Many of our Summer Jobs students have worked alongside interns from multiple organizations – some in high school, some in college, and even some in law school. But only a small number have the chance to work alongside fellow BBA Summer Jobs interns in the same office.
Boston Latin School’s Avi Nguyen and Katie Krom are a dream team, according to the attorneys and professional staff they worked with at Nixon Peabody over the summer. The interns and their supervisors all touted teamwork as an asset the two had in spades. Rather than tackling distinct pieces of a project they were assigned, they were more likely to collaborate on each step.
For Nguyen and Krom, that collaboration was a valuable way to get ready to work in future offices and collaborate with colleagues.
At Nixon Peabody, they participated in several legal research projects – assisting attorneys with looking up domestic violence laws in every state. They also did projects on affordable housing statutes and gaming laws all over the country.
“I truly didn’t realize how much an intern can do to help with a case,” Nguyen said.
Another major responsibility was helping prepare for an office move – Nixon Peabody will have a new address come January 2019. Nguyen and Krom also helped manage the firm’s media contacts and worked on other projects with the marketing and communications team.
While neither is sure they want to pursue a career in the law, they both received a lot of advice on the next steps available to them after high school. Krom also said she learned to be less shy, while Nguyen said he learned a lot about filing, and came to really enjoy making sure records are in the right place.
Outside the office, they both enjoyed the BBA’s Wednesday seminars for the students. Specifically, Krom said she enjoyed the financial literacy sessions and felt like she was on the right path toward good money management habits.
“I actually created a savings account as soon as I got home,” she said.
Katie and Avi (center and second from right) pose with their colleagues Ruth Silman (far left), Rick Pedone (second from left), and Jackie Cunio (far right) in the Nixon Peabody lobby.
Before she started in the finance department at Mintz, Vivian Tran never gave much thought to the business side of running a law firm. The recent Boston Latin School graduate, who worked at the firm over the summer, knew they were big businesses with a lot of employees, but thought of the labor force as being made up of lawyers.
During her time as a summer intern through the Summer Jobs Program, however, Tran learned about the many moving parts in the finance and administration of a large firm like Mintz. She received instruction on why cutting checks in a timely manner is important, as well as keeping neat and detailed records.
Tran even helped the firm as they switched filing systems, in some cases transferring paper copies of records to an electronic recordkeeping method. Without the department that handles those tasks, Tran realized, lawyers couldn’t do their jobs.
She also got to learn firsthand from her attorney mentor for the summer, who offered advice on getting the most out of college and what to do if Tran is interested in applying to law school. Tran said all of the professionals she encountered at Mintz were happy to weigh in on different educational and career paths, and explain how they got to the point where they are in their careers.
“It was really helpful and interesting to get a lot of different opinions, and it’s helpful to keep in the back of my mind,” Tran said.
While Tran isn’t sure whether she wants to go to law school or pursue a career in a law firm, she picked up many administrative skills that are transferable to any office environment. Perhaps more importantly, Tran feels that she learned how to come out of her shell in a professional setting.
“Everyone talks about how important it is to develop relationships, so I’ve tried to really overcome being shy. Compared to when I started, meeting people is much less awkward,” she said.
Tran said she hopes to stay in touch with her colleagues at Mintz, who were extremely welcoming to her, as she starts college at Suffolk University this fall.
Vivian Tran smiles from her desk, where she tacked up a picture of her cute dog smiling at her!
Over the course of two seminars, our Summer Jobs interns rounded out the real-world experience from work with a financial literacy program designed to provide guidance as they begin to make impactful financial decisions.
Molly Sharon (U.S. Bankruptcy Court) and Leslie Storm (Bankruptcy Appellate Panel) guided the students through financial basics, such as the differences between checking and savings accounts, what to look for in a bank/credit union, and how to read credit card statements. They emphasized the importance of making your money work for you by researching the benefits and fees associated with certain accounts and credit cards. The students also learned about creating a budget that takes all their expenses into account and ensures they can meet their obligations. The students were able to ask questions they had about the taxes withheld from their paychecks and learned how to understand their pay stubs.
