Posts Tagged: volunteer training

BBA Trains Attorneys to Help Break Cycle of Poverty

Attorneys learned how to seal CORIs at last night's pro bono training at the BBA.

Attorneys learned how to seal criminal records at last night’s pro bono training at the BBA.

Last night, attorneys packed into the Claflin Center to attend the annual Criminal Offender Record Information(CORI) training, a free, pro bono training run in collaboration with Greater Boston Legal Services. Agapi Koulouris (Department of Criminal Justice Information Services), Christina Miller (Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office), and Pauline Quirion (Greater Boston Legal Services) trained attorney to help clients from Roxbury, Dorchester and other low-income Boston Communities to seal their criminal records and break the cycle of poverty and unemployment. In exchange for attending this free training, participants are encouraged to take a pro bono case, staff the CORI help table at the Roxbury Court, or help with a community education event in Roxbury and other Boston locations to educate low income individual about their rights to seal their records.

To learn more about the BBA’s Public Service work, click here.

September Shines with Public Service Opportunities

The Boston Debate League judges' training is one of the many public service-related events taking place at the BBA this month.

The Boston Debate League judges training is one of the many public service-related events taking place at the BBA this month.

If you are interested in diving into public service this fall, Beyond the Billable has you covered. The month of September offers a number of occasions to receive specialized training and information on opportunities to get more involved in the community.

Here is a look at the upcoming events:

• Calling all new lawyers— join the New Lawyers Section for a Pro Bono Kick Off Meeting and Info Session on September 11th from 5:30-7:30 to learn how you can get more involved in public service activities through the BBA. Click here to register.

• Are you looking for a new pro bono opportunity? Attend to the CORI Training on September 16th from 3-6 pm. The training will prepare you to help clients from Roxbury, Dorchester and other low-income Boston communities to seal their records and break the cycle of poverty and unemployment. Click here to sign up.

• Learn how to be an effective volunteer judge for the Boston Debate League (BDL) at the training on September 24th from 4:30-6 pm. BDL offers busy attorneys low-commitment and meaningful volunteer opportunities. Attorneys can use their unique skills to help Boston Public High School students improve their critical thinking, public speaking, and argumentation skills. Click here to sign up for the training.

Stay tuned for more public service opportunities coming up later this fall. With Pro Bono Month fast approaching in October, the calendar will continue to fill up.

BBA Interns – Learning from Lawyers (Part Two)

Last week, you heard from three attorneys who conducted training sessions for BBA interns and Lawyer Referral Service (LRS) staff. When we asked the attorneys why they donated their time to participate, the response was overwhelming. Here’s a look at what others had to say:

Mary LeeMary Lee (Mary K.Y. Lee P.C.) conducted a training session on Landlord/Tenant and Real Estate & Law.

“Conducting this training provided a chance to help LRS staff better pinpoint, screen, and identify potential cases for the LRS attorney panel. It was fun to share with eager and engaged learners, and the experience energized the rest of that particular day. It was a wonderful reminder why I need to continuously share, because it’s part of the profession and part of my ongoing development/improvement as an attorney. I hope that I was able to convey to the interns that regardless of how much fear one is challenged with by the legal process, by not giving into that fear, the law and knowledge of the law will eventually help them resolve their problems. I think it’s important for the interns and potential clients to know that philosophy to sustain the spirit of moving forward.”

Dino SantangeloDino Santangelo (Law Office of Dino R. Santangelo) conducted a training session on Public Benefits & Social Security.

“I always enjoy being able to talk to these trainees and let them know that there is more to the learning process than just being in the classroom and that they should make the most of this experience of being able to deal with real life matters that are important to potential callers. I make a point of letting them know that they will be receiving calls from people who come from all walks of life. Some are very poor, homeless, and have never spoken to a lawyer and have difficulty in even explaining why they need a lawyer. They were told to get a lawyer and it is our job to figure out what they need and help as best we can. You have to establish a trusting relationship with client’s in order to be able to get the information needed and be able to properly represent them.”

Robert BertlingRoger Bertling (Law Offices of Roger Bertling) conducted a training session on Bankruptcy Law.

“I volunteered to conduct the training session because I believe strongly in the work that the BBA LRS staff does in assisting people who need an attorney in finding the right attorney. If I can help them in any small way do that better, that is great.

I wanted the interns to know that in this day of the internet and social media, there still is no substitute for the assistance of a capable, experienced attorney to help guide one through their legal situation. Also, as an attorney, one of the greatest satisfactions lies in determining the roots of a legal problem and devising a way to resolve it.”

