Earlier this month, the incoming Public Interest Leadership Program (PILP) participants attended an orientation meeting to review the year ahead. Orientation was followed by a reception for PILP alumni to meet the new class and provide advice for the upcoming year.
The incoming class joins a network of over 150 attorneys who’ve pledged their time to promote public service and civic engagement in their communities.
Since we last caught up with the Summer Jobs Program, the students participated in a speed networking seminar, meeting attorneys and legal staff from a wide variety of practice areas and fields. This provided the students a chance to ask questions about particular career paths and hear advice for a young person considering law school in the future. Ashley Berger (Student, Suffolk University Law School), Lurleen Gannon (First Deputy General Counsel, MBTA), Michael Kippins (Associate, Prince Lobel Tye LLP), Natasha Lewis (Supervising Staff Attorney, Volunteer Lawyers Project), Daniel McGarry (Paralegal, Robins Kaplan), and Sammy Nabulsi (Assistant, Corporation Counsel, City of Boston) all spoke to the students about their experiences and reinforced Tidwell’s remarks at the Kickoff that there’s no one clear path to becoming a lawyer or working in law. For many of the students, this is one of their favorite seminars because it exposes them to work they might not see in their office.
This week, the students were introduced to the importance of local government by participating in a mock Boston City Council hearing with past City Council president, Larry DiCara (Partner, Nixon Peabody LLP). DiCara described what it was like being the youngest person appointed to City Council and how much he enjoyed serving his city. For their mock hearing, the students broke into various interest groups to discuss a hypothetical curfew of 9:00 PM for teens 16 years old and younger. After hearing arguments from all sides, the students appointed to the mock council voted to keep the curfew but raise the time it’s implemented each day to 11:00 PM. After the seminar, one student noted that the mock hearing was good practice to participate in local government.
The Boston Bar Association is pleased to announce the members of its 14th Public Interest Leadership Program Class. We look forward to working with these impressive attorneys over the coming year!
Alissa Brill Volunteer Lawyers Project
Alissa is a staff attorney at the Volunteer Lawyers Project of the Boston Bar Association, where she represents and assists low-income clients in the greater Boston area in family law and guardianship matters, as well as leads trainings for pro bono attorneys who take on cases through the VLP. She supervises legal clinics for pro se litigants at the Edward Brooke Courthouse and Middlesex Probate & Family Court. During law school, Alissa had co-op placements clerking for justices of Norfolk Probate & Family Court, appealing Social Security Administration disability cases with the Elder, Health & Disability Unit of Greater Boston Legal Services, in-house in the business law department of Takeda Oncology and practicing civil litigation at Lurie Friedman LLP. She also represented clients in 209A abuse prevention order hearings as a student attorney in Northeastern’s Domestic Violence Clinic. Alissa is a proud Big Sister through Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Boston and volunteers with various non-profits. She received her B.A. from the University of Rochester and J.D. from Northeastern University School of Law.
Marley Ann Brumme Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
Marley Ann Brumme represents a wide variety of U.S. and international clients in commercial, securities and health care fraud litigation. Ms. Brumme has represented clients in disputes relating to securities and corporate law matters, contractual issues, class actions, the False Claims Act, mutual fund fees and constitutional issues. These disputes take place in federal and state courts throughout the country and through all phases of litigation, including trial, and in arbitrations before the American Arbitration Association.
Ms. Brumme also assists clients in connection with complex regulatory investigations, including enforcement matters before the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice.
Ms. Brumme has an active pro bono practice. Recently, she successfully briefed and argued a motion for a preliminary injunction in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, enjoining the state from enforcing a marriage license restriction that violated the Fourteenth Amendment rights of immigrants. She also has represented clients as part of Clemency Project 2014 and in proceedings before the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination. Early in her career, Ms. Brumme also was involved in a civil rights litigation challenging the termination of public housing voucher benefits — work for which she was recognized with a 2012 Connecticut Legal Services Pro Bono Award.
