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Public Interest Leadership Program Learns About Criminal Justice Reform by Hearing from Organizations that Work Closely with Defendants and Victims

At its first meeting on September 5th, the 2019-2020 PILP Class heard from two sets of speakers on the topic of criminal justice reform.

First, the class heard from Emily Fish on behalf of Roca, which is a Boston-based organization, founded in 1988 with a unique crime-intervention program that focuses on the riskiest of at-risk residents, the community’s most troubled young men ages 17-24 who won’t take part in other programs and are the most resistant to change. Roca’s Intervention Model serves approximately 850 young men annually out of five hubs statewide – Chelsea, Lynn, Boston, Holyoke, and Springfield. Emily is the director of the Roca site in Lynn.

Emily explained in vivid detail Roca’s program of relentless outreach to at-risk youth, and the transformational relationships that Roca’s youth workers form to encourage behavioral change. She described how Roca partners with other institutional actors – courts, probation departments, police, employers, and others – to support young people who might be resistant to change or subject to relapse. She showed detailed data demonstrating the history of trauma, substance use disorder, and behavioral health problems that many Roca clients have experienced, and explained how an investment in successful programs like Roca can avoid greater costs and crime down the road by disrupting the cycle of incarceration and poverty. Finally, she explained what reforms Roca would like to see to the criminal justice system, including: raising the age of juvenile court jurisdiction, reducing the number of probation conditions, creating specialized “young adult courts,” and requiring specialized trainings for police officers and prosecutors.

Second, Stephanie Friends Holt and Meagen Monahan presented on behalf of Victim Rights Law Center, which is a bi-coastal organization providing free, comprehensive legal services for sexual assault survivors in Massachusetts and Oregon.  Both Stephanie and Meagen serve as staff attorneys at VRLC, providing a wide spectrum of legal services throughout Massachusetts. 

Stephanie and Meagen emphasized the wide-ranging nature of the services needed by sexual assault survivors.  Many survivors require assistance in obtaining protection orders under M.G.L. c. 209A and c. 258E and on protecting personal privacy as part of the criminal process, but also assistance on a broad range of other matters.  Stephanie and Meagen explained that sexual assault frequently impacts survivors’ housing and employment, and requires survivors to walk a fine line between protecting their own privacy but also obtaining necessary accommodations. Survivors in various stages of the immigration process also face a wide range of ramifications that call for VRLC’s expert guidance.

For more information about Roca, visit: https://rocainc.org/.

For more information about the Victim Rights Law Center, visit: https://www.victimrights.org/.

Meeting recap provided by PILP Members David Rangaviz (Committee for Public Counsel Services) and Jeremy Meisinger (Foley Hoag).

Boston City Councilor Lydia Edwards Addresses BBA Summer Jobs Students

The BBA Summer Jobs Students with Boston City Councilor Lydia Edwards

The BBA’s Summer Jobs Program finished off with an exciting final week.  On Wednesday, August 21, the Summer Jobs students participated in “Exploring Legal Careers,” a speed networking event designed to help them consider the various career paths open to them within the legal profession.  In seven rounds of 15 minutes each, the students had the opportunity to meet with Manisha Bhatt, a senior staff attorney in the Family Law Unit at Greater Boston Legal Services; Karen Castaneda, an attorney for the Boston Public Schools’ Legal Advisors Office at the Office of the Corporation Counsel for the City of Boston; Sam Faisal, a law student at Suffolk University Law School; Nigel Long, Corporate Counsel for Liberty Mutual; Mikerline Paul, a paralegal at the Volunteer Lawyers Project; Walter Rodriguez, an associate at Locke Lord LLP; and Christina Simpson of The Law Office of Christina Simpson, Esq.  The students greatly enjoyed meeting with attorneys and legal professionals from a wide range of practice settings, and asked lots of questions about the speakers’ career paths and the advice they have for young people interested in the legal profession. 

The next day, the students closed out the summer with the Summer Jobs Celebration, where the students, their colleagues, and their families celebrated the students’ accomplishments with a speaking program and reception.  The program started with BBA President-Elect Christine Netski discussing the history of the Summer Jobs Program, which started in 1993 when now-retired Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, Sandra Lynch, was a partner at Foley Hoag and the President of the BBA.  She spearheaded the program in partnership with the Mayor’s Office, and to-date the program has facilitated summer internships in legal offices for hundreds of Boston high school students.

The audience then heard from student speaker Shakira Jean, a rising junior who interned at the Volunteer Lawyers Project this summer.  Shakira discussed the challenges and rewards of working in a legal services office, and talked about how using empathy to put herself in the shoes of clients facing difficult situations had been an important skill set during her summer work.  She ended her speech by saying, “If I have the opportunity to be able to do something about [unfairness in the justice system], then I’m going to take it. I just want to be there to make our justice system better and bring justice to people who may not have access to it.”

Rising high school junior Shakira Jean speaks to the audience at the Summer Jobs Celebration

Following Shakira’s remarks, the students heard from Boston City Councilor Lydia Edwards, who represents Boston’s District 1.  Councilor Edwards discussed her own journey into the legal profession, community organizing, and city government.  She noted that she was the first attorney in her family and discussed the challenges she faced in feeling out of place during her time in law school, saying “Statistics would have put me in a different place than where I am right now… I didn’t know any lawyers… I felt like I had to conform.” 

However, she talked about the shift that she made into community organizing after the 2008 recession, and how she felt that her career only truly came together when she was able to be her authentic self.  She pointed to the legal protections for domestic workers that she helped to pass in her time as a community organizer, saying, “We had no money [for that advocacy work]… We did that being unapologetically ourselves, with the talents that we have.” 

