Posts Categorized: Volunteering

Good Luck to July 2019 Bar Applicants

The BBA wishes the best of luck to all applicants sitting for the July 2019 Bar Exam! The Exam will take place on July 30th and July 31st in Boston and Springfield.

Volunteers with the BBA’s Bar Exam Coaching Program, which matches applicants sitting for the bar exam with attorney coaches, are currently supporting 13 bar applicants as they study. Coaches provide study tips, time and stress management assistance, and moral support as the applicants prepare for the exam.

Good luck!

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!

CORI Sealing Clinic

The BBA’s CORI Sealing Clinic, which launched in January 2019, will have its fifth clinic date next Wednesday, June 5, at the Edward W. Brooke Courthouse. This project, which engages volunteer attorneys in helping low-income clients seal their criminal records through the courts, has assisted close to 40 people over the past four months. We are excited to have volunteers from BBA Sponsor Firm Pepper Hamilton staff the clinic next week!

Such assistance is critical, as prior criminal records can create barriers to obtaining housing, employment, and educational opportunities. Massachusetts law permits people with a criminal record to have their records “sealed” from public view after a waiting period by meeting certain legal requirements. The CORI Sealing Clinic helps those who may not be able to undertake this process without the assistance of an attorney, but cannot afford to pay for counsel.

To learn more about the program, click here. If you are interested in volunteering with the clinic, please email Hannah Poor at [email protected]

Taking the Massachusetts Bar Exam in July 2019? Sign up for Bar Exam Coaching!

The BBA invites those taking the Massachusetts Bar Exam in July 2019 to sign up for our Bar Exam Coaching program. We know you’ve got the academic part of your bar prep under control, but let us help with the mental, emotional, and practical preparation. We are ready to connect you with attorney-coaches from diverse personal and professional backgrounds to offer guidance on time management, effective study techniques, and stress management. Our program is designed for those who are retaking the Uniform Bar Examination (UBE) in Massachusetts, but first-time takers can also be matched to a coach, based on availability.

To sign-up for the program, please fill out this online information form.

The program has successfully helped more than 200 applicants to pass the exam. Earlier this year, we interviewed Kate Cook of Sugarman Rogers on the success of her coaching partner, a repeat bar applicant who passed the July exam. You can read that story here.

Attorneys Assisting Veterans Pro Bono Hear from Military Review Boards

The Boston Bar Association is proud to have hosted a training on representing veterans pro bono in military discharge upgrade cases this April. The training, sponsored by the Active Duty Military & Veterans Forum, offered volunteers and those working with veterans seeking discharge upgrades with the opportunity to meet and hear from the leaders of the military review boards. Joseph Masterson (Army Review Boards Agency), Elizabeth Hill (Board for Correction of Naval Records), Sean Schrock (Board for Correction of Naval Records), and Nicole Jackson (Air Force Board for Correction of Military Records), reviewed how their boards operate and how pro bono attorneys can best advocate for their veteran clients.

This presentation was the fifth annual pro bono training put on by the Veterans Legal Clinic at the Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School, as part of its Veterans Justice Pro Bono Partnership. Dana Montalto (Veterans Legal Clinic) provided the training’s attendees with an overview of discharge upgrades and the Partnership, which connects local veterans seeking discharge upgrades with pro bono attorneys who want to give back to those who served in uniform. The Legal Services Center provides ongoing case support throughout the representation. Over the past five years, the Partnership has allowed more than 60 local veterans unjustly discharged from the military obtain pro bono assistance.

This pro bono assistance is critical because 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, experienced military sexual trauma, 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.

If you’d like access to the training’s materials, please email Francine Alexandre at [email protected]. If you would like to get involved with the Veterans Justice Pro Bono Partnership, please email Dana Montalto at [email protected].

Law Day in the Schools Starts Next Week!

Over the next month, volunteer attorneys and law students will visit Boston Public School classrooms to celebrate Law Day. This annual celebration highlights the foundations of law and justice in the United States and reminds the public and legal professionals how the law interacts with everyday life. This year, the Boston Bar Association is joining the American Bar Association in teaching youth about free speech. Our Law Day in the Schools volunteers will guide students through a lesson demonstrating the importance of free speech rights in creating an equitable society.

