Posts Categorized: Public Interest Leadership Program

Public Interest Leadership Program Learns About Criminal Justice Reform by Hearing from Organizations that Work Closely with Defendants and Victims

At its first meeting on September 5th, the 2019-2020 PILP Class heard from two sets of speakers on the topic of criminal justice reform.

First, the class heard from Emily Fish on behalf of Roca, which is a Boston-based organization, founded in 1988 with a unique crime-intervention program that focuses on the riskiest of at-risk residents, the community’s most troubled young men ages 17-24 who won’t take part in other programs and are the most resistant to change. Roca’s Intervention Model serves approximately 850 young men annually out of five hubs statewide – Chelsea, Lynn, Boston, Holyoke, and Springfield. Emily is the director of the Roca site in Lynn.

Emily explained in vivid detail Roca’s program of relentless outreach to at-risk youth, and the transformational relationships that Roca’s youth workers form to encourage behavioral change. She described how Roca partners with other institutional actors – courts, probation departments, police, employers, and others – to support young people who might be resistant to change or subject to relapse. She showed detailed data demonstrating the history of trauma, substance use disorder, and behavioral health problems that many Roca clients have experienced, and explained how an investment in successful programs like Roca can avoid greater costs and crime down the road by disrupting the cycle of incarceration and poverty. Finally, she explained what reforms Roca would like to see to the criminal justice system, including: raising the age of juvenile court jurisdiction, reducing the number of probation conditions, creating specialized “young adult courts,” and requiring specialized trainings for police officers and prosecutors.

Second, Stephanie Friends Holt and Meagen Monahan presented on behalf of Victim Rights Law Center, which is a bi-coastal organization providing free, comprehensive legal services for sexual assault survivors in Massachusetts and Oregon.  Both Stephanie and Meagen serve as staff attorneys at VRLC, providing a wide spectrum of legal services throughout Massachusetts. 

Stephanie and Meagen emphasized the wide-ranging nature of the services needed by sexual assault survivors.  Many survivors require assistance in obtaining protection orders under M.G.L. c. 209A and c. 258E and on protecting personal privacy as part of the criminal process, but also assistance on a broad range of other matters.  Stephanie and Meagen explained that sexual assault frequently impacts survivors’ housing and employment, and requires survivors to walk a fine line between protecting their own privacy but also obtaining necessary accommodations. Survivors in various stages of the immigration process also face a wide range of ramifications that call for VRLC’s expert guidance.

For more information about Roca, visit: https://rocainc.org/.

For more information about the Victim Rights Law Center, visit: https://www.victimrights.org/.

Meeting recap provided by PILP Members David Rangaviz (Committee for Public Counsel Services) and Jeremy Meisinger (Foley Hoag).

BBA Volunteers Provide Community Outreach on Students’ Rights

Over the summer, the BBA’s most recent Public Interest Leadership Program class and other dedicated volunteers were busy making presentations on school discipline rights to a number of community organizations as part of the Service Innovation Project on Dismantling the Cradle-to-Prison Pipeline.  These presentations covered due process rights that Boston Public Schools students are entitled to when faced with a suspension or expulsion, and focused particularly on new rights established under a 2018 settlement agreement between Greater Boston Legal Services and Boston Public Schools.

Volunteers made presentations at the following organizations, reaching over 150 service providers and middle and high school students.

Bird Street Community Center
Boston Children’s Hospital
Boston Youth Sanctuary
Bridge Over Troubled Waters
Brookview House
DotHouse Health
Italian Home for Children
Justice Resource Institute
North End Waterfront Health
South Boston Community Health Center

Volunteers will be doing another round of outreach presentations as the new school year kicks off!  If you are aware of any organizations or groups that might benefit from hearing a Know Your Rights presentation on school discipline, or if you are interested in volunteering with the project, please reach out to Hannah Poor at [email protected].

Attorneys Vaishali Goyal and Leah Segal (Goulston & Storrs) presented on school discipline rights at the Italian Home for Children in August.

Thank you to the volunteers who made presentations this summer:

Genevieve Aguilar, Harvard University Office of the General Counsel
Paula Bagger, Law Office of Paula M. Bagger LLC     
Erin Brummer, Fragomen
Courtney Caruso, Hogan Lovells
Caroline Donovan, Foley Hoag LLP
Vaishali Goyal, Goulston & Storrs
Hillary Harnett, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Susanna Jones, Foundation Medicine, Inc.
Matthew Kane, Laredo & Smith
Elizabeth Levitan, The EdLaw Project
Natasha Lewis, Volunteer Lawyers Project
Micah Miller, Nutter  
Safa Osmani, Hogan Lovells
Rebekah Provost, Justice Resource Institute
Payal Salsburg, Laredo & Smith
Leah Segal, Goulston & Storrs
Cecilia Vega, GE

The BBA’s Service Innovation Project on Dismantling the Cradle-to-Prison Pipeline is made possible by the Boston Bar Foundation’s Burnes Innovation in Service Fund.

Announcement of 2019-2020 Public Interest Leadership Program Class

The BBA is pleased to welcome 23 attorneys to the 2019-2020 Public Interest Leadership Program (PILP).  PILP promotes civic engagement and public service by advancing the leadership role of lawyers in service to their community, their profession, and the Commonwealth.  This impressive group of new lawyers, all in practice for 10 years or less, will join a growing network of PILP participants past and present, and will spend the next year developing leadership skills and pursuing public service initiatives.  You can read about this year’s class below.

