Monthly Archives: July 2013
Last week, the BBA’s Public Interest Leaders had the pleasure of meeting with the Corporation Counsel for the City of Boston, William Sinnott. As Corporation Counsel, Bill oversees all lawyers and legal matters for the city. With his previous experience as an Assistant District Attorney, Assistant U.S. Attorney and a decorated retired Colonel in the Marine Corps Reserves, Bill was an excellent resource to the PILP’ers and is a prime example of leadership and service to the community. The meeting gave the class the opportunity to both learn more about Bill’s unique career path, as well bounce ideas off of him as they start to brainstorm on their own programming initiatives.
Beyond the Billable asked PILP10 member Andrea Brown, Assistant Corporation Counsel, to comment on the PILP class’ meeting with her boss, Bill Sinnott:
“He encouraged us as attorneys to strive continuously to learn and to evolve in our careers by always having a 10-year plan in mind. He also urged us to stay active with the BBA, where many lasting friendships and networking opportunities are created. It was helpful to be inspired by his example of public service and to get his input on potential project ideas.”
Stay tuned for more updates on PILP and what this class has in store for the year ahead.
As you know, the BBA is dedicated to addressing the legal needs of our military personnel, veterans, and their families through programs such as Yellow Ribbon Events and the Military Hotline. In light of that, Beyond the Billable thought this BBA Week article would be of particular interest to our readers. The article highlights two of the volunteer BBA attorneys who provided legal assistance to the 250 Coast Guard personnel at the pre-deployment Yellow Ribbon event in Quincy.
For more information on how to get involved in the BBA’s Veteran’s Initiative, please contact Katie D’Angelo, Public Service Programs Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This morning, an ordinance filed by the Mayor about a curfew for young people under the age of 17 was hotly debated in the Boston City Council Chambers. The Commission on the Affairs of the Elderly, the Association of Main Street Businesses, the Mayor’s Youth Council, and Pediatricians for Peace presented their positions to the City Council Committee, which after deliberating, voted against the curfew for teenagers.
Surprised you didn’t hear about this issue in the local news? Don’t be — this was an enrichment exercise for the BBA Summer Jobs students, who debated a pretend ordinance to learn more about the legislative process. Larry DiCara, a partner at Nixon Peabody and former president and member of the Boston City Council, led the session and gave the students a firsthand look at how City Council makes decisions. We asked Larry to discuss the value of the seminar:
“Young people need to understand the importance of the legislative process. They also need to be aware of the role which interest groups play in advancing the passage of legislation. Playing the role of the Commission on the Affairs of the Elderly might not be easy for high school juniors, but is essential to their grasping how democracy works.”
After the seminar, Beyond the Billable caught up with a couple of students after the session to hear about their experience.
David Lozano, a rising senior at Boston Latin Academy and intern at Nixon Peabody, played the Council President.
“I think it was really cool to use the room. Even if the mock City Council meeting was not real, it is a good representation of what really happens. Debating the issue showed that City Council’s decisions aren’t based on one person’s position but that decisions are based on a lot of deliberation.
Julia Pan, a rising junior at Boston Latin Academy and intern at Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP, provided a spirited performance as the representative for the Commission on the Affairs of the Elderly.
“[The enrichment seminar] was really interactive and I liked that I got to participate throughout the session. Larry really engaged all of the students.”
Here are a few more highlights from the morning:
Next week, the students travel to another offsite enrichment seminar at the Supreme Judicial Court.
Are you a former debater looking to get more involved in the community? Beyond the Billable has the perfect volunteer opportunity for you — the Boston Debate League (BDL) is seeking mentors for the 2013-2014 program year. As a mentor, you will attend a weekly, after school debate practice and work with debaters to cultivate public speaking, critical thinking, and analytical skills.
So why get involved? Academic debate teams have a significant impact on the future of the participants. According to BDL, nearly 100% of students who participate in an urban debate league graduate from high school and more than 80% graduate from a four-year college.
Beyond the Billable reached out to current BBA mentor Stephanie Hoeplinger for a firsthand perspective of this volunteer opportunity.
What was your experience volunteering as a Boston Debate League mentor?
“I originally chose to volunteer as a mentor because I wanted to get more involved in the community. I am a big proponent of public schools, so I thought it would be a great fit. I think that, for me, it was a great volunteer experience because I got to see the kids grow and develop over the debate season, so for others looking for a long-term volunteer activity it is a great choice, as the ability to work with a group of kids throughout the year is really rewarding.”
Why do you think lawyers make good debate mentors?
“Lawyers are uniquely qualified to serve as mentors because of our skills as debaters — it is basically what we do in court on a daily basis. Students argue their side and even to cross-examine the other team. I think lawyers, in particular, can help them to think of good questions to ask and can push them to think about the issues in varying ways.”
For more information on how to volunteer, please contact Katie D’Angelo, Public Service Programs Coordinator, at email@example.com.
This morning, BBA Summer Jobs students participated in “Buying a Car,” a module of the BBA’s M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program. This module is just one session of the four part program, which teaches high school students about the importance of making informed decisions regarding their finances. The program has set records this year, reaching more than 1,300 students across Massachusetts. Here’s another incredible stat: the program provided financial literacy education to more students during the 2013 program year than it reached in all of its previous years combined, 2005-2012. This incredible growth is thanks to the BBA’s volunteers and the quality of its programming.
