Monthly Archives: November 2013

PILPers Celebrate Success of Community Reentry Readiness

Judge Sorokin, PILP members Chris Saccardi, Raquel Webster, Emily Hodge, Eric Haskell, Julia Devanthéry, Brendan St. Amant, and Judge Hennessey.

Judge Sorokin, PILP members Chris Saccardi, Raquel Webster, Emily Hodge, Eric Haskell, Julia Devanthéry, Brendan St. Amant, and Judge Hennessey.

As our readers know, the BBA’s Public Interest Leaders have been hard at work this year carrying out a pilot Community Reentry Readiness series for federal probationers at the US District Court. Last night, PILP 9 hosted a reception to thank program stakeholders, BBA leadership and committees, volunteers, and PILP alumni who helped get this unique collaboration between the BBA and the District Court of Massachusetts off the ground.

The BBA is especially thankful to the federal judges who oversee the CARE and RESTART programs and worked closely with PILP to ensure the success of this initiative. U.S. District Court Judge Timothy S. Hillman, Chief Magistrate Judge Leo T. Sorokin and Magistrate Judge David H. Hennessey agree that the pilot program was a success for the court and the probationers alike. Here’s what they had to say about their partnership with the BBA:

The Court was very pleased with the first year of PILP’s Community Reentry Readiness program. Our participants benefited enormously from the workshops which were both relevant to their lives, and oriented towards building practical problem-solving skills. The participants rated the program highly, saying things like: ‘It really made you look at life differently,’ and  ‘I loved that the program not only gave us a lot of useful information but they provided us with resources and packets to take home so we could go over for further review.’  The Court is looking forward to working with the BBA to ensure that future reentry court participants have access to this empowering and enriching program.” –U.S. District Court Judge Timothy S. Hillman, Chief Magistrate Judge Leo T. Sorokin and Magistrate Judge David H. Hennessey.

Beyond the Billable thanks PILP 9 for their leadership in successfully launching the Community Reentry Readiness program and helping the BBA expand our reach. Contact Susan Helm at shelm@bostonbar.org with questions about PILP.

Continuing to Support Those Who Served Our Country

Attendees attend a primer to Veterans Benefits and discuss some of the challenges facing veterans when they return from the service.

The panel discussed some of the challenges that veterans face veterans when they return from the service.

Last Thursday, the BBA hosted the final training in the CLE series on Representing Military Personnel and Families.  Even though this training series has concluded, the BBA’s commitment to helping veterans and military personnel with the legal challenges that they face is far from over.  With the adoption of the Military Legal Help Line and the BBA’s involvement in the Yellow Ribbon Project and the Massachusetts “Stand Down” event, the BBA’s support of this initiative will continue.

To encapsulate why it is important for the BBA and lawyers as a community to give back to veterans, military personnel and their families, check last week’s responses to  Voices of the Bar.

Michelle Wolf (Veterans’ Disability Benefits), a panelist on last week’s training on Veterans Benefits, stated,

“We all owe a duty to those who have volunteered to serve and protect our country, especially with the growing recognition of the toll military service takes on our soldiers, veterans and their families. Lawyers can truly make a difference in the lives of these individuals and families by assisting with legal issues that might otherwise distract soldiers currently serving.”

Keep an eye on the BBA calendar for additional training opportunities this winter and into the spring.  If you would like to know more about joining the Military and Veterans’ Panels for the Military Legal Help Line, please contact Solana Goss at sgoss@bostonbar.org.

BBA President Serves as “Principal for a Day”

BBA President Paul T. Dacier poses with Headmaster William Thomas (Charlestown High School).

BBA President Paul T. Dacier poses with Headmaster William Thomas (Charlestown High School).

Yesterday morning, BBA President Paul T. Dacier joined over 150 of Boston’s leaders in visiting Boston Public Schools (BPS) to gain a firsthand look at the successes and challenges of the city’s school system as part of the BPS Principal for a Day Program. Paul shadowed William Thomas, the headmaster of Charlestown High School, for the morning.

Here are a few facts about Charlestown High School so that you have a better idea of what he saw:

  • With 954 students, Charlestown is one of Boston’s largest high schools.
  • 39% of its student body is Limited English Proficient.
  • 46% of students qualify for free or reduced-priced school meals.

