Posts Categorized: Uncategorized

Thinking of Going Pro (Bono)? The BBA Can Help

Agapi Koulouris (Department of Criminal Justice Information Services) and Pauline Quirion (Greater Boston Legal Services) led a training to prepare attorneys to volunteer with GBLS's CORI Program.

Agapi Koulouris (Department of Criminal Justice Information Services) and Pauline Quirion (Greater Boston Legal Services) led a training to prepare attorneys to volunteer with GBLS’s CORI Program.

So far this year, the BBA has teamed up with our legal service partners to prepare over 200 attorneys to take pro bono cases. The last two weeks serve as a perfect example of the ongoing pro bono educational opportunities at 16 Beacon Street. Last week, the BBA partnered with Greater Boston Legal Services (GBLS) for the annual CORI Training; and this week, the BBA is working with the Volunteer Lawyers Project (VLP) to hold a training aimed at recruiting more volunteers for Family Law Clinic Program at the Court Service Center.

However, it’s not too late to get involved in pro bono work! Here’s a sampling of the upcoming pro bono trainings offered at the BBA this winter and spring (and keep an eye on the calendar for new additions):

Representing Low-Income Taxpayers When the IRS and/or DOR Audits Their Return: Part Three
Thursday, March 3, 2016 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM

Pro Bono Training: Immigration Basics — What You Need to Know to Assist Low-Income Immigrants Complete Their Applications
Tuesday, March 22, 2016 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM

Representing Veterans in Discharge Upgrades: Advanced Training
Wednesday, May 18, 2016 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM

Pro Bono Training: Trying a Case in Housing Court
Tuesday, June 14, 2016 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM

2015 Citizenship Day Recap


Beyond the Billable was excited to see so many of its newly trained attorneys take part in the second annual Citizenship Day.

On September 21st, more than 30 BBA attorneys came to 16 Beacon to learn how to file an application for American citizenship – as well as an application fee waiver – on behalf of a client. Just five days later, they took that information with them and joined more than 200 other volunteers at the Timilty Middle School in Roxbury to assist those applying for naturalized American Citizenship.

One of the biggest challenges for those wishing to apply for American citizenship is the cost. There is a $680 processing fee for the applications, in addition to the cost of legal assistance for filing the paperwork. Applicants who had been pre-screened by Project Citizenship were able to come to the event free of charge and have their applications filled out by attorneys. With nearly 250 applicants from 29 different countries, their work was both greatly needed and greatly appreciated!

Several members of the BBA volunteered at the event, so watch for the stories of their experiences at Citizenship Day in next week’s addition of BBA week.

Law Students Attaining Student Practitioner Status: Supreme Judicial Court Rule 3:03


Are you a law student looking to volunteer or gain clinical experience? If so, you should know about the Supreme Judicial Court Rule 3:03. SJC Rule 3:03 grants law students the ability to appear in civil and criminal proceedings on behalf of the Commonwealth or parties in need, under direct supervision of an Attorney who is admitted to the Bar of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  Rule 3:03 Certified Students interested in assisting low income landlords and tenants can participate

Rule 3:03 eligible students can take part in a number of pro bono opportunities and projects with the BBA and its community partners.  The BBA has a long standing Housing Court Lawyer of the Day Program where volunteers provide assistance to low-income pro-se litigants. The BBA is also teaming up with the Volunteer Lawyers Project and Senior Partners for Justice to train attorneys to provide pro bono assistance to debtors and creditors in court.  Both projects will host trainings at the BBA this Fall – why not check out the trainings to learn more:

Thursday, October 8, 2015 from 4:00-6:00 pm: Lawyer for the Day Training: Fair Debt Collection

Tuesday, November 17, 2015 from 3:00-6:30 pm: Pro Bono Training: Landlord Tenant Law and Practice

In preparation for these trainings, Beyond the Billable asked, “How do law students obtain Rule 3:03 certification?”

Ultimately, the applicable law school Dean must complete and provide a student practitioner form. In the form, the Dean attests to the student’s credibility, character, and legal ability. The form also verifies that the student has completed, or is enrolled in a course in evidence or trial practice. To learn more about SJC Rule 3:03 click here.

