Are you looking for a new opportunity to make an impact? Join the BBA’s newest pro bono project and you can do it in 3-4 hours right from your desk!
Volunteers will help talk people through some very basics on the foreclosure process. The BBA will provide a 1.5 hour training video and access to an attorney experienced in the area to answer any unforeseen questions.
Although it is a short commitment, you will be ensuring that people are informed about their rights in foreclosure proceedings arising from failure to pay taxes. As you can see in this article, it isn’t always clear to the homeowners that they will lose possession of their homes.
So, if you have a phone and a few hours to commit, you can help educate people about their rights and perhaps prevent someone from losing their home.
Please note: Attorneys will be asked for proof of malpractice insurance prior to signing up for volunteer sessions.
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 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 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 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.
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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
Kathleen O’Donnell (Law Office of Kathleen O’Donnell) and Deb Patterson (Land Court) trained attorneys to assist homeowners through the BBA’s new pilot program in the Land Court.
If you saw this blog earlier this month, then you already know about the BBA’s exciting new pilot program in the Land Court. The aim of the project is to address an issue in Massachusetts households – the foreclosure of real estate tax liens. Homeowners caught in this foreclosure process often do not understand that they could lose not only possession of their home, but also any equity they may have.
In an effort to assist homeowners, this week the BBA trained attorneys on how the Land Court handles tax title foreclosures, and provided the attendees with the information needed to explain the process to homeowners.
Deb Patterson, the Recorder at the Land Court and one of the speakers on Monday night’s panel, witnesses the confusion at the Land Court every Thursday. Here’s why she thinks you should volunteer for the program:
“Volunteering for this pilot program will give you the opportunity to help litigants navigate the real estate tax foreclosure process and can be a very effective tool for them to use to make informed decisions regarding their property.”
Attorneys who attended the training can now volunteer to be on call to assist homeowners at the Land Court’s Thursday Tax Title Sessions and help homeowners hold onto their property.
Did you miss the training but still want to get involved? Don’t worry, it’s not too late! Contact Katie D’Angelo at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how you can help.
Did you catch this article on tax liens in yesterday’s Boston Globe? The article focuses on towns and cities that sell tax-liens to for-profit companies, resulting in high fees and sometimes the loss of a home for property owners. The BBA and the Land Court have teamed up to pilot a new program beginning in January that aims to help homeowners who face foreclosure on tax liens—from both for-profit companies and municipalities—better understand their options.
Attorneys can sign up to be on call and answer homeowners’ questions during the Land Court’s Thursday Tax Title Sessions. If you’re unfamiliar with this process, don’t worry! We’re holding a training on December 15th from 4:30-6:00 pm at the BBA to provide you with an in-depth look at how the Land Court handles tax title foreclosures and to give you the information you need to explain the process to homeowners. Click here to learn more about this exciting, new training and volunteer opportunity.