Charlie Ahern is Assistant Counsel in the Office of the Senate Counsel to the Massachusetts State Senate.  After graduating from Boston College with a double major in political science and Slavic studies, he began his career as a legislative aide to State Representative Kevin Honan, who is the chair of the Legislature’s Committee on Housing and represents the Allston-Brighton neighborhood of Boston. Shortly before entering Suffolk University Law School’s night program in the fall of 2013, Charlie started a job as an assistant at the government relations firm Murphy Donoghue Partners, where he advised clients from a variety of industries on navigating the legislative and regulatory processes in Massachusetts.

Upon graduating law school, he was promoted to an associate position at Murphy Donoghue Partners; however, he wanted to use his law degree to go back to the State House and continue his career in public service.  In January 2019 he accepted the job of Assistant Counsel in the Office of the Senate Counsel.  In his current role, he works with the offices of all 40 state senators and advises them on issues such as legislative drafting, constitutional law, and compliance with the state’s ethics laws. He hopes that his participation in PILP will open the door to further opportunities to get involved in pro bono and public service work. 

Julianne Campbell is an Assistant District Attorney in the Appellate Division of the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office. In this capacity, she represents the Commonwealth in a wide variety of post-conviction criminal litigation and interlocutory matters in the Supreme Judicial Court, Appeals Court, and trial courts.  Julianne also works closely in support of the Homicide Unit and other felony trial units, providing legal and strategic assistance to trial Assistant District Attorneys prior to and during the trial phase of prosecutions.  

Before joining the Appellate Division, Julianne served as the supervising Assistant District Attorney in the South Boston Division of the Boston Municipal Court.  As a prosecutor in the district and municipal courts, she represented the Commonwealth in pending criminal cases from arraignment through trial throughout Suffolk County.  Prior to joining the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office in 2015, Julianne was an Assistant District Attorney in the Middlesex County District Attorney’s Office. 

Julianne received her J.D., summa cum laude, from Suffolk University Law School, where she was a note editor of the Suffolk University Law Review.  Julianne earned her B.A. from The College of the Holy Cross.

Andrea Carrillo is a Staff Attorney in the Family Law Unit at Greater Boston Legal Services (GBLS), a non-profit organization that provides free legal assistance and representation on civil matters to hundreds of the neediest residents in the city of Boston and 31 surrounding cities and towns.  Andrea represents survivors of domestic violence in highly contested custody and divorce cases, with the aim of empowering them so that they can take back a sense of controland agency in their lives.

Prior to joining GBLS, Andrea was a Staff Attorney at Community Legal Aid, serving Central and Western Central Massachusetts, where she represented low-income individuals in family, consumer, bankruptcy, and housing matters.  As a pro bono attorney for De Novo, Andrea began her legal career by representing a Spanish-speaking Salvadoran woman in a removal hearing and won asylum for the client within four months.  Prior to practicing law, Andrea worked at CoachArt in Los Angeles and served as a Planning Commissioner Vice Chair in her hometown, Baldwin Park, California.

Andrea is a graduate of Boston University School of Law, where she served as the Fundraising Co-Chair of the Public Interest Project, a non-profit dedicated to help law students fund summer internships in public interest, and received her undergraduate degree from the University of California, San Diego.  Andrea currently serves as a member of the Steering Committee of the Women of Color Committee for the Women’s Bar Association, a member of the legal services subcommittee of the Supreme Judicial Court Steering Committee on Lawyer Well-Being, and a Clerk for the Massachusetts Association of Hispanic Attorneys.

Edmund Donnelly currently serves as Area Manager for External Affairs, State Legislative and Regulatory Affairs for AT&T Services, Inc.  In this role, Edmund plays a lead role in municipal engagement on permitting and siting issues related to wireless technology. Additionally, in this role, Edmund facilitates the public policy advocacy of the company at all levels of state government for Massachusetts and Rhode Island.  Edmund also leads AT&T’s community engagement efforts to bring training sessions to local senior centers across Massachusetts to teach seniors how to avoid consumer scams and develop their skills with technology. 

Prior to AT&T, Edmund served as the Deputy Director of the Massachusetts Broadband Institute, a state quasi-public agency working in partnership with the Administration of Governor Charlie Baker to expand access to broadband in 54 communities in western and north central Massachusetts.  Edmund also served as an Assistant Attorney General in the Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General from 2010-2015, serving in the Trial Division and in the Policy & Government Division.  Edmund also served as a Special Assistant District Attorney in the Roxbury Division of the Boston Municipal Court.  Edmund started his career in the Massachusetts legislature, where he worked from 2004-2010, including during law school, holding various staff positions for two members of the Democratic leadership of the House of Representatives. 

Edmund currently volunteers with Veterans Legal Services, providing pro bono representation. In addition, Edmund volunteers as a youth hockey, Little League, and soccer coach in the town of Andover.  Edmund is a graduate of Georgetown University and New England School of Law. 

Robert Foster is an Associate at Meehan, Boyle, Black & Bogdanow, P.C., where he represents plaintiffs in personal injury matters, primarily those arising out of catastrophic injury or wrongful death. Rob focuses much of his practice on trial litigation, but is also heavily involved in complex brief writing and appellate matters at the firm. He began his time at Meehan Boyle as a “co-op” student while in law school at Northeastern University School of Law, where he received the Social Justice Scholarship Award in recognition of his outstanding academic achievement and his commitment to public interest work. He has significant experience in litigation, having worked for the United States Attorney’s Office in Portland, Maine, and with the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office in Boston. He also served as a Judicial Intern with the Honorable Raymond Brassard in Norfolk County Superior Court. Rob is a 2008 graduate of Colby College, where he received his B.A. in English, and a 2016 graduate of Northeastern University School of Law.