David A. Chorney
Donoghue Barrett & Singal
David A. Chorney is a health law associate at Donoghue Barrett & Singal where he represents hospitals, managed care organizations, clinics, nursing homes, home health agencies, physician groups, assisted living residences, and ambulatory surgery centers. His representative matters include hospital and corporate mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures and affiliations, advising clients on medical peer review issues, taxable and tax-exempt financing, hospital operations, policies and procedures, Board of Registration in Medicine investigations, Medicare and Medicaid, and medical education. David also provides general business and corporate legal services on a wide range of issues, such as day-to-day business strategy, regulatory and corporate compliance, vendor contracting, HIPAA, medical staff credentialing, healthcare fraud and abuse, contracting, and employment law.
While in law school, at Suffolk University Law School, David was a Rappaport Fellow in Law and Public Policy at the Office of the Governor’s Legal Counsel and served as the co-Lead Articles editor of the Journal of Health & Biomedical Law. David attended Muhlenberg College, where he received a B.A. in International Studies and Russian Studies. David received his J.D. from Suffolk University Law School.
Lauren Corbett Beck Reed Riden LLP
Lauren is an associate in the litigation group of Beck Reed Riden LLP. She focuses her practice on complex commercial litigation, with an emphasis on trade secret and noncompete disputes. Lauren also advises both individuals and corporations on noncompete, nonsolicitation, and nondisclosure agreements, as well as employee mobility.
Lauren is an active member of the Boston Bar Association, where she serves on the Practical Skills Committee of the New Lawyers Section. She also a member of the Boston Attorneys’ Networking Group.
Lauren received her JD from Boston University School of Law. During law school, Lauren co-founded the Entrepreneurship and Finance Club and represented indigent clients through the Employment Rights Clinic. Lauren was also a published member of the International Law Journal
Joshua M. Daniels
Josh Daniels is an appellate attorney with experience litigating cases in a wide variety of legal areas, including constitutional law, environmental law, criminal cases, and class actions. He was recently a member of Goodwin Procter’s Boston office, where he practiced for more than 7 years and devoted many hours to various pro bono and public interest litigation matters, including successful First Amendment challenges to anti-panhandling ordinances enacted by the cities of Worcester, MA and Portland, ME, postconviction challenges to criminal convictions, and authoring amicus briefs and other work in support of the recent challenges to the legality of the Trump administration’s “travel ban” executive orders. Josh is a member of the Steering Committee of the BBA’s Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Section and a regular volunteer with the Massachusetts Appeals Court’s Civil Appeals Clinic.
Gregory Dorchak U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts
Gregory Dorchak is a Special Assistant United States Attorney in the Civil Rights Unit of the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts. He was previously a Presidential Management Fellow in the Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Greg earned a Ph.D. in rhetorical theory from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where he taught courses on critical rhetorical theory and public policy. Greg currently still teaches a course on public policy in the University of Massachusetts University Without Walls program. Greg also graduated from Syracuse University, where he studied journalism, rhetorical theory, and history, and Northeastern University, where he earned his J.D.
Justin Kesselman Posternak Blankstein & Lund LLP
Justin is an Associate in Posternak’s Litigation Department and Bankruptcy Group. Justin’s practice is focused on finding practical, efficient, and creative solutions to business problems. He has represented clients in resolving disputes over commercial contracts, fiduciary duties, fraudulent transfers, security interests, taxation, trademark rights, and unfair and deceptive trade practices. A significant portion of his time is devoted to the representation of debtors, creditors, and estate fiduciaries both in bankruptcy court and out-of-court insolvency situations. Justin has experience investigating causes of insolvency, selling distressed assets, negotiating with creditors, administering assignments for the benefit of creditors, and assisting other affected parties in navigating the bankruptcy process.
Justin serves as co-chair of the BBA’s New Bankruptcy Lawyers Committee and has volunteered his time for a number of educational outreach programs, including the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program, Read to a Child, Law Day in the Schools, and Discovering Justice: Stand Up For Your Rights. Prior to joining the firm, he served as a law clerk to the Honorable Robert J. Cordy of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. Justin is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts Amherst and New England School of Law. Prior to attending law school, he managed a large regional restaurant and brewery for several years.
Prince Lobel Tye LLP
Michael A. Kippins is a litigation associate at Prince Lobel Tye LLP, where he represents individuals and businesses in state and federal courts. He is admitted to practice in Massachusetts and New York, and his practice encompasses a wide variety of complex commercial litigation matters, including business torts, contract and employment disputes, and insurance defense.
