Posts Categorized: Public Service

New Lawyers Help Fight Hunger at the Greater Boston Food Bank

A group of New Lawyers spent last Saturday volunteering at the Greater Boston Food Bank.

A group of New Lawyers spent last Saturday volunteering at the Greater Boston Food Bank.

This past weekend, a group of the BBA’s New Lawyers Section Committee spent their Saturday volunteering at the Greater Boston Food Bank. The volunteers helped out the GBFB by inspecting, sorting, and packaging food and other grocery products to be distributed to local food pantries, shelters, and various local hunger relief programs. The GBFB aims to help end hunger by providing at least one meal a day to every person in need in Eastern Massachusetts. In 2014, the Greater Boston Food Bank distributed over 50 million pounds of food which is enough to provide over 40 million healthy meals to those in need.

Check out the photos below to see a glimpse of the volunteer’s day at the Food Bank:

Volunteers were briefed about procedures and food safety before heading into the warehouse to begin sorting.

Volunteers were briefed about procedures and food safety before heading into the warehouse to begin sorting.

Volunteers sorted grocery items at the GBFB’s Yawkey Distribution Center.

Volunteers sorted grocery items at the GBFB’s Yawkey Distribution Center.

If you’re looking to get involved in other volunteer opportunities check out the following link for information about the upcoming public service event Charles River Clean Up on April 25th.

New Lawyers Volunteer for Prison Book Program

Attorneys volunteered at the Prison Book Program with the New Lawyers Public Service Committee.

Attorneys volunteered at the Prison Book Program with the New Lawyers Public Service Committee.

The red line issues didn’t deter a group of New Lawyers from traveling to Quincy this weekend to volunteer at the Prison Book Program. The Prison Book Program sends thousands of free books to prisoners every year, and the books offer escape, entertainment, and practical information. Throughout the morning, the volunteers read the prisoner’s request, found the appropriate book for each prisoner, and prepared the books for mailing.

Lianne Henderson, a 3L at New England Law School, organized the volunteer event on behalf of the New Lawyers Public Service Committee. Here’s what she had to say about why new attorneys and law students should take advantage of these volunteer events:

“I think new lawyers and law students should participate in the BBA’s weekend volunteer opportunities because they allow you to see the community in which you work in a different light with people you may not usually work with. It is fun to do some good work while meeting new people, and doing service is a good way to reflect on your life and career and all of the opportunities you have had. “

Are you interested in weekend volunteer opportunities? Don’t miss the opportunity to volunteer at Greater Boston Food Bank on March 21st. Click here to learn more.

BBF Honors John Hancock with 2015 Public Service Award

Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Chief Administrative Officer James Gallagher, accepted the BBF's 2015 Public Service Award on behalf of his company for John Hancock’s commitment to the Boston community at Saturday's John and Abigail Adams Benefit.

Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Chief Administrative Officer James Gallagher, accepted the BBF’s 2015 Public Service Award on behalf John Hancock at Saturday’s John and Abigail Adams Benefit.

If you were one of the 1,000 attorneys who got dressed up and came out to the Museum of Fine Arts on Saturday night for the John and Abigail Adam’s Benefit, you probably saw John Hancock receive the 2015 Boston Bar Foundation Public Service Award. The award, which was accepted by Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Chief Administrative Officer James Gallagher, honored John Hancock’s commitment to the Boston community. This year will mark the 30th year of John Hancock’s well known and landmark sponsorship of the Boston Marathon.  As part of that sponsorship, they donate hundreds of entries to area non-profits to help them raise money for causes ranging from state of the art medical care to homelessness.  Perhaps not as well-known are the company’s efforts to support and empower Boston youth through the MLK Summer Scholars Program– a cause shared by the Boston Bar Association and Foundation.

Every year, the BBA and our participating employers join hundreds of other employers throughout the city who are committed to Boston future by providing summer jobs to Boston teens through the Mayor Walsh’s Summer Jobs Program.  John Hancock is another all-star employer. Through the MLK Summer Scholars Program, John Hancock provides grants to local non-profits to hire over 650 Boston teens every summer!

If you’re feeling inspired by John Hancock’s generosity, don’t forget that your legal office has an opportunity to support Boston teens through the BBA Summer Jobs Program. Click here to learn more and to view the 29 employers who have already committed to hiring 43 Boston teens this summer.

