Guest Post: Caroline Donovan (Foley Hoag), Sophia Hall (Lawyers for Civil Rights) and Susanna Jones (Foundation Medicine) are members of the BBA’s 2018-2019 Public Interest Leadership Program.
On January 7, 2019, Prisoners’ Legal Services* (“PLS”) presented to the 2018-2019 class of the BBA’s Public Interest Leadership Program (“PILP”), about current trends and PLS’s ongoing advocacy on behalf of incarcerated persons. Presenting for PLS was Executive Director Lizz Matos and Staff Attorney Jesse White. PLS is a non-profit legal organization that provides civil legal assistance to people who are incarcerated in Massachusetts state prisons, county jails and houses of correction.
By way of setting the stage, Matos shared some startling statistics, including that 22,000 people from Massachusetts are behind bars today and the rate of imprisonment has grown dramatically in the past 40 years. Furthermore, African Americans are incarcerated at a rate six times higher than their White contemporaries, and Latinos at a rate four times higher. Furthermore, Massachusetts is one of the least progressive states when it comes to parole, only granting parole in approximately 34% of cases, and having a tremendously high return rate for technical violations, rather than new criminal offenses. In 2016, for example, Massachusetts returned almost a quarter of its entire parole population to prison for technical violations.
After setting the stage, Matos and White shared some of the most recent work being managed at PLS. In terms of litigation, for example, they shared challenges with water conditions at MCI Norfolk, asbestos at MCI Framingham, and the 5-person visitor cap at Souza-Baranowski Correction Center. As for legislative work, Matos and White talked about their efforts on behalf of the Criminal Justice Reform bill, particularly as it relates to medical parole, improving the Prison Rape Elimination Act, and efforts surrounding solitary confinement. Finally, PLS shared some insight into a new project regarding the treatment of ICE detainees being held at houses of corrections.
On May 17, the Boston Bar convened attorneys for the next step in the pilot phase of its Service Innovation Project, which will focus on engaging the legal community in disrupting the school-to-prison pipeline. At an issue briefing panel, a distinguished group of experts provided a comprehensive overview of the issue to attendees, and challenged them to think about actionable next steps to work toward solutions.
The panel, moderated by Northeastern University Law School’s Susan Maze-Rothstein, consisted of:
Jessica Berry – Deputy Director, Children’s Law Center of Massachusetts
Jay D. Blitzman – First Justice for the Middlesex Juvenile Court and Presiding Justice, Lowell
Matt Cregor – Education Project Director, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice
Janelle Ridley – District Coordinator for System-Involved Youth, Boston Public Schools
Marlies Spanjaard – Director of Education Advocacy, the EdLaw Project
The goal of the panel was to give attendees a deeper understanding of the many complicated and intersecting issues that perpetuate the school-to-prison pipeline, facilitating economically disadvantaged youth slipping into the justice system in Boston and all over the United States. From their unique professional vantage points, each panelist was able to share examples of glaring inequities which are, unfortunately, commonplace.
Jessica Berry (Children’s Law Center of MA), Hon. Jay Blitzman (Middlesex Juvenile Court, Lowell Juvenile Court), Matt Cregor (Lawyers’ Committee), Janelle Ridley (Boston Public Schools), and Marlies Spanjaard (The EdLaw Project)
In summing up the structure of the school-to-prison pipeline, panelists explained that communities with high poverty rates and larger-than-average incarcerated populations also tend to have the most overcrowded, underfunded schools. Though staying in school has proven to be a deterrent from getting involved in the justice system, the increase in policing on school campuses in the past 20 years has led to more arrests on school grounds than ever before. In addition, students who are suspended or expelled from school, often for minor non-violent infractions, are at higher risk to drop out of school and thus more likely to enter into the criminal justice system.
These factors disproportionately impact black and Hispanic students, as well as students with disabilities, and the panelists cited multiple sources of data on the devastating impact that disparity is having in majority-minority communities.
“There is no such thing as race-neutral, zero-tolerance (policies),” Judge Blitzman said, adding that well-intended legislation meant to bolster school safety has led to the “criminalization of adolescence” for at-risk youth.
Ridley said one of the most important parts of her job is simply to listen to students, something the students may not feel they are getting from other adults at school or at home.
“We have a lot of quantitative data, but what we’re missing is the qualitative data: the stories, the reasoning, and what got these kids to where they are,” she said.
Panel moderator Prof. Susan Maze-Rothstein (Northeastern Law) brainstorms with her breakout group.
Following the panel, attendees formed small breakout groups to discuss what they had learned and think about next steps. Throughout the room, attorneys thought about various ways to offer pro bono assistance directly to affected children and families. But other, multidisciplinary approaches were also a focus of the discussion – such as public information campaigns targeted to schools, parents and the general public. Many attendees expressed their enthusiasm for restorative-justice-style programs in schools, giving students the chance to express their feelings and hopefully avoid suspension or expulsion.
