Award Selection Committee. Brent Henry received the Voice of Change Award for his work recruiting and retaining diverse legal talent while at Partners Healthcare. The Empowerment Award went to Iván Espinoza-Madrigal for his work on civil rights issues, including racial justice, immigrant rights, and LGBT/HIV equality, as the Executive Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice. Susan Alexander accepted the Corporate Champion Award on behalf of Biogen. Biogen’s legal department has developed a system of diversity metrics which the legal team uses when choosing outside counsel.
Above, left to right: Brent Henry (Mintz Levin), Iván Espinoza-Madrigal (Lawyers’ Committee), Susan Alexander (Biogen), Sarah Kim (Treasurer and Receiver General of Massachusetts), Kate Cook (Sugarman Rogers), Stephen Hall (Holland & Knight), and Damon Hart (Liberty Mutual).

Hosted at Suffolk University Law School, the annual Pro Bono Recruitment Fair and Open House connects law students and attorneys to volunteer opportunities across the state. Over 25 organizations recruited at the fair this year.

BBA President Mark Smith (right) met with Principal Danladi Bobbitt of the John D. Philbrick Elementary School in Roslindale. As a participant in the Principal Partners event, hosted by Boston Public Schools, Boston Plan for Excellence, and Bank of America, the BBA President has the opportunity to visit a school and engage in meaningful conversations about the role of education in our society.

Walk to the Hill is Almost Here! Speak Up For Civil Legal Aid

Join the BBA on Thursday, January 26th as we advocate for state funding of civil legal aid and equal justice for all at Walk to the Hill! Funding is critical to legal aid programs around the state that provide free legal advice and representation to low-income individuals and families that are facing critical, non-criminal legal problems.  At Walk to the Hill, after a short speaking program, attorneys and law students visit the offices of their representatives and senators and voice their support for civil legal aid.

We invite you to join us to show your support!

Schedule of Events:

9:00AM – Meet at Boston Bar Association for Breakfast and Discourse;

11:00AM to 11:30AM – Walk over to State House and Check-In;

11:30AM to 12:00PM – Speaking Program at State House, featuring

  • Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph Gants
  • Boston Bar Association President Carol Starkey
  • Equal Justice Coalition Chair Louis Tompros
  • Massachusetts Bar Association President Jeffrey Catalano
  • Client speaker
  • Greater Boston Legal Services Executive Director Jacquelynne Bowman

12:00PM   Conclusion of speaking program; beginning of legislative visits

12:30PM    Lunch and return of legislative response sheets

The BBA will be hosting a breakfast for all those participating on January 26, 2016, at 9:00AM here at 16 Beacon Street, then take the short walk to the State House together at 11:00AM. Register here!

Support Increased Funding for Civil Legal Aid

Step up with more than 500 attorneys and law students on Thursday, January 26 as they Walk to the Hill in support of Civil Legal Aid.

You’ll be in good company with notable participants including managing partners of Boston’s largest law firms, legal services & bar association leaders, and fellow members of the Boston Bar Association – all joining together to meet with State Representatives at the Massachusetts State House.

What is Walk to the Hill?

Walk to the Hill is one of the largest lobby days at the Massachusetts State House, bringing people from all corners of the Commonwealth’s legal community together for the cause of equal access to justice for all.

State funding is absolutely critical to civil legal aid programs that provide free legal advice and representation to low-income individuals and families that are facing critical, non-criminal legal problems. These programs also offer valuable training and internship opportunities for law students like you. At Walk to the Hill, after a short speaking program, attorneys and law students visit the offices of their representatives and senators and voice their support for civil legal aid.

If you believe in access to justice, particularly for the most vulnerable members of our community, we invite you to JOIN US to show your support for state funding of civil legal aid on Thursday, January 26.

How can I get involved?