Boston City Councilor Lydia Edwards speaking at the BBA Summer Jobs Celebration

She also spoke about her campaign to be a Boston City Councilor, noting that her seat had never before been held by a person of color, and only by one other woman.  However, she pointed to the strengths that she was able to bring to the table – and win the campaign on – by being her true self, saying that the Portuguese and Spanish language skills she gained as a community organizer; her background in a military family; and her commitment to knocking on doors and talking face-to-face with members of the community, all helped her connect with voters.  She said, “All those ‘nos’ [that we heard], we used to run our campaign… I was doing things differently.  And I could only do it because I was doing it as myself.”  She encouraged the students to take this advice to heart, in whatever career paths they pursue, saying, “You can’t win without being your true self.  The person who you’re faking will win – but not you.”

Following these inspiring remarks by Councilor Edwards, the students and their guests headed upstairs for some refreshments to celebrate the end of a successful summer! 

Thank you to each law office that hired a student intern through the program, to our partners at the Private Industry Council and the Mayor’s Office, and, of course, to the 36 students who dedicated themselves to learning about the legal profession this summer – this program would not be possible without you!

Announcement of 2019-2020 Public Interest Leadership Program Class

The BBA is pleased to welcome 23 attorneys to the 2019-2020 Public Interest Leadership Program (PILP).  PILP promotes civic engagement and public service by advancing the leadership role of lawyers in service to their community, their profession, and the Commonwealth.  This impressive group of new lawyers, all in practice for 10 years or less, will join a growing network of PILP participants past and present, and will spend the next year developing leadership skills and pursuing public service initiatives.  You can read about this year’s class below.

Charlie Ahern is Assistant Counsel in the Office of the Senate Counsel to the Massachusetts State Senate.  After graduating from Boston College with a double major in political science and Slavic studies, he began his career as a legislative aide to State Representative Kevin Honan, who is the chair of the Legislature’s Committee on Housing and represents the Allston-Brighton neighborhood of Boston. Shortly before entering Suffolk University Law School’s night program in the fall of 2013, Charlie started a job as an assistant at the government relations firm Murphy Donoghue Partners, where he advised clients from a variety of industries on navigating the legislative and regulatory processes in Massachusetts.

Upon graduating law school, he was promoted to an associate position at Murphy Donoghue Partners; however, he wanted to use his law degree to go back to the State House and continue his career in public service.  In January 2019 he accepted the job of Assistant Counsel in the Office of the Senate Counsel.  In his current role, he works with the offices of all 40 state senators and advises them on issues such as legislative drafting, constitutional law, and compliance with the state’s ethics laws. He hopes that his participation in PILP will open the door to further opportunities to get involved in pro bono and public service work. 

Julianne Campbell is an Assistant District Attorney in the Appellate Division of the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office. In this capacity, she represents the Commonwealth in a wide variety of post-conviction criminal litigation and interlocutory matters in the Supreme Judicial Court, Appeals Court, and trial courts.  Julianne also works closely in support of the Homicide Unit and other felony trial units, providing legal and strategic assistance to trial Assistant District Attorneys prior to and during the trial phase of prosecutions.  

Before joining the Appellate Division, Julianne served as the supervising Assistant District Attorney in the South Boston Division of the Boston Municipal Court.  As a prosecutor in the district and municipal courts, she represented the Commonwealth in pending criminal cases from arraignment through trial throughout Suffolk County.  Prior to joining the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office in 2015, Julianne was an Assistant District Attorney in the Middlesex County District Attorney’s Office. 

Julianne received her J.D., summa cum laude, from Suffolk University Law School, where she was a note editor of the Suffolk University Law Review.  Julianne earned her B.A. from The College of the Holy Cross.

Andrea Carrillo is a Staff Attorney in the Family Law Unit at Greater Boston Legal Services (GBLS), a non-profit organization that provides free legal assistance and representation on civil matters to hundreds of the neediest residents in the city of Boston and 31 surrounding cities and towns.  Andrea represents survivors of domestic violence in highly contested custody and divorce cases, with the aim of empowering them so that they can take back a sense of controland agency in their lives.

Prior to joining GBLS, Andrea was a Staff Attorney at Community Legal Aid, serving Central and Western Central Massachusetts, where she represented low-income individuals in family, consumer, bankruptcy, and housing matters.  As a pro bono attorney for De Novo, Andrea began her legal career by representing a Spanish-speaking Salvadoran woman in a removal hearing and won asylum for the client within four months.  Prior to practicing law, Andrea worked at CoachArt in Los Angeles and served as a Planning Commissioner Vice Chair in her hometown, Baldwin Park, California.

Andrea is a graduate of Boston University School of Law, where she served as the Fundraising Co-Chair of the Public Interest Project, a non-profit dedicated to help law students fund summer internships in public interest, and received her undergraduate degree from the University of California, San Diego.  Andrea currently serves as a member of the Steering Committee of the Women of Color Committee for the Women’s Bar Association, a member of the legal services subcommittee of the Supreme Judicial Court Steering Committee on Lawyer Well-Being, and a Clerk for the Massachusetts Association of Hispanic Attorneys.

Edmund Donnelly currently serves as Area Manager for External Affairs, State Legislative and Regulatory Affairs for AT&T Services, Inc.  In this role, Edmund plays a lead role in municipal engagement on permitting and siting issues related to wireless technology. Additionally, in this role, Edmund facilitates the public policy advocacy of the company at all levels of state government for Massachusetts and Rhode Island.  Edmund also leads AT&T’s community engagement efforts to bring training sessions to local senior centers across Massachusetts to teach seniors how to avoid consumer scams and develop their skills with technology. 