The Boston Bar would like to thank everyone who participated, and we look forward to working together with the Service Innovation Project Advisory Committee to take these ideas and incorporate them into our work going forward.
Attorneys and community leaders discuss the insights and information presented during the first half of the issue briefing.
Special thanks to the Boston Bar Foundation Burnes Innovation in Service Fund, made possible by a generous gift from Richard and Nonnie Burnes. This fund provides critical support for the Service Innovation Project. For more information on the Burnes Innovation in Service Fund or the Boston Bar Foundation, contact Megan Leppert at 617.778.1924 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The program was hosted by Lavinia Weizel of Mintz Levin, co-chair of the BBA’s Human Trafficking Committee. You may recall reading about Lavinia—and her co-chair (and Mintz colleague) Alec Zadek—in our Issue Spot blog recently, in connection with their efforts to create a streamlined process to allow defendants to vacate convictions for offenses related to their status as trafficking survivors—a proposal the BBA Council recently endorsed. While that issue was raised during the event, the broader focus was on the various forms of sex- and labor-trafficking that are most common in Massachusetts and specific ways that attorneys can be part of the safety net for survivors.
Our first presenter was Beth Keeley, Chief of the Human Trafficking Division in the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office and former head of the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Human Trafficking and Exploitation Bureau. She started with some recent history on the issue, dating back to the enactment in 2000 of the federal Trafficking Victims Protection Act, which strengthened pre-existing laws.
While Massachusetts was “late to the game,” passing a state law only in 2011, Keeley argued that it’s a particularly strong law, in that—with no requirement to prove force, fraud, or coercion— it’s easier to make a case. She also said that our statute, unlike many others, puts the focus on the trafficker/exploiter’s mens rea, rather than on the mind of the victim.
The key to enforcement, Keeley stated, is to follow a multi-disciplinary approach, with prosecutors, investigators, and victim-witness advocates all on staff at AGO, working with the State Police’s dedicated trafficking unit, the District Attorneys (many of whom also have dedicated prosecutors focusing on the problem), and social-service agencies. Her office is able to use its statewide jurisdiction to pursue defendants across counties, treating their operations as criminal enterprises in order to maximize the impact by identifying and taking down networks.
To date, AGO has mostly gone after sex-trafficking, but they are building up their enforcement in labor-trafficking. While the former is found most often in massage parlors, brothels, and the Web, the latter shows up in construction, domestic and cleaning work, and the service sector in general. Still, one always needs to be mindful, in any enforcement action, of the concerns of victims. They frequently suffer from poverty, abuse, and addiction—all factors that make people vulnerable to traffickers in the first place. And—although the law provides them with an affirmative defense, and prosecutors, starting with AG Maura Healey, have pledged not to do so—they may be fearful of being prosecuted themselves for offenses they committed, such as sex for a fee or working without documentation.
At the same time, advocates are always striving to raise public awareness of the problem, including the role that demand plays, and exploring what else can be done beyond prosecution—educating law enforcement, holding trainings, working with labor leaders, providing pro bono representation, and advocating for enhanced funding.
We next heard from Rochelle Keyhan, who leads the Polaris Project’s strategic initiative to eliminate illicit massage business (IMB) trafficking in the US, and Francheska Loza, formerly of Foley Hoag LLP and now Polaris’s Disruption Strategies Community Organizer. Keyhan talked more about the patterns she sees, and the 25 different types of trafficking that Polaris has identified—all of which call for distinct responses. In the IMB sector, for example, victims tend to be older women from outside the country, often undocumented—especially from China and Korea, cultures where these activities trigger high levels of shame and self-blame, making it even more difficult to come forward to law enforcement. They frequently fear authorities, carry high debts, lack full awareness of their rights, and are under threat from their abusers.
Two other common loci are bars and strip clubs, where an excessive cover charge may be hiding the illegal activities. Victims there tend to be younger and come from Latin America—or US-born Latinas. As with workers in IMB, they are usually targeted based on extreme economic need, and the networks frequently have roots in Latin America.
Labor trafficking can be found in such venues as karaoke bars and nail salons. These cases, which are often interconnected with sex trafficking, can be easier to prosecute because victims are more willing to come forward and to reveal details to investigators.
Polaris’s disruption strategy, a focus of Loza’s work, includes research, creation of a safety net for survivors, partnership with other stakeholders, and the use of culturally-competent and trauma-informed interpreters. It’s also critical to try to find connections among survivors, for purposes of identifying networks, since trafficking operations are generally much more sophisticated than a typical pimp’s.
