Solana Goss – Lawyer Referral Service Intake Coordinator
For the past year, I have had the opportunity to work firsthand expanding the BBA’s Lawyer Referral Service’s reach to service members, veterans and their families through the Military & Veterans Legal Help Line. September marks the one year anniversary that the Lawyer Referral Service (LRS) has housed the help line, which was developed in 2011 to connect this underserved population with the legal resources they need. As the Intake Coordinator of the BBA’s Lawyer Referral Service, I connect hundreds of callers per week with attorneys, legal services, and community organizations. Whenever I pick up the phone and the caller identifies as a disabled veteran struggling to pay their mortgage, or an active duty military member facing family law disputes, I am reminded of the strength, courage, and dedication that these individuals put forth to serve our country. That this need exists so prevalently in our society helps motivate me to do what I can to improve access to legal services for the individuals and their families who served our nation. I leave each call remembering that there is more than we can do for veterans. Instead of just thanking veterans for their service, I am fortunate enough to show my thanks by offering and connecting them with assistance. The legal community has the opportunity to show their thanks and appreciation for the sacrifices of service members in another way – by agreeing to take cases on their behalf.
The BBA and the Lawyer Referral Service has made considerable progress through the Legal Help Line this year. Since September 2013, we have connected 340 active-duty military, veterans, and their families to lawyers and legal services, a 161% increase in the amount of individuals that we were able to serve than the year prior. The LRS maintains a panel of attorneys who are trained to understand the nuances of representing this population, and our Active Duty, Family Members and Veterans Committee is ready to address new challenges in the year ahead. Despite this great success, we still need more attorneys to take cases. If you are an attorney who wants to help support the BBA’s Military & Veterans Legal Help Line, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or the BBA’s Public Service Manager Sonia Shah at email@example.com.
The BBA has an ongoing commitment to support service members and their families…so what’s next? On September 23rd the BBA will host the first part of a two-part series to raise awareness about the critical issue of military sexual assault. U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas will be lending her expertise on the issue and her highlighting her work fighting against sexual assault in Congress. For more information and to register, click here.
We hope our readers saw this New York Times article featured in last week’s issue of BBA Week. While we appreciate the shout out to a 2012 study by the Boston Bar Association (thanks, NYT!), the article included some sobering statistics that shed light on the impact of a booming real estate market on tenants.
Here are some highlights from the article:
- Massachusetts experienced an 11 percent increase in evictions between 2010 and 2013.
- The majority of people facing evictions are people of color, people with disabilities, people who have suffered extreme health crises or a long-term chronic illness.
So, what can be done? Is there any way we can help reverse this startling trend? Well, we wouldn’t be Beyond the Billable if we didn’t offer our readers some way help solve the problem. The BBA’s Lawyer for the Day in the Boston Housing Court Program allows lawyers to give back and directly affect rising eviction rates by assisting unrepresented tenants and landlords directly on site at the Boston Housing Court on eviction day. Consider the following when reading the statistics below – the BBA’s 2012 study on Civil Right to Counsel found that renters with lawyers were two times as likely to avoid eviction than those without. So, what type of difference are we making? Since the program’s inception in 1999, volunteers have assisted more than 15,500 landlords and tenants. This year alone, volunteers assisted over 1,000 individuals.
Impressive numbers aside, there’s always more to do — and we need your help. If you are interested in helping tenants who are facing eviction, and landlords dealing with housing issues, sign up for the upcoming Landlord Tenant Pro Bono Training on October 28th from 3-6 pm at the BBA. Click here to learn more or contact BBA Public Service Programs Coordinator Katie D’Angelo at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about the program.
This past Sunday, the BBA Lawyer Referral Service (LRS) joined in the festivities at the 21st annual Cambridge Carnival International, a celebration rooted in African traditions that brings together the area’s diverse community. This year’s festival drew an estimated 150,000 people, making it the largest festival in Cambridge.
Carnival attendees who stopped by the BBA’s booth learned about the BBA and how to receive a referral from the BBA LRS, only ABA-approved lawyer referral service in the greater Boston area. This is the 4th year that the BBA staff had a booth at this event. Attending events around greater Boston is one way that the LRS reaches out to the public about services available to them, including reduced-fee referrals, attorneys who practice Limited Assistance Representation, and the Military Legal Help Line.
Take a look below for more images from the day:
To refer clients to the BBA Lawyer Referral Service, please have them call (617)742-0625 or (800)552-7046 Monday through Thursday, 8:30 am to 5:30 pm and Friday from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm. Clients can also visit us on our bilingual English/Spanish website at www.bostonbarlawyer.org to submit a request online.
We hope you’ve enjoyed following along with the BBA Summer Jobs students this summer as they learned about legal careers and gained on-the-job experience. As you know, one of the hallmarks of the BBA Summer Jobs Program is the weekly enrichment seminars. This summer, students had the opportunity to participate in a mock City Council meeting at Boston City Council chambers, a “speed dating” session where they heard from lawyers from three different backgrounds, a trip to the John Adams Courthouse, and much more. However, these enrichment seminars would not be possible without the help of dedicated volunteers who lent their expertise to educate the students about the legal field, professional development, and financial literacy.