Law students who are in their second to last year are eligible to appear in civil proceedings, while those in their last year who are seeking certification at least three months prior to graduation, are eligible to appear in both civil and criminal matters. Many students need this requirement in order to participate in law school clinical placements or for self-identified internships with government agencies and legal services organizations.

If you are a law student interested in getting certified, here’s where you need to go at your law school:

Boston College Law School: Contact the Dean for Students Office

Boston University School of Law: Contact the Student Affairs Office

New England Law | Boston: Please contact Jacqui Pilgrim in the Office of Student Services to acquire the proper forms.

Northeastern University School of Law: Please contact The Center for Co-op and Professional Advancement

Suffolk University Law School: Contact a staff member in the clinics & internship department.

If you are a recent law school graduate who was 3:03 certified at least three months before graduation, your certification remains in effect until the first bar exam following graduation.  If a student took that examination, the certification remains in effect until the announcement of the examination results.  For any student who passes that examination, the approval to appear under Rule 3:03 continues for six months after the date of examination or until the date of admission to the bar, whichever is sooner, unless your certification was withdrawn (which often happens following a legal clinic placement) or otherwise ordered by the Supreme Judicial Court.

For more information about SJC Rule 3:03 and how it applies to student practitioners, visit the Trial Court’s FAQ page here.

And remember – if you are looking for an opportunity to volunteer beyond your school’s clinics, 3:03 eligible students are invited to come to one of these trainings to learn how to assist litigants and to provide service:

Thursday, October 8, 2015 from 4:00-6:00 pm: Lawyer for the Day Training: Fair Debt Collection

Tuesday, November 17, 2015 from 3:00-6:30 pm: Pro Bono Training: Landlord Tenant Law and Practice

Re-entry Education Committee Prepares to Kick-off 2015-2016 Program Year

With honors at our next Adams Benefit going to Roca, and the state legislature discussing options for sentencing reform, reducing recidivism and mass incarceration has been top of mind at the BBA.

The BBA Reentry Education Program Committee wrapped another successful year teaching probationers about civil legal issues, and with the help of PILP11, it expanded to include the CHOICE program at Boston Municipal Court, Roxbury Division. Between the two programs, the program served over 100 probationers and presented 12 civil legal education workshops.


In March, Judge Leo Sorokin and Volunteer Adrienne Walker (Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo P.C.) spoke with participants about financial literacy through the BBA Reentry Education Program.

With continuing co-chair Julia Devanthery (Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School) and new co-chair Sarah Schendel, the committee hopes to continue the great work in both federal and state court.

“This year the Re-Entry Education Committee will be working with the District Court of Massachusetts to refine our know-your-rights workshop offerings, and to make sure that our volunteers are reaching as many probationers as possible,” said Julia Devanthéry. “To that end, we’re looking into moving some of our more popular sessions from the court to community-based locations that are more easily accessible to probationers. We hope that this simple change may allow our volunteers to empower more probationers, and support their successful reentry into the community.”

“Since first working with incarcerated individuals and their families over 10 years ago, I’ve seen the challenges that await those released from prison,” added Sarah Schendel. “However, when we help our incarcerated friends, family members, and neighbors access the support, information, and opportunities they need, they are empowered and able to thrive. I’m excited to continue working with the BBA’s Reentry Committee to support individuals involved in both the state and federal courts, and honored to serve as co-chair.”

A Co-Op Student’s Perspective: Working in the BBA Lawyer Referral Service

Guest Post:  Jacqueline Lopes is working at the Boston Bar Association as a Co-Op Student. She is a rising senior at Northeastern University.

I am a Northeastern Student pursuing a Double Major in Political Science and Business Administration, and I am working at the Boston Bar Association in the Lawyer Referral Service for my 6 month Co-Op placement.

