In two months, Boston public high school students will gather at the BBA on the morning of their first day of a 7-week summer internship. Each of the students applied to the program hoping to gain insight into the legal profession while honing critical office skills. Throughout July and August they will work with attorneys and office staff assisting with general administrative tasks such as data entry and front desk coverage, as well as more specialized project including translation. Over 20 firms and law offices have already pledged to hire a student this summer, but there’s still time for your office to come on board.
The BBA’s Summer Jobs Program is one of many programs partnering with Mayor Walsh’s Summer Jobs Initiative, which aims to employ over 10,000 Boston teens each summer. However, it is the only opportunity available to BPS students interested in pursuing a legal career, and these opportunities wouldn’t be possible without the commitment of numerous firms, in-house departments, government agencies, courts, and legal services organizations.
To learn more about how to hire a
student this summer or if you’d like to donate to support a student’s position
at a non-profit or government agency contact Cassandra Shavney at firstname.lastname@example.org by May 15th.
To learn more about the M. Ellen
Carpenter Fund which supports projects benefitting Boston’s Youth including the
Summer Jobs program, click
here or contact Erica Southerland at email@example.com
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.
At the Boston Private Industry Council (PIC) Annual Meeting last week, attendees heard Boston Public Schools Superintendent Tommy Chang, Chief of Economic Development for the City of Boston John Barros and GE Foundation President Ann Klee express the importance of connecting young people with employment opportunities.
The BBA is proud to have partnered with Boston PIC for the past 23 years on the mayor’s Summer Jobs Campaign. In our copy of PIC’s annual report, we were pleased to find that the BBA is sixth on the list of PIC’s top employers.
This year, we placed 58 students with more than 40 employers for the summer. They picked up many new skills in the offices of law firms, legal services organizations, and even here at the BBA. Thanks to funding from the Boston Bar Foundation, 10 organizations were able to employ a student at no cost to them, a benefit to some of our employers that are legal services organizations, government agencies, or courts.
In order to adequately prepare teens for the kinds of jobs that are available and desirable today, the team at the PIC has broadened the training students complete before they apply for a summer job, School-to-Career Director Josh Bruno said.
Before, career specialists focused on getting students through the interview process with flying colors – conducting mock interviews and building resumes. Now, students also receive a crash course in using common computer programs like Microsoft Office. The PIC also does an assessment of each student to determine his or her interests and strengths. For example, bilingual students in the BBA’s Summer Jobs program were able to assist with translating documents and promotional materials.
Bruno said one of the biggest benefits of the BBA’s program is that students are exposed not only to an office environment, but to enrichment seminars meant to promote career exploration and critical thinking.
“The orientation, morning meetings with attorneys, and field trips to places like the State House and the courthouses show students that the BBA is not just made up of lawyers. There are a lot of other jobs that keep the legal system running. All of that builds a student up and gets him or her thinking about their choices for their future career,” he said.
For more information on the BBA Summer Jobs Program or the work of the Boston Private Industry Council, please contact Cassandra Shavney at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To begin one of their final enrichment seminars of the summer, our Summer Jobs students filed through security, rode the courthouse elevators and took their places in the courtroom to watch a bankruptcy case unfold.
The court session may have been a mock proceeding, but the goal was to teach the students real lessons about the consequences failing to meet financial obligations.
Janet Bostwick, a longtime co-chair of the BBA’s Financial Literacy Program, offered narration as other attorneys acted out the parts of a debtor, trustee and creditor in two hypothetical scenarios. Hon. Joan Feeney, who welcomes Financial Literacy participants into her courtroom multiple times throughout the year, walked students through a mock session in which a creditor repossessed a debtor’s car.
Both Bostwick and Judge Feeney emphasized that most debtors are law-abiding people who fall behind, and not criminals. During the play-acted scenarios, the debtors racked up interest on credit card bills or fell behind on car payments. Judge Feeney explained that bankruptcy exists so that people failing to make ends meet don’t have to spend time in prison.
“Bankruptcy is meant to be a fresh start for the honest but unfortunate debtor,” Judge Feeney said, quoting the decision in Grogan v. Garner.