Jessica Galimberti is Associate General Counsel at Accion, a global non-profit committed to creating a financially inclusive world with a pioneering legacy in microfinance and fintech impact investing. She has more than twelve years of experience providing legal advice and support to non-profit, for-profit, and government actors, with a focus on international development and cross-border legal issues. Jessica’s responsibilities at Accion include advising management and staff on corporate, transactional and compliance matters and leading the organization’s enterprise risk management program. She also manages the production, dissemination and forthcoming release of a second edition of the “Client Protection Principles: Model Law and Commentary for Financial Consumer Protection” to promote strong financial consumer protection legal frameworks for underserved populations.

Prior to joining Accion, Jessica served as in-house counsel for a passport and ID solutions provider, where she advised on international contracting, compliance, and corporate restructuring matters. She previously volunteered with non-profits advancing the social and economic rights of the Greater Boston Brazilian community and advocating for equal educational opportunity for low-income, immigrant, and language minority children. She also assisted in the prosecution of consumer and securities fraud class action cases before law school.

Jessica earned her J.D. from Boston College Law School and her B.A., cum laude, in Political Science and Business Studies from New York University. She is admitted to practice law in New York and Massachusetts. Jessica currently serves on the board of The Welcome Project, a community organization based in Somerville, MA, that builds the collective power of immigrants to participate in and shape community decisions. She has been an active member of the Boston Bar Association since 2015.

Richard Goulding is a Corporate Associate at Hinckley, Allen & Snyder LLP.  His practice focuses on general corporate and business law, with an emphasis in mergers and acquisitions, venture capital, securities, and corporate finance. Rick provides practical legal advice to his clients on a wide array of legal matters ranging from day-to-day operational questions to sophisticated financings and strategic expansion. He is also a member of Hinckley Allen’s Business Aviation Group and specializes in the areas of aviation, commercial, and real estate finance, serving as legal adviser to institutional lenders and borrowers in senior and subordinated debt financing and equipment leasing transactions. Rick also represents large financial institutions that provide trustee and agency services in secured and unsecured financing transactions, with a concentration on domestic and international project finance, corporate and municipal debt, mergers and acquisitions, and asset-backed securitizations.

Rick graduated from Boston College High School in 2004, Boston College in 2008, and Suffolk University Law School in 2014. Before joining Hinckley Allen, Rick worked as a Corporate Associate at Sullivan & Worcester LLP and Legal Counsel at the Publicis Groupe.  Prior to law school, Rick worked as a White House intern on the National Economic Council in the Executive Office of the President of the United States, and currently serves on the Norwell Economic Development Committee.

Naitasia Hensey is an Assistant Vice President, Associate Counsel at State Street Corporation where she primarily works in drafting and negotiating contracts and other contract specific issues. She also handles legal matters relating to institutional client-based services for multiple areas of the company. Her work ranges from drafting third-party custody contracts to negotiating event and sponsorship agreements, with the occasional (fun) deep dive contracts remediation project. Prior to joining State Street, Naitasia’s career focused largely on contract drafting, negotiation, and management in the fields of healthcare, financial services, real estate, regulatory & compliance, and intellectual property.

Naitasia’s involvement with the Boston Bar Association began as a student. Since then she has found a home at the BBA and has enjoyed returning for optional continued legal education and fellowship. Recently, opportunities arose to serve on the 2019 Casino Night Steering Committee and as a Member-At-Large on the Diversity & Inclusion Section Steering Committee and she happily joined those teams.

Naitasia is committed to pro bono and community service work. She volunteers with Project Citizenship to help immigration applicants, engages in various community outreach efforts through her role as Justice of the Phi Alpha Delta Boston Alumni Chapter, and interned at Halfar refugee and asylum camp in Malta while in law school.

Naitasia is a graduate of Stetson University where she studied psychology and communications, and then went on to receive an MBA from the University of Phoenix while working full time. After relocating to Massachusetts for the love of seasons, Naitasia pursued a J.D. with a concentration in Intellectual Property law from New England Law | Boston as a Charles Hamilton Houston Scholarship recipient and graduated receiving the President Anna E. Hirsch Award for “dedicated service to fellow students, the law school, and the legal profession.” She is now licensed to practice in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Meryum Khan is an Assistant Attorney General in the Fair Labor Division of the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office. The Fair Labor Division enforces certain laws that enhance the economic security of vulnerable workers, including the minimum wage, timely payment of wages, overtime, and child labor laws. Previously, Meryum worked as a labor and employment associate at KP Law. Meryum began her legal career as a staff attorney for the Boston Police Department, where she provided legal counsel to the command staff and represented the Department in employment-related proceedings.

Meryum is an active member of the South Asian Bar Association of Greater Boston (“SABA”), and volunteers with the SABA “Know Your Rights” program to provide legal trainings for South Asian community leaders. She is also an active member of the New England Muslim Bar Association. Having spent most of her career in public service, Meryum is dedicated to community engagement and advocacy.

Meryum is a 2011 graduate of Suffolk University Law School, a 2008 graduate of Syracuse University, and a 2004 graduate of Acton-Boxborough Regional High School.

