Monthly Archives: January 2014
BBA Continues Veterans Work by Educating Attorneys on Representing Clients with Post-Traumatic Stress
On Wednesday afternoon, attorneys headed to the BBA’s Claflin Center for a program called “Representing Veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress: What Everyday Attorneys Need to Know.” Just as the title suggests, the program educated attorneys about the challenges and misconceptions that arise when serving clients with PTS.
The panel for this program included attorneys who regularly counsel veterans, health care professionals, as well as individuals that have served in significant combat operations. The speakers included Kevin Casey (VA New England Healthcare), Tim McLaughlin (Holland & Knight), Jack Regan (WilmerHale), Ann Stewart (the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Home Base Program), Travis Weiner, and moderator Bill Sinnott (the Corporation Counsel, City of Boston). These panelists shared gripping personal stories and experiences and provided perspective into many of stressful factors veterans face post-deployment.
Beyond the Billable checked in with Tim after attending this program to see what he hopes attendees learned. Here’s what he had to say:
“First, I hope the panel members were able to provide some general insight into the realities of military service, which is very different from its portrayal in the media. Second, I hope we were able to provide some specific insights into what I would characterize as the normal and lifelong effects of military service and combat, which can manifest itself in many forms, including post-traumatic stress. However, and this is important both from a veteran’s point of view and for those attorneys who may represent veterans in the future; speaking from first-hand experience, post-traumatic stress is not a disorder. It is simply what comes next. It would be a disorder if I was unaffected. And finally, I hope we were able to share some of the many, many resources that are available to our veterans in and around Boston.”
This program is a part of the Boston Bar Association’s ongoing efforts to provide crucial legal assistance to military personnel, veterans, and their families. Along with this program, the BBA’s Military Legal Help Line through the Lawyer Referral Service, and participation in Yellow Ribbon events, are just some of the ways the BBA commits to providing veteran’s and their families the access to legal assistance that they need and deserve.
If you are an attorney and would like to find out about what you can do to help veterans and their families, check out our Veteran’s Initiative webpage here.
Did you know that January has been proclaimed National Human Trafficking Awareness Month? In acknowledgement of that, we’re calling your attention to a new BBA subcommittee launched this month with an overarching mission of assessing and improving the delivery of legal services to victims of human trafficking in the Greater Boston region. Over the next few months the subcommittee will work on establishing goals and prioritizing projects, with a specific focus on working in collaboration with, and support of the myriad other efforts in the field.
So why the new subcommittee? As our readers might remember, we published a post last June about the successful Human Trafficking Symposium hosted by the BBA’s Public Interest Leadership Program. That event, “Human Trafficking: A Call to Action,” drew a crowd of over 125 professionals to the BBA headquarters where speakers gave a snapshot of the legal, law enforcement, and community-based work being done to combat the crime within the Commonwealth.
The BBA has continued to explore issues surrounding human trafficking in the time since the success of Symposium and strongly believes the BBA, and its qualified and focused Human Trafficking Committee are uniquely positioned to impact the delivery of legal services to human trafficking victims.
Alec Zadek and Erin Albright have been selected to lead the committee as Co-Chairs. Alec is an associate at Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky, and Popeo, P.C., where he represents victims of domestic violence and sex trafficking through Mintz Levin’s various pro bono initiatives. Erin is the Anti-Trafficking Coordinator at the International Institute of New England and the Regional Program Director for the private operating foundation Give Way to Freedom. Her work focuses on coordinating a network of service providers to provide comprehensive services to survivors of trafficking, and working with multidisciplinary teams to improve collaboration.
Stay tuned to Beyond the Billable for information on how you can be involved in supporting survivors of human trafficking.
Attorneys braved the weather on Wednesday to attend the BBA’s Limited Assistance Representation (LAR) training. The free certification training taught attendees the basics of going into court for a single event in a case.
So why was this training so important? LAR provides an opportunity for attorneys to gain valuable courtroom experience by providing litigants with representation for unresolved legal issues. At the same time, it helps ease the burden on courts facing unprecedented numbers of pro se litigants. Following the certification training, attorneys learned about practicing LAR in the Boston Housing Court and the Boston Municipal Court in breakout sessions led by the Honorable Jeffrey Winik (Boston Housing Court), Honorable Raymond Dougan, Jr. (Boston Municipal Court), Attorney Lawrence Wind (the Law Office of Lawrence A. Wind), and Attorney Thomas Beauvais.
