Posts Categorized: Diversity

BBA Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Summer Fellowship: End of Summer Reflections

Over this summer, the BBA was excited to continue our Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Summer Fellowship Program, producing essential work experiences for outstanding law students through paid summer internships in public offices. This year, we partnered with the Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General, Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, and the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Massachusetts, to provide enriching work opportunities for our participants.

Our second year of this program proved to be successful, with law students Rosa Kim (Boston College Law School), Farnaz Daneshvaran (New England Law), and Donald Slater (Suffolk University Law School) providing support for these offices, developing relationships with attorney mentors, and participating in BBA professional development programs. See what they had to say about their experiences below!

If your office is interested in supporting or participating in this program, please reach out to Solana Goss at sgoss@bostonbar.org.

End of Summer Reflection: Rosa Kim    

2L, Boston College Law School

Summer Fellow, Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General

Through the Boston Bar Association’s Diversity & Inclusion Summer Fellowship Program, I had the honor of interning at the Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey’s Office this summer. I was an intern for the Trial Division of the Government Bureau along with five other interns, and we were each assigned to some attorneys who gave us assignments throughout the summer.

This summer was certainly an interesting one—amid a global pandemic and one of the largest Civil Rights movements our country has ever seen, we have had to face the unique difficulties of remote working. Navigating these current unprecedented events has been challenging, but the Attorney General’s Office did an excellent job of making interns still feel like they were part of the office family. The Office hosted weekly intern events that were well-executed remotely, such as presentations on the different Bureaus of the Office and guest speakers who addressed issues pertaining to diversity and inclusion in the legal profession.

Through my internship, I was able to develop my legal research and writing skills—a personal goal of mine this summer. I did a lot of research regarding Massachusetts Civil Procedure and writing memorandums, specifically for motions to amend a Complaint or assert a cross-claim. One memorable project I worked on allowed me to gain more insight to the defenses that are available for corrections officers. Although COVID-19 largely affected court operations, I learned a lot about the trial process through meetings with my supervisor and attorneys within the Trial Division. I was able to attend a remote hearing and listen in on how a judge might navigate court proceedings. 

I had fantastic mentors whom I had the pleasure of meeting this summer. My mentor through the BBA’s Diversity & Inclusion Program, Jameel Moore, spoke to me about her experiences in law school and upon graduation. She taught me that there is merit to exploring different career paths and being flexible with my interests. My mentor at the Attorney General’s Office, April English, inspired and motivated me to use my voice and never settle for less.

Perhaps the highlight of my summer was engaging in necessary conversations around race and allyship. The AGO’s Chief of Organization Development & Diversity—my mentor April English—hosted guest speaker events, office-wide Open & Honest Conversations, and webinars dedicated to getting the Office involved in furthering diversity and inclusion in our communities. I was impressed by the receptiveness shown by the Office, even featuring an article in its weekly newsletter that I wrote for my law school on being actively anti-racist. Diversity and Inclusion is a lifelong commitment—I will always promote and strive for diversity and inclusion in all spaces for all people in and beyond my legal career. I appreciated the commitment that the Office displayed in ensuring a space in which marginalized individuals felt heard, seen, and supported. Summer of 2020 is definitely one for the books, and I am grateful that I could spend this summer at the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office.  Thank you to the Boston Bar Association for making this summer experience possible.

End of Summer Reflection: Farnaz Daneshvaran  

2L, New England Law

Summer Fellow, Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination

Through the BBA Diversity and Inclusion Summer Fellowship, I was one of the General Counsel’s Office interns for the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (“MCAD”) sponsored by the Pierce Atwood Law firm. Despite the challenges that COVID-19 created, the MCAD provided me with a fulfilling remote 10-week internship.

This summer, I obtained firsthand experience learning about the MCAD’s investigative process. During intern training, we were taught about the intake process, drafting dispositions, and Massachusetts laws regarding public accommodation, workplace, and housing discrimination. While interning, the large portion of my work revolved around analyzing workplace discrimination complaints and then drafting a disposition. I completed a law-collection database project which required compiling a list of the laws that evoked the MCAD’s jurisdiction. I also had the opportunity to observe intake calls such as an investigator’s initial intake call with a complainant. Prior to and after the intake calls, the leading investigator would brief me on the conversation and what steps need to occur after the conversation.

