In honor of Pro Bono Month, the BBA is shining a spotlight on some of our members who are committed to giving back to the community through pro bono work. Beyond the Billable wanted to make sure our readers saw the first spotlight featuring Thomas Beavais in this week’s BBA Week. Thomas works with VLP’s Fair Debt Collection Clinic. If you need any inspiration to get involved in pro bono work, look no further. Thomas shares a detailed account of his experience volunteering with the project, as well as highlights from his first trial as a lawyer.
Stay tuned for more pro bono attorney profiles throughout Pro Bono Month.
The Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Pro Bono Training took place at the BBA last night and attendees are now able to volunteer to take pro bono cases through VLP.
Pro Bono Month at the BBA continued last night with the annual Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Training, a collaboration between the BBA Bankruptcy Law Section’s Public Service Committee and the Volunteer Lawyers Project of the Boston Bar Association. Thanks to a top-notch panel, including Susan Grossberg (Grossberg Law Offices), Warren Agin (Swiggart & Agin, LLC), Emily Jarrell (Volunteer Lawyers Project of Boston Bar Association), and Adam Ruttenberg (Looney & Grossman LLP), attendees walked away with an understanding of the basics of representing a Chapter 7 debtors on a pro bono basis. In exchange for attending the free training, participants are asked to accept pro bono cases through VLP.
Beyond the Billable checked in with Adam Ruttenberg, who co-chairs the Bankruptcy Public Service Committee, about the training. Here’s what he had to say:
“I hope the attendees last night learned practical advice on how to represent a low income debtor so the case goes smoothly without surprises or delays.”
In honor of Pro Bono Month, we also asked him why attorneys should get involved in pro bono bankruptcy work:
“The gratitude shown by pro bono bankruptcy clients is very rewarding. The only written thank you notes I have ever received in my career have come from pro bono clients, and they have sent several.”
If you are interested in learning more about pro bono bankruptcy law opportunities, come to the Representing Military Personnel and Veterans CLE on Bankruptcy & Consumer Law on October 17th. Click here for more information.
The Pro Bono Fair, organized by Suffolk Law School and the BBA, is one of the events you can participate in during Pro Bono Month.
Yesterday marked the first day of Pro Bono Month, 31 days committed to expanding access to legal services. Governor Patrick typically issues a proclamation, but odds are he is a little preoccupied right now (click here to see last year’s proclamation). If you are looking to dive into pro bono and public service work this month, take a look at this calendar that the BBA put together to highlight some upcoming opportunities. This calendar features events, trainings, and volunteer opportunities at the BBA and BBF grantee organizations.
Be sure to check back with Beyond the Billable for event updates and follow-ups throughout the month.
Liberty Mutual’s Law Department takes pro bono cases through the Lawyer for the Day in the Boston Housing Court Program.
At Liberty Mutual’s Law Department, engaging in pro bono activity is a way of life. More than 50 attorneys in the legal department take part in pro bono work in areas including housing, unemployment compensation, social security, and domestic violence. That’s just one of the many reasons they will be honored with the Thurgood Marshall Award at the BBA’s Annual Meeting this Friday.
Specifically, Liberty Mutual has shown commitment to many of the BBA’s public service and pro bono initiatives. This year alone, their attorneys accepted pro bono cases through the Lawyer for the Day in the Boston Housing Court Program, helping the program assist over 1,100 landlords and tenants. When the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program more than doubled in size last year, the legal department stepped up to the plate and adopted a classroom at Boston Community Leadership Academy. To learn more about Liberty Mutual legal department’s commitment to pro bono work, please click here.
The BBA will be presenting Jay McManus, the Director of the Children’s Law Center of Massachusetts (CLCM), with the John G. Books Legal Service Award at the Annual Meeting Luncheon this Friday. Jay epitomizes the public service-focused attorney that Beyond the Billable admires. Since 1999, Jay has served as a director of CLCM where he represented children on a number of issues, ranging from abuse and neglect to immigration concerns. The Boston Bar Foundation (BBF) began working with Jay in the same year when CLCM received a grant for its EdLaw Project. Under Jay’s leadership, attorneys work to ensure that Boston’s highest risk children receive a quality education by advocating for students in the school systems. The BBF has continued to support this initiative since 1999.
All the while, Jay has also been active in championing legislation addressing the legal needs of children and supporting children of Irish political prisoners affected by the conflict in Northern Ireland through the Massachusetts chapter of the IPPCH—“Because of the Children Program.”