In addition to being a member of the Boston Bar Association, Michael is a Co-Chair of the Student Support Committee for the Massachusetts Black Lawyers Association and a member of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston Friends Council.
Prior to joining Prince Lobel, Michael served as a judicial clerk to Justice Margot Botsford of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court and Justice R. Malcolm Graham of the Massachusetts Appeals Court. Michael earned his J.D. from Northeastern University School of Law and his B.A. in Economics from Cornell University.
Michael Licker Foley Hoag LLP
Michael is an associate in Foley Hoag’s Litigation Department, where he focuses his practice on white collar crime and government investigations, securities litigation and other complex civil litigation. He has represented clients at trial and argued in both state and federal court and successfully presented oral argument on behalf of a client to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, resulting in the lower court’s decision being overturned. He has also represented companies, and their executives, in government and internal investigations relating to health care, accounting, insider trading and obstruction of justice. His civil litigation practice includes representing clients in state and federal courts in matters involving RICO, the False Claims Act, the Massachusetts Uniform Securities Act, breach of fiduciary claims and other complex litigation matters. Michael also served four months as a Special Assistant District Attorney in Norfolk County.
Prior to joining Foley Hoag, Michael served as a law clerk to the Hon. James E. Duggan of the New Hampshire Supreme Court. During law school, he worked as a law clerk for Sugarman, Rogers, Barshak & Cohen, P.C., the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the Honorable Paul Higginbotham of the Wisconsin Court of Appeals.
Jessica Lisak Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP
Jessica Lisak is a Senior Associate in the Securities Litigation and Enforcement Group at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP. She represents public companies and financial institutions in connection with government investigations and securities litigation in state and federal courts. Jessica maintains an active pro bono practice and has represented clients in a range of matters, including asylum, housing, public benefits, sealing criminal records, and resolving outstanding warrants. She is a member of WilmerHale’s Pro Bono and Community Service Committee and also serves as coordinator of WilmerHale’s Biannual Legal Clinics, which are organized in partnership with the Massachusetts Lawyers Clearinghouse.
Prior to joining WilmerHale, Jessica interned at the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office and the United States Attorney’s Office in Boston. Jessica is a graduate of Boston College, where she received her B.A. in Philosophy and graduated Phi Beta Kappa. She also received her M.S. in the Social Sciences from the University of Chicago, and her J.D. from Boston University, where she graduated cum laude.
City of Boston Law Department
After graduating from Suffolk University Law School in May 2014, Sammy served as a Law Clerk to the Justices of the Massachusetts Superior Court. During his time as a law clerk, Sammy rotated between the Superior Courthouses in Suffolk County, Norfolk County and Bristol County, clerking for several Justices.
In August 2015, Sammy joined the City of Boston’s Law Department as Assistant Corporation Counsel. Sammy provides legal counsel to several cabinet members of the Walsh Administration and their departments, including Environment, Immigrant Advancement, Fair Housing, Women’s Advancement, Inspectional Services Department, Arts & Culture, Tourism, Sports & Entertainment, and the Licensing Board. Sammy also represents the City in environmental, historical preservation, and zoning litigation.
Prior to graduating from Suffolk Law, Sammy interned in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts with Judge Timothy Hillman and in the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit with Judge Juan Torruella. After his second year of law school, Sammy was a Summer Associate with the law firm of Nelson, Mullins, Riley & Scarborough and was a legal interaction intern for the legal startup, Mootus, Inc.
In addition to his practice, Sammy is currently the Clerk for the New England Muslim Bar Association and is an active member of the Boston Bar Association’s New Lawyers Section and Government Lawyers Forum. He has also presented before the Boston Bar Association and Massachusetts Municipal Lawyers Association.
Sammy currently resides in Roxbury with his wife, Fatima, and newborn son, Naji.
Kimberly Parr Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General, Administrative Law Division
Kim is an Assistant Attorney General in the Administrative Law Division of the Office of Attorney General Maura Healey. She primarily represents the Commonwealth, its officers and agencies in cases challenging state laws, regulations, and agency actions. Prior to joining the Attorney General’s Office, Kim was an associate in the litigation department of Mintz Levin, where she worked on commercial and business litigation, and insurance coverage disputes. While at Mintz Levin, Kim also maintained an active pro bono practice and assisted in creating the Commonwealth’s first pro bono program and clinic devoted to appellate issues, which continues to operate at the Appeals Court each week. Shortly after graduating from BU Law, Kim served as a law clerk to the Honorable Robert J. Cordy (ret.) of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. She received both her undergraduate and law degrees from Boston University and currently lives in Natick, Massachusetts.