  • Listen to our Podcast – Take a listen to our podcast on the topic, Geeking Out on the State Budget.
  • Share with your friends! Know someone who has or who will be volunteering with a MA legal service organization? This lobby day is critical to the collective health of their programs. Don’t miss this opportunity to support the work they do in the community. Use hashtag #IWalkforJustice to engage with @EqualJusticeMA online.
  • Join us for Breakfast – On the morning of the event (Thursday, January 26) the BBA will host an open house breakfast from 8:30am – 10:30am where attorneys and law students can gather to discuss the issue of the day before heading across the street to the State House. Let us know to expect you by RSVP’ing here.
  • Attend Walk to the Hill! Come to the State House on January 26. Attorneys and law students will gather in the Great Hall of the Massachusetts State House from 11:00am – 1:00pm, drop in if your class schedule permits and rub elbows with political and legal movers and shakers who are like-minded!

Gearing Up for Walk to the Hill on January 26, 2017

The BBA invites its members to support efforts to increase funding for legal aid by partaking in the 2017 Walk to the Hill on January 26, 2017. Walk to the Hill is one of the largest lobbying events held at the Massachusetts State House. This annual event is critical to obtaining funding for civil legal services. We’ll be gearing up all month to get you the information you need to know!

Here’s how you can get informed & get involved!

On Wednesday, January 11th, join us for a briefing about the issues at hand. We’ll welcome representatives from the Equal Justice Coalition who will outline this year’s appeal and speak with BBA Members about what to expect in advance of January 26th’s Walk to the Hill for Civil Legal Aid. Register to attend the Walk to the Hill Briefing here.

On January 26th, be sure to join us for Breakfast before heading to the State House. We’ll be welcoming members with hot coffee and breakfast treats starting at 9:00am and will walk over to the Great Hall at 10:30am. Let us know if you’ll be joining us for breakfast here.

2017 is a very important year for civil legal aid. Following “Investing in Justice,” the report of the BBA Statewide Task Force to Expand Civil Legal Aid in Massachusetts, we now know more about the justice gap than every before. We know that nearly 2/3 of eligible individuals are turned away from legal aid services for essential life necessities such as shelter or protection from an abuser due to lack of providers. This results in an untold amount of individual hardships and a glut of pro se litigants, straining the courts and hindering access to justice. In addition, our society must bear the costs of police, shelter, and medical services arising as a result. “Investing in Justice” demonstrates that funding civil legal aid will result in substantial cost savings for the Commonwealth.

Want to know more about the State Budget? Check out the BBA’s Government Relations Podcast, Geeking out on the State Budget!

Looking for even more information? Contact Cassandra Shavney at [email protected].

A Year in Photos – Public Service in 2016

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.

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!

Speak Up for Civil Legal Aid at Walk to the Hill with the BBA!

Walk to the Hill

Join the BBA on Thursday, January 28th as we advocate for state funding of civil legal aid and equal justice for all at Walk to the Hill! Funding is critical to legal aid programs around the state that provide free legal advice and representation to low-income individuals and families that are facing critical, non-criminal legal problems.  At Walk to the Hill, after a short speaking program, attorneys and law students visit the offices of their representatives and senators and voice their support for civil legal aid.

We invite you to join us to show your support! BBA members Ben Anderson and Taureen Green will be captaining the BBA teams, and hope that you will be able to join us!

Schedule of Events:

10:00AM – Meet at Boston Bar Association for Breakfast and Discourse;

11:00AM to 11:30AM – Walk over to State House and Check-In;

11:30AM to 12:00PM – Speaking Program at State House, featuring

  • Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph Gants
  • Attorney General Maura Healey
  • Boston Bar Association President Lisa Arrowood
  • Equal Justice Coalition Chair John Carroll
  • Massachusetts Bar Association President Robert Harnais
  • Client speaker
  • Greater Boston Legal Services Executive Director Jacquelynne Bowman

12:00          Conclusion of speaking program; beginning of legislative visits

12:30          Lunch and return of legislative response sheets

The BBA will be hosting a breakfast for all those participating on January 28, 2016, at 10:00AM here at 16 Beacon Street, then take the short walk to the State House together at 11:00AM. Register here!

If you are interested in signing up, please email Katie D’Angelo at [email protected].