A Year in Photos: BBA Public Service

The BBA had another year full of public service. For a look back at our members’ work in the community, take a look at the photos below:

The John & Abigail Adams Benefit raised over $640,000 last January to help fund grants to 23 Massachusetts community organizations providing legal services in areas, such as domestic violence and homelessness.

The John & Abigail Adams Benefit raised over $640,000 last January to help fund grants to 23 Massachusetts community organizations providing legal services in areas, such as domestic violence and homelessness. The BBF honored Former Boston Mayor Thomas Menino with the Public Service Award for his commitment to the City of Boston, including his efforts to find employment for thousands of Boston teens each summer.

The M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program celebrated its 10th anniversary this past year by providing financial education to students in 18 high schools statewide.

The M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program celebrated its 10th anniversary this past year by providing financial education to students in 18 high schools statewide.

The BBF’s popular Casino Night had a new twist this year—100 percent of the proceeds supported the BBA Summer Jobs Program. As you may remember, the BBF funds paid internships for Boston high school students in nonprofit and government agencies each summer through the program. The event raised more than $35,000 for the M. Ellen Carpenter Fund to benefit the Summer Jobs Program.

The BBF’s popular Casino Night had a new twist this year—100 percent of the proceeds supported the BBA Summer Jobs Program. As you may remember, the BBF funds paid internships for Boston high school students in nonprofit and government agencies each summer through the program. The event raised more than $35,000 for the M. Ellen Carpenter Fund to benefit the Summer Jobs Program.

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The BBA Lawyer for the Day in the Boston Housing Court Program celebrated its 15th year anniversary of providing legal assistance to pro se landlords and tenants at the Boston Housing Court. Since the program began, over 12,000 volunteers have helped more than 15,000 landlords and tenants navigate complicated legal issues.

In April, Boston commemorated the one year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings. The following month, the BBA honored the volunteers who stepped up to offer pro bono legal assistance to over 80 small businesses and individuals affected by the bombings at the Law Day Dinner through the BBA’s Marathon Assistance Project.

In April, Boston commemorated the one year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings. The following month, the BBA honored the volunteers who stepped up to offer pro bono legal assistance to over 80 small businesses and individuals affected by the bombings at the Law Day Dinner through the BBA’s Marathon Assistance Project.

The BBA’s Law Day in the Schools Program took off this year. Ninety-four attorneys taught over 1,300 Boston public school students from kindergarten through seniors in high school about voting rights.

The BBA’s Law Day in the Schools Program took off this year. Ninety-four attorneys taught over 1,300 Boston public school students from kindergarten through seniors in high school about voting rights.

In addition to honoring the volunteers for the Marathon Assistance Project, the BBA honored the Boston Private Industry Council (PIC) at the Law Day Dinner. The BBA and PIC have partnered for the past 21 years to place more than 700 Boston public high school students in paid legal internships each summer.

In addition to honoring the volunteers for the Marathon Assistance Project, the BBA honored the Boston Private Industry Council (PIC) at the Law Day Dinner. The BBA and PIC have partnered for the past 21 years to place more than 700 Boston public high school students in paid legal internships each summer through the BBA Summer Jobs Program.

In June, the BBF unveiled its newest fundraising event, called Passports to Pairings, where 100 % of the proceeds supported the BBA Public Service Programs. The event raise nearly $37,000, featured food and beverage pairings, and gave attendees an opportunity learn more about the BBA and BBF’s work in the community.

In June, the BBF unveiled its newest fundraising event, called Passports to Pairings, where 100 % of the proceeds supported the BBA Public Service Programs. The event raise nearly $37,000, featured food and beverage pairings, and gave attendees an opportunity learn more about the BBA and BBF’s work in the community.

The BBA continued to step up its commitment to the Mayor’s Summer Jobs Program by placing a record-breaking 64 Boston high school students in paid internships at Boston law firms, legal departments, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations through the BBA Summer Jobs Program. The BBF also increased its commitment to the program by funding 14 of these paid positions at non-profit community organizations, government offices and courts.

The BBA continued to step up its commitment to the Mayor’s Summer Jobs Program by placing a record-breaking 64 Boston high school students in paid internships at Boston law firms, legal departments, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations through the BBA Summer Jobs Program. The BBF also increased its commitment to the program by funding 14 of these paid positions at non-profit community organizations, government offices and courts.