Joseph Sommer (Sommer & Associates) conducted a training session on Trusts & Estates.

“Fundamental changes occurred in Massachusetts Trust and Estate law within the last two years. It is important to educate referral staff regarding changes to more effectively refer cases. Moreover, I hope to inspire referral staff and interns to become more involved in Massachusetts Trust and Estate law to better the profession. I attempted to convey the importance of versatility and transparency in the areas of Massachusetts Trust and Estate law. Versatility and transparency are important concepts that could be employed in most areas of life.”

If you are interested in becoming involved in future training sessions, please contact Solana Goss, the LRS Intake Coordinator, at sgoss@bostonbar.org.

BBA Interns – Learning from Lawyers (Part One)

Attorneys Roger Bertling & Bill McLeod discuss just how complex the Bankruptcy process can be.

Attorneys Roger Bertling ( Law Offices of Roger Bertling) & Bill McLeod (U.S. Bankruptcy Court) discussed the complexity of the bankruptcy process.

Throughout the month of July, volunteer attorneys conducted eleven training sessions at the BBA for summer interns and Lawyer Referral Service (LRS) staff about various practice areas.  We caught up with some of the volunteers to see what they had to say about their participation, and asked them why they felt motivated to volunteer their time.

Biagiotti, DanDan Biagiotti (The Legal Advocacy and Resource Center) conducted a training session on Legal Services.

“The Legal Advocacy and Resource Center works closely with the BBA LRS to make the best referrals between the programs. There are many callers to the LRS that do not have enough income to hire an attorney but that have a serious legal problem and it is important that these clients get directed to an agency that is most likely to assist them. By understanding which clients should be directed to LARC and which should be directed to another agency is a valuable service to callers who often have a very difficult time navigating the legal services delivery system. I enjoy conducting the training for these students because they bring such enthusiasm and desire to help others and learn about the legal profession.”

EngdahlRachel Engdahl (Law Office of Rachel L. Engdahl) conducted a session on Family Law

“Family Law is an exciting and changing field of law. I am inspired to see young people interested and proactive in learning about the process and daily practice. It is never too early to get involved and begin meaningful relationships.”


Kavaja

Ilir Kavaja (Kavaja Law) conducted a training session on Criminal Law.

“One thing in particular that I enjoyed sharing and talking about with the trainees was the importance of helping all those in need of legal representation, regardless of the ability to afford full, or partial legal fees. I shared this tidbit with the interns because it is a cornerstone of my legal philosophy; “Justice Above All”!”

 

Stay tuned for part two of the LRS intern training sessions.

If you are interested in becoming involved in future training sessions, please contact Solana Goss, the LRS Intake Coordinator, at sgoss@bostonbar.org.

Law Day in the Schools Volunteers Gear Up for Upcoming Sessions

A number of Law Day in the Schools volunteers gathered in the Adam’s room at the BBA on Wednesday, April 24th to learn more about the program curriculum and to gain helpful tips during the training. Thirty-nine BBA volunteers are already scheduled to teach Boston Public High School students in seven schools about gender equality in the workplace.

Dara Kesselheim (Suffolk County District Attorney's Office) discussed ways to engage elementary school students during the activity to help them learn about equality.

Dara Kesselheim (Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office) discussed ways to engage elementary school students during the activity to help them learn about equality.

Matt Welnicki (Melick & Porter, LLP), Dara Kesselheim( Suffolk County District Attorney's Office), and Emily Hodge (Choate Hall & Stewart LLP) led the Law Day in the Schools Training at the BBA on Wednesday.

Matt Welnicki (Melick & Porter LLP), Dara Kesselheim( Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office), and Emily Hodge (Choate Hall & Stewart LLP) led the Law Day in the Schools Training at the BBA on Wednesday.

To learn more about how to get involved in the program, please contact Katie D’Angelo, Public Service Programs Coordinator, at kdangelo@bostonbar.org.

Volunteer for the Law Day in the Schools Program

Are you interested in teaching Boston public school students about equality? Volunteer for the 2013 Law Day in the Schools Program on May 1st, 2nd, or 3rd. Lawyers can visit classrooms throughout city, teaching elementary, middle school and high school students about the 2013 ABA theme, “Realizing the Dream: Equality for All.” The BBA provides volunteers with all the written materials for the Program and you can volunteer in pairs.

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Volunteer Emily Hodge (Choate Hall & Stewart LLP) leads students through a mock trial at Josiah Quincy Elementary School during the 2012 Law Day in the Schools Program.