We’re very thankful to the below BBA Sponsor Organizations that have pledged volunteers and Adopted-a-Classroom this spring.

Arrowood LLP
Barclay Damon
Beck Reed Riden LLP
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts
Boston Planning & Development Agency
Burns & Levinson
Casner & Edwards
Committee for Public Counsel Services
Conn Kavanaugh
Fitch Law Partners LLP
Krokidas & Bluestein
Laredo & Smith, LLP
Locke Lord LLP
Mintz
Office of the Corporation Counsel of the City of Boston
Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General
Peabody & Arnold
Prince Lobel
Ropes & Gray
Schmidt & Federico, P.C.
Sherin and Lodgen
Sullivan & Worcester

There are still a few spots available for BBA Members to volunteer next month. View the open spots and sign-up here.

Payal Salsburg and Jessica Conklin (Laredo & Smith, LLP) answer student questions at Samuel Adams Elementary in East Boston last year.

VLP Announces January – March Lawyer for the Day in the Housing Court Honor Roll

The Volunteer Lawyers Project of the Boston Bar Association* thanks the following attorneys who accepted cases or provided consultation in January, February, and March through Lawyer for the Day at the Eastern Housing Court:

Dustin Baker
Rachel Bier
James Bor-Zale
Kathleen Conley
Kenneth Corson
Seth Davis
Meghan Fay
Matt Feuerman
Alyssa Fixsen
Tess Foley
Soren Gabrielsen
Andres Garron
Steven Garza
Mindy Green
Cecilie Gromada
Shayla Harlev
Anna Hunanyan
Kathryn Johnson
Sharon V. Jones
Kim Karon
Monica Kwok
Madeleine Laupheimer
Chelsea Lawson
Gregory Malloy
Louis Mattei
Colin McKee
Kyle Merrigan
Marc Migliazzo
Madelyn Morris
Ravenna Neville
Vanessa A. O’Connor
Amy Pearlman
Gary Prado
Julia Prochazka
Stephen Provazza
Jacob Rauer
Joel M. Reck
Evan Tallmadge
Brenna Toomey
Marty Topol
Natasha Vedananda
Susan Wang
Emily Willey

*The Volunteer Lawyers Project of the Boston Bar Association is a 2018 Boston Bar Foundation grant recipient.


If you’re interested in becoming involved with the Lawyer for the Day Program, attend an upcoming training at the Boston Bar Association. Attorneys from Volunteer Lawyers Project will guide attendees through trying a case in housing court on Wednesday, April 17th from 2:30 – 5:00 PM. Read more information about the event and register to attend here.

Thank You to our Bar Exam Coaching Program Volunteers!

Ahead of the February 2019 Uniform Bar Exam in Massachusetts, 45 attorneys provided coaching and guidance to individuals taking the bar exam. The BBA’s Bar Exam Coaching Program matches coaches with bar applicants to act as a cheerleader throughout the process. Coaches keep applicants on track with a study schedule and provide tips for managing stress and time.

This program targets working with applicants who are retaking the exam in Massachusetts, and of this winter’s participants, 38 were retaking the exam in February. Through this program, we hope to provide support and community during what can feel like an isolating experience. Thank you to all of the coaches who provided support this winter:

