Posts Categorized: Public Service

BBA Summer Jobs Program Kicks Off!

The BBA’s Summer Jobs Program is up and running, following a lively kickoff event on Monday, July 8.

The Summer Jobs Program, which is in its 26th year, places Boston public high school students in paid, seven-week internship programs in law firms, courts, legal services organizations, and government agencies. In addition to gaining work experience, the students attend weekly enrichment seminars through the BBA to help them gain professional skills and explore legal careers. This year, 36 students are working in 29 legal offices across the city. Six of these are public interest positions funded by the Boston Bar Foundation’s M. Ellen Carpenter Fund, with students working at the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation, the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, the U.S. District Court, and the Volunteer Lawyers Project.

Summer Jobs student Isis Franklin and Clerk of Court Molly Sharon (U.S. Bankruptcy Court) at the Summer Jobs Kickoff.

At the kickoff event, the summer interns and their supervisors had the opportunity to participate in a workshop hosted by Health Resources in Action, focused on building successful professional relationships. Both the interns and supervisors shared their “life maps,” highlighting three key moments in their lives that helped them become who they are today. Then, they created “partnership agreements,” to set expectations and goals for their work together over the summer, and start a dialogue about how they can best communicate with and support each other. The workshop not only formed a great foundation for this summer, but also gave the students tools for building strong professional relationships throughout their careers!

On Wednesday, July 10, the interns participated in their first enrichment seminar, “Law 101.” Attorneys Katie Stock of Miyares and Harrington, LLP, and Nicole Phe of Nelson Mullins, talked to the students about the basics of the legal profession, including the path through law school, the functioning of the court system, and key legal terminology. The students then tested out their new knowledge in an exciting Jeopardy game!

The Summer Jobs Program is a longtime partnership between the BBA, the City of Boston, Boston Public Schools, and the Boston Private Industry Council. Since its inception in 1993, the program has helped more than 800 Boston public high school students find summer employment in law firms and law offices in our community. We thank our partners, and all of the employers that have hired students this year!

Photos from the event can be found here.

Students and attorneys at the BBA Summer Jobs Kickoff

CORI Sealing Clinic Update


Paul Kominers, Samuel Dinning, Ray Doucette, Grant Glovin, and Ezra Dunker-Polier of
Anderson & Kreiger; Brandon Schneider, Ryan Rosenblatt, Matt Bailey, Rachel Centz, and Jillian Friedman of Sullivan Law; and Gina Makarem of Boston College Law School volunteered at the CORI Sealing Clinic on July 3rd.

The BBA hosted its sixth CORI Sealing Clinic at the Brooke Courthouse on July 3rd. Since February, the clinic has assisted over 50 people seeking to seal their criminal records. As CORIs can be a significant barrier to housing, employment, and educational opportunities, volunteering at the CORI Sealing Clinic is an important way that attorneys can offer their services to the public.

The BBA’s CORI Sealing Clinic takes place the first Wednesday of every month at the Brooke Courthouse. If you’re interested in volunteering, please contact Hannah Poor.

Thank you to Greater Boston Legal Services for partnering with us on the CORI Sealing Clinic!

Law Student Forum Holds Mental Health Panel

Last week, the BBA’s Law Student Forum hosted a panel discussion on managing mental health in law school in partnership with the BBA’s Committee for Attorneys with Disabilities. The event, led and organized by Suffolk Law Student Ambassadors Brittney McCartney and Jeremy Siegel, tackled head-on the pervasive mental health issues plaguing law school campuses. Attendees of all ages heard from experts, Marilyn Wellington (Board of Bar Overseers), Shawn Healy (Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers), and Professor Lisle Baker (Suffolk University Law School), as they gave their advice on law student well-being, mental health, and bar admission. The panel also featured a question and answer portion, during which a student panel shared their perspectives on the issue.

The idea for the panel came from student representatives on the BBA’s Law Student Advisory Committee, who voiced concerns about the issue from their respective student bodies. More specifically, New England Law students Philjay Solar and Benjamin Cabezas felt the discussion was a necessary step towards reconciliation after having dealt with suicides within their own student body in the past few years. The two students issued the following statement regarding the event:

“Those of us in law school are given the great pleasure of learning the rule of law that governs our society. This endeavor however is not without its pitfalls. The rigorous nature of law school and the emotional toll it takes is well known. We at New England Law | Boston take mental health very seriously. We’re proud to be working with the Boston Bar Association and our fellow Boston law schools to help bring awareness and resources to our collective student populations.”

Overall, the panel served as part of a long-overdue conversation within the legal community about an issue that affects many well before they ever begin practicing. The panelists emphasized that it is imperative that the bar continue to raise awareness around the issue. The diverse range of people in attendance at the event speaks to the fact that there is a widespread desire to finally erase the stigma of mental health issues within the legal community. The BBA is proud to have been able to help our students join this important discussion.

Seeking help? There are several resources available for those who may need assistance, including Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers, which provides free and confidential mental health resources and addiction recovery support for law students and legal professionals. To learn more about Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers, please click here.

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.

Attorneys Learn to Lead Know Your Rights Presentations to Immigrant Communities

On September 27th, the BBA hosted a second training for attorneys and law students to learn how to present to immigrant communities about their rights. Political Asylum/Immigration Representation (PAIR) Project’s Anita Sharma (Executive Director) and Courtney Snegroff (Community Engagement Manager) led the training, which provided an overview of the immigration executive orders from the past year, information on resources available to assist immigrants, and an update on DACA. PAIR first started holding Know Your Rights trainings around the community after the 2016 election. Since then, they have coordinated over 400 presentations and they continue to train lawyers to carry out these efforts. Thirty attorneys attended the training at the BBA and are now equipped to sign-up for a presentation through PAIR.