Tallulah Knopp is a Staff Attorney at the Volunteer Lawyers Project (VLP), where she practices in the areas of consumer and employment law. Tallulah represents consumers in defending debt collection cases and represents workers in bringing affirmative cases for unpaid wages. In addition, she mentors volunteers and new attorneys who provide pro bono representation to VLP clients in consumer and employment cases. During law school, Tallulah worked for the plaintiff-side employment firm, Fair Work, P.C. Tallulah attended Northeastern University School of Law and always knew that she would go into public interest work. Prior to law school, Tallulah worked in the restaurant industry and was a worker-member of the Restaurant Opportunity Center (ROC), a group that advocates for restaurant workers through organizing and policy work. Tallulah was raised in Cambridge, MA, where she still lives today with her husband and daughter.

Cory Lamz serves as in-house counsel and Data Privacy Officer to Buoy Health, Inc., a company that uses A.I. to help users start their health care journey on the right foot. Cory manages the Legal team at Buoy, including digital health, data privacy, intellectual property, product development, regulatory compliance, employment, and transactional matters, as well as government affairs and public policy efforts. Cory earned his J.D. from Northeastern University School of Law, with concentrations in Intellectual Property and Innovation, Business and Commercial Law, and Law and Economic Development. During law school, Cory was a member of the law review and various student organizations. Cory earned his MS, focused on data, creative economies, and new product development within the music industry, also from Northeastern. Previously Cory worked on the legal team at a weather data startup and as a legal intern at Duane Morris LLP, the Massachusetts Appeals Court, Autodesk, Inc., Vibe Lab (formerly the Creative Footprint Project), and GLAAD. Before law school, Cory worked as a journalist in Denver, Colorado. He earned his BA in journalism and digital media from the University of Denver.

Cory is licensed to practice in Massachusetts and New York. He is a volunteer mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Massachusetts Bay and a member of the New York State Bar Association, the National LGBT Bar Association, and the Boston Bar Association, where he is a member of the New Lawyers Forum and the Diversity & Inclusion Section Steering Committee. He is also the co-founder of Boston’s only recreational inner tube water polo league, Boston ITWP.

ThyThy Le is an Assistant Corporation Counsel at the City of Boston Law Department, where she is committed to providing the City with unparalleled legal counsel with a focus on procurement and complex real estate transactions.  ThyThy provides counsel for city-wide goods and service contracts as well as construction contracts for capital improvements and maintenance of City property. Through her work and belief that education is the cornerstone to ensuring that the City yields the highest public benefit at all stages of procurement, she provides procurement training to citywide departments. She continues to lead the effort on procurement through oversight of the City’s standard contract documents and practices, in coordination with other integral City departments to guarantee the utmost level of protection to the City in any given transaction. In addition, ThyThy represents the City in real estate transactions including acquisitions, dispositions, and leasing. She most notably handled a complex transaction to establish and construct a memorial park in a collaborative effort involving state agencies and non-profit organizations from beginning to close.

Prior to representing the City of Boston, ThyThy worked as counsel for a Fidelity National Financial real estate title insurance company where she advised on title issues and insurability, and handled closings for numerous multi-million-dollar commercial transactions. To meet the fast-paced nature and demands of real estate, she was committed to provide clients with innovative solutions in addressing title and insurability issues to attain skillful execution and expeditious transactions.

As a longtime East Boston resident, ThyThy received her J.D., cum laude, from Suffolk University Law School, graduated summa cum laude from Northeastern University, and is a graduate of Boston Latin Academy, one of Boston’s prestigious exam preparatory schools.

David Lyons is an Associate at Anderson & Kreiger LLP, where his practice focuses on environmental and land use law, as well as litigation on behalf of state agencies and municipalities.  He has helped to secure complex environmental permits, litigated under a diverse array of state and federal environmental and employment statutes, and advised towns on adopting new local legislation.  David’s diverse pro bono practice has included advising non-profits on environmental clean-ups, assisting individuals with their immigration matters and claims for welfare benefits, and litigating claims for access to public records. 

David earned a B.A. from Yale University in 2008 and a J.D. from Columbia University in 2014.  Before law school, he worked on several political campaigns and as a legislative aide for a member of Congress.  At Columbia, David served as the editor-in-chief of the Columbia Journal of Environmental Law and assisted several environmental non-profits through the school’s Environmental Law Clinic.  He also interned for a judge on the Southern District of New York.  After law school, David worked in the San Francisco office of a large international law firm.

David joined the Cambridge Conservation Commission in 2018, and he is Junior Fellow of the Boston Bar Foundation’s Society of Fellows.

Mathilda McGee-Tubb is an associate in the litigation section at Mintz.  Her practice focuses on complex commercial litigation and arbitration across a variety of areas and industries, including particular emphasis on defending class actions and serving clients in the education sector.  Mathilda also has an active pro bono practice and was awarded the 2019 Richard Mintz Pro Bono Award.  She has worked on a variety of immigration matters in a pro bono capacity, including developing impact lawsuits in federal court, helping an immigrant secure release from ICE custody after nearly a year of detention, and representing non-citizens seeking Special Immigration Juvenile status.  In addition, she has assisted Lawyers for Civil Rights (LCR) in filing briefs of amici curiae before the U.S. Supreme Court, for which she was awarded LCR’s Pro Bono Award twice. 

Prior to joining Mintz, Mathilda served as a judicial law clerk, first to the Honorable Robert J. Cordy of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, and then to the Honorable Douglas P. Woodlock of the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts.  She also spent several years working in the central administration of Columbia University on university policy, communications, and events, as well as on providing services and programs for U.S. military veterans.