Ana Alvarado, Northeastern University School of Law
Brittany Besler
Elizabeth Broderick, Committee for Public Counsel Services
Laura Brown, Law Office of Laura Anastasia Brown
Elmira Cancan Zenger, WGBH
James Coffey, Polsinelli
Joshua Cohn, Holland & Knight LLP
Susan Corcoran, De Novo
Emma Days, Ropes & Gray LLP
Janelle Dempsey, Moriarty Troyer & Malloy LLC
Jessica DiBacco
Christopher Dodge, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP
Anthony Faillaci, Burns & Levinson LLP
Tess Foley, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP
Robert Friedman, Burns & Levinson LLP
Nicole Gallerano, Nixon Peabody LLP
Alexandra Gill, Gill Law
Eric Haskell, Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General
Naitasia Hensey, State Street Corporation
Stephanie Holding, Boston University School of Law
D. Paul Koch, Jr., Finard Properties LLC
Szeman Lam, Proskauer Rose LLP
Kristy Lavigne, Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General
Katie Leung
Brendan Lowd, Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.
Jessica Lu, Brown Rudnick LLP
Yakov Malkiel, White & Case LLP
Lauren Maloney, Vigorito Barker Porter & Patterson LLP
Christina Miller, Suffolk University Law School
Geraldine Muir, Boston University School of Law
Emily Notini, Goodwin Procter LLP
Nicole Phe, Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP
Dana Pierce, State Street Corporation
Amy Pimentel, McDermott Will & Emery
Alex Praschma, Spartan Race, Inc.
Rebekah Provost, Justice Resource Institute: Health Law Institute
Abbigail Shirk, MetroWest Legal Services
Christina Simpson, The Law Office of Christina Simpson
Eileen Sprague, Glynn Law Offices
Katie Stock, Miyares and Harrington, LLP
Ben Towbin, LibbyHoopes, P.C.
Sheba Varughese, Greater Boston Legal Services
Christine Wahr, McDermott Will & Emery
Chaloea Williams, U.S. District Court-MA
Samuel Zuckernik, Smith Duggan Buell & Rufo LLP

If you’re interested in signing up either as a bar applicant or a coach ahead of the July exam, please visit our website here.

Thank You to all Law Day in the Schools Volunteers!

As we head into summer, we’re grateful for the commitment made this spring by over 130 lawyers and law students to introduce Boston’s youth to the law and legal profession. The Boston Bar Association’s Law Day in the Schools Program reached over 1650 Boston Public School students in Kindergarten through 12th Grade classrooms in 16 schools. The volunteers worked with the students to help them identify issues in the community that resonated with them and to develop supporting arguments around those issues. Countless students voiced their support for longer recess and even more wanted to be more proactive against bullying, increase measures to slow climate change, and find solutions to make students feel safe in school. When this year’s program kicked off, we caught up with Jill Brenner Meixel and Allison Belanger of Krokidas & Bluestein to hear about why they volunteer for the program. For a peek into a high school class and to read their story, click here.

Thank you to all of those who helped the students identify what changes they want to see in their communities and for answering students questions about what it’s like to be a lawyer!