Here is what she had to say about this morning’s session:
“The session had me thinking about all of the possible expenses when buying a car including gas, insurance, and the payments. I’m not saying I won’t buy a car, but I now know that I need to be more financial stable before purchasing one.”
In mid-August, the Summer Jobs students will visit the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the final module—Consequences—to learn about the repercussions of poor financial decision-making.
After her sophomore year at Boston Latin School, Alexandra Williams landed her first office job as a summer intern at Holland & Knight through the BBA’s 2008 Summer Jobs Program. Now a rising senior at Georgetown University majoring in operations and information management, Alexandra again connected with the BBA to procure a summer job – but in a new role. She is interning with the BBA’s finance department this summer, compiling data for the Statewide Task Force to Expand Civil Legal Aid in Massachusetts launched by BBA President J.D. Smeallie earlier this year.
Beyond the Billable sat down to talk to Alexandra about her Summer Jobs experience and the impact of the program. She explained that was the first time that she worked in a professional setting with adults:
“I remember being scared before my first day because it was my first office job working with adults. [The Holland & Knight employees] treated me like a regular employee. It gave me more confidence because no one was treating me like a child anymore. That confidence not only helped me that summer, but as I went on to college and worked at other jobs and internships.”
Alexandra is yet another example of the lasting impact of the program on the students’ professional experiences—even outside of the field of law. After another legal internship, Alexandra decided that becoming a lawyer was not the right career choice for her. Nevertheless, the program helped prepare her for her future professional and academic endeavors by giving her confidence early in her career.
For the record, Alexandra stills calls Holland & Knight her favorite job and highlighted the benefit of participating in the program’s enrichment seminars while working throughout the summer.
After hiring Alexandra this summer, the BBA can personally attest to the quality of the students that the program produces.
After their first three days of work, the 58 Summer Jobs students returned to 16 Beacon for their first enrichment seminar on student loans. Daniel Forster, the Director of Student Financial Services at Simmons College, spoke with the students about the financial aid process, sources of aid, and how financial need is determined. The students had the opportunity to ask questions about their own financial aid packages and financial concerns.
When asked why the segment was helpful, Allysha Pierre, a Summer Jobs student interning at Wolf, Greenfield, & Sacks and rising college freshman, explained that “you don’t know what you’re getting into when you go to college. The more information you know about students loans, the better prepared you can be for the future.” After talking to Forster about her specific financial aid situation, she told Beyond the Billable that she feels better prepared to contact her financial aid advisor and discuss how to lower her unmet need.
Like Allysha, many of the students in the program will be attending college in the fall or plan to attend after they complete high school. In combination with the financial literacy sessions, this seminar aims to prepare students to make educated financial decision about paying for their higher education.
This past year, Christina Miller (Suffolk District Attorney’s Office) and Ed Gorman (Law Office of Ed Gorman) served as mentors for the group of Boston Public High School juniors and seniors who have been selected to represent their neighborhoods in the Mayor’s Youth Council. In their role as mentors, Miller and Gorman helped guide students thought their program goals and develop skills in various capacities including executing and leading meetings. The BBA has co-sponsored the Mayor’s Youth Council with the Mayor’s Office and Northeastern University since 1994.
Beyond the Billable asked Miller about her favorite moment of the year. Here’s what she had to say:
“I have so many favorite moments that it is difficult to pick just one. If I have to pick, it would be the time I conducted a mock interview for a student who is on the Mayor’s Youth Council. She came across as shy at first and minimized her achievements. Instead of minimizing, we worked on her maximizing her experiences. She worked on positively presenting her work and how that work contributed to the public and made her a better leader. We worked on her handshake and posture, as well as other markers of confidence. She reported that she felt great about the interview and felt more confidently about herself – focusing on maximizing! It felt great to help her find the confidence within herself.”
For more information on the Mayor’s Youth Council, please contact Katie D’Angelo, public service programs coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This morning, students, families, and employers packed into 16 Beacon street to hear from Mayor Thomas Menino and BBA leadership to celebrate the beginning of the 20th annual Summer Jobs Program. This year’s event marked an all-time high for the program with 58 student positions thanks to commitment from 41 firms and law offices. Highlights of the program featured a keynote speech by Tavares Brewington (Prince Lobel) encouraging students to find their vision and an award presented by BBA President J.D. Smeallie (Holland & Knight) to Mayor Menino to honor the Mayor’s longstanding commitment to the program.
Here’s a look at today’s event:
After the event, the students headed off to their first day of work. Please stay tuned for more on the students’ experiences throughout the summer.
This morning, 58 Boston Public High School students traveled to 16 Beacon Street for the annual BBA Summer Jobs Program orientation. To help prepare students for their first day of work on July 8th, the orientation included sessions on workplace professionalism, as well as two financial literacy enrichment modules, on personal finance and budgeting and credit cards.
Here are a few photos from the morning:
Please stay tuned for more highlights from the program throughout the summer. For more on the Summer Jobs Program, please contact Katie D’Angelo, public service programs coordinator, at email@example.com.