The lesson served as a foundation for the following week’s seminar, in which students witnessed a simulated meeting of creditors that explained the consequences debtors face when they can no longer keep up with their expenses. While the lesson itself illustrates someone filing for bankruptcy in part because of irresponsible money management, the bankruptcy attorneys who conducted the presentation emphasized that most of their clients are forced to file for bankruptcy due to circumstances beyond their control.
Alex Mattera, a partner at Demeo LLP, played the role of the debtor during the faux bankruptcy hearing the students observed.
“In this case, I (the debtor) didn’t have to get into this situation, but most people have no choice. For example, many people file for bankruptcy because of mounting medical bills due to something like a catastrophic injury,” he said.
Co-chair of the BBA’s Financial Literacy Committee Douglas Rosner (Goulston & Storrs) and attorneys Jessica Youngberg (Veterans Legal Services), Gary Cruickshank (Law Office of Gary W. Cruickshank) and Kathleen Cruickshank (Murphy & King) also participated in the mock hearing.
After the meeting of the creditors, students watched a mock court hearing play out over the debtor’s continued failure to pay his car payments. Judge Joan N. Feeney presided over the matter, and students had the opportunity to volunteer to play the role of counsel on either side and as volunteer law clerks. Afterwards, Judge Feeney answered their questions about how she got into bankruptcy law and the interesting and challenging aspects of being a judge. She and the bankruptcy attorneys in the room described pursuing bankruptcy law because they wanted to help people and businesses with their chance to start over financially after facing a hard time.
Holland & Knight intern, Lily Kelly, confers with Mary Murray (Courtroom Deputy) with Judge Joan N. Feeney presiding.
We often ask Summer Jobs students about their favorite enrichment seminars, and they usually respond that they enjoy the mock City Council hearing the most. It’s not surprising, as they get to visit the real City Council Chamber at City Hall in Boston, hear from a past City Council President about his experiences, and debate and vote on a hypothetical proposed ordinance.
Attorney Lawrence DiCara opened the morning by highlighting the importance of City Council and how the Council’s decisions directly impact the lives of those living, working, and visiting Boston. DiCara knows firsthand what tough decisions the Council faces, as he was a member of Boston’s City Council for 9 years and served as the President in 1978.
He then led the students through a mock hearing where they separated into interest groups in support/opposition to a faux ordinance regarding a teen curfew. The interest groups included “Pediatrician’s for Peace,” an elder’s council, a teen council, and a business alliance. After hearing from both sides, the four students acting as City Councilors decided not to pass the proposed curfew.
Afterwards, the students spoke to DiCara about a range of subjects, from the highlights of his career in City Hall and as a practicing attorney, to his opinion on some issues in the city today. Many students commented they came away from the day with a more sophisticated understanding of city government, and the power that all Boston residents have to make their voices heard on an issue of importance.
Summer Jobs students participate in a mock City Council hearing.
For their second enrichment seminar, our Summer Jobs Students met with five individuals working in different legal settings. This seminar is designed to acquaint them with the wide array of jobs attorneys can do and practice settings they can work in.
Genevieve Aguilar (Choate Hall & Stewart) explained what working for a large, corporate law firm is like, noting the fast-paced environment and rewarding pro bono opportunities that come her way. Some students noted that her job was the most like a “traditional lawyer” as they had envisioned the job prior to listening to all the seminar’s speakers.
Boston Latin School graduate Ying Wang (State Street) spoke about how working in-house varies from firm work in that you have one “client.” Many of the students currently attend Boston Latin School (BLS) and were curious about how her experiences at BLS prepared her for her legal career. She noted that the rigor of BLS classes readied her for the focus and diligence she needed in law school. Wang is also a Judge Advocate General (JAG) in the U.S. Army Reserves, and she spoke about her experience offering legal assistance to soldiers in the region. She discussed the military as an option to fund a college education, though she did not personally pursue that route.
Janette Ekanem (Greater Boston Legal Services) highlighted the rewarding nature of legal services work and the complex, life-altering challenges her clients face. The students were interested in the difference she found when she switched from practicing real estate law in a firm to a legal services organization that helps the underserved.
Mark Zglobicki (Massachusetts Office of the Inspector General) discussed how important making and keeping professional connections can be for one’s career and that the students should start by staying in touch with those they’re working with this summer. Many students asked about the everyday work of the Inspector General’s Office, as it was an agency they had never heard of prior to speaking with Mark.
