Posts Categorized: Public Interest Leadership Program

“There’s More Beyond the Billable Hour”: PILP Meets with Chief Justice Ronquillo

Chief Justice Roberto Ronquillo

Chief Justice Roberto Ronquillo talks judicial responsibility with PILPers.

The PILP class welcomed Chief Justice Roberto Ronquillo of the Boston Municipal Court (BMC) to its meeting last week. There’s no doubt about it, Chief Justice Ronquillo is incredibly impressive. Appointed in January 2014, Chief Justice Ronquillo oversees the eight divisions of the BMC, 30 judges, and over 500 employees. The BMC houses a variety of specialty courts, including four drug courts, three mental health courts, Veterans’ treatment court, and homeless court.

Chief Justice Ronquillo earned his undergraduate degree in criminal justice at the University of Texas at El Paso and moved to Boston to attend New England School of Law | Boston. After graduating from NESL, Chief Justice Ronquillo served as an Assistant District Attorney in Suffolk County and then ran his own law firm. In 2001, he was appointed to the bench, and in 2007, Chief Justice Ronquillo was named First Justice.

The PILPers used this meeting to ask questions ranging from how Chief Justice Ronquillo balances his judicial and administrative responsibilities to what the Chief’s sentencing philosophy is and everything in between. Throughout his Q&A and stories, Chief Justice Ronquillo emphasized the important role of specialty courts within the BMC. He believes that the specialty courts show a change in how we approach the legal process. Within the specialty courts, there is a particular focus on how to serve and support a community with stability, encouragement, and respect.

After meeting with Chief Justice Ronquillo, Elianna Nuzum, PILP class member and Assistant District Attorney at the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, said:

“Chief Justice Ronquillo was particularly inspiring when he spoke about the individuals whose lives were changed, and put back on track, after addressing their challenges — and their criminal cases — through the specialty courts such as homeless court, drug court, and veterans’ court.  He pressed the importance of respect for each individual, and coming up with creative ways to help get people out of situations that are likely to cause recidivism.”

 Chief Justice Ronquillo concluded the meeting by reminding the PILPers that lawyers have a tremendous responsibility to their clients, that clients deserve your respect and time, and that “there’s more beyond the billable hour.”

PILP, Local Politics, and Breakfast

John Connolly, Michelle Wu, and Barry Finegold talk politics with PILPers.

John Connolly, Michelle Wu, and Barry Finegold talk politics with PILPers.


Last week, the PILP 11 class talked local politics over breakfast with Barry Finegold, former State Senator for Second Essex and Middlesex District, Massachusetts; John Connolly, Boston mayoral candidate in 2014 and founder of the non-profit 1647; and Michelle Wu, Boston City Councilor At-Large.

Our guest speakers covered a variety of topics and fielded a range of questions from the BBA’s PILP class. Here’s what Barry, John, and Michelle had to say to those interested in public office:

  • Establish roots within your community. Get involved in whatever community activity or initiative that interests you.
  • Get experience – work on a campaign, learn the ins and outs of running a political campaign, and build your network.
  • Contribute to the conversation about your community’s needs. How can you help facilitate the dialogue between legislative work and your neighborhood?
  • Be bold, no one has monopoly on a political role.
  • The strongest campaign foundation is a concise and meaningful message.

Thank you to Barry, John, and Michelle for making time to chat with the PILP 11 class!

PILP 11 Talks Benefits with CHOICE Program

PILPers present an overview of public benefits at the BMC in Roxbury.

PILPers present an overview of public benefits at the BMC in Roxbury.

Last Friday, PILP 11 visited the BMC-Roxbury CHOICE program for this month’s civil legal education workshop. Lizbeth Ginsburg (Greater Boston Legal Services) and Nency Salamoun (The Victim Rights Law Center) provided an overview of public benefits to CHOICE participants, with help from Donna McCormick (GLBS). The presentation featured an overview of the following benefits:

–  Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP),
–  Emergency Aid to the Elderly, Disabled and Children (EAEDC),
–  Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children (TAFDC),
–  MassHealth and Connector Care, and

Beyond the Billable caught up with Nency Salamoun after the presentation. Here’s what she had to say about Friday’s session:

“I was impressed with the level of engagement and commitment by every participant in the program. It was amazing to watch a whole community of people surround these participants and help them reclaim their lives.  From the Judge to the probation officer- every person in the courtroom was fully invested.”