Thank you Jennifer Ryan

A second grade student thanks a volunteer for teaching her about the constitution and helping create classroom rules.

If you are interested in volunteering, please review the available volunteer sessions on our website here. To learn more about curriculum and how to effectively teach the meetings, attend the Law Day in the Schools training April 24th from 8:30-9:30 am. You can sign up for the training here.

For more information on the program, please contact Katie D’Angelo, Public Service Programs Coordinator, at kdangelo@bostonbar.org. 

This program is funded by the Francis S. Moran Fund of the Boston Bar Foundation.

Pro Bono Limited Assistance Representation Makes Waves in Boston Housing Court

It’s Thursday morning in the Boston Housing Court, which can only mean one thing – the halls are crowded with landlords and tenants involved in eviction cases. One table in particular, staffed by volunteers from the BBA’s Lawyer for a Day in the Housing Court, seems particularly jam-packed. It’s no wonder. In 2012 BBA volunteers and their partners assisted more than 1,000 litigants.

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You may be asking yourselves how our volunteer lawyers have the time to reach so many people each and every Thursday. The answer — through Pro Bono Limited Assistance Representation (LAR). The Boston Housing Court authorized the use of LAR in November 2010, which allows attorneys to appear in court on a limited basis without assuming full representation of the client and all the legal issues that may be related to the legal matter. The benefit is threefold: lawyers who may not have the time to take entire pro bono cases can still assist those in need, LAR provides an opportunity for attorneys to gain valuable courtroom experience and most importantly, and more people with unresolved legal issues that require representation are getting the help they need.

We think the impact of LAR is clear, but don’t just take it from us:



Winik, JeffreyLAR provides an important legal service to many unrepresented litigants who appear in the Boston Housing Cou
rt. LAR attorneys represent these litigants on a specific limited matter (that sometimes enables the litigant to resolve the case that day). Attorneys entering LAR appearances gain valuable practical courtroom experience arguing a discrete matter before a judge without having to enter a full appearance. LAR attorneys have been able to acquire new fee paying clients (or new clients with claims that allow for statutory attorney fees) base upon their limited appearances.– Hon. Jeffrey Winik, Boston Housing Court Department of the Trial Court

Allison, JoannaLAR gets attorneys in the courtroom with clients–so much more effective and powerful than just giving the client advice. Because the attorney is obligated only for that one event of the case, s/he can commit to courtroom advocacy without taking on a case for full representation case that does not fit in their schedule or their practice.–Joanna Allison, Volunteer Lawyers Project of the Boston Bar Association.

If you want to learn more about the BBA Lawyer for a Day in the Boston Housing Court please clear here. If you are interested in becoming LAR certified, please click here.

A Sneak Peek of the Year Ahead

As 2012 comes to a close, we begin to shift our focus to the New Year with anticipation. For those of you looking to get more involved and give back to the Greater Boston Community in 2013, the BBA is offering a number of public service trainings and programs in January to give you a head start. Here are a few ways you can get involved:

•    Receive Limited Assistance Referral Certification at the training on January 9th from 3-4:30 pm. You can sign up for the certification here. This program will certify participants as LAR attorneys and teach them the basics on going into court for a single event in a case. The training will be followed by two separate breakout sessions on Family and Probate Law and Land Court. You can sign up for the Probate and Family Court session here or the Land Court session here.

•    Attend the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program training on January 14th from 4-6 pm. The program is partnership between the BBA and the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Massachusetts and teaches high school students how to make smart financial decisions. This opportunity offers volunteers of all backgrounds an opportunity to get involved in the community by teaching classes on topics that include personal finance, budgeting and using credit. The time commitment is just a few hours but the impact on these students is substantial. Sign up for the training here; however, the training is not mandatory.

•    Join the New Lawyers and Tax Sections for an accelerated training session for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program on January 16th from 4-8 pm. The program is coordinated locally by the Boston Earned Income Tax Credit Coalition and annually trains volunteers to prepare income tax returns for low income taxpayers at community sites in the greater Boston area. No previous experience is required and non-attorneys are welcome to participate. Please note that volunteers will need to complete the certification test separately. Please sign up for the training here.

•    Learn how to build your practice while helping your community at the upcoming “Building Your Practice Through Pro Bono” event on January 23rd from 12:30- 1:30 pm. Please sign up here.