During the weekly intern Zoom meetings, the interns were sometimes given the opportunity to expand their knowledge on professional development skills such as salary negotiation and resume writing. Also, during my internship, the MCAD held a virtual book club meeting to discuss “Stamped from the Beginning” for the purpose of discrimination education. The MCAD is special to me because not only is it a state agency working against discrimination but also the employees reflected today’s society-a wide range of race, age, and gender diversity. As an Iranian American woman, it is my life’s purpose to promote the benefit of racial and religious diversity in the legal field. I am fortunate enough to be a part of the increase in diversity in Boston’s legal community.

During my summer internship, I had the pleasure of speaking with Attorney Courtney Scrubbs who was my mentor this summer. Attorney Scrubbs is a Corporate Counsel and is also on the Advisory Board of the MCAD. During our conversation, we discussed the importance of keeping my reason for attending law school in the forefront of my mind at all times. We also discussed that the definition of success is being truly inspired by the work that I do. 

The biggest lesson that my summer internship with the MCAD taught me was the importance of investigating all minor details. Most importantly, my summer internship showed me that I can see myself doing anti-discrimination work in the future.

I would like to thank everyone at the MCAD, Pierce Atwood Firm, the Boston Bar Association, and the Boston Bar Foundation for granting me the opportunity to work in the anti-discrimination field this summer.

End of Summer Reflection: Donald Slater    

2L, Suffolk University Law School

Summer Fellow, U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Massachusetts.

This summer I spent eight weeks with the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Massachusetts in Judge Frank J. Bailey’s chambers. During this time, I participated in things such as compiling hearing notes, issue research, and discussions about ongoing case matters. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic my summer experience was entirely remote which enabled me to attend a variety of hearings, status conferences, and other events with different Judges of the court that I may not have been able to otherwise.

The summer of 2020 will be an unforgettable experience for many reasons other than the ongoing pandemic. Going into this summer I did not expect to have the level of responsibility or input on matters that I was afforded. Judge Bailey’s chamber operates as a very efficient team where everyone is just as important as the next person and this applied to the interns from the onset. I knew very little of Bankruptcy law initially but being tasked to review motions, conduct research, and having discussions with Judge Bailey after each set of hearings, I was able to learn about Bankruptcy in a very hands-on and unique way beyond just reading a textbook.

Aside from learning about the law itself, my summer in Judge Bailey’s chambers allowed me to gain invaluable insight and knowledge on practical etiquette for attorneys. Through attending hearings and status conferences, I was able to witness attorneys in action for the first time since being in law school. Judge Bailey and his chambers were constantly reviewing how attorneys performed and alerting the interns to when a very competent attorney would be present or even when a below average attorney would make an appearance. By the end of the summer I was able to discern a very experienced and technically sound attorney from a less prepared attorney which is an information advantage I will be able to use for the rest of my legal career.

One of the highlights of my experience with Judge Bailey was undoubtedly all the professional development tools him and his chambers were able to offer myself and my fellow interns. Judge Bailey, with the help of his colleagues from around the country, put together a series of seminars for law students to be able to see different areas of the legal realm and discuss different career paths with panels of professionals from all over the nation. This was an eye-opening experience as I was exposed to a few new career ideas that I either never considered or simply did not know about.

Lastly, through this BBA fellowship, I was assigned a mentor who is currently a practicing attorney. Admittedly I threw a lot of questions at him and ran ideas by him to the point where I thought I was annoying, but he happily answered every question I had. He even offered to put me in contact with other professionals that could provide me information on various careers that interested me. With the “Transactional vs. Litigation” debate that many law students deal with, I found this to be particularly helpful. Having different sets of eyes and mindsets willing to review resumes or discuss academic or professional decisions makes me more confident in myself as a first-generation law student.

All in all, even though nothing could ever truly replace the experience of being in-person during an internship and court sessions, this summer did not disappoint on a professional or academic level. I feel more confident and knowledgeable going into my second year of school now that I have a better understanding of how professional attorneys and even judges approach legal issues.

Funding for these three positions has been provided by the Boston Bar Foundation (BBF). A generous donation provided to the BBF provided a $5,000 stipend to the intern at the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office. Funding for a second $5,000 stipend for the intern working in the judges’ chambers of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court has been provided by the BBF’s Charles P. Normandin Fund. Funding for the third position at the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination was made possible by the law firm Pierce Atwood.

