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.
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]
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Last week, representatives from Cities Empowered Against Sexual Exploitation (CEASE) – Boston spoke to attorneys on the prevalence of human trafficking in Boston. As a topic not widely discussed, it’s easy to assume human trafficking does not happen in our city. However, 14 is the average age of young women in Boston entering the sex trade and over 20,000 ads for paid sex are posted monthly in Boston alone. Lieutenant Donna Gavin (Boston Police Department) and Dhakir Warren (Demand Abolition) belong to the CEASE Network and presented these statistics along with their approach to combat demand. Through “buyer beware” campaigns, they hope to dissuade buyers, primarily older, married men with expendable income, from searching for and purchasing sex online. Warren noted that when one sex trafficker is arrested, four more will pop up to take over the lucrative business. By curbing demand, CEASE hopes to halt the business altogether.
A recent Boston Globe article quotes Lieutenant Gavin and features a young woman whose story is like so many of those who are swept into the sex trade. For a glimpse of what’s happening in Boston, read the article here.
If you were unable to attend the program at the BBA and would like to view a video recording, please email Cassandra Shavney at [email protected].
Start your new year by attending one of the BBA’s upcoming public service programs. From pro bono trainings to informational brown bags, there’s sure to be a program that interests you. Take a look below!
No Buyers, No Business. Combatting Human Trafficking by Targeting the Demand Monday, January 23, 2017, 12:30 PM to 1:30 PM At this program, you’ll learn the role of demand reduction in combatting commercial sexual exploitation, the scope of the issue of commercial exploitation in Boston, local efforts deployed by CEASE Boston to combat demand, and the role prosecutorial innovation can play in support of efforts to increase the consequential penalties for the purchase of illegal commercial sex by buyers.
Pro Bono Training: Representing Debtors in Small Claims Court Thursday, February 9, 2017, 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM The panelists will discuss the launch of the Lawyer for the Day Fair Debt Collection Clinic in Small Claims Court at the Boston Municipal Court Central Division and how attorneys can volunteer at the clinic.