Carla Reeves Goulston & Storrs PC
Carla Reeves is a litigation associate at Goulston & Storrs PC, where her practice is focused on employment litigation and counseling. Carla represents employers in state and federal court, administrative proceedings, and mediations involving claims of discrimination, retaliation, wrongful termination, wage and hour violations, employee misclassification, tortious interference, and breach of non-competition, non-solicitation, and confidentiality agreements. She also provides counseling to employers of all sizes in a broad range of employment matters.
Carla has devoted substantial time to providing pro bono legal services to individuals and organizations in need. Her pro bono work includes providing employment advice and representation to non-profit organizations, and representing low-income domestic violence survivors in divorce proceedings through the Women’s Bar Foundation’s Family Law Project for Battered Women.
Carla received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Spanish Language and Literature from Union College (NY) and her Juris Doctor from Boston College Law School.
Anne Sheldon is a Staff Attorney at DOVE, Inc. (Domestic Violence Ended) where she represents survivors of domestic violence in family law and restraining order matters. DOVE is a nonprofit that provides comprehensive domestic violence services in Norfolk County. Anne loves providing legal services in a multiservice setting where she know her clients can access the holistic services they need to find peace and safety in their lives. Before law school, Anne worked in public policy at a few nonprofit organizations in both Massachusetts and Maine. As a community organizer for the Maine Women’s Lobby, she worked on issues such as paid sick time, abortion rights and public benefits. She also worked for two years as a public policy assistant at Rosie’s Place, a sanctuary for poor and homeless women in Boston, where she engaged clients and staff on policy issues affecting poor and homeless women at the legislature. Anne attended Northeastern University School of Law and Bates College.
Rachel Smit Fair Work, P.C.
Rachel is an associate at Fair Work, P.C., where she represents plaintiffs in wage & hour class actions and in individual cases of discrimination and retaliation. Prior to joining Fair Work, Rachel worked at Greater Boston Legal Services, where she represented primarily immigrant employees and provided legal support to community-based organizations and coalitions advocating for immigrant worker rights. Rachel’s work at GBLS was funded by the Skadden Fellowship Program (sometimes referred to as the “Legal Peace Corps”).
Rachel is a graduate of Boston University School of Law, where she was awarded the Warren S. Gilford Humanity and Law Prize for her commitment to public service. Prior to law school, Rachel worked on state health policy and in local government. She holds a Master in Public Affairs from Princeton University, where she concentrated in economics and public policy, and a Bachelors of Arts in Sociology/Anthropology from Carleton College.
Having grown up in the heartland, Rachel is happy to discuss “What’s the Matter with Kansas” with just about anyone.
Nicholas Stabile Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP
Nick is an associate in Nutter’s Private Client Department. Clients rely on Nick for counsel on a wide range of estate planning matters, including straightforward estate planning for young individuals and families to sophisticated plans focusing on minimizing estate and gift taxes. Fiduciaries and family members frequently engage Nick to represent them in probate courts across Massachusetts, administer estates and trusts, and appoint guardians and conservators for minors, incapacitated persons, and persons with disabilities. As a member of Nutter’s Diversity Action Committee, Nick leads the firm’s efforts to create a more inclusive and dynamic community and workplace. Nick serves as chair of the Leadership Council of Playworks New England, an organization harnessing the impact of play and physical activity to improve learning, decrease conflicts, and help young students develop leadership skills. Nick is a graduate of Bucknell University and Boston College Law School, where he was an executive editor of The Uniform Commercial Code Reporter-Digest, provided community legal services with the Legal Assistance Bureau, and received the John D. O’Reilly, Jr. Award for contribution to the law school community through service to its students.