Keep a look out for next month’s update on PILP’s family law presentation!

PILP 11 Discusses Affordable Housing with CHOICE probationers

PILP 11 is partnering with the BBA’s Reentry Education Program to provide civil legal workshops to participants in the CHOICE Program at the Boston Municipal Courthouse in Roxbury.

PILP 11 is partnering with the BBA’s Reentry Education Program to provide civil legal workshops to participants in the CHOICE Program at the Boston Municipal Courthouse in Roxbury.

While it’s only the middle of March, it has already been a busy month for PILP 11. On Friday, March 6th, Katy Ward (Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.) and Rory Pheiffer (Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP) led a civil legal education workshop on Affordable Housing for the participants in the BMC-Roxbury CHOICE program.

For our readers who may need a refresher, the current PILP class created a series of civil legal education modules on topics such as financial responsibility, public benefits, and affordable housing for state probationers in the BMC-Roxbury CHOICE program. Ward and Pheiffer outlined affordable housing for the attendees, including private and public rental options, shelter information, and the steps to take if facing eviction.

After the presentation, Beyond the Billable caught up with Ward about the importance of this topic for the CHOICE participants:

Ward, Katy

“As low-income probationers, the CHOICE participants face seemingly insurmountable obstacles to finding affordable housing.  Many want to turn their lives around but that can be hard without a place to live.  Our goal was to lay out the best strategies and resources for this specific age group and population, and we hope the CHOICE participants walked away with a road map for how to best secure affordable housing and the best practices for when they do finally become a tenant.”

Pheiffer elaborated by noting:

Nutter Web Page Mockup.ppt
“Judge Dashiell was in attendance and took a vested interest in the presentation.  For the benefit of the probationers in attendance, she asked us questions about how probationers should handle CORI requests when applying for housing.  It was clear that she understood many of the difficulties probationers face when applying for housing, and wanted to make sure those in attendance left with a good level of understanding of ways to address these difficulties. ”

The PILP 11 class is scheduled to present to the CHOICE program on public benefits in April…Stay tuned!

PILP 11 Supports BMC – Roxbury CHOICE Program

PILP 11 is partnering with the BBA’s Reentry Education Program to provide civil legal workshops to participants in the CHOICE Program at the Boston Municipal Courthouse in Roxbury.

PILP 11 is partnering with the BBA’s Reentry Education Program to provide civil legal workshops to participants in the CHOICE Program at the Boston Municipal Courthouse in Roxbury.

This year, the Boston Bar Association is proud to work with its eleventh Public Interest Leadership Program (PILP 11) class. Throughout the fall, PILP 11 met with members of the legal community to learn about the legal needs in Boston and how they could make a difference. After several meetings, PILP 11 decided to partner with the BBA Reentry Education Program, in which volunteer attorneys deliver civil legal education workshops to federal probationers in the CARE/RESTART Program on issues that they may face upon reentry in an effort to reduce the risk of recidivism. With support from the Reentry Education Committee, PILP 11 adapted the committee’s modules to fit the needs of probationers in state court.

As Beyond the Billable readers may know, the PILP 9 class developed what is now the Reentry Education Program. In an effort to expand the work of previous PILP classes, PILP 11 will give monthly presentations to participants in the CHOICE program at the Boston Municipal Courthouse in Roxbury. Formed in 2009, the CHOICE program utilizes a court-supervised programmatic approach to help young probationers get their lives on track through a rigorous four-pronged approach:

  1.  intensive probation supervision with an in-court component;
  2. education and tutorial services;
  3. job training and placement; and
  4. mentorship

PILP 11 is honored to do its part to provide education programs on important civil legal education topics like employment rights, driver’s license reinstatement, financial literacy and responsibility, CORI sealing, and affordable housing.