Mathilda serves as a gubernatorial appointee on the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, the regional planning agency serving metro Boston, and as an at-large member of the Oberlin Alumni Leadership Council.  She is a graduate of Boston College Law School, where she served as the editor-in-chief of the Boston College Law Review.  She also holds an M.A. from Teachers College at Columbia University in sociology and education, with a focus on educational policy, and a B.A. from Oberlin College.

Jeremy Meisinger is an administrative law attorney in the Boston office of Foley Hoag LLP.  He counsels clients on a variety of regulatory questions, in such contexts as healthcare, data privacy, and energy.

Jeremy has substantial experience in advising healthcare providers, insurers, and related entities on both Massachusetts healthcare regulations and federal Medicare and Medicaid regulations.  Jeremy’s data privacy and security work focuses on helping emerging and established companies in developing privacy policies, information security policies, and similar documents, both proactively and in response to government and other investigations. Jeremy also has significant experience in assisting clients under investigation by federal and state regulatory agencies.

Jeremy’s pro bono experience has centered around assisting the victims of violent crimes in obtaining protective orders under G.L. c. 209A and G.L. c. 258E, as well as in opposing motions seeking discovery of medical, counseling, and other private records in criminal proceedings.  Jeremy has also assisted victims of violence from outside the United States in the process of procuring release from immigration detention and obtaining asylum relief in federal immigration court.  Along with several attorneys from other Boston law firms, Jeremy assists in the administration of the Massachusetts Appeals Court’s Civil Appeals Clinic, which provides weekly office hours to low-income, pro se litigants attempting to navigate the appeals process at all stages. 

Jeremy is a member of the Boston Bar Association, and is a graduate of the College of William and Mary and Harvard Law School. 

Yavor Nechev is a senior associate in the Securities Litigation and Enforcement Group at WilmerHale, where he focuses his practice on complex litigation matters in state and federal courts and regulatory enforcement matters before the SEC and various other state and federal regulatory agencies.  Yavor has represented algorithmic trading firms in SEC enforcement matters and insurance companies in nationwide class action litigation.  He is a frequent volunteer at the Volunteer Lawyers Project’s Lawyer for a Day Program at the Boston Housing Court and represents veterans in matters before discharge review boards.  He also helps manage WilmerHale’s legal clinics for the homeless, in conjunction with Lawyers Clearinghouse, and serves as a mentor for law students through the Boston Lawyers Group.

Prior to WilmerHale, Yavor interned for the Hon. William G. Young of the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts.  He received his B.A., magna cum laude, from New York University, and his J.D., cum laude, from Boston College Law School, where he was a member of the Boston College Law Review and served as a student attorney at the Boston College Legal Assistance Bureau.

Yavor was born in Bulgaria and grew up in Nashville, TN, and Boulder, CO.  He and his wife, Elizabeth, now live in the South End in Boston and are expecting a baby boy in October.

Jessica Alfano Powell is an Associate in the Real Estate Department at Nutter, McClennen & Fish, LLP. She advises nonprofit organizations, operating companies, and developers in commercial real estate and financing transactions, as well as in zoning, permitting, and other land use matters. Jessica has dedicated a significant amount of time to pro bono projects, including representation of a U.S. Army Veteran before the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, for which she was recognized with a Civil Rights Pro Bono Recognition Award from the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice.  In addition, she regularly advises pro bono clients in transactional real estate and land use matters.

Jessica serves on the Real Estate Bar Association’s planning committee for its annual fundraiser for Women’s Lunch Place and served as a co-captain of Nutter’s Associates Fund Drive for Greater Boston Legal Services for several years. After the birth of her son, Jessica donated several thousand ounces of milk to Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast, a nonprofit community milk bank that provides donated human milk to babies in fragile health throughout the Northeast.

Jessica received her J.D., magna cum laude, from New England School of Law and her B.A. in Economics from Tufts University. During law school, she clerked with the Honorable Robert B. Collings at the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts and Commissioner Frank J. Scharaffa at the Massachusetts Appellate Tax Board. Jessica grew up on the North Shore and presently resides in Saugus with her husband, Mike, and their young son, Jamison.

David Rangaviz is a staff attorney in the Appeals Unit of the Committee for Public Counsel Services (CPCS). His practice consists of indigent defense in post-conviction proceedings, primarily before the Massachusetts Appeals Court and the Supreme Judicial Court. He currently serves as a member of the BBA’s Criminal Law Section and as co-chair of the amicus committee for the Massachusetts Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. He clerked for Justice Barbara Lenk of the Supreme Judicial Court, Magistrate Judge John Conroy of the U.S. District Court for the District of Vermont, and Judge Kent Jordan of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.  Before joining CPCS, Dave worked as a trial attorney at the Maryland Office of the Public Defender and in private practice at Zalkind, Duncan, & Bernstein LLP.  He is a graduate of Harvard Law School and Brown University.

Blair M. Rinne is an associate in Brown Rudnick’s White Collar Defense & Government Investigations Group.  As a member of the White Collar Group, Blair advises clients on complex internal investigations and represents corporations and individuals in criminal and civil investigations and related litigation.  Prior to joining the White Collar Group, Blair was an associate in Brown Rudnick’s Commercial Litigation Group for four years.  She handled complex contract disputes and intellectual property matters.  She also represented clients in several zoning appeals and real estate matters in Massachusetts state court. 

Blair has also maintained an active pro bono practice.  She represents clients before the United States Immigration Court and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services in matters referred from Kids in Need of Defense (KIND).  Blair has also participated in KIND’s Expert Panel alongside other attorneys in the Boston area. 