Finally, Solana Goss (Boston Bar Association) shared how her work with the BBA’s Lawyer Referral Service engages her in a legal career without having obtained a J.D. She fielded many questions about preparing for life in college and later in the professional world and spoke about what she learns from interacting with attorneys and clients on a regular basis.
Summer Jobs students hear from Ying Wang (State Street Corporation) during an Enrichment Seminar on Exploring Legal Careers
With approximately half of the interns headed to college this fall and the other half considering their options as they apply in the next few months, the presentation was peppered with questions. From scholarships for left-handed people or those with the last name Zolp to corporate grants and federal and private loan options, there are many ways for students to obtain funds for tuition. Forster reminded the interns that all of these sources have different applications and terms & conditions. It’s important to apply to as many scholarships as possible and to seek out scholarship and grant sources before turning to loans.
At the start of the seminar, Forster described the various higher ed institutions he’s worked for over the past 28 years, including Simmons College and Wheelock College. After hearing about the many components of financial aid and the steps students can take to ensure they’re covered for college, one intern asked Forster what he felt was the biggest takeaway from his presentation. “Do not borrow more than you need,” he responded. Forster explained that many fall into the trap of borrowing more from a private loan institution than they really need to while attending college. Instead, he recommended searching and applying to scholarship programs and saving as much as possible from summer employment. Any amount paid up front is going to be better than paying that amount back later, with interest.
For their first enrichment seminar of the year, the Summer Jobs student interns participated in Law 101. The morning is partly a crash course on being a lawyer and partly a Q & A session with the attorneys who present the topics. The grand finale is a “Jeopardy!”-style game where the students test the knowledge they just picked up. Attorneys Michael Licker (Foley Hoag) and Kimberly Parr (Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General) led the discussion and activity.
While many high school students may have learned about the legal system in social studies or civics classes, it’s rare that they have the opportunity to speak directly with attorneys about these topics. During Law 101, they receive a broad overview of the paths to law school and the many different areas of law in which attorneys practice. They also learn about the difference between criminal and civil cases and the structure of the court system on the state and federal levels.
Some students had questions about the path from high school to law school, and how their academic performance and choice of undergraduate university could influence their future options. Other students wondered about being a law student, whether courses they take are difficult and how a law school can keep the curriculum up-to-date when laws are changing in real time. Speaker Kim Parr highlighted her own transition from a large law firm to a government agency and the differences between various types of legal offices and environments.
After a high-energy round of “Jeopardy!”, it was time for the students to return to their offices for the rest of their work day. In the coming weeks, we will be covering their experiences learning about municipal government, touring courthouse buildings, and more.
To see photos from the summer, view our online album here.
Student interns deliberate over the correct answer
Adriana Jean-Louis (former intern at WilmerHale, current UMass Dartmouth student) speaks at the Summer Jobs Kickoff. For more photos of the event, please click here.
For the 25th year, the Boston Bar Association welcomed students this week for the Kickoff of our Summer Jobs Program, which gives Boston Public Schools students the opportunity to work at a law firm, legal services organization or government office for the summer. Over the course of 25 years, the Boston Bar has connected more than 1,000 students with a meaningful seven-week internship. This year’s group of 36 students will work at 31 offices all over the city.
At the Kickoff event, student interns sat with their supervisors and learned about the importance of making connections with others and how to cultivate impactful relationships.
Adriana Jean-Louis, a summer jobs alumnus who is now a senior at UMass Dartmouth, spoke about her experience interning at WilmerHale, a firm that has been hiring youth interns for over two decades. In the days leading up to her summer job, she was nervous and intimidated, unsure of what to wear or what her responsibilities at work would be. By the time the internship ended, she had developed a rapport with her supervisor and the attorneys in her office. Today, as a successful student and representative in the student government at UMass Dartmouth, Jean-Louis says the program helped her understand the “power and importance of relationships.” She also learned to present herself with confidence and embrace taking positive risks necessary to achieve her goals.
“My advice would just be to work toward being the best you can,” she said.