On Friday, February 6, 2015, three PILPers made their way to Roxbury in the cold to discuss Financial Literacy and Responsibility with CHOICE participants. David Lieberman (Day Pitney LLP), Carrie Benedon (Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General), and Jenevieve Maerker (Foley Hoag LLP) covered topics from how to open a bank account to how to manage credit. Attendees asked questions and provided feedback for next month’s program.

After the presentation, Beyond the Billable caught up with PILP 11 presenter David Lieberman (Day Pitney LLP). Here’s what he had to say about presenting to the CHOICE participants:

“Presenting on Financial Literacy for the Roxbury CHOICE program was a great experience.  We spoke with a number of noted experts about the topic to refine our presentation and addressed the CHOICE participants before the court session.  It was a great opportunity to present an important topic in front of a group that I do not get many opportunities to address.  The presentation was well received and I look forward to working with the CHOICE participants and program management going forward.”

Stay tuned for next month’s update when PILP 11 discusses housing rights and affordable housing.

Questions about PILP? Please contact Galen Byrne, Member Relationship Coordinator, at [email protected].


PILP Info Session Draws Future Leaders

Emerging legal leaders gathered at the BBA last to learn about applying for PILP.

Emerging legal leaders gathered at the BBA last week to learn more about PILP and the application process.

Last Thursday, more than two dozen hopeful applicants for the BBA’s Public Interest Leadership Program (PILP) attended an information session at 16 Beacon Street, where they heard from four successful PILP alumni. The panelists offered insight into the application process, their personal PILP experience, and how they’ve remained involved at the BBA after completing the program.

Panelists included:

  • Moderator, Jen Doran – Partner, Hinckley Allen, PILP 06-07
  • Eric Haskell – Assistant District Attorney, Middlesex District Attorney’s Office, PILP 12-13
  • Katherine Schulte – Staff Attorney, Casa Myrna Vasquez, PILP 13-14
  • Daniel Routh – Associate, Ropes & Gray LLP, PILP 12-13

Attendees left the information session with  four key PILP takeaways:

  1. PILP is one of the most valuable tools for networking and meeting people in the profession.
  2. Members of PILP class are exposed to and integrated into BBA leadership.
  3. PILP combines leadership and professional development with service to the community.
  4. Program participants meet leaders within the legal community and greater Boston community.

The BBA will be accepting applications to PILP through Friday, February 13th for the class beginning in May 2015. More information on PILP and the application process is available here. Please email Galen Byrne, Member Relationship Coordinator, at [email protected] with any questions on PILP.

Become Part of the PILP Legacy

Pilp Session PDF

Calling all future leaders!  Beyond the Billable is pleased to announce that the BBA will be accepting applications to its Public Interest Leadership Program through Friday, February 13th for the class beginning in May 2015. In its 12th iteration, 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, their profession and the Commonwealth.

Don’t miss the opportunity to hear the inside scoop. PILP alums will host an Information Session about the program next week on Thursday, January 22nd at 4 p.m. at the BBA. Hope to see you there!

For more information on PILP and the application process, please check out the PILP webpage or contact Galen Byrne, Member Relationship Coordinator, at [email protected].

PILP 10 Teams Up with the Courts on Court Service Pilot Project

Panelist Tony Doniger outlines the role of the Court Service Center with fellow speakers Judge Dina Fein and Sheriece Perry (right) and moderator Katherine Schulte (left).

Panelist Tony Doniger outlines the role of the Court Service Center with fellow speakers Judge Dina Fein and Sheriece Perry (right) and moderator Katherine Schulte (left).

Each year, the BBA Public Interest Leadership Program (PILP) crafts a year-long project to address needs in our community. Last week, attorneys crowded into the BBA’s Adams Room to learn about PILP 10’s project with the new Edward W. Brooke Courthouse Court Service Center (CSC), which opened in June. The Brooke Courthouse CSC is one of two pilot service centers; the other is located in Greenfield, MA. The Trial Court, the Access to Justice Commission, and Rosie’s Place teamed up to make the CSC a reality, and now it’s our job to showcase all that’s happening in Boston and in our Commonwealth.

If you missed the program last week, Beyond the Billable has you covered.  Take a look below for all the details on the program:

Who were the panelists?