Blair has a dual J.D./M.B.A. from Boston College.  While at Boston College Law School, Blair was a Note Editor for the Journal of Law & Social Justice (formerly the Third World Law Journal).  Prior to law school, Blair worked as a litigation clerk at Finnegan in Washington, D.C., where she assisted with a complex patent infringement trial and prepared for numerous depositions.

Sajid Shahriar is an Equal Opportunity Specialist at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in the Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, where he enforces the Fair Housing Act and related federal civil rights laws in the New England region.

Sajid graduated from Boston College Law School in 2016 and became a Presidential Management Fellow (PMF) at HUD before converting to a permanent position in 2018. During his time as a PMF, Sajid conducted a six-month rotation at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts, Civil Rights Unit, where he gained valuable experience investigating systemic civil rights cases involving sexual harassment, housing, education, employment, healthcare, and voting accessibility. At HUD, Sajid monitors grant programs, investigates complaints of housing discrimination against protected classes, and negotiates conciliation agreements between parties.

Sajid is also the Executive Vice President of his regional union, AFGE Local 3258, and represents AFGE as a Vice President to the Massachusetts AFL-CIO Executive Council. In 2019, Sajid was honored to be chosen as Senator Elizabeth Warren’s guest to the State of the Union Address, representing federal workers affected by the government shutdown.

In his spare time, Sajid volunteers as a community organizer with the nonpartisan Greater Boston Interfaith Organization around issues like criminal justice reform, healthcare, and immigration. Sajid also sits on the board of the New England Muslim Bar Association, which has collaborated with the BBA to conduct networking and educational events for Muslim lawyers and allies.

Prior to law school, Sajid worked in the nonprofit health industry as a development coordinator in the Greater Washington, D.C., area. Sajid attended Northwestern University and graduated with a B.A. in Political Science.

Dave Soutter is an associate in the Litigation and Enforcement Practice Group at Ropes & Gray. Dave focuses primarily on securities class actions, government investigations, internal investigations and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Dave represents clients in a variety of industries, including pharmaceuticals, healthcare, medical devices, private equity and technology.

Dave also spends significant time on pro bono matters, including representation of clients through Ropes & Gray’s partnerships with Veterans Legal Services, Political Asylum/Immigration Representation Project, Lambda Legal, and Project Citizenship. Dave, working with Lambda Legal, successfully challenged Puerto Rico’s ban on correcting the gender marker on the birth certificates of transgender individuals. In addition to ongoing pro bono work, Dave is currently assisting a homeless client with sealing his CORI so he can obtain better employment and stable housing.

Dave is a graduate of the George Washington University and Suffolk University Law School.  He is also a Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Army Reserves.

Sharona Sternberg is a litigation associate at Sunstein Kann Murphy & Timbers, an IP boutique located in downtown Boston. She concentrates in intellectual property litigation and trademark clearance, registration and enforcement. She has been involved in numerous patent, trademark, and trade secret litigations in federal court and has represented multiple clients in opposition and cancellation proceedings before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. Prior to joining Sunstein, Sharona worked at Willkie Farr in New York City as a litigation associate with a broad-based general commercial practice. Her clients have included well-known pharmaceutical, software, medical device, and international e-commerce companies. Sharona has worked on a variety of pro bono matters, including intellectual property, domestic violence and divorce, and asylum cases, and is extremely active in her Jewish community. She is also the mother of three little boys, which keeps her on her toes. Sharona has a law degree from Harvard Law School and a B.A. in English literature from Barnard College.

Katherine Stock is an associate at Miyares and Harrington, where she works with towns and private clients on a wide range of environmental, land use, and municipal issues.  In this role, she has represented municipalities in administrative proceedings before the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and Department of Public Utilities, as well as Massachusetts trial courts.  Katie also advises municipalities on democracy and open government issues.

Prior to joining M&H, Katie was both an intern and a volunteer attorney with the Conservation Law Foundation.  Katie’s past work also includes internships for the Honorable Nathaniel Gorton of the Federal District Court of Massachusetts, the U.S. Department of Justice in the Environmental and Natural Resources Division, and the Klavens Law Group, a clean energy practice.  Katie is also an active member of the BBA, having served as the New Lawyers Liaison to the Environmental and Energy Law Section. She has participated in several volunteer programs through the organization.

Katie holds a B.A. in Political Science from Northeastern University, magna cum laude, and a Masters in Environmental Law and Policy from Vermont Law School.  She received her J.D from Northeastern University School of Law. 

Prisoners’ Legal Services Briefs PILP on Incarceration Trends and the Organization’s Work

Guest Post: Caroline Donovan (Foley Hoag), Sophia Hall (Lawyers for Civil Rights) and Susanna Jones (Foundation Medicine) are members of the BBA’s 2018-2019 Public Interest Leadership Program.

On January 7, 2019, Prisoners’ Legal Services* (“PLS”) presented to the 2018-2019 class of the BBA’s Public Interest Leadership Program (“PILP”), about current trends and PLS’s ongoing advocacy on behalf of incarcerated persons. Presenting for PLS was Executive Director Lizz Matos and Staff Attorney Jesse White. PLS is a non-profit legal organization that provides civil legal assistance to people who are incarcerated in Massachusetts state prisons, county jails and houses of correction.