Lily Kelly, a recent graduate of Boston Latin School headed to Boston University in the Fall, will participate in her second internship through the Summer Jobs Program with Holland & Knight this summer. She also spoke at the Kickoff, emphasizing the importance of good communication as a stepping stone to creating meaningful connections with colleagues and building trust.
“To get the most out of your job, you have to make an effort to put yourself out there and build relationships, and in order to do that, you have to learn to communicate well,” she said.
As her team began to see her abilities and put faith in her work product, Kelly began to receive engaging research projects from the attorneys she worked with at Holland & Knight. She is looking forward to returning to the office and working with her supervisor, Sparkle Calhoun and mentor, Meredeth Beers.
Anne Bowie, WilmerHale’s Public Service Manager, reminded students that they are all capable of success, and that everyone – no matter their age or experience level – relies on others for help. When she asked everyone in the room, including lawyers and law firm professionals, to raise their hand if they had achieved professional success without any assistance, there were no hands in the air.
With that, Bowie introduced Daniel Horgan from MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership. Horgan led the students and supervisors through a series of hands-on activities. Each one zeroed in on a specific component of meeting and getting to know another person. Horgan frequently turned back to the metaphor of people as “icebergs.” Limited information is available at face value, but the real heart of a person lies in the experiences that are under the surface.
Some students acknowledged the awkwardness of sharing personal information with new acquaintances, and many of Horgan’s practical tips focused on the best ways to naturally draw people out over the course of a conversation.
“You’ll notice the questions you feel comfortable asking, and the information you’re sharing, get progressively deeper. You get more comfortable opening up with practice and opportunities,” he said.
Horgan intended the exercises to demonstrate to the student interns that their existing drive and passion will be amplified if they reach out to their colleagues and use them for support. Likewise, the students’ supervisors for the summer will grow as mentors and will provide the best support through compassion and listening. Horgan stressed that everyone has their own talents and strengths that are best utilized in conjunction with others’ differing strengths. The employee-supervisor relationship is constantly evolving and Horgan’s training left the crowd more aware of how deeply impactful their interactions over the next seven weeks can be and the knowledge that they each have something unique they bring to their relationships.
The Boston Bar would like to thank WilmerHale for their sponsorship of the Kickoff and all of the wonderful speakers for their time. We look forward to another enriching year for our students.
Stay updated throughout the summer by visiting us here at Beyond the Billable and reading about the students’ weekly enrichment seminars and what they’ve been up to at work.
If you’re interested in learning more about the Summer Jobs Program or the work of MENTOR and their local affiliate, Mass Mentoring Partnership, please email Cassandra Shavney at email@example.com.
Each year, thanks to generous donations to the Boston Bar Foundation’s M. Ellen Carpenter Fund, a handful of high school students are provided the opportunity to work at legal services organizations, courts, and government offices through the BBA’s Summer Jobs Program. This summer, eight Boston Public School students will have the opportunity to earn a paycheck through the BBA while developing critical professional skills and providing support to a legal office in the city. The following organizations have been selected as 2018 host sites for the BBF-sponsored interns:
Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services
Massachusetts Law Reform Institute (MLRI)
Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation (MLAC)
Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office
U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Massachusetts, Clerk’s Office
U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts, Clerk’s Office
U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts, Ward Fellowship
Volunteer Lawyers Project
We’re also grateful to the 24 law firms and government agencies that are directly hiring students this summer.
The Summer Jobs Program will kick-off its 25th year on July 9th – stay tuned for updates on the students throughout the summer!
Summer is right around the corner and over 30 students will have the opportunity to learn more about the legal profession and gain critical office experience at legal offices around the city. The 23 below organizations have pledged to hire at least one student in 2018 and will provide teens a stepping stone for a future career.Boston Planning & Development Agency
Burns & Levinson
Chu, Ring & Hazel
Holland & Knight
Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office
Nutter McClennen & Fish
Ropes & Gray
Sugarman, Rogers, Barshak & Cohen
Sunstein Kann Murphy & Timbers
We encourage you to contact us to find out how hiring a student can make a difference, for them and for your office! For more information on the program, please click here. If your office is interested in hiring a student over the summer, please contact Cassandra Shavney at firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information.