Click here to learn more about Jay and his commitment to assisting children.
Attorneys learned how to seal criminal records at last night’s pro bono training at the BBA.
Last night, attorneys packed into the Claflin Center to attend the annual Criminal Offender Record Information(CORI) training, a free, pro bono training run in collaboration with Greater Boston Legal Services. Agapi Koulouris (Department of Criminal Justice Information Services), Christina Miller (Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office), and Pauline Quirion (Greater Boston Legal Services) trained attorney to help clients from Roxbury, Dorchester and other low-income Boston Communities to seal their criminal records and break the cycle of poverty and unemployment. In exchange for attending this free training, participants are encouraged to take a pro bono case, staff the CORI help table at the Roxbury Court, or help with a community education event in Roxbury and other Boston locations to educate low income individual about their rights to seal their records.
To learn more about the BBA’s Public Service work, click here.
The Boston Debate League judges training is one of the many public service-related events taking place at the BBA this month.
If you are interested in diving into public service this fall, Beyond the Billable has you covered. The month of September offers a number of occasions to receive specialized training and information on opportunities to get more involved in the community.
Here is a look at the upcoming events:
• Calling all new lawyers— join the New Lawyers Section for a Pro Bono Kick Off Meeting and Info Session on September 11th from 5:30-7:30 to learn how you can get more involved in public service activities through the BBA. Click here to register.
• Are you looking for a new pro bono opportunity? Attend to the CORI Training on September 16th from 3-6 pm. The training will prepare you to help clients from Roxbury, Dorchester and other low-income Boston communities to seal their records and break the cycle of poverty and unemployment. Click here to sign up.
• Learn how to be an effective volunteer judge for the Boston Debate League (BDL) at the training on September 24th from 4:30-6 pm. BDL offers busy attorneys low-commitment and meaningful volunteer opportunities. Attorneys can use their unique skills to help Boston Public High School students improve their critical thinking, public speaking, and argumentation skills. Click here to sign up for the training.
Stay tuned for more public service opportunities coming up later this fall. With Pro Bono Month fast approaching in October, the calendar will continue to fill up.
BBA volunteer attorneys have provided legal assistance to victims and small businesses in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings, including assistance filling out 14 One Fund claims.
The BBA’s weekly e-publication, BBA Week, has periodically been sending out updates about the work of volunteers aiding victims of the Boston Marathon bombings. Beyond the Billable thought last week’s article, titled “BBA on the Road” would be of particular interest to our readers. This article highlighted some volunteer BBA attorneys who offered to go on “home visits”, traveling across Massachusetts and to New Hampshire to meet with victims still recovering from injuries and unable to leave their homes. We hope you will find these stories of people helping in a time of need as inspiring as we did. To read the article, click here.
At Beyond the Billable, we know that lawyers are passionate about giving back to their legal community through pro bono and public service activities. However, finding volunteer opportunities and selecting the right one is no easy task. That’s why last week, the BBA welcomed speakers Patrick J. McDermott (Norfolk Probate and Family Court), Robin D. Murphy (Verrill Dana LLP), Karen Stuntz (McEvoy & Stuntz LLP), and Martin F. Kane (McGrath & Kane) to highlight opportunities for attorneys to gain legal experience while giving back to the Probate and Family Court.
The event, “What Can I Do to Help? Volunteer Opportunities in the Probate and Family Court,” highlighted ways for volunteers to get more involved in the Probate and Family Court.
If you missed the program, no problem, that’s why Beyond the Billable is here. Available opportunities include the Lawyer of the Day Program, Conciliation Program, DOVE—Domestic Violence Ended, Attorneys Representing Children (ARC), the Guardianship Clinic, and Limited Assistance Representation. If you want to learn more, or volunteer for these programs, click here.
Susan Finegan (Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.), Honorable Maureen Monks (Middlesex Probate and Family Court), and Manisha Bhatt (Greater Boston Legal Services) discussed how their commitment to pro bono and public service work has shaped their careers.
Last night, the BBA’s Family Law section held a roundtable discussion at the 16 Beacon Street discussing ways pro bono work can shape your legal career. Three pro bono connoisseurs, Honorable Maureen Monks (Middlesex Probate and Family Court), Manisha Bhatt (Greater Boston Legal Services) and Susan Finegan (Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.) served as panelists and shared their personal experiences with the audience and discussed ways for others to get involved.