By way of setting the stage, Matos shared some startling statistics, including that 22,000 people from Massachusetts are behind bars today and the rate of imprisonment has grown dramatically in the past 40 years. Furthermore, African Americans are incarcerated at a rate six times higher than their White contemporaries, and Latinos at a rate four times higher. Furthermore, Massachusetts is one of the least progressive states when it comes to parole, only granting parole in approximately 34% of cases, and having a tremendously high return rate for technical violations, rather than new criminal offenses. In 2016, for example, Massachusetts returned almost a quarter of its entire parole population to prison for technical violations.

After setting the stage, Matos and White shared some of the most recent work being managed at PLS. In terms of litigation, for example, they shared challenges with water conditions at MCI Norfolk, asbestos at MCI Framingham, and the 5-person visitor cap at Souza-Baranowski Correction Center. As for legislative work, Matos and White talked about their efforts on behalf of the Criminal Justice Reform bill, particularly as it relates to medical parole, improving the Prison Rape Elimination Act, and efforts surrounding solitary confinement. Finally, PLS shared some insight into a new project regarding the treatment of ICE detainees being held at houses of corrections.

*Prisoners’ Legal Services is a 2019 Boston Bar Foundation grant recipient.

Massachusetts Bail Fund Seeks to End Pre-Trial Incarceration by Providing Resources for Court-Appointed Counsel and their Clients

Guest Post: Caroline Donovan (Foley Hoag), Sophia Hall (Lawyers for Civil Rights) and Susanna Jones (Foundation Medicine) are members of the BBA’s 2018-2019 Public Interest Leadership Program.

On Monday, January 28, 2019, Atara Rich-Shea, the Director of Operations for the Massachusetts Bail Fund, described current bail practices in Massachusetts to members of the Boston Bar Association’s Public Interest Leadership Program and invited engagement with and support for Massachusetts Bail Fund’s efforts to eradicate the system of pre-trial incarceration.

Empirical research evidences the myriad problems of pre-trial bail. For example, as compared to individuals who can post bail, individuals who cannot post bail and are thus held pre-trial are more likely to:

  • Be convicted
  • Receive harsher sentences
  • Plead guilty

To address these and other inequities, the Massachusetts Bail Fund covers bails of $500 or less. Beyond avoiding some of the unjust outcomes described above, the posting of bail allows individuals to work, attend school, and spend time with their families while they resolve their charges.

The Massachusetts Bail Fund can provide bail of $500 or less; if the bail amount is greater than $500, the Massachusetts Bail Fund can provide up to $500 if the individual can obtain the difference in funds from other sources. Court-appointed counsel whose clients would benefit from a referral to the Massachusetts Bail Fund should go here to review the requirements and make a request.

Boston Bar Leads Groundbreaking Collaboration to Provide Public Outreach for Students’ Rights

The Boston Bar Association (BBA) today announced a new collaboration with Greater Boston Legal Services (GBLS) to provide a series of presentations designed to increase awareness about students’ rights, following a recent class action settlement agreement. This new project is the first of its kind and establishes a new collaboration model for a bar association, the private bar, and the legal services community.

The program will feature presentations given by BBA members currently enrolled in its Public Interest Leadership Program (PILP) to a series of community groups, including community centers, health service organizations, and parent and student groups. The program is part of the BBA’s larger Service Innovation Project, designed to advance efforts to dismantle the cradle-to-prison pipeline in Massachusetts. The cradle-to-prison pipeline is a mechanism by which social and economic disparities contribute to a “pipeline” where children of color, children with disabilities, and children from low-income families are disproportionately funneled into the system of mass incarceration. The BBA’s project focuses on the educational system’s role in the pipeline.

“We are thrilled by this partnership with the BBA to spread the word of this new settlement agreement,” said Elizabeth McIntyre, Staff Attorney and Director of the School to Prison Pipeline Intervention Project at GBLS. “It is absolutely critical that the families most affected by this settlement are able to use it as a tool as they continue to fight for their schools.”

“This project gives our class the opportunity to create meaningful change in our communities and demonstrate the value that lawyers can bring in jumpstarting social change,” said Jared Shwartz, a current member of PILP and an associate at Hinckley Allen. “An education can open so many doors; dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline ensures that we do not unduly disadvantage a segment of our community that needs access to these types of opportunities.”

The settlement stems from a complaint, filed against Boston Public Schools by GBLS, which asserted that the school system had unlawfully suspended three minor clients of GBLS. Boston Public Schools has committed to several changes that aim to end unlawful student suspensions, decrease overall suspensions, and foster powerful, compassionate learning communities.

PILP participant Lavinia Weizel, associate at Mintz, said, “Working on a project to help dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline in Massachusetts seemed like a great fit for our PILP class this year. As a group, we were eager to participate in a project that would enable us to connect with the broader community and contribute to tackling important legal and social issues. Our work in this initiative has been a great learning experience.”

The presentations are expected to begin next month. Learn more about the BBA here and GBLS here.

The Service Innovation Project is made possible by the Burnes Innovation in Service Fund of the Boston Bar Foundation.

Public Interest Leadership Program Alumni Mingle with Prospective Applicants

Earlier this week, the BBA hosted an information session and alumni reception for its Public Interest Leadership Program. The program, which now includes nearly 200 alumni, is currently seeking applicants for its 16th class. At the information session, Rich Baldwin (PILP 2016-2017, Foley Hoag) described his experience in the program as both inwardly and outwardly fulfilling. Participants in the program meet twice a month and hear from guest speakers across a variety of public interest issue areas. These presentations and conversations enrich the PILP members’ understanding of their community and introduce them to new ways to volunteer and engage with service providers in the Greater Boston area. Additionally, PILP members are each responsible for planning and executing two meetings for the class, as well as working together toward a culminating project for the year. Baldwin spoke about how this project is a significant outward facing element of the program. Each class has the opportunity to dive into a public interest issue area and educate and support their peers and the public through the project. During Baldwin’s PILP year, his class organized and held a symposium at the Boston Bar Association focusing on Constitutional Battlegrounds: Civil Rights in a Changing Landscape. After hearing from Baldwin and BBA Staff, prospective applicants were able to mingle with PILP alumni and hear their perspectives on the program.