The BBA would like to thank the following volunteers for speaking with the Summer Jobs students:
Barbara Berenson, Supreme Judicial Court
Manisha Bhatt, Greater Boston Legal Services
Hon. Cynthia Cohen, Massachusetts Appeals Court
Christopher Condon, Murphy & King, Professional Corporation
Kathleen Cruickshank, Murphy & King, Professional Corporation
Jaime d’Almeida, Duff & Phelps
Lawrence DiCara, Nixon Peabody LLP
Hon. Joan Feeney, United States Bankruptcy Court
Daniel Forster, Simmons College
Adam Foss, Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office
Pamela Lyons, Supreme Judicial Court
Alex Mattera, Demeo, LLP
Leigh McCloskey, The Bulfinch Group
Greg Pakhladzhyan, American Student Assistance
Emmanuelle Renelique, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP
Mackenzie Shea, K&L Gates LLP
Colin Van Dyke, Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.
Keri Wintle, Murtha Cullina LLP
Last week, PILP 11 had the privilege to welcome the new Corporation Counsel for the City of Boston Eugene L. O’Flaherty to 16 Beacon Street. Counselor O’Flaherty took time to talk about his career path, professional goals as Corporation Counsel, and career tips.
Counselor O’Flaherty knows a thing or two about being a successful leader. He was appointed to the role of Corporation Counsel by Mayor Martin Walsh in February 2014 after serving 17 years in the Massachusetts House of Representatives for the Second Suffolk District and practicing law for 20 years. He was just 26 years old when he was elected to the House of Representatives, and he was re-elected by his district nine times.
He left the PILP class with a few leadership take-aways:
- Take your job seriously, but not necessarily yourself
- To succeed, you must be willing to outwork your competition
- Be involved in your community
Counselor O’Flaherty ended the meeting by encouraging the PILP class to become involved in our great city.
If you’ve been reading BBA Week this summer, you’re familiar with our “Summer Jobs Snapshots,” weekly features offering both an in-depth and on-site look into what the BBA Summer Jobs students were up to this summer. If you’ve been too busy enjoying summer to catch up with our students, not a problem – we compiled all the snapshots in one place for you.
Take a trip and visit our students on site, by checking out the articles below:
- Myntah Morris mentored Lucy Pimental through Burns & Levinson LLP’s unique mentoring model for BBA Summer Jobs students. Click here to view the full article.
- Liraniz Colón and Mackaila Garcia learned about legal services through their BBF funded internship at the Volunteer Lawyers Project of the Boston Bar Association. Click here for more.
- Erik Solis gained insight into the legal field, as well at the financial advising, through his internship in the legal department of LPL Financial. Read the full article here.
- Loyanni Carvalho-Mendes, Jose Maria, Olivier Tingue, and Emily Mercado spent their summer rotating through the different departments at Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP and prepping for their MOOT Court Competition. Click here for more.
- Julia Hancock, whose position was funded by the BBF, observed court hearings at the Roxbury District Court during her internship at the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office. Click here for the full article.
We’re not the only ones who miss our BBA Summer Jobs students. Firms and law offices took to social media to express thanks and well-wishes to their departing students on Twitter. It’s easy to understand why – students were energetic, friendly, and eager to learn and help with a range of tasks in the office, including data entry, filing, and scanning.
Click below to see the employers’ social media shout outs:
The BBA Summer Jobs students bid their law offices goodbye on the final day of their eight week internships. Beyond the Billable wanted to take this opportunity to thank the employers who demonstrated their commitment to the Boston community and its future by hiring a Boston high school student.
These employers not only provided the students with a means to earn a paycheck, but they offered the students opportunities to develop professional skills and exposed the students to the legal field. If you saw this Boston Globe article last week, you know the Mayor fell short of his goal of 12,000 jobs for Boston youth. The Boston legal community should be proud that we increased our support for Boston teens by funding 64 positions this summer—up from 58 positions last year. That said, it’s clear that more can be done to support our youth and we hope the Boston legal community will continue to step up next year and provide even more summer jobs.
Take a look below at the firms who provided Boston high school students with an incredible summer experience:
Anderson & Kreiger LLP
Bingham McCutchen LLP
Boston Bar Association*
Boston Bar Foundation++
Burns & Levinson LLP*
Choate Hall & Stewart
Chu, Ring & Hazel LLP
City of Boston, Office of the Corporation Counsel *
Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP***
Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen and Loewy, LLP
Goodwin Procter LLP*
Hemenway & Barnes LLP **
Hinckley, Allen & Snyder LLP
Holland & Knight LLP
Hirsch Roberts Weinstein LLP **
Iandoli Desai & Cronin P.C.
Lynch, Brewer, Hoffman & Fink, LLP
Margolis & Bloom LLP
Meehan, Boyle, Black & Bogdanow, P.C.
Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo P.C.
Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP
Nixon Peabody LLP
Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP
Peabody & Arnold LLP **
Posternak Blankstein & Lund LLP
Prince Lobel Tye LLP
Proskauer Rose LLP
Ropes & Gray LLP*
Rosenfeld Rafik & Sullivan, P.C.