Alexis P. Theriault Conn Kavanaugh Rosenthal Peisch & Ford, LLP
Alexis is a litigation associate at Conn Kavanaugh Rosenthal Peisch & Ford, LLP, where she has a diverse civil and commercial litigation practice. She concentrates her practice in the areas of complex business litigation, professional liability, and employment law. Alexis also frequently represents and advises insurance companies in cases involving bad faith claims, high-exposure losses, and losses that present unusual or challenging coverage issues. In her pro bono work, Alexis successfully represented the mother of two minor children in a hotly contested custody dispute through the Women’s Bar Foundation’s Family Law Project. She also volunteers her time judging Boston-area high school students competing in the Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project’s Moot Court Competition and helping to coach Suffolk University Law School’s National Moot Court Team.
Alexis is very active within the Boston legal community, serving as the liaison from the Boston Bar Association’s New Lawyers Section to the Business and Commercial Litigation Section and as a member of the steering committee for the Massachusetts Defense Lawyers Association’s Young Lawyers Division. In her capacity as a Junior Fellow of the Boston Bar Foundation’s Society of Fellows, she has served on several steering committees for BBF events and co-chaired the 2017 Casino Night event. Alexis is a graduate of Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts and Suffolk University Law School, where she graduated summa cum laude and was an editor of the Suffolk University Law Review.
Jessica Wall Anderson & Kreiger LLP
Jessica Wall is an associate at Anderson & Kreiger LLP, where she advises clients on environmental, litigation, airport, and municipal issues. She has represented public and private sector clients in matters involving permitting, regulatory compliance, land use, and other complex commercial and regulatory issues. Jessica also maintains an active pro bono practice. She is the former liaison between the BBA’s Environmental Law and New Lawyers Committees, and has been recognized as a Massachusetts Super Lawyers Rising Star for multiple years.
Jessica received her B.A. in History from Brown University and her J.D. from Boston University School of Law. At BU Law, Jessica was an Executive Editor for the Public Interest Law Journal. She also served as a law clerk for the U.S. Department of Justice’s Environmental Enforcement Section, and interned for judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit and U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts.
John Weaver McLane Middleton Professional Association
John Frank Weaver is an attorney with McLane Middleton Professional Association, based in Woburn and Boston, Massachusetts. He has a diverse practice that focuses on real estate, telecommunications, and emerging technologies, including artificial intelligence, self-driving vehicles, and drones. In his real estate practice, John assists clients to navigate land use permitting, draft leases, sell and acquire real estate, obtain financing, and negotiate title insurance policies. John has devoted substantial time to pro bono clients who need assistance with real estate matters, including fighting foreclosures, negotiating disputes with landlords, and securing affordable housing. In the telecommunications field, John has extensive experience working with carriers and tower companies to permit and lease wireless facilities, while also advising on relevant local, state, and federal regulations. As an emerging technologies lawyer, John has advised a wide range of companies – from startups to international corporations – on regulatory and legal issues unique to those technologies, including data privacy concerns, regulations governing drones, internet of things infrastructure deployment, and state legislation affecting self-driving cars.
John is the author of Robots Are People Too, released by Praeger Publishing, which explores legal issues implicated by autonomous technology and artificial intelligence, and a contributing writer at Slate magazine, where his articles focus on similar issues. John is also a sought after speaker on topics related to law and emerging technologies, and has been interviewed by The Atlantic, the Washington Post, and the Boston Business Journal, among other media outlets.
Mark Zglobicki Massachusetts Office of the Inspector General
Mark is an Associate General Counsel for the Massachusetts Office of the Inspector General. As a member of the Legal Division, he assists with matters related to employment, ethics, and internal policies and procedures. He also assists with investigations into fraud, waste and abuse in the expenditure of public funds. Prior to joining the Inspector General’s Office, Mark served as a volunteer attorney for the Court Service Center within the Boston Municipal Court. Mark is a graduate of Binghamton University and Suffolk University Law School.
Over the past three weeks, over 50 Boston Public School students have been working at law firms, courts, government agencies, and legal services organizations across the city as a part of the BBA Summer Jobs Program. Monday, July 10th kicked off the official start of the Boston Mayor’s Summer Jobs Program, which is a partnership with Boston Public Schools, the Boston Private Industry Council, and dozens of organizations throughout the city. At the BBA, our students started their morning on the 10th hearing advice and encouragement before they travelled with their supervisors for the summer back to their respective offices. Keynote speaker Natashia Tidwell (Collora LLP) spoke about her experience growing up in the area and joining the Cambridge Police Department after high school. Tidwell was the first officer assigned to work within Cambridge Rindge & Latin School and she built unity between students, their community, and the police department. While working at the Cambridge Police Department, Tidwell worked through undergrad and then law school taking evening classes while rising to the rank of lieutenant. After graduating law school, she worked at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, as a professor at New England Law, and she helped provide input on policies for police departments around the country prior to joining Collora.