One of my main duties is fielding calls from individuals looking for legal assistance.  At first it was hard to assist the people that were calling for legal help, since I did not know all the legal terms for all of the practice areas.  Being on the phone and assisting someone that really relies on your help and direction was harder than I thought. I quickly realized that I always need to make sure that I am using the right words, tone of voice, and asking the right questions to find out how to best assist the caller. In the first month that I was here, I had trainings almost every week with different attorneys specializing in different practices. They would tell us about their practice and also give us great advice for screening calls, and our career plans. Not only the trainings made me feel more comfortable speaking on the phone, but it was amazing meeting the attorneys that came to talk with us. The BBA has a great structure to help new interns feel comfortable when assisting clients

After the trainings, I felt more confident helping the clients that were calling us for assistance. Now that I know how to direct the clients to the correct place, I really feel that the LRS program does make a difference in the lives of many people. Some clients call us and have no idea where to start, and being able to give them some kind of guidance by sending them to an attorney or to a legal service that might be able to help them is an amazing feeling. I am really excited to see what I will learn and who I will help in the next couple of months.

My dream always has been to go to law school one day, and being at the BBA is a great opportunity for me to better understand how the legal world works in real life. Meeting attorneys, going on field trips to courts, and seeing how the BBA runs as a business is definitely going to help me develop as a person and as a professional. I know that interning here for six months will have a great impact on the next step I take towards my career.

Jacqueline Lopes is a rising senior at Northeastern University.  She has joined the BBA Lawyer Referral Service as part of her 6 month cooperative education program through Northeastern.

A Student’s Perspective: Visiting the Supreme Judicial Court

The BBA Summer Jobs students met with Associate Justice Sydney Hanlon (Massachusetts Trial Court) to hear about her career and the process to become a judge.

The BBA Summer Jobs students met with Associate Justice Sydney Hanlon (Massachusetts Appeals Court) to hear about her career and the process to become a judge.

Guest Post: Elijah Oyenuga is one of the Summer Jobs Student working at the Boston Bar Association. He recently graduated from Another Course to College in Brighton and will be attending Lesley University next year.

The courts in Greater Boston always have a rich history behind them, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, or rather the John Adams Courthouse, is no different. Upon our visit to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, we were given a tour by the law clerks who graciously took the time out of their day to do so. First, we explored the court room occupied by the Supreme Judicial Court. It was by far the most beautiful and intimidating of the state courts. Next, we viewed two rooms, one dedicated to the life of our second president John Adams and another to the Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti case.

One of the cases showcased in the John Adams room, was the case of Quock Walker vs. Jennison, a case that helped abolish slavery in Massachusetts. It was case about an American slave who sued for his freedom in June 1781 and ended with Chief Justice William Cushing declaring all men to be born free and equal according to the Massachusetts Constitution of 1780. In contrast, we then have the case of Sacco and Vanzetti, two anarchists who were wrongfully convicted and executed for armed robbery and murder. One is a prime example of when the law and those who swear to uphold it work in a just fashion; the other is a blatant crime, an abuse of power and prejudice. This was my second time embarking on this tour and it was still very insightful in terms of this working dichotomy that is always present in our society.

The BBA Summer Jobs students toured the courtrooms and historical galleries at the Supreme Judicial Court on Wednesday.

The BBA Summer Jobs students toured the courtrooms and historical galleries at the Supreme Judicial Court on Wednesday.

Last, we met with Associate Justice Sydney Hanlon of the Appeals Court. Associate Justice Hanlon is remarkable and charismatic woman with a whimsical personality. She told us about the amazing story of her life, from how she started out in her career to how she came to fall in love with Boston. It was interesting to learn her vast amount of occupations prior to becoming an Associate Justice. She headed the sexual assault unit, became an assistant United States attorney in Boston, worked in the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, become an assistant attorney general, and formed a drug crime unit. Her life and experience is truly something for the textbooks. It is always motivating to meet such an amazing person because it lets the youth like us know that anything is possible.

The Boston Bar Association has put me into contact with lovely lawyers and judges that are just as amazing as Associate Justice Hanlon and that is a wonderful thing. My time at the BBA is coming to an end and I just want to thank everyone at the BBA, the lawyers and judges that came to speak with us. And most of all, I want to thank Katie D’Angelo for giving me this opportunity and being an amazing supervisor. This was by far the most enjoyable and educational summer I have ever had and it’s all thanks to you.