Prior to AT&T, Edmund served as the Deputy Director of the Massachusetts Broadband Institute, a state quasi-public agency working in partnership with the Administration of Governor Charlie Baker to expand access to broadband in 54 communities in western and north central Massachusetts.  Edmund also served as an Assistant Attorney General in the Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General from 2010-2015, serving in the Trial Division and in the Policy & Government Division.  Edmund also served as a Special Assistant District Attorney in the Roxbury Division of the Boston Municipal Court.  Edmund started his career in the Massachusetts legislature, where he worked from 2004-2010, including during law school, holding various staff positions for two members of the Democratic leadership of the House of Representatives. 

Edmund currently volunteers with Veterans Legal Services, providing pro bono representation. In addition, Edmund volunteers as a youth hockey, Little League, and soccer coach in the town of Andover.  Edmund is a graduate of Georgetown University and New England School of Law. 

Robert Foster is an Associate at Meehan, Boyle, Black & Bogdanow, P.C., where he represents plaintiffs in personal injury matters, primarily those arising out of catastrophic injury or wrongful death. Rob focuses much of his practice on trial litigation, but is also heavily involved in complex brief writing and appellate matters at the firm. He began his time at Meehan Boyle as a “co-op” student while in law school at Northeastern University School of Law, where he received the Social Justice Scholarship Award in recognition of his outstanding academic achievement and his commitment to public interest work. He has significant experience in litigation, having worked for the United States Attorney’s Office in Portland, Maine, and with the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office in Boston. He also served as a Judicial Intern with the Honorable Raymond Brassard in Norfolk County Superior Court. Rob is a 2008 graduate of Colby College, where he received his B.A. in English, and a 2016 graduate of Northeastern University School of Law.

Jessica Galimberti is Associate General Counsel at Accion, a global non-profit committed to creating a financially inclusive world with a pioneering legacy in microfinance and fintech impact investing. She has more than twelve years of experience providing legal advice and support to non-profit, for-profit, and government actors, with a focus on international development and cross-border legal issues. Jessica’s responsibilities at Accion include advising management and staff on corporate, transactional and compliance matters and leading the organization’s enterprise risk management program. She also manages the production, dissemination and forthcoming release of a second edition of the “Client Protection Principles: Model Law and Commentary for Financial Consumer Protection” to promote strong financial consumer protection legal frameworks for underserved populations.

Prior to joining Accion, Jessica served as in-house counsel for a passport and ID solutions provider, where she advised on international contracting, compliance, and corporate restructuring matters. She previously volunteered with non-profits advancing the social and economic rights of the Greater Boston Brazilian community and advocating for equal educational opportunity for low-income, immigrant, and language minority children. She also assisted in the prosecution of consumer and securities fraud class action cases before law school.

Jessica earned her J.D. from Boston College Law School and her B.A., cum laude, in Political Science and Business Studies from New York University. She is admitted to practice law in New York and Massachusetts. Jessica currently serves on the board of The Welcome Project, a community organization based in Somerville, MA, that builds the collective power of immigrants to participate in and shape community decisions. She has been an active member of the Boston Bar Association since 2015.

Richard Goulding is a Corporate Associate at Hinckley, Allen & Snyder LLP.  His practice focuses on general corporate and business law, with an emphasis in mergers and acquisitions, venture capital, securities, and corporate finance. Rick provides practical legal advice to his clients on a wide array of legal matters ranging from day-to-day operational questions to sophisticated financings and strategic expansion. He is also a member of Hinckley Allen’s Business Aviation Group and specializes in the areas of aviation, commercial, and real estate finance, serving as legal adviser to institutional lenders and borrowers in senior and subordinated debt financing and equipment leasing transactions. Rick also represents large financial institutions that provide trustee and agency services in secured and unsecured financing transactions, with a concentration on domestic and international project finance, corporate and municipal debt, mergers and acquisitions, and asset-backed securitizations.

Rick graduated from Boston College High School in 2004, Boston College in 2008, and Suffolk University Law School in 2014. Before joining Hinckley Allen, Rick worked as a Corporate Associate at Sullivan & Worcester LLP and Legal Counsel at the Publicis Groupe.  Prior to law school, Rick worked as a White House intern on the National Economic Council in the Executive Office of the President of the United States, and currently serves on the Norwell Economic Development Committee.

Naitasia Hensey is an Assistant Vice President, Associate Counsel at State Street Corporation where she primarily works in drafting and negotiating contracts and other contract specific issues. She also handles legal matters relating to institutional client-based services for multiple areas of the company. Her work ranges from drafting third-party custody contracts to negotiating event and sponsorship agreements, with the occasional (fun) deep dive contracts remediation project. Prior to joining State Street, Naitasia’s career focused largely on contract drafting, negotiation, and management in the fields of healthcare, financial services, real estate, regulatory & compliance, and intellectual property.

Naitasia’s involvement with the Boston Bar Association began as a student. Since then she has found a home at the BBA and has enjoyed returning for optional continued legal education and fellowship. Recently, opportunities arose to serve on the 2019 Casino Night Steering Committee and as a Member-At-Large on the Diversity & Inclusion Section Steering Committee and she happily joined those teams.

Naitasia is committed to pro bono and community service work. She volunteers with Project Citizenship to help immigration applicants, engages in various community outreach efforts through her role as Justice of the Phi Alpha Delta Boston Alumni Chapter, and interned at Halfar refugee and asylum camp in Malta while in law school.

Naitasia is a graduate of Stetson University where she studied psychology and communications, and then went on to receive an MBA from the University of Phoenix while working full time. After relocating to Massachusetts for the love of seasons, Naitasia pursued a J.D. with a concentration in Intellectual Property law from New England Law | Boston as a Charles Hamilton Houston Scholarship recipient and graduated receiving the President Anna E. Hirsch Award for “dedicated service to fellow students, the law school, and the legal profession.” She is now licensed to practice in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Meryum Khan is an Assistant Attorney General in the Fair Labor Division of the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office. The Fair Labor Division enforces certain laws that enhance the economic security of vulnerable workers, including the minimum wage, timely payment of wages, overtime, and child labor laws. Previously, Meryum worked as a labor and employment associate at KP Law. Meryum began her legal career as a staff attorney for the Boston Police Department, where she provided legal counsel to the command staff and represented the Department in employment-related proceedings.