Students asked insightful questions about the process. One student asked how a bankruptcy trustee acquires the money to pay back creditors if the person filing for bankruptcy has no money. When asked what the hypothetical debtors could have done differently, students observed that they could have done more to save, spent less money on frivolous items, and paid more than the minimum on their credit card statements.
Hon. Serge Georges Jr. (Boston Municipal Court, Dorchester Division) once again helped us commemorate another successful season of the BBA Summer Jobs Program. In his keynote speech to our Summer Jobs Students at a celebration for them last week, Judge Georges clued them in on traits that are essential to being successful in the legal profession.
“The two things that I hope you all develop are empathy and resilience,” he said.
The students will need empathy in order to understand the challenges other people are facing, Judge Georges said. Lawyers and other professionals are often tasked with helping other people, but Judge Georges emphasized the importance of compassion beyond professional obligations.
Resilience is required, he said, because other people will not always show the same compassion. But Judge Georges reassured students that they will be successful if they hold true to their values.
“You will realize that what you accomplish just doesn’t matter if you don’t care about each other,” he said.
BBA President-elect Carol Starkey, who assumes the presidency next week, emceed the ceremony addressing attorneys and other personnel from the law firms who hired students this year.
Ben Tayag, the Celebration’s Student Speaker, said that he learned that “all jobs are what you make of them.” He said the Summer Jobs Program taught him that even small tasks represent opportunities to learn more and hone your skills.
“Moving forward, I will be more prepared for other internships and jobs I may have,” he said.
He also thanked his office at Holland & Knight for making him feel welcome and always taking the time to explain something new.
Starkey summed up another amazing year of the Summer Jobs Program when, at the end of her speech, she said, “Our future looks bright, don’t you think?”
For their last enrichment seminar of the summer, the students in the BBA Summer Jobs Program got to tour the three branches of government by going behind the scenes at the Massachusetts State House and the John Adams Courthouse, which houses the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.
The students had a few favorite oddities about which they asked many questions – including the “sacred cod” in the House of Representatives’ chambers, a large fish that hangs from the ceiling. But they also asked many insightful questions about the process of passing a bill through the Legislature and signing it into law. At the courthouse, students got to try out the chairs used by the Supreme Judicial Court Justices.
The students demonstrated the knowledge they have gained about the legal system in their summer positions. When asked about the function of the appeals court, one student replied that its function is to “go back over cases and look for a mistake.”
At the State House, students enjoyed the Great Hall, where flags from cities and towns in Massachusetts hang. At the courthouse, they showed a lot of interest in the Sacco and Vanzetti trial, which resulted in two Italian immigrants being convicted for a murder they may or may not have committed. The two men were put to death.
When one student asked why the court would choose to commemorate that trial in spite of its negative implications for the justice system, she started a conversation between students and the tour guide about what lessons could be gleaned from the infamous case.
This group of Summer Jobs students was the first to take a combined tour of both buildings, and they said it was a worthwhile experience. We will definitely be back next summer!
Alicia Zhang, a recent graduate of Boston Latin School, knew for sure last summer that her dream is to become an attorney. This summer, at Peabody & Arnold, she feels she is taking one step closer to that goal.
Whether the task at hand is observing a hearing in court or helping to rearrange the firm’s library, Alicia said spending time at Peabody & Arnold has helped her better understand workplace dynamics at an office job. While her previous experience working at a popular downtown café bustled with activity, this summer job has given her practical experience that she hopes to apply to her career someday, she said.
“Being in court is really different from what you see on TV,” she said. “It’s not as dramatic as I thought it would be. But I really feel like I am getting to learn more about the field of law.”
Alicia said she has fun working with the legal secretaries because she enjoys learning more about cases, especially trials, by reading the notes. The area of law to which she has had the most exposure to so far – insurance law – is not where she wants to focus in her own career, but Alicia said she has enjoyed getting to see the workings of the firm from a variety of perspectives.
“I like how I get to work for a lot of different departments, like human resources and accounting,” she said. “I definitely feel more comfortable than when I started with talking to people and asking what I can do to help.”
Alicia is headed to Washington University in St. Louis in the Fall, where she is considering majoring in psychology and international relations. She hopes that this will put her on the path to law school, something she learned more about at the first Summer Jobs Program enrichment seminar she attended two weeks ago. The session focused on the steps students typically take on their journey to the bar exam.