The methods of control used by traffickers, which are important for people to be aware of in identifying possible operations, include:
isolation and confinement
threats directed at the victim or their family
intimidation and abuse, including sexual/emotional abuse
So. Armed with all this information, what can you do to help crack down on trafficking? Some advice from our panel:
Be suspicious of cash-only businesses, very low prices for services, or when a provider is adamant about getting a large tip.
Victims may be receiving little or no base compensation, making it an urgent matter that they maximize the income they generate through tips.
Other red flags include…
Excessive surveillance cameras.
“Body work” establishments. Massage therapists must be licensed, but using this term is a way around regulation.
Read online reviews:
Many users are up-front in describing the illegal services they’ve bought.
Call the property owner, the police, municipal officials, or the Polaris hotline.
Call your elected representatives about making the issue a priority.
At the local level, ask about strengthening ordinances, since some cities and towns lack the authority to shut down or even investigate a business
Take on cases pro bono.
Again, you may be able to help with vacatur: Even absent the BBA-endorsed streamlined approach now under consideration in the Legislature, there exists a procedure (albeit lengthy and convoluted) to vacate convictions if the defendant was under the duress of a trafficker.
Finally, watch our Issue Spot blog for updates on the progress of vacatur legislation, and keep an eye on the BBA calendar for more events on human trafficking.
Government Relations Director
Boston Bar Association
Beth Keeley (Chief of the Human Trafficking Division at the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, far right) makes opening remarks at the event. She’s joined on the panel by Lavinia Weizel (Mintz Levin, BBA Human Trafficking Subcommittee Co-Chair, far left), Rochelle Keyhan and Francesca Loza (Polaris Project).
From teaching a record 1,700 students through Law Day in the Schools to releasing a compelling report on criminal justice reform, 2017 was a successful year at the BBA. For highlights and our favorite photos from the year, read on to see how you and your colleagues contributed to our public service initiatives over the past year.
The 2017 Public Service Award presented at the Boston Bar Foundation’s annual John & Abigail Adams Benefit Ball honored Chief Justice Margaret H. Marshall in January. Chief Justice Marshall addresses the crowd at the Museum of Fine Arts, reminding every one of the importance of being good and just in their work.
MIT Bhangra, an award-winning dance group, entertained the crowd at the Adams Benefit. 2017’s Ball raised over $650,000 in support for local legal services organizations providing civil legal services to those in need. In June, the Foundation granted $960,000 to 20 such organizations.
Each January, hundreds of attorneys travel to the State House to Walk to the Hill for Civil Legal Aid. The Equal Justice Coalition coordinates this annual event to call on our legislators to adequately fund the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation through the state budget. Carol Starkey, 2016-2017 BBA President, highlights the importance of civil legal aid as noted in the BBA’s Investing in Justice report, which details that 2 out of 3 income eligible clients are turned away from legal services due to a lack of resources.
In response to President Trump’s Executive Order Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States, then BBA President Carol Starkey reaffirmed the BBA’s aim to “support the rule of law, as well as the core values of access to justice and diversity and inclusion, which help keep the fundamental promise that all of us will enjoy due process and equal protection under the law.” Over the course of the year, the BBA worked with many legal services organizations to connect attorneys to volunteer opportunities. Political Asylum/Immigration Representation (PAIR) Project presented a number of Know Your Rights trainings for attorneys wishing to present to community groups about their immigration rights. Here, attorneys William Graves (Graves & Doyle) and Seth Purcell (PAIR Project) welcome over 60 attorneys to the first training at the BBA.
Paulette Brown (left, Locke Lord) accepts the Beacon Award for Diversity and Inclusion for her work as president of the American Bar Association convening the Diversity and Inclusion 360 Commission. One result of the Commission’s work was the passage at the ABA of Resolution 113, an initiative designed to increase diversity in the legal profession. In November of 2016, the BBA announced its strong support for the Resolution and is working with other partners in Boston on its implementation.
Raquel Webster (right, National Grid) introduces presenter Brian McLaughlin (McLaughlin Law) to a group of probationers at the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts. The BBA’s Reentry Education Program, which was developed by the Public Interest Leadership Program, engages with dozens of probationers annually on useful topics related to community reentry, including family law, reinstating a driver’s license, public benefits, and more.
Secretary Francisco A. Ureña (Massachusetts Department of Veterans’ Services) addresses the crowd at a Memorial Day reception hosted by the BBA’s Active Duty Military & Veterans Forum. The reception was held after the annual pro bono training for attorneys representing veterans in discharge upgrade cases. Since 2015, the BBA has worked with the Veterans Legal Clinic at the Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School to hose these trainings to support their Veterans Legal Clinic.