Meryum is an active member of the South Asian Bar Association of Greater Boston (“SABA”), and volunteers with the SABA “Know Your Rights” program to provide legal trainings for South Asian community leaders. She is also an active member of the New England Muslim Bar Association. Having spent most of her career in public service, Meryum is dedicated to community engagement and advocacy.

Meryum is a 2011 graduate of Suffolk University Law School, a 2008 graduate of Syracuse University, and a 2004 graduate of Acton-Boxborough Regional High School.

Tallulah Knopp is a Staff Attorney at the Volunteer Lawyers Project (VLP), where she practices in the areas of consumer and employment law. Tallulah represents consumers in defending debt collection cases and represents workers in bringing affirmative cases for unpaid wages. In addition, she mentors volunteers and new attorneys who provide pro bono representation to VLP clients in consumer and employment cases. During law school, Tallulah worked for the plaintiff-side employment firm, Fair Work, P.C. Tallulah attended Northeastern University School of Law and always knew that she would go into public interest work. Prior to law school, Tallulah worked in the restaurant industry and was a worker-member of the Restaurant Opportunity Center (ROC), a group that advocates for restaurant workers through organizing and policy work. Tallulah was raised in Cambridge, MA, where she still lives today with her husband and daughter.

Cory Lamz serves as in-house counsel and Data Privacy Officer to Buoy Health, Inc., a company that uses A.I. to help users start their health care journey on the right foot. Cory manages the Legal team at Buoy, including digital health, data privacy, intellectual property, product development, regulatory compliance, employment, and transactional matters, as well as government affairs and public policy efforts. Cory earned his J.D. from Northeastern University School of Law, with concentrations in Intellectual Property and Innovation, Business and Commercial Law, and Law and Economic Development. During law school, Cory was a member of the law review and various student organizations. Cory earned his MS, focused on data, creative economies, and new product development within the music industry, also from Northeastern. Previously Cory worked on the legal team at a weather data startup and as a legal intern at Duane Morris LLP, the Massachusetts Appeals Court, Autodesk, Inc., Vibe Lab (formerly the Creative Footprint Project), and GLAAD. Before law school, Cory worked as a journalist in Denver, Colorado. He earned his BA in journalism and digital media from the University of Denver.

Cory is licensed to practice in Massachusetts and New York. He is a volunteer mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Massachusetts Bay and a member of the New York State Bar Association, the National LGBT Bar Association, and the Boston Bar Association, where he is a member of the New Lawyers Forum and the Diversity & Inclusion Section Steering Committee. He is also the co-founder of Boston’s only recreational inner tube water polo league, Boston ITWP.

ThyThy Le is an Assistant Corporation Counsel at the City of Boston Law Department, where she is committed to providing the City with unparalleled legal counsel with a focus on procurement and complex real estate transactions.  ThyThy provides counsel for city-wide goods and service contracts as well as construction contracts for capital improvements and maintenance of City property. Through her work and belief that education is the cornerstone to ensuring that the City yields the highest public benefit at all stages of procurement, she provides procurement training to citywide departments. She continues to lead the effort on procurement through oversight of the City’s standard contract documents and practices, in coordination with other integral City departments to guarantee the utmost level of protection to the City in any given transaction. In addition, ThyThy represents the City in real estate transactions including acquisitions, dispositions, and leasing. She most notably handled a complex transaction to establish and construct a memorial park in a collaborative effort involving state agencies and non-profit organizations from beginning to close.

Prior to representing the City of Boston, ThyThy worked as counsel for a Fidelity National Financial real estate title insurance company where she advised on title issues and insurability, and handled closings for numerous multi-million-dollar commercial transactions. To meet the fast-paced nature and demands of real estate, she was committed to provide clients with innovative solutions in addressing title and insurability issues to attain skillful execution and expeditious transactions.

As a longtime East Boston resident, ThyThy received her J.D., cum laude, from Suffolk University Law School, graduated summa cum laude from Northeastern University, and is a graduate of Boston Latin Academy, one of Boston’s prestigious exam preparatory schools.

David Lyons is an Associate at Anderson & Kreiger LLP, where his practice focuses on environmental and land use law, as well as litigation on behalf of state agencies and municipalities.  He has helped to secure complex environmental permits, litigated under a diverse array of state and federal environmental and employment statutes, and advised towns on adopting new local legislation.  David’s diverse pro bono practice has included advising non-profits on environmental clean-ups, assisting individuals with their immigration matters and claims for welfare benefits, and litigating claims for access to public records. 

David earned a B.A. from Yale University in 2008 and a J.D. from Columbia University in 2014.  Before law school, he worked on several political campaigns and as a legislative aide for a member of Congress.  At Columbia, David served as the editor-in-chief of the Columbia Journal of Environmental Law and assisted several environmental non-profits through the school’s Environmental Law Clinic.  He also interned for a judge on the Southern District of New York.  After law school, David worked in the San Francisco office of a large international law firm.

David joined the Cambridge Conservation Commission in 2018, and he is Junior Fellow of the Boston Bar Foundation’s Society of Fellows.