•    Join the Bankruptcy Public Service Committee for the Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Training on January 24th from 4-7 pm. The program will cover the basics of preparing and filing a Chapter 7 consumer bankruptcy case for a pro bono debtor. The topics covered will include pre-filing considerations, preparation of the petition, schedules and statements, the 341 meeting of creditors, practice pointers and advice about handling a pro bono consumer bankruptcy case. Please sign up here.

For more information on the programs, please contact Katie D’Angelo, Public Service Programs Coordinator at kdangelo@bostonbar.org.

Public Service Year in Photos

In January 2012, the John & Abigail Adams Benefit raised over $600,000. That amount helped to fund grants to 24 Massachusetts community organizations providing legal services in areas such as immigration, domestic violence and homelessness.

Volunteer lawyers and law students help unrepresented tenants and landlords with a range of services, from information, and advice for full representation in eviction proceedings.  Since May 1999, an estimated 12,000 volunteers have assisted more than 14,700 individuals. Joanna Allison Staff Attorney at the Volunteer Lawyers Project and Chris Saccardi, Law Office of Christopher T. Saccardi at the Boston Housing Court.

At the BBA Lawyer for a Day in the Boston Housing Court, volunteer lawyers and law students helped unrepresented tenants and landlords with a range of services — from information and advice to full representation in eviction proceedings. Since May 1999, an estimated 12,000 volunteers have assisted more than 14,700 individuals. Joanna Allison Staff Attorney at the Volunteer Lawyers Project and Chris Saccardi, Law Office of Christopher T. Saccardi at the Boston Housing Court.

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley spoke to East Boston High School students as part of the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program, a joint program of the Boston Bar Association and the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley spoke to East Boston High School students as part of the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program, a joint program of the Boston Bar Association and the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

Emily Hodge, Choate, Hall & Stewart, teaches students about the importance of due process and access to justice at the Josiah Quincy Elementary School. In May 2012, 28 volunteers taught 580 students at 5 different schools about the field of law.

Emily Hodge, Choate, Hall & Stewart LLP, as part of Law Day in the Schools taught students about the importance of due process and access to justice at the Josiah Quincy Elementary School. In May 2012, 28 volunteers taught 580 students at 5 different schools about the field of law.

The Lawyer Referral Service (LRS), is the BBA’s largest public service program, with a specific commitment to reaching historically underserved populations. The LRS Program connects callers in need of legal assistance with qualified help from private attorneys, legal services agencies, government offices and community programs.

The Lawyer Referral Service (LRS), is the BBA’s largest public service program, with a specific commitment to reaching historically underserved populations. The LRS Program connects callers in need of legal assistance with qualified help from private attorneys, legal services agencies, government offices and community programs.

In its ninth year of producing young public interest leaders, the Public Interest Leadership Program selected an outstanding class of 14 up-and-coming leaders from the largest-ever applicant pool. The 2012-2013 class of the BBA's Public Interest Leadership Program. L-R: Omar F. Gonzalez-Pagan, Staci Rubin, Benton B. Bodamer, Christopher T. Saccardi, Eric A. Haskell, Julia E. Devanthéry, Jacqueline Silva Anchondo, Emily F. Hodge, Meghan D. H. Walsh Raquel Webster and Daniel M. Routh

In its ninth year of producing young public interest leaders, the Public Interest Leadership Program selected an outstanding class of 14 up-and-coming leaders from the largest-ever applicant pool. The 2012-2013 class of the BBA’s Public Interest Leadership Program. L-R: Omar F. Gonzalez-Pagan, Staci Rubin, Benton B. Bodamer, Christopher T. Saccardi, Eric A. Haskell, Julia E. Devanthéry, Jacqueline Silva Anchondo, Emily F. Hodge, Meghan D. H. Walsh Raquel Webster and Daniel M. Routh.

The Mayor’s Youth Council, a partnership between the BBA, Mayor’s Office and Northeastern University, gives young people the opportunity to reach out to other Boston teens. The BBA provides the Mayor’s Youth Council lawyer-mentors. Lisa Goodheart, Past President of the BBA with Mayor Thomas M. Menino at the 2012 Mayor’s Youth Council Reception at Northeastern University.

The Mayor’s Youth Council, a partnership between the BBA, the Mayor’s Office and Northeastern University, gives young people the opportunity to reach out to other Boston teens. The BBA provides the Mayor’s Youth Council lawyer-mentors. Lisa Goodheart, Past President of the BBA with Mayor Thomas M. Menino at the 2012 Mayor’s Youth Council Reception at Northeastern University.