BBA Hosts “How to be an Effective Ally” Webinar

On Tuesday, June 30th, the BBA was honored to host a webinar on allyship in the workplace sponsored by the BBA’s Diversity & Inclusion Section. The program focused on the importance of allies to marginalized groups, as well as on practical tips for those who seek to be allies and what they can do to be more impactful and considerate. 300 individuals registered to attend the program, moderated by Bill Gabovitch, In-house Counsel at Primark US Corporation. Our four distinguished panelists were as follows:

  • Laura Rees Acosta: Managing Director of Diversity & Inclusion at Goodwin
  • Ben Sigel: Candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in Massachusetts’ 4th Congressional District and President of the Hispanic National Bar Association – Region 1
  • Nahomi Carlisle: Director of Diversity & Inclusion & ADA Compliance at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health
  • Jamie Whitney: Senior Vice President and Head of Legal at State Street Corporation.

Some topics covered included the importance of tact when seeking to be an ally. Allies need to be mindful of how marginalized communities have felt the pain that comes with the subject matter, and avoid the contention “I’ve read all the books, therefore I understand.” It was also noted that the action of allyship must be shared by all, not simply by one department in a company or exclusively by marginalized groups.

A list of additional resources on the topic of allyship compiled by Jameel Moore of the U.S. Department of the Interior can be found at this link. This includes suggested readings, books, podcasts, films and other resources on the topic.

If you missed the program, don’t worry – it can be viewed in full for no charge at this link. You can also listen to the program as a podcast here. If you have any questions about this program, please contact Doug Newton at dnewton@bostonbar.org.

BBA & SJC Standing Committee on Lawyer Well-Being Collaborate on Affinity Bar Town Halls

The Boston Bar Association is pleased to collaborate with the SJC Standing Committee on Lawyer Well-Being to support a series of Affinity Bar Town Halls engaging with members of the legal community in candid discussions on well-being challenges.

The SJC Committee’s July 2019 Report identified the need for “[a] strong and on-going commitment to enhancing diversity, equity and inclusion in all our practices to improve our individual and collective well-being.” As a way to foster conversation on that topic, the SJC Committee is hosting a series of Town Hall style meetings with individual Affinity Bar Associations to discuss specific well-being challenges for their communities and ideas for change. We want to thank the Affinity Bar Associations – listed below – that have already hosted Town Halls in the pursuit of greater well-being for lawyers and legal professionals throughout the Commonwealth. We encourage interested members to reach out to Heidi Alexander at heidi@lawyerwellbeingma.org for more information.

Students Selected for the BBA’s Diversity & Inclusion Fellowship Program

Last year, the Boston Bar Association announced its new Diversity & Inclusion Summer Fellowship Program, which gave two outstanding law students access to critical work experience through paid summer internships. This year, three fellowship positions were made available through generous support of the Boston Bar Foundation.

These internships provide practical experience in developing legal research and writing skills, expanding professional networks, and access to programming at the BBA. In addition, the three fellows will be paired with a mentor from the BBA’s Diversity & Inclusion Section.

This year’s summer interns are Rosa Kim, a second-year student from Boston College Law School, who will be interning at the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, Farnaz Daneshvaran, a second-year student from New England Law | Boston, who will be interning at the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, and Donald Slater, a second-year student from Suffolk University Law School, who will be interning at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Massachusetts.

During Rosa Kim’s undergraduate studies at the University of Texas at Austin, she championed the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women as the Philanthropy Chair. This helped fuel her desire for public advocacy and to bring awareness to this underground crime. Her philanthropic nature is also demonstrated by her volunteer work for the Lawyer’s Clearinghouse Clinic where she interviewed clients to assist them with finding the legal help they need for a variety of topics, including public benefits and access to subsidized housing. In her application, Rosa notes, “It is my goal to use my voice on behalf of those who do not have one. As a woman of color, in the legal field, I hope to be a fierce advocate of those who might not have the resources, the means, or the education to advocate for themselves”.