On September 1, 2014, the BBA celebrated the one year anniversary of the Military & Veterans Help Line’s move to the BBA Lawyer Referral Service, connecting 161%more servicemembers to legal assistance. Later in the fall, the BBA announced that four firms—Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP, Nixon Peabody LLP, Morgan, Lewis, & Bockius, and Nutter McClellen & Fish LLP—had stepped up to offer pro bono assistance to servicemembers who do not qualify for traditional free legal services, but cannot afford the fees of attorneys.

On September 1, 2014, the BBA celebrated the one year anniversary of the Military & Veterans Help Line’s move to the BBA Lawyer Referral Service, connecting 161% more servicemembers to legal assistance. Later in the fall, the BBA announced that four firms—Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP, Nixon Peabody LLP, Morgan, Lewis, & Bockius, and Nutter McClellen & Fish LLP—had stepped up to offer pro bono assistance to servicemembers who do not qualify for traditional free legal services, but cannot afford the fees of attorneys.

The BBA welcomed Congresswoman Niki Tsongas, who discussed her work and commitment to combating military sexual trauma. This program is part of the BBA’s ongoing commitment to addressing the needs of military personnel, veterans, and their family members.

The BBA welcomed Congresswoman Niki Tsongas, who discussed her work and commitment to combating military sexual trauma. This program is part of the BBA’s ongoing commitment to addressing the needs of military personnel, veterans, and their family members.

October, proclaimed Pro Bono Month, once again brought a flurry of trainings and events to 16 Beacon. The lineup included the annual Landlord Tenant Law and Practice Training, the CORI Training, the Pro Bono Recruitment Fair, and the Representing Survivors of Human Trafficking: An Introduction for Attorneys Program.

October, proclaimed Pro Bono Month, once again brought a flurry of trainings and events to 16 Beacon. The lineup included the annual Landlord Tenant Law and Practice Training, the CORI Training, the Pro Bono Recruitment Fair, and the Representing Survivors of Human Trafficking: An Introduction for Attorneys Program.

The BBA Statewide Task Force to Expand Civil Legal Aid in Massachusetts released its long-awaited report called Investing in Justice, which found that the majority of clients seeking legal assistance are turned away and made the business case for an additional $30 million in civil legal aid funding.

The BBA Statewide Task Force to Expand Civil Legal Aid in Massachusetts released its long-awaited report called Investing in Justice, which found that the majority of clients seeking legal assistance are turned away and made the business case for an additional $30 million in civil legal aid funding.

The BBA kicked off the Community Reentry Readiness Program once again this November. The program, which was originally started by PILP 9, aims to reduce the risk of recidivism by sending volunteer attorneys to deliver civil legal education workshops to federal probations in the CARE/RESTART Program on issues that they may face upon reentry.  The pilot program was such a success that the BBA and Federal Court once again teamed up to continue the program.

The BBA kicked off the Community Reentry Readiness Program once again this November. The program, which was originally started by PILP 9, aims to reduce the risk of recidivism by sending volunteer attorneys to deliver civil legal education workshops to federal probations in the CARE/RESTART Program on issues that they may face upon reentry. The pilot program was such a success that the BBA and Federal Court once again teamed up to continue the program.

In November, BBA President Julia Huston spent the morning shadowing the headmaster of Mary Lyon Pilot High School in Brighton through BPE’s Principal for a Day Program. As a former teacher in special education, Julia found the program particularly interesting because every single class at the Mary Lyon Pilot High School is fully inclusive, incorporating both general education and students with emotional and behavioral impairments.

In November, BBA President Julia Huston spent the morning shadowing the headmaster of Mary Lyon Pilot High School in Brighton through BPE’s Principal for a Day Program. As a former teacher in special education, Julia found the program particularly interesting because every single class at the Mary Lyon Pilot High School is fully inclusive, incorporating both general education and students with emotional and behavioral impairments.

The BBA Lawyer Referral Service participated in a number of community events this year, including the Massachusetts Conference for Women which drew a crowd of nearly 10,000.  These events help to raise awareness of about the largest public service program of the Boston Bar Association, which fielded over 7,900 calls last year.