Mathilda McGee-Tubb is an associate in the litigation section at Mintz.  Her practice focuses on complex commercial litigation and arbitration across a variety of areas and industries, including particular emphasis on defending class actions and serving clients in the education sector.  Mathilda also has an active pro bono practice and was awarded the 2019 Richard Mintz Pro Bono Award.  She has worked on a variety of immigration matters in a pro bono capacity, including developing impact lawsuits in federal court, helping an immigrant secure release from ICE custody after nearly a year of detention, and representing non-citizens seeking Special Immigration Juvenile status.  In addition, she has assisted Lawyers for Civil Rights (LCR) in filing briefs of amici curiae before the U.S. Supreme Court, for which she was awarded LCR’s Pro Bono Award twice. 

Prior to joining Mintz, Mathilda served as a judicial law clerk, first to the Honorable Robert J. Cordy of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, and then to the Honorable Douglas P. Woodlock of the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts.  She also spent several years working in the central administration of Columbia University on university policy, communications, and events, as well as on providing services and programs for U.S. military veterans.

Mathilda serves as a gubernatorial appointee on the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, the regional planning agency serving metro Boston, and as an at-large member of the Oberlin Alumni Leadership Council.  She is a graduate of Boston College Law School, where she served as the editor-in-chief of the Boston College Law Review.  She also holds an M.A. from Teachers College at Columbia University in sociology and education, with a focus on educational policy, and a B.A. from Oberlin College.

Jeremy Meisinger is an administrative law attorney in the Boston office of Foley Hoag LLP.  He counsels clients on a variety of regulatory questions, in such contexts as healthcare, data privacy, and energy.

Jeremy has substantial experience in advising healthcare providers, insurers, and related entities on both Massachusetts healthcare regulations and federal Medicare and Medicaid regulations.  Jeremy’s data privacy and security work focuses on helping emerging and established companies in developing privacy policies, information security policies, and similar documents, both proactively and in response to government and other investigations. Jeremy also has significant experience in assisting clients under investigation by federal and state regulatory agencies.

Jeremy’s pro bono experience has centered around assisting the victims of violent crimes in obtaining protective orders under G.L. c. 209A and G.L. c. 258E, as well as in opposing motions seeking discovery of medical, counseling, and other private records in criminal proceedings.  Jeremy has also assisted victims of violence from outside the United States in the process of procuring release from immigration detention and obtaining asylum relief in federal immigration court.  Along with several attorneys from other Boston law firms, Jeremy assists in the administration of the Massachusetts Appeals Court’s Civil Appeals Clinic, which provides weekly office hours to low-income, pro se litigants attempting to navigate the appeals process at all stages. 

Jeremy is a member of the Boston Bar Association, and is a graduate of the College of William and Mary and Harvard Law School. 

Yavor Nechev is a senior associate in the Securities Litigation and Enforcement Group at WilmerHale, where he focuses his practice on complex litigation matters in state and federal courts and regulatory enforcement matters before the SEC and various other state and federal regulatory agencies.  Yavor has represented algorithmic trading firms in SEC enforcement matters and insurance companies in nationwide class action litigation.  He is a frequent volunteer at the Volunteer Lawyers Project’s Lawyer for a Day Program at the Boston Housing Court and represents veterans in matters before discharge review boards.  He also helps manage WilmerHale’s legal clinics for the homeless, in conjunction with Lawyers Clearinghouse, and serves as a mentor for law students through the Boston Lawyers Group.

Prior to WilmerHale, Yavor interned for the Hon. William G. Young of the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts.  He received his B.A., magna cum laude, from New York University, and his J.D., cum laude, from Boston College Law School, where he was a member of the Boston College Law Review and served as a student attorney at the Boston College Legal Assistance Bureau.

Yavor was born in Bulgaria and grew up in Nashville, TN, and Boulder, CO.  He and his wife, Elizabeth, now live in the South End in Boston and are expecting a baby boy in October.

Jessica Alfano Powell is an Associate in the Real Estate Department at Nutter, McClennen & Fish, LLP. She advises nonprofit organizations, operating companies, and developers in commercial real estate and financing transactions, as well as in zoning, permitting, and other land use matters. Jessica has dedicated a significant amount of time to pro bono projects, including representation of a U.S. Army Veteran before the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, for which she was recognized with a Civil Rights Pro Bono Recognition Award from the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice.  In addition, she regularly advises pro bono clients in transactional real estate and land use matters.

Jessica serves on the Real Estate Bar Association’s planning committee for its annual fundraiser for Women’s Lunch Place and served as a co-captain of Nutter’s Associates Fund Drive for Greater Boston Legal Services for several years. After the birth of her son, Jessica donated several thousand ounces of milk to Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast, a nonprofit community milk bank that provides donated human milk to babies in fragile health throughout the Northeast.

Jessica received her J.D., magna cum laude, from New England School of Law and her B.A. in Economics from Tufts University. During law school, she clerked with the Honorable Robert B. Collings at the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts and Commissioner Frank J. Scharaffa at the Massachusetts Appellate Tax Board. Jessica grew up on the North Shore and presently resides in Saugus with her husband, Mike, and their young son, Jamison.

David Rangaviz is a staff attorney in the Appeals Unit of the Committee for Public Counsel Services (CPCS). His practice consists of indigent defense in post-conviction proceedings, primarily before the Massachusetts Appeals Court and the Supreme Judicial Court. He currently serves as a member of the BBA’s Criminal Law Section and as co-chair of the amicus committee for the Massachusetts Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. He clerked for Justice Barbara Lenk of the Supreme Judicial Court, Magistrate Judge John Conroy of the U.S. District Court for the District of Vermont, and Judge Kent Jordan of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.  Before joining CPCS, Dave worked as a trial attorney at the Maryland Office of the Public Defender and in private practice at Zalkind, Duncan, & Bernstein LLP.  He is a graduate of Harvard Law School and Brown University.