Larry DiCara, a partner at Nixon Peabody and former member and president of the Boston City Council conducts a mock City Council hearing with the 2012 Summer Jobs students. L-R: Tatenda Mundeke, Aubrey Griffin, Raymond Cen, Ashley Dixon, and Samantha Argon.

Larry DiCara, a partner at Nixon Peabody and former President of the Boston City Council conducted a mock City Council hearing with the 2012 Summer Jobs students. L-R: Tatenda Mundeke, Aubrey Griffin, Raymond Cen, Ashley Dixon, and Samantha Argon.

At the 4th Annual Pro Bono Fair for Attorneys and Law Students sponsored by BBA and the Rappaport Center for Law and Public Service, Sarah Sherman-Stokes of the Political Asylum/Immigration Representation Project, a Boston Bar Foundation Grantee, explains the pro bono opportunities available in Greater Boston.

At the 4th Annual Pro Bono Fair for Attorneys and Law Students sponsored by BBA and the Rappaport Center for Law and Public Service, Sarah Sherman-Stokes of the Political Asylum/Immigration Representation Project, a Boston Bar Foundation Grantee, explained the pro bono opportunities available in Greater Boston.

BBA President James D. Smeallie talks to 8th and 9th graders at Quincy Upper School during the Principal for A Day program on Tuesday, November 13th. The program allowed public and private sector leaders to better understand the improvements and remaining challenges in the Boston public school system.

BBA President James D. Smeallie talked with 8th and 9th graders at Quincy Upper School during the Principal for A Day program on Tuesday, November 13th. The program allowed public and private sector leaders to better understand improvements and remaining challenges in the Boston public school system.

Steve Stein, Executive Director of Boston Debate League conducts a training for BBA volunteers to be judges at debate tournaments. The BBA entered a partnership with Boston Debate League earlier this year.

Steve Stein, Executive Director of Boston Debate League trained BBA volunteers to be judges at debate tournaments. The BBA entered into a partnership with Boston Debate League earlier this year.

BBA Past President Renee Landers (Suffolk Law School) presented GLAD Civil Rights Project Director Mary Bonauto and Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley with the Beacon Award honoring Diversity & Inclusion for their work as lawyers in advancing same sex marriage. The Boston Bar Association’s third annual Beacon Award for Diversity & Inclusion took place on November 13 at the Liberty Hotel in Boston.

BBA Past President Renee Landers (Suffolk Law School) presented GLAD Civil Rights Project Director Mary Bonauto and Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley with the Beacon Award honoring Diversity & Inclusion for their work as lawyers in advancing same sex marriage. The Boston Bar Association’s third annual Beacon Award for Diversity & Inclusion took place on November 13 at the Liberty Hotel in Boston.

The Rewards of Pro Bono Cases

Over the past ten years I have represented about a dozen debtors pro bono in Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases referred to me through the Volunteer Lawyers Project.  The cases have ranged from the simplest of no asset cases to more complicated matters involving the threat of liens on a debtor’s residence or failed business.  With the help of the Boston Bar Association Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Pro Bono Volunteer Lawyer Training, you could take on these cases too.

A VLP referral is an excellent way for a lawyer just starting out to gain the experience of handling a bankruptcy case from start to finish.  The trustees know from statements filed by the attorney that the representation is pro bono (and I usually state specifically that it is a VLP referral), and they try to be accommodating.   The first three § 341 meetings I did (where a debtor is examined by the Chapter 7 trustee) were all pro bono cases.  It was eye opening to watch the trustees question debtors as they go through the fifty cases they can be assigned in one five hour day (yes, that is an average of six minutes per § 341 meeting).

Once I had a debtor who got sick soon after the bankruptcy filing.  The trustee agreed to conduct the § 341 meeting by telephone, from the debtor’s hospital bed.  I went to the hospital with a notary who could administer the oath to the debtor, and we proceeded.  I am sure the nurses and others around us were puzzled as to what was going on.

Most of all, though, I have found pro bono debtors to be the most grateful and appreciative of clients I have had.  I have often received thank you notes or small gifts, something that doesn’t seem to happen much with my paying clients.  I still remember the thank you note from one of my first clients, which in addition to expressing how pleased he was told me that he had made arrangements for a special novena to be said in church on my behalf.

This program is supported by the Boston Bar Foundation’s Charles P. Normandin Fund, which is dedicated to supporting the public service activities of the Boston Bar Association Bankruptcy Section.

Adam Ruttenberg is a Partner at Looney & Grossman, LLP. Adam is a Co-chair of the Boston Bar Association Bankruptcy Public Service Committee.