As you know, the BBA works closely with the BPS on a number of our public service programs, including the M. Ellen Financial Literacy Program, the BBA Summer Jobs ProgramLaw Day in the Schools, and the Boston Debate League. Principal for a Day allows the BBA President to gain a better understanding of the school system and how our programs fit in.

Here’s what Paul had to say about his experience:

“It was eye-opening to see how hard the students and teachers are working in the face of budget constraints and a large English Language Learner population at Charlestown High School. The students have a thirst for knowledge and a willingness to learn and the teachers and school administration are dedicated to changing the students’ lives with less than adequate resources.”

Take a look below for photos from the morning:

Paul T. Dacier observed the school’s Math Content Team meeting.

Paul T. Dacier observed the school’s Math Content Team meeting.

Paul T. Dacier met with Headmaster William Thomas (Charlestown High School) and John Hanlon (Boston Scholar Athletes)

Paul T. Dacier met with Headmaster William Thomas (Charlestown High School) and John Hanlon (Boston Scholar Athletes)

Keep an eye out for future articles about Paul’s experience.

The Boston Debate League – An Invitation to Feel Good About Doing Good


Guest Post: William Fitzpatrick is the Assistant General Counsel of Litigation at the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority

If you are anything like me and you look forward to stepping away from a busy litigation practice on weekends to run a 5K for a charity or hit the gym then you know how these tune-ups can recalibrate your heart and mind. But what about your soul? Well, I’ve got an invitation for you.

Two years ago, the BBA joined in a partnership with an amazing program that has taken flight in the public schools of our capital city called the Boston Debate League. As lawyers we all know a thing or two about a healthy intellectual exchange and you will never feel more engaged than you will working with these remarkable students who are just thirsting to tap into your talent and bursting with enthusiasm. The students put in long hours over months methodically preparing to debate a topical issue which is played out under your direction in a series of competitive rounds in which you will share your own unique gifts of structure, guidance and inspiration.

When you share your time and wisdom you are “giving back” in theory but the reality is that your own personal “take away” is something that warms your soul for a long time forward. The students learn and enhance skills that you can see will raise their long term game by giant steps and you will be astonished at their work product, respect and cooperative immersion in this brilliant program.

The BDL staff including Shannon Watson and Sarah Amaral are fabulous and they will assist you in choosing to work one or more rounds as the competition moves toward the championship finals. You will surely feel great doing good on a level you seldom experience. A small investment of as little as three hours on a Friday evening or Saturday will undoubtedly produce a high yield return for participants on both sides of the students and lawyer equation.

Please consider contacting Sarah Amaral, BDL Volunteer Coordinator at [sarah@bostondebate.org] with any questions or our own Katie D’Angelo, BBA Public Service Programs Coordinator at [mailto:kdangeol@bostonbar.org] to seize your opportunity to help the students shine bright.

You may also sign up online to participate by visiting: www.bostondebate.org/signup

Looking for an Internship Next Semester? Apply now for Spring Judicial Internship Program

Students looking to add another layer to their law school experience next semester should look no further than the BBA’s Judicial Internship Program. The program is an unpaid, non-credit internship where law students work directly with a judge, observe courtroom proceedings and enhance their legal research and writing skills. In addition, interns are invited to engage in professional development seminars and meetings held at the BBA. Participating courts include Boston Municipal Court, District Courts, Probate & Family Court & the US Bankruptcy Court.

Don’t just take it from us. Heather Sit, a 2L at New England Law | Boston and alum of the Judicial Internship program, had this to say:

hsit

“My everyday experiences talking with the judges at the conclusion of the various trials and hearings I saw over the summer were fascinating. I felt incredibly lucky to see the humanity and keen insight each of the judges I worked with brought to their decision-making. In class, it’s easy to get caught up in the technical legal issues because of the appellate cases we read, but working with the Roxbury court judges this summer really brought together the legal aspects with their practical, real-life impacts.”