Blair M. Rinne is an associate in Brown Rudnick’s White Collar Defense & Government Investigations Group.  As a member of the White Collar Group, Blair advises clients on complex internal investigations and represents corporations and individuals in criminal and civil investigations and related litigation.  Prior to joining the White Collar Group, Blair was an associate in Brown Rudnick’s Commercial Litigation Group for four years.  She handled complex contract disputes and intellectual property matters.  She also represented clients in several zoning appeals and real estate matters in Massachusetts state court. 

Blair has also maintained an active pro bono practice.  She represents clients before the United States Immigration Court and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services in matters referred from Kids in Need of Defense (KIND).  Blair has also participated in KIND’s Expert Panel alongside other attorneys in the Boston area. 

Blair has a dual J.D./M.B.A. from Boston College.  While at Boston College Law School, Blair was a Note Editor for the Journal of Law & Social Justice (formerly the Third World Law Journal).  Prior to law school, Blair worked as a litigation clerk at Finnegan in Washington, D.C., where she assisted with a complex patent infringement trial and prepared for numerous depositions.

Sajid Shahriar is an Equal Opportunity Specialist at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in the Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, where he enforces the Fair Housing Act and related federal civil rights laws in the New England region.

Sajid graduated from Boston College Law School in 2016 and became a Presidential Management Fellow (PMF) at HUD before converting to a permanent position in 2018. During his time as a PMF, Sajid conducted a six-month rotation at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts, Civil Rights Unit, where he gained valuable experience investigating systemic civil rights cases involving sexual harassment, housing, education, employment, healthcare, and voting accessibility. At HUD, Sajid monitors grant programs, investigates complaints of housing discrimination against protected classes, and negotiates conciliation agreements between parties.

Sajid is also the Executive Vice President of his regional union, AFGE Local 3258, and represents AFGE as a Vice President to the Massachusetts AFL-CIO Executive Council. In 2019, Sajid was honored to be chosen as Senator Elizabeth Warren’s guest to the State of the Union Address, representing federal workers affected by the government shutdown.

In his spare time, Sajid volunteers as a community organizer with the nonpartisan Greater Boston Interfaith Organization around issues like criminal justice reform, healthcare, and immigration. Sajid also sits on the board of the New England Muslim Bar Association, which has collaborated with the BBA to conduct networking and educational events for Muslim lawyers and allies.

Prior to law school, Sajid worked in the nonprofit health industry as a development coordinator in the Greater Washington, D.C., area. Sajid attended Northwestern University and graduated with a B.A. in Political Science.

Dave Soutter is an associate in the Litigation and Enforcement Practice Group at Ropes & Gray. Dave focuses primarily on securities class actions, government investigations, internal investigations and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Dave represents clients in a variety of industries, including pharmaceuticals, healthcare, medical devices, private equity and technology.

Dave also spends significant time on pro bono matters, including representation of clients through Ropes & Gray’s partnerships with Veterans Legal Services, Political Asylum/Immigration Representation Project, Lambda Legal, and Project Citizenship. Dave, working with Lambda Legal, successfully challenged Puerto Rico’s ban on correcting the gender marker on the birth certificates of transgender individuals. In addition to ongoing pro bono work, Dave is currently assisting a homeless client with sealing his CORI so he can obtain better employment and stable housing.

Dave is a graduate of the George Washington University and Suffolk University Law School.  He is also a Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Army Reserves.

Sharona Sternberg is a litigation associate at Sunstein Kann Murphy & Timbers, an IP boutique located in downtown Boston. She concentrates in intellectual property litigation and trademark clearance, registration and enforcement. She has been involved in numerous patent, trademark, and trade secret litigations in federal court and has represented multiple clients in opposition and cancellation proceedings before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. Prior to joining Sunstein, Sharona worked at Willkie Farr in New York City as a litigation associate with a broad-based general commercial practice. Her clients have included well-known pharmaceutical, software, medical device, and international e-commerce companies. Sharona has worked on a variety of pro bono matters, including intellectual property, domestic violence and divorce, and asylum cases, and is extremely active in her Jewish community. She is also the mother of three little boys, which keeps her on her toes. Sharona has a law degree from Harvard Law School and a B.A. in English literature from Barnard College.

Katherine Stock is an associate at Miyares and Harrington, where she works with towns and private clients on a wide range of environmental, land use, and municipal issues.  In this role, she has represented municipalities in administrative proceedings before the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and Department of Public Utilities, as well as Massachusetts trial courts.  Katie also advises municipalities on democracy and open government issues.

Prior to joining M&H, Katie was both an intern and a volunteer attorney with the Conservation Law Foundation.  Katie’s past work also includes internships for the Honorable Nathaniel Gorton of the Federal District Court of Massachusetts, the U.S. Department of Justice in the Environmental and Natural Resources Division, and the Klavens Law Group, a clean energy practice.  Katie is also an active member of the BBA, having served as the New Lawyers Liaison to the Environmental and Energy Law Section. She has participated in several volunteer programs through the organization.

Katie holds a B.A. in Political Science from Northeastern University, magna cum laude, and a Masters in Environmental Law and Policy from Vermont Law School.  She received her J.D from Northeastern University School of Law. 

Law Students & New Lawyers Explore Public Interest Careers and Pro Bono Opportunities at the Summer Kickoff Breakfast

Attendees mingle at the Summer Kickoff Breakfast

On Monday, June 24th, the Delivery of Legal Services Section and Law Student Forum hosted a Summer Kickoff Breakfast for Law Students and New Lawyers Exploring Public Interest Careers and Pro Bono Opportunities. Over 80 people attended the networking breakfast, which offered an opportunity for new lawyers and law students to talk with attorneys from non-profit organizations that provide legal services, as well as attorneys who work in government agencies and those who coordinate pro bono efforts at law firms.  Whether the law students and new lawyers were  considering careers in the public interest, or seeking pro bono opportunities, it was a great chance to connect with attorneys experienced in those areas.  Thanks to all who attended!