Haritha Ambros, Davis, Malm & D’Agostine, P.C.
Daryl Andrews, Andrews DeValerio LLP
Nieve Anjomi, Office of the Corporation Counsel of the City of Boston
Justin Ansel, Hogan Lovells US LLP
Azure Aronsson, Hogan Lovells US LLP
Cathleen Augusto, Arrowood LLP
Heather Baer, Fitch Law Partners LLP
Paula Bagger, Law Office of Paula M. Bagger, LLC
Kathryn Barry
Allison Belanger, Krokidas & Bluestein LLP
William Boesch, Sugarman, Rogers, Barshak & Cohen, P.C.
Stephanie Bougas, Dain, Torpy, Le Ray, Wiest & Garner, P.C.
Jordan Bowne, Burns & Levinson LLP
Stephen Brake, Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP
Jill Brenner Meixel, Krokidas & Bluestein LLP
Julie Bryan, Casner & Edwards, LLP
Natalie Cappellazzo, Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP
Joshua Carroll, Ropes & Gray LLP
Jillian Carson, Beck Reed Riden LLP
Brendan Carter, AGCMA – Associated General Contractors of Massachusetts
Cameron Casey, Ropes & Gray LLP
Michael Cavoto
Smriti Choudhury, Sherin and Lodgen LLP
Brandon Clippinger, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Inc.
Carol Coakley
Ian Coghill, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP
Stephen Cohen, Choate Hall & Stewart LLP
Jessica Conklin, Laredo & Smith, LLP
Emily Crowley, Boyle, Shaughnessy, & Campo, PC
Allen David, Peabody & Arnold LLP
Emma Days, Ropes & Gray LLP
Joan Densberger, Boston University School of Public Health
Jennifer Durand, Schmidt & Federico, P.C.
Rebecca Edmondson, Levine-Piro Law
Isi Ehikhamhen
Edward Ferrante
John Fiske, Healy, Fiske, Richmond & Matthew, LLP
Colin Forbes, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
Katherine Galle, Office of the Corporation Counsel of the City of Boston
Ayla Geller, EF Education First
Galen Gilbert, Gilbert & O’Bryan, PC.
Maya Ginga, Washington & Lee University
Maria Granik, Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General
Haley Grissom
Adam Hamel, McLane Middleton, Professional Association
Julianna Hanlon, Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.
Bryce Helfer, Burns & Levinson LLP
Jennifer Henricks, Gesmer Updegrove LLP
Rachel Hershfang, U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission
Sheila Hubbard, Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination
Christopher Huntsman, Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Securities Division
Andra Hutchins, Kerstein, Coren & Lichtenstein LLP
Valerie Jackson, Jackson Lewis P.C.
Daniel Johnston, Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.
Marc Jones, U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission
Robert Kaitz, Davis, Malm & D’Agostine, P.C.
Stephanie Kao, Peabody & Arnold LLP
Sarah Kelly, Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP
Dara Kesselheim, Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office
Kelly Kirby, Burns & Levinson LLP
Michael Koehler, Keegan Werlin, LLP
Nathaniel Koslof, Sullivan & Worcester LLP
Eric Labbe, Dain, Torpy, Le Ray, Wiest & Garner, P.C.
Mark Larsen, Committee for Public Counsel Services
Brian Lee, Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP
Paul Levenson, U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission
Sarah Lewis, Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office
Christopher Lindstrom, Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP
Ann Lowery, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection
Tony Lu, Dentons US LLP
Brian MacDonough, Sherin and Lodgen LLP
Stephanie Mariani, Sullivan & Worcester LLP
Laura Martin
Justin Masterman, Dain, Torpy, Le Ray, Wiest & Garner, P.C.
Michael McDermott, Dain, Torpy, Le Ray, Wiest & Garner, P.C.
Louis Mercedes, Jones Day
Christina Miller, Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office
R. Scott Miller, Committee for Public Counsel Services
Michael Millett, Marsh, Inc.
Laura Mittelman, Burns & Levinson LLP
Peter Moores, U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission
Cheron Morris, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Inc.
Joshua Nadreau, Fisher Phillips
Sean Nehill, Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA)
Joseph Nevins, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Inc.
Wadner Oge, Massachusetts Board of Bar Examiners
Alexa O’Keefe, Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP
Julia Ong, Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.
Barbara O’Toole, Sherin and Lodgen LLP
Gregory Pakhladzhyan, American Student Assistance
Gregory Paonessa, Burns & Levinson LLP
Nina Pelc-Faszcza, Jones Day
Andrea Peraner-Sweet, Fitch Law Partners LLP
Charles Pierre, Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP
Cassandra Prince
Susanne Reardon, Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General
Lauren Reznick, Massachusetts Land Court
Michael Riley, Dain, Torpy, Le Ray, Wiest & Garner, P.C.
Michael Rossi, Conn Kavanaugh Rosenthal Peisch & Ford, LLP
Payal Salsburg, Laredo & Smith, LLP
Armand Santaniello
Lauren Schaefer, Beck Reed Riden LLP
Glenn Schley, Schmidt & Federico, P.C.
Susan Schorr, McLane Middleton, Professional Association
Catherine Scott, Peabody & Arnold LLP
Leanne Scott, John Hancock Financial Services
Courtney Scrubbs, Sanofi, US
Priya Selvam, Jones Day
Jacob Simon, Simon Law
Christina Simpson, The Law Office of Christina Simpson
Lynne Sollis, Dain, Torpy, Le Ray, Wiest & Garner, P.C.
Jared Spinelli, Schmidt & Federico, P.C.
Lorraine Stark, Burns & Levinson LLP
Carol Starkey, Conn Kavanaugh Rosenthal Peisch & Ford, LLP
Susan Stenger, Burns & Levinson LLP
Margaret Strauss, Arrowood LLP
Pamela Swanson, Sherin and Lodgen LLP
Glen Tagliamonte, Conn Kavanaugh Rosenthal Peisch & Ford, LLP
Miosotti Tenecora
Alexis Theriault, Conn Kavanaugh Rosenthal Peisch & Ford, LLP
Erika Todd, Sullivan & Worcester LLP
Sudeshna Trivedi, Public Health Advocacy Institute
Chelsea Tryder, Locke Lord LLP
Amanda Varrichione
Bradford Vezina, McLane Middleton, Professional Association
Sara Walker, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Inc.
Joseph Wang, Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.
Ying Wang, State Street Corporation
Marilyn Wellington, Massachusetts Board of Bar Examiners
Kristin Youkana, Schmidt & Federico, P.C.
Alexandra Youngblood, Dain, Torpy, Le Ray, Wiest & Garner, P.C.
Jill Ziter, Massachusetts Land Court