The application for the 2019-2020 class is available to download here and is due on March 29th. Applicants must be attorneys within their first 10 years of practice, public interest minded, and able to commit to the 14-month program, beginning in June 2019. Questions about the program or application can be directed to Cassandra Shavney at [email protected]

Members of the first PILP class in 2003-2004 pose in front of the Boston Bar Association’s historic building, the Chester Harding House.

Public Interest Leadership Program Application Available Now

The Boston Bar Association is pleased to announce that it is now accepting applications for its 2019-2020 class of Public Interest Leaders. The BBA’s Public Interest Leadership Program (PILP) is a unique leadership program for new lawyers that promotes civic engagement and public service by advancing the leadership role of lawyers in service to their community, the profession, and the Commonwealth.

If you’re interested in learning more the program, we invite you to join us on Tuesday, March 12th from 5:30 PM – 7:00 PM at the BBA. The information session will feature PILP alumni who will provide insight into the program, discuss the application process, reflect on their experiences, and answer questions. If you’d like to attend, please register here.

Eligible applicants are BBA Members who have graduated law school within the past 10 years and demonstrate a commitment to public service and their community. The Program has four specific purposes:

  • To identify and recognize present and future leaders in the BBA and the Boston legal community.
  • To contribute to the professional and leadership development of promising young attorneys.
  • To integrate young leaders into the BBA and its public service landscape — at the same time significantly contributing to the public interest.
  • To build a powerful alumni network of lawyer leaders who, by their actions, demonstrate that part of being a successful lawyer is giving back to the community.

To download the application, please click here. Applications are due March 29, 2019  to Francine Alexandre at [email protected]

The current PILP class consists of 23 accomplished attorneys selected due to their commitment to pro bono and community service. Each accomplished in their field, they’re joining a network of nearly 200 PILP alumni who’ve gone on to serve the BBA in other capacities and carry their passion for serving the public interest into the community.

PILP Hears from ACLU’s Racial Justice Program Director

Guest Post: Janette Ekanem (Greater Boston Legal Services) is a member of the BBA’s 2018-2019 Public Interest Leadership Program.

This past fall, Rahsaan Hall, Director of the Racial Justice Program for the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, spoke to the Public Interest Leadership Program (PILP) about the history of the criminal legal system, (a term he prefers to criminal justice system) and efforts to reform the system within Massachusetts.

In Massachusetts last year, five out of eleven races for district attorney were contested and as a result, reform of the criminal legal system has been at the forefront of voters’ minds.  Attorney Hall noted that although police have power, district attorneys are the most powerful people in the criminal legal system because they decide who gets charged with a crime, and they determine how most criminal cases are resolved.  

Attorney Hall’s remarks challenged PILP participants to deeply examine the historical roots of the criminal legal system and how the history of the system has continued to further racial disparities.  PILP members learned that despite being branded as a liberal state, Massachusetts has some of the worst racial disparities in the criminal legal system when compared to other states in the country.     

The need to address these troubling disparities guided the Boston Bar’s own report on criminal justice reform released in the lead-up to the reforms made last session. You can learn more about that report, titled, No Time to Wait, here.  

Due to the renewed attention on criminal justice reform in Massachusetts, Attorney Hall urges voters to reframe how they think about the criminal legal system and use their voice for the change that they want to see within the system.

For more information on the ACLU’s Racial Justice Program, visit https://www.aclum.org/en/rahsaan-d-hall-director-racial-justice-program.

The Role of the Executive Branch in Setting Immigration Policy

Last month, the Public Interest Leadership Program (PILP) heard from Stephen Roth of Project Citizenship, concluding the month-long examination of immigration policies today. Stephen has extensive experience representing detained and non-detained immigrants undergoing removal proceedings and in family-based petitions in both New England and greater New York City. Project Citizenship* is a nonprofit agency that seeks to increase the naturalization rate in Massachusetts and beyond through free workshops and legal counseling.

Stephen offered a first-hand look at how immigration policy has changed from the Obama Administration to the Trump Administration. Specifically, under a regulation rarely invoked in the past, the U.S. Attorney General has the singular authority to refer immigration cases to himself and to then re-adjudicate them autonomously.

Upon becoming Attorney General, Jeff Sessions self-referred several cases involving previously settled law, Stephen explained. The most notorious of his decisions was Matter of A-B-, in which Sessions overturned Board of Immigration Appeals precedent, finding that “being a victim of private criminal activity” did not constitute a cognizable “particular social group” for purposes of asylum, though domestic-violence-based claims had been recognized as grounds for asylum for decades.

Stephen encouraged the PILP class to volunteer with Project Citizenship and other nonprofit organizations providing free or low-cost legal services to low-income immigrants and refugees.  Stephen further encouraged everyone to participate in notice-and-comment procedures on proposed changes to federal regulations governing asylum and other immigration procedures.

Meeting recap provided by PILP Member Genevieve Aguilar (Choate).

*Project Citizenship is a 2018 Boston Bar Foundation Grant Recipient.