One night a year, the BBA is transformed from a meeting space to a casino floor. Seventeen organizations sponsored this year’s Casino Night for Summer Jobs, the proceeds of which support the Summer Jobs Program and support internships for high school students at legal services organizations, government agencies, and courts. Attendees at Casino Night celebrate beating the house and eagerly await the mystifying reveal of a magic trick.
Law Day in the Schools, one of the BBA’s most popular volunteer opportunities, introduces Boston Public School students to the legal profession and particular areas of the law. This year, volunteers including Jill Brenner Meixel (left) and Allison Belanger (right) of Krokidas & Bluestein introduced students to due process and the importance of having fair rules and laws for all. There were a record 15 schools and over 1700 students in the program this year.
Throughout the year, the New Lawyers Section’s Public Service Committee coordinates volunteer events with organizations throughout the city. In addition to serving food at the Pine Street Inn, attorneys also helped sort donations at Cradles to Crayons, keep the esplanade clear at the Charles River Clean-up, and other important volunteer initiatives in the area.
High school students convene with Chief Justice Melvin S. Hoffman (U.S. Bankruptcy Court) after listing to a mock hearing in bankruptcy court. This session, which teaches students about the consequences of filing for bankruptcy is part of the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program, which began in 2005. Since it began, over 5800 students statewide have been introduced to the importance of budgeting, understanding credit, and financing a large purchase.
Over 1,000 attorneys came together for this year’s Law Day Dinner in Back Bay. Congressman Seth Moulton provided keynote remarks and highlighted the importance of lawyers and upholding the rule of law now more than ever.
This year’s Thurgood Marshall Award, honoring an attorney in private practice in Greater Boston for their extraordinary efforts in enhancing the human dignity of others by providing legal services to Massachusetts’ low income population, went to Elaine Blais (Goodwin). Blais volunteers with both the Political Asylum/Immigration Representation (PAIR) Project and Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) representing both children and adults in various immigration cases.
Anne Mackin (Greater Boston Legal Services) accepts the John G. Brooks Legal Services Award, an award presented to professional legal services attorneys for their outstanding work on behalf of indigent people in the Boston area. Mackin has worked in legal services for nearly 30 years, and joined GBLS’s Immigration Unit in 2013. Since then, she has helped people from all over the world who have witnessed or experienced unspeakable tragedies and faced severe persecutions. Her efforts have ensured that many who are fleeing extreme discrimination and danger are able to seek justice and safe harbor.
Members of the Society of Fellows experience a tour of the Museum of Fine Arts’ summer exhibit, Matisse in the Studio. Each Fellows pledge supports the work of the Boston Bar Foundation’s many public service initiatives. The growing number of Fellows, now over 400, learn about the work their gifts support, including programs supporting Boston’s youth and grants to legal services organizations, at events throughout the year.
Boston Public High School students stand with Natashia Tidwell (center left, Collora) and Mark Smith (center right, BBA President, Laredo & Smith) on the morning of the first day of work with the Summer Jobs Program. The program, a partnership with the City of Boston and the Boston Private Industry Council, employs students in internships at legal offices across the city. In 2017, 52 students gained valuable office experience and were given insight into the legal profession.
Attorneys network surrounding the chocolate fountain, a staple at this year’s Boston Bar Foundation Summer Fundraiser. Guests at the event are treated to delicious dishes from area restaurants while learning about the public service programs their contribution supports.
The Public Interest Leadership Program’s class of 2016-2017 hosted their symposium, Constitutional Battlegrounds: Civil Rights in a Changing Landscape, earlier this year. The event’s speakers addressed a number of issues recently in the national spotlight, both in the media and the courts. Nearly 100 attorneys and interested members of the community packed the BBA to hear insights from the panels of experts.
This fall, the 14th Public Interest Leadership Program (PILP) started their term. Twenty attorneys were selected for the program based on their experience and dedication to public service and civic engagement. The program now includes nearly 200 alumni who’ve gone on to serve the BBA in other capacities and carry their passion for serving the public interest into the community.
Piper Kerman, author of Orange is the New Black, addressed the audience at the BBA’s Annual Meeting. Kerman, a former prisoner, discussed her work bringing prison issues to the forefront of national conversation. She also acknowledged the BBA’s report No Time to Wait: Recommendations for a Fair and Effective Criminal Justice System, which was released this fall. The report commends the reforms proposed earlier this year by Massachusetts leaders based on research by the Council of State Governments (CSG), but strongly urges lawmakers to enact broader reforms designed to further reduce recidivism, and make the criminal justice system fairer and more cost-efficient.
Lawyer Referral Service (LRS) staff attend the Massachusetts Conference for Women to introduce the public to the services it offers. Thousands of requests come through each year and referrals are made out to experienced attorneys practicing nearly 350 areas of law. The LRS also houses a dedicated Military Legal Help Line, which connects veterans, military personnel, and their families with lawyers and other legal resources appropriate to their needs.