Tidwell used her experiences to show the students that there’s no one path to any goal. While some in the room may graduate high school and immediately enter college and then law school, others may not attend college right away or end up in the career they expect. She also reminded students to not measure themselves against others noting to not “compare someone else’s outside to your inside” because everyone has their own struggles. While the students are working this summer, Tidwell encouraged them to make the most of the experience and learn from those around them.
Throughout the summer, the students also participate in weekly Enrichment Seminars through the BBA, which are designed to enhance the students’ understanding of working in the legal field. First, the students all received a Law 101 crash course. Attorneys Carla Reeves and Priya Amar (Goulston & Storrs) walked the students through the requirements for becoming an attorney, including completing undergrad and law school and the all-important bar exam. Students also learned the difference between federal and state courts and criminal and civil cases. By learning the basics and some simple vocabulary, the students are more prepared to converse within their offices and understand how their work compares to what they’ve seen on TV.
For many of the students in the program, this is their first paid job and with that comes their first paycheck. In the second week of the program, students met with Chris Condon (Murphy & King) for a financial literacy overview. The topics of the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program were condensed for the students with particular emphasis on budgeting and banking. Students asked many questions about bank fees and the importance of a good credit score. Later in the summer, the students will visit the U.S. Bankruptcy Court to learn about the consequences of poor budgeting and filing for bankruptcy.
Most recently, the students visited the John Adams Courthouse for a tour of the exhibits and courtrooms. Two of the courthouse’s permanent exhibits introduced the students to Boston’s rich legal history: the Sacco and Vanzetti trial and John Adams, whose regular meetings with attorneys in Boston are the origin of the BBA. Students also visited two courtrooms where they learned the literal meaning of “passing the bar” and were able to experience sitting on the bench in the Supreme Judicial Court’s main courtroom. Through exposure to the courtroom and hearing about the history of the building and the judicial system, the students create a fuller picture of the legal system in Massachusetts.
With four weeks left in the program, the students are nearly halfway through their internship. Coming up, they’ll be learning about student loans and meeting attorneys across many fields of law. We’re also grateful for the organizations that have hired students this summer and are providing the students with essential workplace skills and experiences.
For immigrant families living in a time of increased enforcement, deportation can be a pervasive fear. While planning for an unanticipated emergency is challenging, there are tools that immigrant families can use to protect their children from an uncertain outcome if a parent or guardian were to be detained or deported.
This week at the BBA, Nancy J. Kelly (GBLS), Emily Leung (Massachusetts Law Reform Institute), William C. Newman (ACLU) and Jamie Sabino (Massachusetts Law Reform Institute) came to speak to attorneys about helping their clients prepare.
The first step, they said, is for families to have conversations that include their children about what would happen in the event of an immigration-related emergency. It helps to get families and alternative caregivers on the same page about a childcare plan in advance, either informally or through a written legal agreement. They also advised families to prepare important documents ahead of time and keep them in a safe location known to all members of the family.
“Know Your Rights” trainings are also a good resource for families, they said. The attorneys also provided a list of free legal services providers that might be able to help families in a dire situation.
When a respected colleague at my in-house legal department told me he was unaware there was a professional conduct rule that said lawyers should either do pro bono work or donate to a legal services organization, I thought, “This rule needs a press agent!”
Massachusetts Professional Conduct Rule 6.1 doesn’t really ask a lot of lawyers – it says we must either do 25 hours per year of volunteer work for people who cannot afford a lawyer, or contribute from $250 to 1% of your professional income to organizations that provide free legal services to people of limited means.
Maybe my colleague wasn’t aware of Rule 6.1 because he has been a lawyer a long time, and so hasn’t been through Massachusetts’ new lawyer orientation that emphasizes this professional obligation. Maybe he’s not aware of the annual Adams Pro Bono Publico Awards for outstanding pro bono effort or the Pro Bono Honor Roll that is maintained by the SJC Standing Committee on Pro Bono to recognize lawyers and law students who help the poor. Maybe some of us who work in-house don’t see as many opportunities to do pro bono work as lawyers who work at large firms.