If you are an attorney or law student and would like access to a video recording of the training and to be connected with PAIR for this volunteer opportunity, please email Cassandra Shavney at [email protected].

Anita Sharma and Courtney Snegroff (PAIR Project) train attorneys to lead Know Your Rights presentations.

Volunteer for Citizenship Day 2017

Citizenship Day in Boston is the largest citizenship workshop in New England. This year, Project Citizenship*, the Mayor’s Office for Immigrant Advancement, Goodwin Procter, and Eastern Bank are hosting the 4th annual event.

Since 2014, over 600 people have applied for citizenship on Citizenship Day in Boston. Project Citizenship expects to serve over 350 this year!

Citizenship Day in Boston provides free legal services to hundreds of immigrants but they are in need of volunteers for the event. Citizenship Day 2017 will take place on Saturday, September 23rd at the Reggie Lewis Center (1350 Tremont St. Roxbury, MA 02120). Volunteers will assist with a variety of tasks including assisting applicants with completing the 20-page application. Attendance is mandatory at one of Project Citizenship’s training sessions if you want to assist with completing the forms, even if you have volunteered at the event in the past.

To volunteer for the event and select which training you would like to attend, please fill out this form.

If you have any questions regarding the event, don’t hesitate to reach out to Project Citizenship at [email protected] or by phone at 617-694-5949.

*Project Citizenship is a 2017 Grantee of the Boston Bar Foundation.

Pizza and Pro Bono: A Bite-Size Pro Bono Opportunity for Busy Lawyers

Join us at the BBA for a pro bono pizza party while we work with volunteer attorneys from Mass Legal Answers Online (MLAO) and the Volunteer Lawyers Project to answer legal questions for low-income Massachusetts residents through Mass Legal Answers Online. You can make an immediate difference to someone struggling to resolve their legal problem.

This event, Mass Legal Answers Online Blitz, will take place on Wednesday, July 19th from 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM at the Boston Bar Association, 16 Beacon Street, Boston, MA 02108.

What is MLAO? MLAO is a secure and confidential website where low-income Massachusetts residents can ask a lawyer for help with a legal issue. Qualified users post questions about civil legal problems. When a volunteer lawyer logs in to the site, there is a list of questions that the volunteer can pick from to answer. It’s like a virtual walk-in legal clinic!  MLAO is a limited scope service — all help is provided through the website, and there is no expectation of long-term representation. There is no fee for the use of the system or for the advice and information provided by the attorney.

To learn more about MLAO, watch this short video, or visit Mass Pro Bono, or these FAQs.

What’s a Q and A Blitz? It is an in-person session where attorneys and law students gather to research and brainstorm answers to questions that have been posted to MLAO.  Experienced attorneys and MLAO staff will be on hand to guide you in answering questions.  It’s a great way to get started using MLAO, an opportunity to provide pro bono service from your desk!  The most common question topics are family law, housing, and consumer law, but help with all civil issue areas is needed.

Both attorneys and law students are invited to participate in this Blitz – those who are not yet licensed will work with an attorney volunteer who is registered with Mass Legal Answers Online.

Please bring a laptop if you have one! Attorneys who have not yet registered with MLAO directly are encouraged to do so in advance of this event; register at this link. It only takes a minute.

To RSVP for the event, please visit the event’s webpage and log in to register: https://www.bostonbar.org/membership/events/event-details?ID=24120 

Attorneys Help Make over 13,000 Meals Possible at GBFB

Over the weekend, members from the Boston Bar Association volunteered at the Greater Boston Food Bank helping to sort and pack food for families across Eastern Massachusetts. The volunteers for the day made 13, 356 meals possible and sorted over 16, 500 lbs of food. Thank you to our BBA members dedicated to giving back to the community!

BBA members after their volunteer shift at the Greater Boston Food Bank.

BBA Members Volunteer with Pine Street Inn

Each year, the Boston Bar Association’s New Lawyers Public Service Committee organizes a volunteer event at Pine Street Inn, an organization dedicated to helping Boston’s homeless. Recently, BBA members volunteered to serve dinner at The Men’s Inn, a nightly emergency shelter service which supports 350 men each night. We’re proud of our members helping our community!

If you’re interested in Pine Street Inn’s work, you can read about their services online.

BBA members volunteered at the Pine Street Inn in February.

 

One-Time Volunteer Opportunities Throughout the Spring

With temperatures hitting 60 degrees this week, we can’t help but dream of the warmer weather to come. Looking ahead to spring, the BBA has a number of one-time volunteer opportunities working with various community and environmental organizations. We hope you’ll sign-up for one (or more!) of the below events to give back to your community while meeting other BBA members!

Volunteer with The Greater Boston Food Bank
Saturday, March 11, 2017 9:30 AM to 12:00 PM
Greater Boston Food Bank – 70 South Bay Avenue, Boston, MA

Volunteer at Cradles to Crayons
Saturday, March 25, 2017 1:30 PM to 3:30 PM
Cradles to Crayons – 155 North Beacon Street, Brighton, MA

Annual Charles River Clean Up
Saturday, April 29, 2017 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Charles River Esplanade, Boston, MA

Volunteer on the Farm: The Food Project Serve & Grow
Saturday, May 6, 2017 9:30 AM to 12:30 PM
Lynn Farm – 1 Collins Terrace, Lynn, MA

Spring Woodland Restoration Event at Allandale Woods Urban Wild
Friday, May 19, 2017 9:30 AM to 12:00 PM
Allandale Woods Urban Wild, Roslindale, MA

Last year’s crew at the Annual Charles River Clean-Up enjoying some sun and beautifying the Esplanade.