During her undergraduate studies at George Mason University, Farnaz Daneshvaran pursued a degree in Criminology and Psychology with a concentration in Law and Society. Prior to law school, Farnaz worked at a wellness clinic where she assisted in group therapy for children, refugees & asylum seekers. In addition, volunteers with New England Law’s Boston CORI initiative. She notes in her application, “With a legal degree, I can create lasting change in my clients’ lives. The invaluable experience I would obtain at MCAD would propel me to advance in this field”. Farnaz speaks four languages, and further notes, “all of my life experiences introduced me to differing perspectives that increased my awareness. They have encouraged me to lead a life that promotes inclusivity and fairness.”

During his undergrad at University of Connecticut, Donald was initially a computer science major, but transitioned to Political Science to further develop his analysis, research, and writing skills. During this, he grew drawn to finance and started an internship at Trinity College as an operations and logistics manager where he became further interested in business, contracts, and negotiations. His skills and experience in these areas has led him to be interested in bankruptcy law. In his application, Donald notes, “This is the perfect opportunity for me to gain valuable experience and exposure in fields I am interested in as well as fields completely foreign to me. This fellowship will undoubtedly develop me into a more versatile legal scholar and professional.”  Donald also notes about the opportunity to work in the courtroom in Judge Frank J. Bailey’s Chambers, “I aim to learn the intricacies of the legal process from within the courtroom and experience the critical thinking skills of a judge to understand what it takes to represent either side of a legal dispute in my field.”

These fellowships advance the mission of the BBA’s longstanding summer internship program, which has previously provided unpaid legal internships for law students from diverse backgrounds to work in courts and government offices across the Commonwealth for nearly a decade. More than 130 promising law students have participated in the program, gaining critical work experience through this unique opportunity.

Funding for these three positions has been provided by the Boston Bar Foundation (BBF). A generous donation provided to the BBF will provide a $5,000 stipend to the intern at the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office. Funding for a second $5,000 stipend for the intern working in the judges’ chambers of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court has been provided by the BBF’s Charles P. Normandin Fund. Funding for the third position at the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination was made possible by the law firm Pierce Atwood.

Due to the COVID-19 public health crisis, all three fellows will be trained and working remotely.

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 Diversity & Inclusion Summer Fellowship: End of Summer Reflections

This summer, the BBA was proud to launch a new Diversity & Inclusion Summer Fellowship Program, aimed at providing outstanding law students with critical work experience through paid summer internships in public interest offices. In the pilot year, we were proud to partner with the Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General and the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Massachusetts, to provide this opportunity. Funding for these positions was provided by the Boston Bar Foundation (BBF), with the position at the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office funded by a generous private donation, and the position at the Bankruptcy Court funded by the BBF’s Charles P. Normandin Fund.

The Fellowship saw a successful first year, with law students Anna Cardoso (Boston University School of Law) and Emaan Syed (Suffolk University Law School) contributing to the work of these offices, participating in BBA professional development programs, and meeting with attorney mentors.  Read on to learn about their experiences this summer in their own words!

If your office is in interested in supporting or participating in this program, please reach out to Hannah Poor at hpoor@bostonbar.org.

End of Summer Reflection: Anna Cardoso
Rising 2L, Boston University School of Law
Summer Fellow, Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General

This summer, I had the pleasure of interning in the Medicaid Fraud Division at Attorney General Maura Healey’s Office. My division focuses exclusively on holding providers accountable for defrauding our Medicaid system. I completed many research assignments and attended hearings, depositions, and relator interviews focusing on evidentiary, constitutional, and broader health law-related issues. Unique to my division, I was asked to pick a topic to present to my bureau, which was certainly nerve-wracking, but ended up being one of my favorite parts of the internship. I consider my presentation to be a highlight of my summer and am particularly proud of how many of the attorneys in my bureau emphasized that it was an extremely difficult topic and that I had done an excellent job. The learning curve here has been steep and challenging in the most rewarding way possible. It is difficult to put into words how much I have learned. There has not been a dull moment at this office or a day where I have not learned something new. I knew I wanted to practice in the health care space, making access to care more affordable, and my summer has affirmed my convictions. The office also had programming for interns almost every day, and I particularly enjoyed our visit to the Supreme Judicial Court.