The BBA In-House Forum is determined to change that! Next Wednesday, June 7, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the BBA is a panel discussion and then a reception titled “Pro Bono for the In-House Lawyer.” The panel will feature representatives of four pro bono organizations who will describe the many ways in-house lawyers can get involved in pro bono work. Each organization has invited an in-house lawyer who has volunteered, and can attest that it is possible to find meaningful and manageable opportunities, get the training and mentoring you need, still keep your day job, and make a difference to someone who would not otherwise get legal help.
Following the panel will be a reception where other organizations will be available for in-house lawyers to meet and make connections for future pro bono work. Still think you’re too busy to fit in volunteering but want to fulfill your professional obligation under Rule 6.1? That’s okay – because there is a Plan B under Rule 6.1 — donating to legal services organizations. We’ll have a handout that tells you how. Hope to see you Wednesday night.
With Memorial Day weekend approaching, Massachusetts Secretary of Veterans’ Services Francisco Ureña stopped by the BBA to give remarks during a reception for veterans in the legal profession and their families.
The reception followed a pro bono training on discharge status upgrades for veterans, and Secretary Ureña thanked the attorneys present for their dedication to aiding those who have served.
“Massachusetts may be number one in the country for veterans’ services, but we are only as good as the people who are willing help,” he said.
The training was the third in a series of educational programs for attorneys who have experience helping clients navigate a discharge upgrade case. Attorneys from the Veterans Legal Clinic at the Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School and the Veteran Advocacy Project of the Urban Justice Center shared their expertise.
The BBA is thankful for the opportunity to hear from Secretary Ureña. If you are interested in learning more about assisting veterans, check out the Veterans Legal Clinic website and look out for more programs at the BBA in the fall. Additionally, if you or someone you know is looking to be connected with fellow law student/attorney service members, please email Cassandra Shavney at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tony said it was “soul-crushing” for him when he found out he didn’t pass the bar exam for the first time. Until he enrolled in the BBA’s Bar Coaching program, he felt like the only person he knew who was stuck with having to do it over, he said.
“It’s devastating. You watch your colleagues that you graduated law school with, and the majority of them passed. While you don’t want to take away from what they accomplished, you’re jealous that it wasn’t you,” he said. “But when I entered the room (at the BBA) there were a lot of other people that were in the same boat.”
Tony said he was struggling to balance working full time and studying for the bar exam. His coach, attorney Mike McDermott (Dain Torpy), was able to relate and provide tips from his own experience.
“(Mike) was a positive guy. If I ever had questions, if he didn’t have an answer, he would put me in contact with someone that would know,” Tony said. “It doesn’t sound like much, but if it takes you 30 minutes to find a contact to talk to about something, that’s 30 minutes that you’re not studying. From that standpoint, it’s invaluable.”
Tony went on to pass the bar exam in February, and he believes so strongly in the bar coaching program that he decided to “pay it forward” and coach a test-taker as they study for their upcoming exam in July.
Many of the men and women who served in the U.S. armed forces are cut off from veterans’ services and benefits because they were given a less-than-honorable discharge. They may have served in combat or have suffered physical or mental wounds, but are nevertheless unable to access much-needed treatment and support from federal and state veterans agencies because of their discharge status. In many cases, the origin of their need for support—for example, service-related post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injury—also contributed to the conduct that led to their less-than-honorable discharges.
This program builds on the June 2015 introductory training and May 2016 advanced training on representing veterans in discharge upgrade petitions. The focus will be on how to build a strong evidentiary record to support a discharge upgrade application.
Attorneys who did not attend the June 2015 or May 2016 trainings are welcome to attend this advanced training. They are encouraged to watch the introductory training beforehand, which is available online. Please email Cassandra Shavney at email@example.com for access to those trainings.
After this seminar, attendees will know about new laws and policies affecting discharge upgrade practice and will better understand how to creatively and effectively gather and develop evidence in order to build a persuasive case to the military discharge review boards.