The BBA Lawyer Referral Service participated in a number of community events this year, including the Massachusetts Conference for Women which drew a crowd of nearly 10,000. These events help to raise awareness of about the largest public service program of the Boston Bar Association, which fielded over 7,900 calls last year.

In December, the BBA geared up to kick off an exciting new pilot program in the Land Court with a training on assisting homeowners facing tax foreclosure.  . Now that a number of attorneys are up to speed on the issue, they can volunteer to be on call to assist homeowners at the Land Court’s Thursday Tax Title Sessions and help homeowners hold onto their property.

In December, the BBA geared up to kick off an exciting new pilot program in the Land Court with a training on assisting homeowners facing tax foreclosure. Now that a number of attorneys are up to speed on the issue, they can volunteer to be on call to assist homeowners at the Land Court’s Thursday Tax Title Sessions and help homeowners hold onto their property.

 

BBA President Julia Huston on Being Principal for a Day

BBA President Julia Huston shadowed the headmaster of the Mary Lyon Pilot High School last Tuesday through the Principal for a Day Program.

BBA President Julia Huston shadowed the headmaster of the Mary Lyon Pilot High School last Tuesday through the Principal for a Day Program.

As you may remember from previous years (see here and here), the BBA President has the privilege of getting an up-close and personal look at the Boston public schools each year through the BPE’s Principal for a Day Program. The Program allows public and private sector leaders to better understand the improvements and remaining challenges in the Boston public school system by shadowing a principal for a morning. The BBA works closely with the BPS schools through the BBA Summer Jobs Program and Law Day in the Schools Program, making this opportunity particularly valuable.

BBA President Julia Huston headed to the Mary Lyon Pilot High School in Brighton last Tuesday, and we wanted to be sure our readers got to hear directly from her. Click here to learn more about Julia’s experience.

Calling All Experienced Attorneys – The Court Service Center Needs Your Help

Volunteers are the backbone of the new Court Service Center.

Volunteers are the backbone of the new Court Service Center, and the Court is currently seeking experienced attorneys to lend their time to assist pro se litigants

The Court Service Center at the Edward Brooks Courthouse is seeking experienced volunteer attorneys who are dynamic, self-starting and interested in access to justice issues within the court system. Volunteer attorneys will work directly with self-represented litigants to give neutral legal information about court procedures and applicable laws. Just to be clear, attorneys will not be providing representation, but rather providing litigants with information so they may represent themselves.

This is an excellent opportunity for experienced attorneys to provide assistance to pro se litigants and also provide mentorship to law students and newer attorneys.

Responsibilities may include but are not limited to:

  • Greeting litigants and explaining available services
  • Referring litigants to other departments or offices
  • Interviewing litigants about their needs
  • Assisting litigants with legal paperwork
  • Doing research regarding area resources
  • Drafting documents

Attorneys with a strong background in probate and family law and housing law are encouraged to volunteer.

To volunteer, please contact Sheriece M. Perry, Esq. at [email protected].

All volunteer attorneys must complete a CORI check and be eligible to work in the United States.

The BBA Is Back At It – Kicking Off Year 2 of the Community Reentry Readiness Program

Pauline Quirion (GBLS) met with federal probationers enrolled in the CARE/RESTART Program to discuss sealing their CORIs through the BBA Community Reentry Readiness Program.

Pauline Quirion (GBLS) met with federal probationers taking part in the CARE/RESTART Program to discuss sealing their CORIs through the BBA Community Reentry Readiness Program.

The BBA officially kicked off the start of the Community Reentry Readiness Program last Wednesday with a session on sealing CORIs at the Federal District Court. You may remember the success of PILP 9’s Community Reentry Readiness Pilot Program.  If not, here’s the deal.  Through the Community Reentry Readiness Program, volunteer attorneys deliver civil legal education workshops to federal probations in the CARE/RESTART Program on issues that they may face upon reentry to reduce the risk of recidivism.  The pilot program was such a success that the BBA and Federal Court once again teamed up to continue the program.

Last Wednesday, Pauline Quirion (Greater Boston Legal Services) met with the group of probationers to discuss CORI sealing. Each month, volunteers will meet with the probationers to discuss topics, including housing, employment, family law, and others. Stay tuned for more.

Wrapping Up Pro Bono Month at the BBA

Joanna Allison (Volunteer Lawyers Project of the Boston Bar Association) welcome attendees and encouraged them to get involved in VLP’s pro bono efforts at the annual Pro Bono Fair, one of the many events that took place during Pro Bono Month.