Rubin & Rudman LLP
Shaevel & Krems
Sherin & Lodgen LLP
Shilepsky Hartley Robb Casey Michon LLP
Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office
Sugarman, Rogers, Barshak & Cohen, P.C.
Sunstein Kann Murphy & Timbers LLP
Thornton & Naumes LLP
Todd & Weld LLP
Verrill Dana LLP
Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP
*Firm has committed to taking more than one student
**Firm has funded position for government or nonprofit legal office
***Firm has committed to taking four students
++This year the Boston Bar Foundation’s M. Ellen Carpenter Fund will be funding summer jobs for 14 Boston Public Highs School students at public agencies and nonprofits this summer. Learn more about the fund here.
Our loyal readers may remember Ben Haideri, who interned at the Suffolk DA’s Office through the BBA Summer Jobs Program during the past two summers and served on the Mayor’s Youth Council (see article here and here). With all his BBA experience and impressive resume, we selected Ben to speak to students, their families and employers at the BBA’s Summer Jobs Celebration. Ben’s remarks were great (no surprise there) so we felt compelled to share Ben’s takeaways from his two summers in the program. Read Ben’s speech in full, below:
“Thomas Hobbes once stated that “The law is the public conscience.” The law in general is an amazing enigma because it morphs to reflect society while at the same time being one of the few places to turn towards for an unwavering base in an ever-changing world. I personally have had the great pleasure of seeing law in live action while working with the District Attorney’s office at the Dorchester Court. Almost every day, I was able to watch all sorts of legal events from civil disputes to full trials during my time. I read through and summarized cases, ordered evidence, and much more. I also had the pleasure of seeing some of the brightest legal minds from both sides at work. Not only did I get to see the gears of the legal world turning, but I also faced the calming realization that those behind the gears at the District Attorney’s office are some of the kindest, hardest working, and most motivated people I have ever met. An example being Christina Miller, who has been a mentor of mine for the past two and a half years, since my time on the Mayor’s Youth Council. A woman whose job is about as far away from a 9-5 as possible, Ms. Miller is an Assistant District Attorney, but it does not end there. She is a leader in the Boston legal community, and dedicates much of her free time to giving back to the community as a whole in many different ways. She is a prime example of how the law doesn’t begin or end in a courtroom, rather, many times, is dictated by the temperature of a community. Because of this and through what I witnessed day in and day out at the court, I have been reminded both not to take for granted the laws that we have in place while also to keep my eyes open to the changes that are necessary for the betterment of society.
Building off of the words of Thomas Hobbes; the law is in fact dictated by the decisions that we make as a collective group, and we, in this room today, hold the future of the law in our hands and it will be our job to make sure it grows with the time while maintaining its base. We have taken our first steps thanks to the Boston Bar Association, and I know that we will maintain this upward trajectory in the years to come.”
Hat’s off to Ben for a great two years (and an excellent speech) and all the students who participated in this year’s program!
As you learned from this article last week, the BBF funded Summer Jobs students have gained essential skills and also served as valuable assets to their organizations this summer. While the students wrap up their summer jobs tomorrow, we wanted to bring you another look at what three additional BBF funded students have been up to this summer.
Student: Sarah Vuong
Employer: Massachusetts IOLTA Committee
Job Responsibilities: Sarah has been working on a number of projects with the Massachusetts IOLTA Committee, including updating the organization’s manuals and handling incoming calls from the public. Her largest project has been to assemble a historical legal services timeline by scanning press articles and documenting all media coverage of the organization from 2000 to 2006.
Sarah says: “I’ve gained an abundant amount of skills in my internship. One that is the most important was updating information for attorneys, community representatives, and a lot other individuals using the website salesforce.”
Student: Marley Goncalves
Employer: Executive Office of Health & Human Services
Job Responsibilities: At the Executive Office of Health & Human Services Marley has handled key responsibilities including archiving tort litigation files, researching cases, preparing files for court, and handling the front desk. She has also been working on a project dealing with ‘ancient’ files in order to move forward old cases.
Marley says: “Overall I like working here because I am learning about issues that I never even thought about before. Every Friday we have someone who comes to talk about their experiences, what they do, and how they came to their profession. One Friday, our guest speaker was Angela McConney Scheepers, an Administrative Magistrate for the Division of Administrative Law Appeals and former General Counsel for the Massachusetts Civil Service Commission. She talked about the challenges of her position, yet she was also inspiring.”
Student: Noime Alves
Employer: Legal Advocacy and Resource Center (LARC)
Job Responsibilities: At LARC, Noime works with the intake team where she handles tasks such as inputting information into the organization’s database, preparing documents and forms, and making calls to senior citizen clients. Noime has also provided invaluable benefits to the intake team as a result of her impressive multi-lingual abilities, by translating English to Cape Verdean Creole, Portuguese, and Spanish.
Noime says: “My favorite part of my work is translating English to Portuguese, English to Spanish, and English to Cape Verdean Creole. This summer, I also enjoyed the finance enrichment seminar we took that discussed financial aid and how to use your credit card”.