Attorneys who participate in the training will be eligible to join the Veterans Justice Pro Bono Partnership (VJPBP), established in 2015 by the Veterans Legal Clinic at the Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School. Through the VJPBP, the Veterans Legal Clinic screens and refers veterans seeking discharge upgrades to private attorneys and then provides ongoing support and expert resources to those attorneys throughout the case. The generosity and efforts of VJPBP attorneys help to address the enormous gap in the provision of legal services to veterans and will provide much-needed advocacy to those who served the nation in uniform.
Law students are welcome but are not eligible to take pro bono referrals from the Veterans Justice Pro Bono Partnership.
To register for this training, please log in and RSVP here.
After the training, the BBA will be hosting a Military & Veterans Networking Reception with guest speaker Secretary Francisco Ureña of the Massachusetts Department of Veterans’ Services. All are welcome to attend and should RSVP here.
DLA Piper is no stranger to pro bono work. The firm’s Pro Bono Committee regularly takes on pro bono clients who need assistance in a wide variety of areas, from immigration matters and veterans affairs to litigation. But with approximately half of its Boston-based attorneys specializing in real estate, members of the firm’s pro bono committee, including Brian Hochleutner, saw potential for more.
“As a transactional lawyer, it can be hard to find interesting pro bono work within your specialty,” said Hochleutner, a partner in DLA Piper’s real estate group. “As lawyers become more senior and more specialized; many would like to do pro bono work that’s in their subject matter.”
Hochleutner had handled pro bono real estate work, including leasing, for a variety of non-profit groups like the Girl Scouts, work that led to a big “thank you” in the form of a giant case of his cookie of choice, Thin Mints. But connecting pro bono clients who need a real estate lawyer, and real estate lawyers in search of good pro bono work, can be a challenge. Some of this is because nonprofits do not always think to find a lawyer to help with their leasing work.
DLA Piper found the seed of an idea for addressing this issue when the firm participated in the City of Boston’s Main Street program, where firm attorneys volunteered to offer legal advice to the small businesses and entrepreneurs in attendance.
“Several of DLA Piper’s Boston real estate attorneys — Jarrod Matteson and Chris Price – put together a presentation on the basics of commercial leasing, knowing that their audience was made up of people who are trying to get a business started and don’t always have the money to spend on a lawyer,” explained Hochleutner. “And that got us thinking from a pro bono standpoint about how we could leverage that idea, and whether there were other groups who might benefit.”
Hochleutner and his DLA Piper pro bono committee colleagues Rich Gruenberger, Geoff Howell, and Emma Yashar connected with Machiko Sano Hewitt, Legal Referral Director for The Lawyers Clearinghouse, which is a Boston Bar Foundation grantee organization that works to connect lawyers with substantive pro bono opportunities. Working together, they put together a one day clinic where non-profit organizations with concerns or questions about their leases could come to DLA Piper’s office and consult with an attorney for free.
“Boston is home to a lot of non-profits doing great work, and very nearly all of them have a lease,” said Hochleutner. “However, many don’t hire an attorney to review it, either because of budget concerns or they may have the idea that it’s not that difficult a process.”
But in Hochleutner’s experience, there are things a lawyer can spot before the lease is signed that can save time, money, and aggravation later. For example, a landlord may include overbroad language with expansive tenant indemnity obligations or that allows the owner to pass on costs of potential future building renovations to the tenants over and above the rent, each of which could result in unanticipated costs that can wreak havoc on a small non-profit’s budget.
“When you’re running a non-profit, you need predictability in budget. A lot of time, it’s just a matter of having a conversation and walking them through the issues you’ve flagged and working out a plan for negotiation. But if you don’t know what items you can and should push back on, you’re not in a good place to negotiate.”
The February clinic was so well attended – by both attorneys and pro bono clients – that DLA Piper is planning to hold a second one in June, with the goal of having regular quarterly clinics to follow. And in addition to offering legal advice and representation on lease negotiation, DLA Piper hopes to leverage its relationships with commercial real estate brokers where appropriate cases, to help non-profits that need assistance from a broker obtain help on a pro bono basis.
“We’ve had non-profits reach out to us and ask if they can get advice on finding a new office or advising on the fairness of the proposed rent,” he explained. “In those cases we have sought to connect the client with a broker who can help them pro bono to get the right space or understand the market better, while we help get them with the provisions in the lease.”
And who knows? Perhaps there’s a lease renewal in the Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts’ future.