If you are thinking about applying, here’s what you need to know about the process:

  • Interested students should submit applications with a cover letter, resume, and a letter of recommendation from a law school professor by December 13th.
  • Students who have completed their first year of law school and are able to work at least 15 hours per week will be considered.
  • Diverse students are strongly encouraged to apply.
  • The spring internship program begins in early February and runs through the end of the semester.
  • Applications will be collected on a rolling basis with priority placement given to early applicants, so the sooner you get you application in the better.
  • Send completed applications to Susan Helm at shelm@bostonbar.org.
  • If you have any more questions, click here here.

New Lawyers Team Up with Cradles to Crayons to Provide Essentials for Children

Volunteer at Cradles to Crayons

New Lawyers Volunteer at Cradles to Crayons Warehouse

This past Saturday, a group of New Lawyers spent the morning volunteering at Cradles to Crayons in Brighton. For those of you who are not familiar with the organization, Cradles to Crayons provides essential items like clothes, shoes, books and school supplies, for children who are homeless or living in low-income situations with the help of volunteers. During their shift, the BBA volunteers inspected donated books and sorted them into categories based on gender and age group, which helped provide books for 85 kids, ages 12 and under.

This opportunity, along with the recent Franklin Park Clean Up and Food Project events, allows New Lawyers with busy schedules a way to positively impact their local community while meeting other Boston-area attorneys.

If you’re a new attorney interested in socializing and giving back, be sure to check out the New Lawyers Section’s Holiday Extravaganza on December 5th where you can donate items to Toys for Tots. Click here for more information.

VLP Announces September and October Honor Roll

Attorneys volunteer at the Boston Housing Court on Wednesday and Thursday mornings through the Lawyer for the Day Program.

Attorneys volunteer at the Boston Housing Court on Wednesday and Thursday mornings through the Lawyer for the Day Program.

Volunteer Lawyers Project of the Boston Bar Association thanks the following attorneys who accepted cases or provided consultation in September and October:

Samuel Ames
Birchfield Aymer
Nicholas Bentley, Mintz Levin
Angelina Bruce-Flounory
Cynthia Caramana
Esther Cho, Mintz Levin
Jay Creed
Jason Crow, McDermott Will Emery
Francesse Denis
David Himelfarb, McCarter & English
Walter Howell, McCarter & English
Scott Hubbell
Amaan Husain, Maloney & Associates
Sharon Jones
Brian Kydd, Kneeland & Kydd
Esther Laine
Michael Levesque, Goodwin Proctor
Corrine Lusic, Goodwin Proctor
Stephanie Marzouk, Glickman Turley LLP
James McGinnis, Ropes & Gray
Steven Mooney
Michael Morales, Murray & Associates

Elizabeth Morano
Kristofer Munroe
Justin Murphy
Jennifer O’Callaghan
Nina Parker
William Parks
Steven Pohl, Brown Rudnick
Wendy Recine
Reid Robinson
Dennis Rooney
Adam Ruttenberg
Jason Savageau
Ella Shenhav, Mintz Levin
Sarah Soloman, Goodwin Proctor
Brian Sullivan
Irina Vaglica
Damon Wallace
Leann Walsh
Heather Ward
Christian Westra, Ropes & Gray
Lawrence Wind

BBA Military & Veterans Initiative Update

Last Thursday, the BBA hosted the third training of a 4-part CLE series on Representing Military Personnel and Veterans. This session covered topics in Trust & Estates, Employment, and Landlord/Tenant Law.

Last Thursday, the BBA hosted the third training of a 4-part CLE series on Representing Military Personnel and Veterans. This session covered topics in Trust & Estates, Employment, and Landlord/Tenant Law.

As you know, the BBA has been hard at work expanding our reach with our Military & Veterans Initiative, and we wanted to update you on our progress.

 Since the move of the Military Legal Helpline to the BBA Lawyer Referral Service (LRS) at the beginning of September, we have received more than 75 calls from military members, veterans, and their families. So far, we have nearly 30 attorneys accepting referrals through the military and veteran panels of the LRS.