Ropes & Gray Transgender ID Clinic Update

This time last year, we spoke with Emily Oldshue at Ropes & Gray about the firm’s Transgender ID clinic, a partnership with GLAD that offers pro bono legal assistance to transgender individuals navigating the process of legally changing their name and gender marker on official documents.

Last June, Ropes attorneys had assisted 300 transgender individuals, and parents of transgender children, with updating records such as birth certificates, driver’s licenses, passports, mortgage titles, voter registration and more.

Today, Oldshue was proud to report that the clinic has matched more than 600 pro bono clients with over 200 attorney volunteers. Attorneys in all of the firm’s U.S. offices, and four out of five of its offices outside of the United States, have participated in the project.

“The response and participation that we have seen from the Ropes & Gray community in the past year have continued to be overwhelmingly positive. The involvement of so many attorneys, from all of our U.S. offices, as well as globally, has allowed us to match another 300 individuals with attorney teams ready to help them navigate the process,” Oldshue said.

Oldshue, an associate in Ropes & Gray’s capital markets group, has been involved with the clinic since its inception. Last year she was named one of the National LGBT Bar Association’s Best LGBT Lawyers Under 40.

The clinic currently covers all of New England, and Oldshue and her colleagues are hoping to expand to new cities in the coming years, domestically and abroad.

You can read the original Beyond the Billable piece on the Ropes & Gray Transgender ID Clinic here.

23 Offices Sign on to Provide Summer Employment for Boston High School Students

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
Brown Rudnick
Burns & Levinson
Chu, Ring & Hazel
Conn Kavanaugh
DLA Piper
Foley Hoag
Hogan Lovells
Holland & Knight
Jackson Lewis
Locke Lord
LPL Financial
Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office
Mintz Levin
Nelson Mullins
Nixon Peabody
Nutter McClennen & Fish
Proskauer Rose
Ropes & Gray
Sugarman, Rogers, Barshak & Cohen
Sunstein Kann Murphy & Timbers
Verrill Dana
WilmerHale

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 [email protected] for additional information.

BBA Around Town: Mass. MOVA Conference & Suffolk University Career Launch Fair

The Massachusetts Office of Victim Assistance (MOVA), and Attorney General Maura Healey’s office hosted their annual Victim Rights Conference last Tuesday, April 24th in what was an inspiring morning celebrating the strength and resilience of the human spirit and Boston community.  The BBA’s Lawyer Referral Service was proud to be there showing survivors of crime and other local legal services alike how we serve as a resource to connect Boston-area residents with attorneys every day.

Later in the day we were pleased to be a part of Suffolk University School of Law’s 2018 Graduate Career Launch Fair! The Career Fair gave the Class of 2018 an opportunity to gain valuable information about professional development resources, volunteer organizations, and networking opportunities available to them.

Spotlight on Service: Behind the Burnes Innovation in Service Fund

At the end of January, we were very excited to announce the launch of the Boston Bar Service Innovation Project, which represents a new approach to public service for the Boston Bar. The pilot will focus on addressing issues around the school-prison-pipeline, and while the project is in its early stages, we have already begun initial outreach efforts to our partners and other community organizations who are currently working on this problem.

The Service Innovation Project was made possible by the Burnes Service in Innovation Fund, established earlier this year by former Massachusetts Superior Court Justice Nonnie Burnes and her husband, Charles River Ventures founder Richard Burnes.

Nonnie is a former secretary of the Boston Bar Foundation and former member of the Board of Trustees. She is also an Executive Fellow of the BBF, and has been consistently dedicated to the organization’s mission to increase access to justice. From her time on the bench, she has been a staunch promoter of excellence in the legal profession, chairing the working group whose 2011 recommendations led to the creation and implementation of the Practicing with Professionalism Course for newly admitted attorneys.

From 2009 to 2012, Nonnie served as a Senior University Fellow at Northeastern University, where she currently sits on the Board of Trustees and chairs the Audit Committee. She also chaired the Board of Directors of the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts and served as the interim President and CEO in 2014 and 2015. She sits on the board of the Center for Reproductive Rights in New York, an international legal advocacy group for women’s health and reproductive rights.

Rick currently chairs the Board of Trustees of WGBH, which is responsible for governing both the radio and television stations and the WGBH Educational Foundation. He also sits on the Board of Trustees for Boston Plan for Excellence, which operates two Boston District Schools and trains teachers to drive exceptional student outcomes. He was one of the founders of Boston Business Leaders for Education, which works with individual Boston public schools and urges the legislature to support education reform in the Boston public schools. He was chair of the board of the Museum of Science and continues on the board. He is also Vice Chair of the Sea Education Association training oceanographers.

Nonnie and Rick have worked to create opportunities for young people in Boston, in particular in the areas of public interest and civic engagement. They are longtime supporters of Discovering Justice, an education nonprofit that teaches elementary and middle school students about the importance of civic responsibility, the justice system and the law’s role in a democratic society. In 1999, they played a major role in launching the Public Interest Law Scholars program at Northeastern University School of Law, creating a new resource for exceptional students pursuing social justice and public service.

In recognition of all their work for the public good, the Boston Bar Foundation presented Nonnie and Rick with the 2018 Public Service Award at its annual John & Abigail Adams Benefit. In his acceptance speech, Rick vocalized his intent to continue to work toward a public school system that enables all students to access the same opportunities.

We are grateful to Rick and Nonnie for their generosity and commitment to Boston’s youth, and for enabling this exciting new initiative. If you are interested learning more about the pilot phase of the Service Innovation Project, please contact Heather Leary at [email protected].