The three award recipients at November’s Beacon Award for Diversity & Inclusion stand with members of the Beacon Award Selection Committee. Brent Henry received the Voice of Change Award for his work recruiting and retaining diverse legal talent while at Partners Healthcare. The Empowerment Award went to Iván Espinoza-Madrigal for his work on civil rights issues, including racial justice, immigrant rights, and LGBT/HIV equality, as the Executive Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice. Susan Alexander accepted the Corporate Champion Award on behalf of Biogen. Biogen’s legal department has developed a system of diversity metrics which the legal team uses when choosing outside counsel. Above, left to right: Brent Henry (Mintz Levin), Iván Espinoza-Madrigal (Lawyers’ Committee), Susan Alexander (Biogen), Sarah Kim (Treasurer and Receiver General of Massachusetts), Kate Cook (Sugarman Rogers), Stephen Hall (Holland & Knight), and Damon Hart (Liberty Mutual).
Hosted at Suffolk University Law School, the annual Pro Bono Recruitment Fair and Open House connects law students and attorneys to volunteer opportunities across the state. Over 25 organizations recruited at the fair this year.
BBA President Mark Smith (right) met with Principal Danladi Bobbitt of the John D. Philbrick Elementary School in Roslindale. As a participant in the Principal Partners event, hosted by Boston Public Schools, Boston Plan for Excellence, and Bank of America, the BBA President has the opportunity to visit a school and engage in meaningful conversations about the role of education in our society.
Earlier this month, the Public Interest Leadership Program (PILP) met with Professor Francine Sherman of Boston College Law School who has been teaching Juvenile Justice and Children’s Rights & Public Policy for two decades. Professor Sherman founded and directs the Juvenile Rights Advocacy Program at BC Law and is certainly an expert on the subject, and she provided a comprehensive overview of the topic for PILP. She discussed the two approaches to juvenile justice, social welfare and social control, and the historical practices behind both concepts.
Over the past century, juvenile justice has varied from being an institutionalized system linked to criminal justice to a support system for children whose parents are unable to care for the child. More recently, from the 1990s to mid-2000s, juvenile justice took on the “do the crime, do the time” mantra and resulted in more youth entering the adult criminal justice system. Then, Professor Sherman described the switch that’s been taking place from 2005 for juvenile justice to move back to the social welfare concept. Supreme Court cases including Roper v Simmons (2005), Graham v. Florida (2010), and Miller v. Alabama (2012), which extended Graham v. Florida all moved juvenile justice away from mirroring the adult system. Juvenile justice continues to evolve as many of laws are state/county based and after Miller v. Alabama, many states’ laws were unconstitutional. Professor Sherman also noted the movement toward “fairness” in the system and acknowledging childhood development.
Concluding, Professor Sherman noted the 3 “R’s” of supporting juveniles who’ve found themselves in the justice system: rights, remedies, and resources. From her perspective, the resources component is the most lacking. However, if you would like to support youth in need of legal aid, there are a number of organizations in the Boston area in need of volunteers and support. Two organizations Professor Sherman suggests looking into are the EdLaw Project* and Citizens for Juvenile Justice.
From teaching over 1,500 students their Miranda Rights to instituting a Bar Exam Coaching Program, 2016 was a successful year at the BBA. For highlights and our favorite photos from the year, read on to see how you and your colleagues contributed to our public services initiatives in 2016.
Over 1,000 guests attended the 2016 John and Abigail Adams Benefit at the Museum of Fine Arts. Each year, our premier fundraiser provides support for the legal services organizations in our community. We’re grateful for the over $600,000 raised in 2016.
Molly Baldwin, Executive Director of Roca, accepts the 2016 Public Service Award on behalf of the organization. Roca was recognized for their work reducing recidivism and improving employment rates for young men in Massachusetts.
Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants, Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, addresses the crowd at Walk to the Hill for Civil Legal Aid. Each year, hundreds of private attorneys and civil legal aid advocates converge on the Massachusetts State House to demonstrate their support for state funding of civil legal aid.
Anuj Kheterpal, Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, leads a session of the Reentry Education Program at the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts. Presenting on topics ranging from family law, affordable housing, and CORI sealing, the Reentry Education Program provides useful information and resources to probationers in our community.
The BBA’s Military and Veterans Committee works throughout the year to both address the legal needs of our veterans community and also provide a space for attorneys who have served or are serving in the military the chance to connect. Luncheons held throughout the year provide an informal, conversational means for veteran attorneys to connect.
One of the most anticipated events of the year is always the BBA’s Casino Night for Summer Jobs. Inside the BBA, the rooms are transformed into a functioning casino spaces for guests to enjoy throughout the building. All proceeds from the event support our Summer Jobs program. Specifically, donations allow high school students the opportunity to work at legal services organizations, courts, and government agencies that may not otherwise have the resources to hire a student.