This summer I attended the BBA’s public interest summer kickoff breakfast, a program on what it is like to practice in life sciences, and “Let’s Get Real,” a program about what it is like to be a diverse attorney in Boston. These events have helped to set realistic expectations and get to know attorneys and law students in Boston.

I cannot say enough good things about either of my mentors. I was lucky enough to have one of them, Amanda Morejon, on the same floor in a neighboring division and she has been a constant source of support and guidance this summer. Amanda has encouraged me all summer to exceed my own expectations and to trust in my intelligence and capabilities as a future attorney. My other mentor, Gina Kwon, is one of the prosecutors working on the largest opioid trafficking takedown in our office and has taught me that there are no dumb questions, and all questions are worth asking. Both my mentors are women lawyers whom I look up to and will maintain a relationship with even after this summer.

Diversity and inclusion will always be a goal that I am looking for ways to advance. Being a Latina in the legal field means that when I become an attorney, my presence as a female Latinx attorney will account for less than two percent of attorneys in the United States, according to the Hispanic National Bar Association, a number that can be disheartening at best, and frustratingly lonely at worst. Having positions like this fellowship that I was fortunate enough to receive means that Boston cares and wants to change this statistic. The sense of community and the network that I have built in this office makes me confident that Boston is changing into a better, more welcoming, and increasingly diverse place. I know that I will soon be stepping into the role of mentoring first-year law students and that doing my best work here has given me the knowledge and the credibility to help other students get where I am, and to continue to pull them up with me wherever I go next. I would like to thank everyone at the AGO, the Boston Bar Association, and the Boston Bar Foundation for making this summer possible—it has been amazing.

End of Summer Reflection: Emaan Syed
Rising 3L, Suffolk University Law School
Summer Fellow, U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Massachusetts

Through the BBA Diversity and Inclusion Summer Fellowship, I interned for Judge Melvin S. Hoffman at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Boston this summer. I was a judicial intern and conducted legal research and analyzed diverse issues arising under the bankruptcy code. I also drafted memoranda and observed Bankruptcy Court hearings, trials, and proceedings that occurred multiple times a week.

I was able to learn a lot about bankruptcy law, and from my courses, was able to see much of what I learned in class, in real time in court hearings. I learned that bankruptcy law ties many other aspects of law together, such as family law, real estate law, IP law, and every other possible field of law that exists. Each case heard is unique; I especially enjoyed seeing and conducting research for cases on matters that do not have much ruling or background, that require further research and understanding of bankruptcy law.

I met with my BBA mentor and discussed succeeding in my internships and my law career. I was able to learn from my mentor on how to search and narrow in on what field of law I want to ultimately work in. It was valuable to me to have a helpful mentor giving me the tools to succeed in my career and understanding my challenges as a student navigating through the legal field.

Throughout my internship, I was able to ask the judge and his clerks about questions I had about bankruptcy law or about the hearings I attended. I appreciated the insight of the judge and the clerks on all matters of bankruptcy law and litigating as an attorney.

During my internship, I attended brown bag luncheon events at the Moakley Courthouse, where all the summer interns for the federal courts were invited to discussions on several topics. It was great to mingle with other federal court interns and learn of their experiences as well.

I attended Boston Bar Association events concerning bankruptcy law due to my interest in the subject. My first event was the 29th annual Bench Meets Bar Conference. The event included many of the Bankruptcy Court judges and members of the bankruptcy bar to learn about the current and recent cases the judges were working on and analyze key issues in bankruptcy law. I got to see many attorneys that practiced bankruptcy law, along with many attorneys of the Bankruptcy Court. The event allowed me to hear the other judges’ observations on key issues in bankruptcy law.

In addition, I attended another BBA event at the Bankruptcy Court where I got to meet and talk to bankruptcy attorneys about their careers. A common experience that most bankruptcy attorneys shared was how they came to ultimately work in bankruptcy law. Most of the attorneys did not start their careers planning to go into bankruptcy law, but on their journey, found bankruptcy law and developed a passion for the subject matter.