“[The seminar] was great because it really helped me create a loose track in my mind of what I want to do in college,” she said.
In her application, Alicia talked about how much personal meaning it held for her when she volunteered to assist Somali refugees in Maine last summer. The stories they told her, along with her own family’s story of pursuing the “American dream,” make her want to be a lawyer.
“Striving to serve others and provide them justice is extremely important,” she wrote. “My work this summer will be just a foot in the door into my future career. I hope someday I will completely cross that threshold.”
Last Thursday, the Boston Bar Foundation (BBF)’s Society of Fellows held its annual summer reception at 16 Beacon Street to celebrate the important work in our community that it helps make possible. Comprised of more than 400 of Boston’s leading attorneys, the Society of Fellows comes together several times throughout the year to mingle with friends and colleagues while learning more about the programs they are supporting as Fellows. Click here to see photos from last Thursday’s reception.
Brent Henry (Partners Healthcare), Lonnie Powers (Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation), Carol Starkey (Conn Kavanaugh) and Matthew McTygue (Locke Lord)
BBF President Lisa Goodheart gave a few remarks about the Society’s pivotal role in enabling the BBF to hit a major milestone: $1 million in legal services grants in the year ahead, with more than 50 percent of this funding coming from BBF fundraising and the minority coming from IOLTA.
“I am pleased to share the exciting news that the BBF will be granting $1 million in the upcoming year to 21 community organizations that work to provide legal services to those in need,” Lisa said. “More than half of this $1 million comes directly from BBF funds, and this incredible level of support from the BBF would not be possible without the support of all of you.”
In addition to funding this $1 million in grants to legal services organizations, the BBF funds all of the pro bono and public service initiatives of the Boston Bar Association (BBA).
The Society’s guest of honor for the evening was Cinique Weekes, an alumnus of the BBA’s Summer Jobs Program who is now a fifth-grade literacy teacher in his native Dorchester. Cinique participated in the Summer Jobs Program – which provides unique educational and professional opportunities for nearly 60 diverse youth in Boston each year – for two summers during his high school years.
Through the Summer Jobs Program, Cinique spent one summer at the firm that is now Sunstein Kann Murphy & Timbers and one the at the U.S. District Court. After graduating from Boston College, he joined Teach for America to work as a full-time teacher while simultaneously completing his Master’s degree in Teaching and Curriculum from Boston University. He spoke to the crowd about the formative impact the Summer Jobs Program had on his life.
Summer Jobs Program alumnus Cinique Weekes tells the crowd about his success in teaching.
“I want to emphasize the importance of [the Summer Jobs] Program, because programs like this and others allowed me to become a thinker, a dreamer and someone won’t take no for an answer,” Cinique told a rapt audience. “Programs like this allowed me to be who I wanted to be and open the doors for me to still grow, and I hope that 10 years from now my students can say they are a part of this organization and organizations like it because Mr. Weekes gave them the courage to shine… Thank you to the donors and supporters that make this possible.”
Timothy Murphy (Sunstein Kann Murphy & Timbers) and Cinique Weekes.
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.
At our Summer Jobs Orientation this week, we were pleased to meet all of our Summer Jobs students in person. We all know that getting a new job involves a lot of paperwork, and everyone has faced a learning curve adapting to their new surroundings at work.
We strive to help students by making sure they have a professional headshot, providing training on business etiquette, and assisting them with many human resources tasks. The students were enthusiastic and receptive, and we are looking forward to the official Summer Jobs kickoff next week!
For more information about the program, please click here.
We have been talking a lot about our Summer Jobs Program, and now that the students have come together for their orientation, we wanted to share a little bit about them.
When applications start coming in, we are always excited to learn more about the students. Their backgrounds contribute to their unique talents and skill sets. Many of our students are bilingual, and some have exposure to the technical skills they will need at an office job through their coursework or hobbies.
To us, an employer’s commitment to a Summer Jobs student represents their commitment to the future of our community, and we are glad to know that our students represent so many facets of the city of Boston.
The goal of Mayor Martin J. Walsh’s summer jobs initiative is to give as many teens as possible the opportunity to gain knowledge and earn money as seasonal employees, and the BBA is proud to have secured jobs for 58 of those students this year!