If you’re interested in volunteering for this program next year, please email Cassandra Shavney at [email protected]

Observations from Boston Housing Court’s Lawyer for the Day

 Guest Post: Jack Caplan is the current Lawyer Referral Service Co-op Intern at the BBA. Jack is a sophomore year at Northeastern University studying Politics, Philosophy, and Economics. After spending the morning shadowing the Lawyer for the Day table at Boston Housing Court, he shared his experience with Beyond the Billable.

Just after 9 am last Thursday morning in the Edward W. Brooke Courthouse in Boston, over 200 attorneys and members of the public crammed into one hot courtroom.  It was standing room only as people tried to find any space they could to claim as their own.  The physical bar which typically separates court observers from lawyers (the same bar from which the exam and Association get their names) was soon ignored, thus blurring the line between who’s an attorney and who isn’t.

The Clerk began calling out each case number and the respective plaintiffs and defendants answered with whether they wanted to try mediation or go straight to a bench trial.  Looking around the room you could see a microcosm of Boston itself: an MBTA driver searching for a seat before giving up and standing, much like her passengers at rush hour; a mother and father trying to quiet their young children with toys; and who EMT missed the first call of her case because of a last minute emergency at the end of a long night shift.  The atmosphere was understandably tense considering people’s homes were on the line, but the Clerk and Court Officer kept the mood light through jokes and banter.

A vast majority of those present elected to go to mediation and were directed to a lower floor of the sprawling Courthouse.  This sent them straight past the tables of the Volunteer Lawyers Project where landlords and tenants alike could stop by to ask questions, get help filing motions, and even get representation for mediation as part of a Limited Assistance Representation structure.  Attorneys were running around and talking to clients and the scene upstairs at the peak of the morning could only be described as chaotic.  But speaking with the volunteer attorneys it quickly became clear that they didn’t mind at all – in fact they loved it – their passion was palpable.  They had the chance to help out the roughly 95% of tenants who go into housing court without counsel.  Results for litigants with some level of representation are so vastly and almost unbelievably better than for those who go in totally alone.

Indeed, going to Housing Court while Lawyer for the Day is running can be one of the best antidotes to the otherwise negative feelings brought on by statistics like the one above.  It’s statistics like that, statistics which cast a tragic light on the state of justice in Massachusetts and America, which compel many of these attorneys to volunteer their time.  The impact that the dozen or so attorneys were able to make last week is truly a sight to behold.  Tenants who were convinced that they would lose their homes suddenly had hope provided by the attorneys.  The impact of donated time and expertise was noticed, appreciated, and sometimes immediate.

The Volunteer Lawyer’s Project administers frequent trainings for attorneys interested in helping out.  The Lawyer for the Day program itself occurs each Wednesday from 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM (public housing cases) and Thursday from 9:00 AM – 3:30 PM (private housing cases) in front of Courtroom 15 at the Edward W. Brooke Courthouse, 24 New Chardon Street, Boston, MA. If you have questions about volunteering or would like to learn more, please contact Cassandra Shavney the Boston Bar’s Public Service Programs Coordinator, or Milton Wong of the Volunteer Lawyers Project.

The need is constant, the difference is instant: consider volunteering today.