Pro Bono Spotlight: Barclay Damon Achieves 100% Attorney Participation in Pro Bono Program

In 2016, associates across each of Barclay Damon’s 11 offices reached an admirable goal – every one of them participated in the firm’s robust pro bono program, which treats every pro bono hour as a billable hour, the same as if these associates were doing business with the firm’s top clients.

In 2017, Barclay Damon Pro Bono Partner Heather Sunser set her sights on the next public service milestone: If all of the firm’s associates could participate in pro bono work, why not the partners? The challenge was on for Barclay Damon’s nearly 300 attorneys.

Several weeks ago, the firm announced they had done just that. Every single one of Barclay Damon’s full-time attorneys participated in the firm’s pro bono program in 2017.

“Every year I was charting progress and watching how much our hours increased,” Sunser said. “From looking at the time people put in, I have an idea of what kinds of projects people enjoy participating in, but I started to see patterns and I realized it was important to try to offer something for everyone.”

Sunser, who works out of Barclay Damon’s Syracuse office, said full participation became feasible with pro bono opportunities that could be done remotely, to accommodate attorneys who are constantly out of town. Answering legal questions online or on the phone was a piece of the puzzle, and attorneys participated in the American Bar Association’s Free Legal Answers program, including Boston attorneys taking questions through Massachusetts Legal Answers Online.

Another key to raising participation was finding specific projects for attorneys who are highly specialized in their fields. For example, Sunser said, participating in a small business incubator on a pro bono basis has helped several partners with an intellectual property practice find a way to use their skill set in public service.

Tony Scibelli, a partner in the Boston office and memberof the Boston Bar Association’s Amicus Committee, said his office participates in a wide variety of public service projects through the BBA. Joseph Stanganelli, another partner in the office, was successful in helping a veteran suffering from PTSD to upgrade his discharge status and access benefits. Stanganelli took the client on through the BBA’s Lawyer Referral Service.

Outside of the BBA, Scibelli has found his pro bono niche handling mediation cases in small claims court in Salem, Peabody and Gloucester. Scibelli’s background is in business and commercial litigation, not mediation, but working with the North Shore Community Mediation Center, he completed the required training and began to help litigants settle outside a courtroom.

“It has been a fascinating experience and a great, meaningful experience,” Scibelli said. “Many of these litigantsare low-income folks who are on various forms of public assistance. A few thousand, or even a few hundred, dollars means quite a lot to them, and in many cases it is money they really can’t afford to pay.”

So, where does Barclay Damon go when they’ve already reached 100 percent?

Sunser said she is hoping to see the overall number of pro bono hours go up, hopefully by engaging attorneys who had relatively small totals in the past. She said the firm is also always looking to partner with local organizations – whether they are bar associations, legal services organizations, or nonprofits – to try to meet needs in the community.

“When we find an opportunity to start a partnership in a place where there is currently no legal help available, we can really see the difference our effort makes,” Sunser said. “It was so exciting to see the successes and things we’ve been able to help people with over the course of this year.”

To learn more about Barclay Damon’s pro bono program, please click here.

Opioid Epidemic Trends and Insights Presented to PILP

For the month of January, the Public Interest Leadership Program (PILP) discussed the topic of the opioid epidemic. The PILP class first heard from Brendan Abel, Legislative and Regulatory Affairs Counsel for the Massachusetts Medical Society.

Abel informed the PILP class of some staggering statistics coming from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, showing the vast increase in opioid related deaths among Massachusetts residents since 2000 (from 379 in 2000 to 2,190 in 2016). The opioid death rate is far greater for individuals experiencing homelessness or who have a history of incarceration and, at this point, it is believed that almost 5% of the population of Massachusetts is suffering from opioid use disorder. The supply of heroin that is bought and sold today is often laced with synthetic fentanyl and carfentanyl, which are much more powerful, and inadvertent consumption of heroin laced with fentanyl is believed to be a factor to the high number of overdoses.

Abel discussed some of the implications that the opioid epidemic has had and may have in the future, especially in the legal context. He foresees a number of guardianships that may be needed for adults who have experienced an overdose that resulted in permanent brain damage due to lack of oxygen to the brain for a period of time. Many believe the pharmaceutical industry is the root cause of the opioid epidemic, and some lawsuits have already begun for false advertising against pharmaceutical companies that produce painkillers.

Some interventions and efforts have been made to curb the use of opioids and to reduce the number of overdoses, but a lot of research on the efficacy of such efforts has not yet been completed. There has been a slight reduction in the number of opioid related deaths, largely attributed with the spread of use of Narcan (naloxone HCI) by first responders. The Prescription Monitoring Program in Massachusetts has seen a marked reduction in the number of opioid prescriptions. In March 2016, Governor Baker signed an opioid law, including restricting first time opioid prescription to a limit of 7 days. Under M.G.L. c. 128, s. 35, a person may be involuntarily committed as a result of his or her alcohol or substance use.

Abel also discussed some state legislative efforts on the horizon, including a pending opioid bill to establish a commission to evaluate prescribing practices and a pending criminal justice reform bill that would provide an evaluation of drug dependency and provision of medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for criminal defendants.

In addition, he addressed some of the difficulties facing the accessibility of services for opioid dependent individuals. There are few MAT facilities with limited capacity in Massachusetts, with large gaps in Western Massachusetts; doctors have to be specialized and take an additional course beyond their medical school/residency training order to prescribe medication such as methadone.  Additionally, many health insurance providers do not fully cover alternate pain interventions such as acupuncture.

To view more details of state efforts to address the opioid epidemic, please visit https://www.mass.gov/massachusetts-responds-to-the-opioid-epidemic.

Meeting recap provided by PILP Member Alissa Brill (Volunteer Lawyers Project).