Additionally, the BBA has hosted three CLE sessions on Representing Military Members and their Families. The most recent training last Thursday on Trusts & Estates, Employment, and Landlord/Tenant Law attracted lawyers from a variety of backgrounds.  Beyond the Billable reached out to panelist and former U.S. Army Officer Paul Lannon (Holland & Knight) to hear about the most recent training. Here’s what he had to say:

“Attorneys need specialized training because their clients – the soldiers– need specialized legal advice.  There are more and more laws, policies and practices that apply only to Uniformed Service members.  Special training is required to understand them and how they apply to soldiers leaving for or returning from duty.  Representing Uniformed Service members is worthwhile, highly rewarding, and much appreciated work for lawyers.”

So what’s up ahead?

Don’t miss the final installment of the four-part CLE series coming up on November 21st . This final training will be a primer on Veterans’ Benefits.  For more information or to register, please visit the event page. Keep an eye on the BBA calendar for additional training opportunities. We are always looking for ways to better serve those who serve our country.

 If you would like to know more about joining the Military and Veterans’ Panels for the BBA LRS, please contact Solana Goss at sgoss@bostonbar.org.

Examining the Impact – PILP Meets with Probationers to Reflect on Community Reentry Program

PILP gathers feedback from CARE and RESTART participants at Moakley Courthouse on Wednesday night.

PILP gathers feedback from CARE and RESTART participants at Moakley Courthouse on Wednesday night.

Last night, the BBA’s Public Interest Leaders hosted a candid feedback session at the US District Court  to learn how the pilot Community Reentry Readiness series has been received by the CARE and RESTART program participants.  The pilot program utilized the expertise of the BBA and its Public Interest Leaders to benefit an underserved population and the courts. Beginning in March, these PILPers hosted a series of 7 seminars covering topics intended to arm the probationers with skills to improve their chances of long term success:

  • Driver’s Licenses/Professional Licenses
  • Employment
  • Credit Reports and Credit Scores
  • Housing
  • Family Law
  • Benefits Available to Low-Income Individuals in Massachusetts

PILPers Julia Devanthéry, Chris Saccardi, Eric Haskell and Emily Hodge sat down with the participants over a pizza dinner to give them the opportunity to speak openly their ability to apply the information gained from these sessions to their daily lives and asked for tips on how the program can be improved. Attendees were provided with a written questionnaire for anonymous written comments as well.

Beyond the Billable congratulates PILP 9 for a job well done and encourages readers to stay tuned for more updates on this initiative. Contact Susan Helm at shelm@bostonbar.org with questions on PILP.

BBA Lawyer Referral Service: 50 Years and Growing Strong

Conference attendees have a panel discussion about how to run an effective Lawyer Referral Service.

Conference attendees have a panel discussion about how to run an effective Lawyer Referral Service. Photo courtesy of the Atlanta Bar Association.

If Beyond the Billable asked you what the BBA’s largest public service program is, what would you say? The Financial Literacy Program which reached over 1,300 students this past year? The Summer Jobs Program, which was one of the ten largest providers of Summer Jobs in the City of Boston? The Lawyer for a Day in the Housing Court Program, where 12,000 volunteers have assisted 15,000 unrepresented tenants and landlords since the program began? Any of them would be a good guess, but surprise, they would all be wrong. The BBA’s largest public service program is its Lawyer Referral Service (LRS).

Even though the LRS has been around for more than 50 years, it’s still looking for the best and most efficient ways to connect callers to lawyers who can help them with their legal needs. That’s why LRS Intake Coordinator Solana Goss attended the ABA National Lawyer Referral Workshop in Atlanta Georgia.  Nearly 100 participants from across the country met to discuss ideas and share information about running a Lawyer Referral Service Program.  Topics included panel management, website and marketing tools, protocol for new panel members, the role of a review committee, and more.

Beyond the Billable reached out to Solana to see what she took from attending the conference, and here’s what she had to say:

“As the intake coordinator of the LRS, I am always looking for ways that we can do more, and have a larger impact in the community. The conference offered programs to help improve marketing, lawyer-client relationships, and operations, all of which are valuable tools to help the BBA LRS expand our reach. Meeting bar staff and seeing how their services operate provided insight to our referral service as we look to respond to the ever-changing needs of the community.”

The Boston Bar Lawyer Referral Service is the only referral service in Greater Boston approved by the American Bar Association.  To find out more about joining the LRS, please contact Solana Goss at sgoss@bostonbar.org.