Joanna Allison (Volunteer Lawyers Project of the Boston Bar Association) welcomed attendees and encouraged them to get involved in VLP’s pro bono efforts at the annual Pro Bono Fair, one of the many events that took place during Pro Bono Month.

As October comes to a close, that means another Pro Bono Month is in the books. This month has been packed with pro bono trainings, volunteer opportunities, and of course, the release of the BBA Statewide Task Force to Expand Civil Legal Aid report, Investing in Justice. Many of our members took advantage of all the opportunities available this month, but we created a comprehensive recap for those who may not have stepped through the doors at 16 Beacon,

Take a look below for highlights from this month:

October 9th: GBLS & the BBA teamed up for the annual CORI Training to train attorneys to help clients from Roxbury, Dorchester and other low-income Boston communities to seal their records and break the cycle of poverty and unemployment. Click here for more on this training.

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October 15th: The BBA Statewide Task Force to Expand Civil Legal Aid in Massachusetts released its long-awaited report called Investing in Justice, which found that the majority of clients seeking legal assistance are turned away and made the business case for $30 million in civil legal aid funding. For more on the report, click here.

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October 18th: Members of the New Lawyers and Environmental Law Sections spent the morning outdoors working on the farm and supporting The Food Project.

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October 20th: Crowds of law students and new lawyers showed up to find out about pro bono opportunities with legal service organizations and local nonprofits at the Pro Bono Fair, which is co-hosted by the BBA and Suffolk Law School. Read a full run down of the event here.

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October 25th: Members of the New Lawyers and Environmental Law Sections headed back outside to partner with the Franklin Park Coalition’s Woodland Volunteer Team to remove invasive species and plant flowers

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October 28th: The BBA and VLP trained attorneys to work with pro se landlords and tenants through the BBA Lawyer for the Day in the Boston Housing Court Program at the annual Landlord Tenant Pro Bono Training.

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October 29th: At the Representing Survivors of Human Trafficking: An Introduction for Attorneys Program, an expert panel walked attendees through two human trafficking case studies, highlighting common challenges and identifying helpful resources to keep in mind when representing clients.

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Lawyers Lend a Hand to Local Nonprofits

Last spring, nonprofit employers gathered at 16 Beacon to learn about the new Employment Law Pro Bono Project, a partnership between Lawyers Clearinghouse and the BBA’s Labor & Employment section

Last spring, nonprofit employers gathered at 16 Beacon to learn about the new Employment Law Pro Bono Project, a partnership between Lawyers Clearinghouse and the BBA’s Labor & Employment section

 

Our dedicated readers may remember this post about the launch of the Lawyers Clearinghouse and BBA Labor and Employment Section’s Employment Law Pro Bono Project last spring. If you happened to miss it, here’s the deal. This new project pairs pro bono attorneys with local nonprofits who need help with employment related issues, such as compliance, wage and hour law, and more. The program is officially underway and volunteers have been helping local nonprofits on a range of issues.

mbWhile we can’t share the specifics of the cases, we can find out more from our lawyer volunteers.  Mike Birch (Lurie, Lent & Friedman, LLP), for example, recently assisted a local nonprofit with a complicated employment termination. We asked him why other attorneys should get involved in this initiative. Here’s what he had to say:

“I believe there are many reasons to get involved with the program and assist nonprofits with employment issues.

From a professional development standpoint, it provides the opportunity to gain additional experience with employment law issues.  The employment law issues that arise in an employment lawyer’s practice and the factual settings in which they arise are almost innumerable.  The more I am able to think through employment law issues in different factual contexts, the better able I am to address them as they arise in my practice, for all of our employer clients.

Also, nonprofits often operate on limited financial resources.  Nonprofits are often spread thin and the time of the people who run them (such as Executive Directors) is limited.  These people often wear multiple hats, juggling the administration of the nonprofit and provision of the nonprofit’s valuable services to the community.  Dealing with unfamiliar employment law issues can be overwhelming, worrisome, and time consuming.  With us assisting, the nonprofit can devote its limited resources and time to doing what it does best—providing the services that are at the core of its mission.  By assisting nonprofits with their employment law issues, we are playing a meaningful part by assisting them to focus on their provision of those services.”

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.