  1. Judge Dina Fein – Housing Court, Western Division
  2. Anthony Doniger – Sugarman, Rogers, Barshak & Cohen, P.C.
  3. Sheriece Perry – Manager, Court Service Center

What happens at the CSC?

The CSC provides invaluable resources for visitors to the courthouse. Staff and volunteers help pro se litigants prepare pleadings, court forms and documents, access existing social services, public computers, workstations, and interpreters. While CSC staff and volunteers provide legal information, not legal advice, they meet unaddressed needs among community members.

How many people have visited the CSC?

Since the CSC opened on June 2, 2014, more than 1,530 individuals have visited the CSC for legal information!

How can you get involved?

Attorneys, law students hoping to get acquainted with the Boston legal community, and new lawyers are all welcome to volunteer. If interested, please send your resume and cover letter to the Manager of the CSC Sheriece Perry at [email protected].

What’s next?

More Court Service Centers! The impact that the CSC has at the Brooke Courthouse and in Greenfield – both for pro se litigants and court staff – has illustrated their importance for all court visitors. The goal is to open four more service centers within the next year at the busiest courts in the Commonwealth.

The CSC is open Monday – Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. To learn more information, please click here.

Gene O’Flaherty Talks Leadership with PILP Class

Gene O’Flaherty, the Corporation Counsel for the City of Boston, spoke with PILP 11 last week about leadership.

Gene O’Flaherty, the Corporation Counsel for the City of Boston, spoke with PILP 11 last week about leadership.

Last week, PILP 11 had the privilege to welcome the new Corporation Counsel for the City of Boston Eugene L. O’Flaherty to 16 Beacon Street. Counselor O’Flaherty took time to talk about his career path, professional goals as Corporation Counsel, and career tips.

Counselor O’Flaherty knows a thing or two about being a successful leader. He was appointed to the role of Corporation Counsel by Mayor Martin Walsh in February 2014 after serving 17 years  in the Massachusetts House of Representatives for the Second Suffolk District and practicing law for 20 years. He was just 26 years old when he was elected to the House of Representatives, and he was re-elected by his district nine times.

He left the PILP class with a few leadership take-aways:

  1. Take your job seriously, but not necessarily yourself
  2. To succeed, you must be willing to outwork your competition
  3. Be involved in your community

Counselor O’Flaherty ended the meeting by encouraging the PILP class to become involved in our great city.

What is Leadership? PILP 11 Gets Breakdown from Seasoned Pro

Glenn Mangurian spoke with PILP 11 about the key components of leadership.

Glenn Mangurian spoke with PILP 11 about the key components of leadership.

Glenn Mangurian, Chairman of the Court Management Advisory Board (CMAB), recently visited with PILP 11 to discuss what he’s identified as the three main prongs of leadership: collaboration, finding your purpose, and self-awareness. When it comes to leadership, Glenn is a guy who knows what he’s talking about. He is a respected business leader with a 35-year track record in industry and management consulting.  He has worked with Global 500 business executives in North America and Europe on managing large scale change and performance improvement. In addition to his current role as Chairman of the Court Management Advisory Board, he continues to be active in consulting, speaking and coaching to business leaders. Mangurian also teaches leadership at the University of Massachusetts.

After having the opportunity to meet Glenn, Beyond the Billable checked in with the PILPers to hear about their experiences:Kumaraswami, Nita

“Listening to Glenn Mangurian talk is like a Rorschach test.  Each of us had such varied reactions.  It seems this is not at all unintentional.  One of his primary modules, after all, is self-awareness.  Becoming aware that my own responses differed from legitimate responses of my respected peers helped me to learn about them and myself, and ultimately will allow us to work together as a more productive team.”

Nita Kumaraswami, Sullivan & Worcester LLP

Schnedel, Sarah

“I enjoyed the discussions about what leadership traits we admire in others – it caused me to reflect on groups I have been in that have failed or succeed, and encouraged me to think about my own strengths and weaknesses as a leader. Additionally, Glenn’s lesson that purpose isn’t something that’s always easy to attain, but rather is the result of honest searching and the observation of others, was a great reminder.”

Sarah Schendel, Masferrer & Associates


To learn more about the Glenn, check out the BBA’s interview with him in our “Tipping the Scales” blog.