Through my summer internship at the Bankruptcy Court, I learned there is an underlying human aspect to the law. I gained an appreciation for litigation, learning the qualities of a successful litigator and the etiquette of the court, in a fulfilling internship at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

Diversity & Inclusion Summer Fellowship Program

Two law students who were selected for the BBA’s Diversity & Inclusion Summer Fellowship Program began working at their respective offices this month. Anna Cardoso, a rising 2L at Boston University School of Law, is working at the Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General, and Emaan Syed, a rising 3L at Suffolk Law School, is working at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Massachusetts, under Justice Melvin S. Hoffman. Both of these students have outstanding records of academic and professional accomplishments, and have demonstrated a strong commitment to advancing diversity and inclusion within the legal profession. To learn more about the 2019 Fellows and the program, please click here.

Students Selected for the BBA’s Diversity & Inclusion Fellowship Program

Earlier this winter, The Boston Bar Association announced its new Diversity & Inclusion Summer Fellowship Program, giving two outstanding law students access to critical work experience through paid summer internships. These internships provide practical experience in developing legal research and writing skills, expanding professional networks, and accessing tailored programming at the BBA.

This year’s summer interns are Anna Cardoso, a first-year Boston University Law student, who will be interning at the Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General, and Emaan Syed, second-year Suffolk University Law student, who will be interning at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Massachusetts, under Justice Melvin S. Hoffman.

Cardoso previously interned with Bay Area Legal Aid as a JusticeCorps member, where she discovered how income equality and lack of access to healthcare, healthy housing, and support keeps domestic violence victims in a cycle of violence. She also assisted litigants with filing court forms and writing declarations in support of these forms, which helped her effectively communicate legal issues to individuals without legal experience. She noted on her application, “I am dedicated to advancing social justice and equity from all sides. Preventing health care abuse is particularly important to me because no one deserves to be exploited at their most vulnerable.”

Syed’s focus is on bankruptcy law. She worked at BNY Melon as a fund accountant, where she managed accounting and custody reporting for several billion-dollar portfolios. She also interned at both the Massachusetts Division of Professional Licensure and at the Massachusetts Appleseed Center, where she researched the effects of the court cell phone ban policy on indigent clients. From her application, she stated, “As a Pakistani Muslim immigrant, I understand that it is of utmost importance to look at the disparity of low-income families and individuals and address the issues the people in these communities face. As an intern at the Bankruptcy Court, I will use my experience to pursue a career in protecting and advocating for the underprivileged, an opportunity that I hold as an honor in the ability to better their lives.”   

These new internships supplement the BBA’s longstanding summer internship program, which has been providing unpaid legal internships for law students from diverse backgrounds to work in courts and government offices across the Commonwealth for nearly a decade. More than 130 promising law students have participated in the program, gaining critical work experience through this unique opportunity.

Funding for these new positions has been provided by the Boston Bar Foundation (BBF). A generous donation provided to the BBF will provide a $5,000 stipend to the intern at the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office. Funding for a second $5,000 stipend for the intern working in the judges’ chambers of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court will be provided by the BBF’s Charles P. Normandin Fund. Established in 2006, this fund supports the BBA’s bankruptcy law-related public service projects, including our popular M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program.

We’re proud to expand our existing diversity initiatives, and to further support the passion and commitment of law students dedicated to the public interest.

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.

Summer Internship Applications Being Accepted Through March 7, 2016

The deadline for the BBA Summer Internship Program has been extended to March 7, 2016.

The deadline for the BBA Summer Internship Program has been extended to March 7, 2016.

The Boston Bar Association’s Diversity & Inclusion Section’s Summer Internship application deadline has been extended to Monday, March 7, 2016. Placements are available in the following courts: Boston Municipal Courts, Land Court, Massachusetts District Courts, the Massachusetts Superior Court, the Probate and Family Court, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Massachusetts, and the United States Bankruptcy Appellate Panel for the First Circuit.  Placements are also available with the Massachusetts Department of Labor Standards, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and the Roxbury and Quincy offices of the Committee for Public Counsel Services (CPCS). The application period for the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office placements has ended.

The BBA’s internship experiences are complemented by a series of career exploration programs at the BBA, observation in a number area courts, as well as opportunities to connect with leaders in the BBA community and our affinity bar partner organizations. Law students of all backgrounds are invited to participate in this valuable opportunity to grow in understanding of one another and to ask deeper questions about what they can expect as they move forward in the profession.

There are specific guidelines and requirements for each placement. Students are encouraged to carefully read the application requirements and specifications for each position sought before submitting your application. Application instructions are available on our program website along with instructions for how to apply.