For over ten years, the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy program has taught high school students financial responsibility. Above, students from Peabody Veterans Memorial High School visit Judge Joan N. Feeney’s courtroom to learn the consequences of filing for bankruptcy.
Members of the Boston Bar Foundation’s Society of Fellows gaze at an exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts last spring. The Society of Fellows is a group of over 400 attorneys who’ve pledged their support for the BBA’s public service initiatives.
An active group within the BBA, the New Lawyers Public Service Committee plans nearly monthly volunteer events for attorneys to give back to their community through direct service. Here, BBA volunteers are working with the Charles River Watershed Association to clean-up the banks of the Charles River.
As part of the annual Law Day activities each spring, the BBA hosts its Law Day in the Schools program through which attorney volunteers introduce students in kindergarten to 12th grade to the legal profession and legal issues. In 2016, Law Day in the Schools focused on Miranda Rights, which seemed especially to resonate with students during a year marked by discussion of the balance of power between law enforcement and citizens.
At the 2016 Law Day Dinner, former BBA President Jack Regan, WilmerHale, was presented the Thurgood Marshall Award for his commitment to public service. Regan has tirelessly worked to support pro bono services for military personnel, veterans, and their families.
The John G. Brooks Legal Services Award was presented at Law Day Dinner to Daniel Nagin, founder of the Veterans Legal Clinic at the Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School. Nagin also helped start the Low Income Tax Clinic at the Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School.
Pairings: A Gourmet Evening for Public Service supports all of the public service programs of the BBA. Guests of the event are treated to delicious dishes from area restaurants while learning about the programs their contribution supports.
Throughout the year, the BBA hosts numerous pro bono trainings on a range of practice areas. We partner with many legal services organizations to connect our members to their pro bono opportunities. Above, attorneys lead a training on how to volunteer for the Family Law Court Clinic at the Court Service Center.
Massachusetts State Senator Jamie Eldridge addresses the audience at the BBA’s Juvenile Restorative Justice Program. The symposium focused on restorative justice initiatives in the Commonwealth as particularly related to the state’s youth. This event was the culmination of the 12th Public Interest Leadership Program (PILP) class’ 14-month program. PILP promotes civic engagement and public service by advancing the leadership roles of new lawyers. Throughout the program, the class examines various issues facing our community and concludes with a symposium of entirely their design.
Summer is a beloved time at the BBA because it means that law firms, courts, government agencies, and legal services organizations across the city will host high school student interns as part of our Summer Jobs Program. Students gain valuable insight into the legal profession and office work experience as they intern during their summer break. Students are also provided Enrichment Seminars, which enhance their experience and provide exposure to various legal careers, the workings of the Supreme Judicial Court, and more.
Janet Bostwick, Janet E. Bostwick, PC, was acknowledged this past year for her devotion to the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program. Bostwick was appointed head of the Financial Literacy Committee by her dear and late friend, M. Ellen Carpenter in 2004 and has since grown the program to teach over 500 students a year. Bostwick stepped down from the Committee after 12 years and we’re thankful for her service.
Law students and attorneys met with various legal services organizations and government agencies as they browsed the Pro Bono Fair & Open House in October. The event draws scores of people each year and provides organizations the chance to attract new volunteers.
BBA President Carol Starkey, Conn Kavanaugh Rosenthal Peisch & Ford, LLP, meets with Katy Buckland, principal of UP Academy Boston. The BBA President participates in Principal for a Day each year to gain insight into the day-to-day activities of the students many of our public service programs impact.
Thank you for a wonderful year, we can’t wait to kickoff 2017 with you!
William Hannum (Schwartz Hannum), Jean Dahmen (Verrill Dana), Boston Bar Association President Carol Starkey (Conn Kavanaugh Rosenthal Peisch & Ford) and Alan Rose (Rose, Chinitz & Rose)
Last week the Boston Bar Foundation’s Society of Fellows came together for its annual Fall Open House at 16 Beacon Street to learn more aboutthe work that the Society supports and look forward to the important work that the group will help the BBF accomplish in the year ahead.
The Fellows enjoyed hors d’oeuvres and a seasonal apple cider cocktail while celebrating the Society’s pivotal role in the BBF’s exciting plans for the coming year with colleagues and friends. The BBF is poised to grant $1 million to more than 20 local legal services organizations, fund summer jobs for urban teens, teach hundreds of public school students about their rights and responsibilities under the law, and engage volunteers to help serve people in our community in ways that only lawyers can. Furthermore, because of the fundamental support that the Society provides to the BBF, last year the Foundation was able to direct the donations of three generous supporters towards the establishment of dedicated funds to help further the bar’s work in the essential areas of diversity and inclusion, leadership development, and public policy.
Alexandra Gorman, Christopher Clark and Angela Gomes (Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom)
BBF President and Leadership Fellow Tony Froio gave a few inspiring remarks to the group about just how fundamental the support of the Society of Fellows is to all of the work of the BBF.
“I am proud to be a member of this vibrant community of more than 400 Boston leaders who support, at such a high level, the work of the BBF in expanding access to justice,” said Tony. “The Society leverages the power of lawyers to improve our community in so many different ways.”
Joining the Fellows for the evening was Mass Legal Answers Online Director Rochelle Hahn, an attorney with more than 25 years of experience in legal services. Mass Legal Answers, a project of the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute, is part of a national initiative of the American Bar Association. Rochelle shared with the Fellows why her innovative work – which the BBF helps to support – is so vital to our community and to the future sustainability of legal services. For more photos of the event, please click here.
Rochelle Hahn (Massachusetts Law Reform Institute) and Boston Bar Foundation President Anthony Froio (Robins Kaplan)
To learn more about how you can become a part of this enthusiastic group of BBF supporters, please contact Tara Trask at email@example.com or (617) 778-1984.
David Lieberman of Day Pitney LLP, Nikki Marie Oliveira of Bass, Doherty & Finks, PC and Marisa Roman of Sinsheimer & Associates
Last Thursday, the Boston Bar Foundation’s Junior Fellows Society held its first happy hour reception of 2016. Mingling over drinks and hors d’oeuvres, this group of conscientious young attorneys came together to network and celebrate the BBF’s work in Greater Boston.
The Junior Fellows Society, which is composed of attorneys in practice 10 years or less, is an important part of the Boston Bar Foundation’s Society of Fellows, a community of more than 400 leading attorneys who are committed to investing in our city’s future. Junior Fellows come together throughout the year for happy hour receptions for young attorneys, in addition to receptions with the entire Society of Fellows.
The featured guest of the evening was Junior Fellows Society member David Lieberman, an Associate at Day Pitney LLP who focuses on complex fraud claims. David is an alumnus of the Boston Bar Association’s Public Interest Leadership Program, has volunteered for the BBA’s Law Day in the Schools, and has worked with the BBA’s Reentry Education Program.
David shared with the group his many reasons for joining the Society: helping to fund the public service activities of the bar, befriending other like-mind attorneys at events like this reception, and remaining engaged with the BBA and BBF community – in addition to the professional networking opportunities the Society provides. Several attendees noted that the Junior Fellows Society offers a much-needed outlet for young lawyers to discuss common worries they face in their first years in the legal field and to gain professional contacts that will serve them for years to come.
Members of the Junior Fellows Society pledge to contribute $250 a year for four years to support the Boston Bar Foundation’s endowment. The contributions of Junior Fellows allow the Boston Bar Foundation to expand access to justice for the underserved of Greater Boston, fund all of the public service projects of the BBA such as the ones David participated in, and provide invaluable educational opportunities for Boston’s urban youth. Learn more about the Junior Fellows Society.
Junior Fellows have unique opportunities to attend exclusive networking and social events with Fellows and Junior Fellows throughout the year. Because the Boston Bar Foundation is a 501(c)(3), all Junior Fellows contributions are tax-deductible. If you’d like to learn more about becoming a Junior Fellow, please contact Tara Trask at firstname.lastname@example.org or (617) 778-1984.
Sean Hagen of Long Knight, P.C. and Hannah Joseph of Beck Reed Riden
Boston Bar Foundation Executive Fellows Joan Lukey, Hon. Nonnie S. Burnes (Ret.), and past Boston Bar Association President Paul Dacier.
Last Thursday, the Boston Bar Foundation’s Society of Fellows held its annual winter reception at 16 Beacon Street to celebrate the achievements and growth of the Society in 2015 and look towards the year ahead.
In 2015, the Society hit a major milestone: it grew to more than 400 members! These 400 attorneys are leaders of Boston’s legal profession and the BBF’s most dedicated supporters. They come together as a community several times throughout the year to mingle with friends and colleagues while learning more about what they’ve been supporting from inspirational speakers. Click here to see photos from last Thursday’s reception.
As the community of Fellows has grown, they have been able to make tremendous progress towards the BBF’s goal of a $5 million endowment, creating a stable and lasting foundation for the BBF’s work and freeing up other monies – such as 100 percent of the proceeds of the annual Adams Benefit – for the legal aid grants that increase access to justice for Greater Boston’s underserved. Last year alone, the BBF’s funding helped more than 37,000 underserved children, adults and families with essential legal aid in Greater Boston.
This year, the BBF is granting $950,000 to 23 local legal services organizations, including Prisoners’ Legal Services of Massachusetts (PLSMA), which promotes the safe, humane and lawful treatment of Massachusetts prisoners.
At the reception, Leslie Walker, Executive Director of PLSMA, was able to communicate why PLSMA’s work – which the BBF helps to support – is so fundamentally important to our community. Leslie has spent the past 30 years increasing access to justice for Greater Boston’s underserved, the last 15 of which at PLSMA.
She informed the crowd that PLSMA focuses the funds it receives from the BBF on its current top priorities: access to healthcare and prevention of excessive force. She was able to share some heartrending stories about PLSMA’s clients, and impart the poignant message that while much of society writes off individuals who have committed crimes, lawyers have a unique understanding of how crucial it is to protect their rights. That’s why the BBF has supported PLSMA for more than 15 years!
Blizzards and slow public transportation didn’t stop our volunteers from getting out in the community and giving back during 2015. Take a look below for highlights from the BBA’s 2015 public service efforts:
Lawyers braved the snow and marched to the Massachusetts State House for the annual Walk to the Hill. The 2015 Walk to the Hill was more important than ever. As you may remember, the BBA Statewide Task Force to Expand Civil Legal Aid in Massachusetts released its long-awaited report in November called Investing in Justice, which found that the majority of clients seeking legal assistance are turned away and made the business case for an additional $30 million in civil legal aid funding. The Legislature appropriated $17 million to fund civil legal aid, a satisfying increase in a year marked largely by level funding.
In January 2014, the John & Abigail Adams Benefit raised over $650,000 to help to fund grants to 23 Massachusetts community organizations providing legal services in areas such as immigration, domestic violence and homelessness.
With the help of PILP 11, the BBA Reentry Education Program expanded to provide civil legal workshops to participants in the CHOICE Program at Boston Municipal Court, Roxbury. Overall, volunteers led 12 sessions with a total of 103 participants to prepare participants to address civil legal issues they may face upon reentry.
In 2015, over 160 volunteers taught 570 high school students in 12 schools about personal finance and budgeting, credit cards, and buying a car through the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program. As you may remember, the BBA partners with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court to run the program throughout the state.
The BBF’s popular Casino Night once again drew a large crowd. The event, which supports the BBA Summer Jobs Program by funding paid internships for Boston high school students in nonprofit and government agencies each summer through the program, raised more than $34,000.
This spring, 77 volunteer taught over 1,000 Boston public school students from kindergarten through seniors in high school about the importance of laws through the BBA’s Law Day in the Schools Program.
The BBA presented three public service awards to deserving recipients at the annual Law Day Dinner. Barbara Mitchell, the former Executive Director of Community Legal Services and Counseling Center, received the John G. Brooks Legal Services Award to honor her leadership and commitment to legal services; Al Wallis, the Executive Director of Brown Rudnick Center for Public Interest, received the Thurgood Marshall Award for his leadership in public interest and corporate social responsibility; and Jack Ward, the former Associate Director for Finance & Development at Greater Boston Legal Services, received the President’s Award for this leadership and guidance at Greater Boston Legal Services.
The BBF held the second annual Passports to Pairings event, where 100 % of the proceeds supported the BBA Public Service Programs. The event raise nearly $34,000, featured food and beverage pairings, and gave attendees an opportunity learn more about the BBA and BBF’s work in the community.
The BBA continued to step up its commitment to the Mayor’s Summer Jobs Program by placing a record-breaking 65 Boston high school students in paid internships at Boston law firms, legal departments, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations through the BBA Summer Jobs Program. The BBF also increased its commitment to the program by funding 15 of these paid positions at non-profit community organizations, government offices and courts.
While October is officially Pro Bono Month, the BBA celebrated pro bono all year-round. Since January 2015, the BBA has trained over 400 attorneys to take pro bono cases in a range of areas, including landlord tenant law, veterans discharge appeals, and debt collections.
The BBF held an inaugural Society of Fellows Appreciation Breakfast at the Liberty Hotel in Boston this November. The Breakfast was an opportunity to recognize members of the Society for their support of the BBF and to celebrate what their generosity has allowed the BBF to accomplish in the last year.
The Claflin Center was packed on November 12th for the Veterans Day Reception, which featured a lively speech and Q & A with Congressman Seth Moulton, a former Marine Corps Captain who served four tours in Iraq. This event aimed to build a community for servicemembers in the legal field to share common experiences and challenges.
BBA President Lisa Arrowood spent the morning observing a humanities teacher meeting, greeting students, and visiting classrooms at the Frederick Pilot Middle School in Dorchester through BPE’s Principal for a Day Program.
The BBA Lawyer Referral Service participated in a number of community events this year, including the Massachusetts Conference for Women which drew a crowd of nearly 10,000. These events help to raise awareness of about the largest public service program of the Boston Bar Association, which fielded over 7,700 calls last year.