Beyond the Billable reached out to Joanna Allison (VLP), who led the certification training with Ned Notis-McConarty (Hemenway & Barnes LLP), to hear more about the training. Here’s what she had to say:
What did attorneys learn from the training?
“They learned the procedure for appearing before the court on a limited assistance representation and where to find answers to their questions and concerns about LAR. From the very knowledgeable presenters, they learned the specific practices and requirements of both the Housing Court and the Boston Municipal Court. I am grateful to Judge Raymond Dougan of the Boston Municipal Court and Judge Jeffrey Winik of the Boston Housing Court for giving their time and expertise. “
Why should attorneys become LAR certified?
“Attendees came away with a new tool in their practice that will help them make a living, while increasing the number of people who can afford access to justice. I also hope they came away with a commitment to use their new certification in their pro bono work .” This doesn’t actually answer the question. Is it actually necessary?
Did you miss this training? Don’t worry—the BBA is holding another LAR certification training on March 13th. The breakout sessions will focus on LAR in the Probate & Family Court and Land Court. Feel free to just attend the breakout sessions if you are already certified.
Save the date! On May 15, 2014 come hear nationally recognized LAR expert Stephanie Kimbro discuss about how you can incorporate LAR into your practice and how to communicate the availability of LAR to potential clients.
Guest Blogger: Jacquelyn Burke, PILP10 Class Member
Last Tuesday, January 21, the 2013-14 PILP class met with Judge Patti Saris, Chief Judge for the District of Massachusetts, in the Judges’ Dining Room at the Moakley Courthouse. The fact that it was one of the coldest and snowiest nights of the winter was no deterrent to Judge Saris, who came early and stayed late, engaging us in a lively discussion of the state of the legal profession for young attorneys, among other challenging topics. BBA President Paul Dacier was in attendance and also provided insights into how young attorneys can give back through legal work.
During the course of the 14-month PILP program, the PILP Fellows spend a lot of time asking questions. We’ve had a series of leaders from the legal community speak to us (including, for example, Supreme Judicial Court Associate Justice Ralph Ganz and Maura Healey, currently a candidate for Attorney General) and we’ve tried to ferret out from them what they think the unmet needs are in the city and state that the legal community can help to serve. At the dinner with Judge Saris, it was interesting to have the tables turned, as she peppered us with questions about our individual practices and goals, our recently announced Court Service Center Project, and what we thought the pressing issues were for young attorneys today.
Many of us agreed that unemployment among younger attorneys was a constant topic of conversation among our cohort. Even for the employed, career paths can seem uncertain with all the turmoil in the marketplace, and the hands on experience necessary to master important legal skills, particularly courtroom skills, can be elusive. This was true both in private practice and for those who work in the public interest, where budgets change unpredictably from year to year and much of the energy that could be spent on providing legal services is instead spent on fundraising. Judge Saris explained that things were not so different from her perspective on the bench, noting that it had been a full year since she presided over a trial and that cases are now litigated largely on the papers. She and her peers are concerned that young lawyers are not coming through their courtrooms and practicing their skills, and that the bench and the bar will mix less and less if this trend continued. There is also a concern that younger attorneys are not attracted to serving on the bench for various reasons, including salary and lack of exposure to the courtroom. Under Judge Saris’s leadership, the District Court, along with the BBA has begun several initiatives designed to integrate young lawyers into the life of the court, which will be made public as they are finalized.
Judge Saris also spoke about her important work on the United States Sentencing Commission, which is addressing the issue of the length of mandatory minimum sentences for drug commissions, and about other milestones in her long career in public service, including a stint as the Chief of the Civil Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Massachusetts. In all, despite the weather outside, we had an inspiring evening hearing about Judge Saris’s commitment to public service, which can serve as a model to PILPers and all young attorneys who would like to give back.
The BBA is currently accepting applications for the PILP class beginning in May 2014. The application deadline is February 14th. More information on PILP and the application process is available here. Please email Susan Helm, Member Programs Coordinator, at email@example.com with any questions.
The M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program kicks off on Monday with sessions at New Mission High School and Boston Community Leadership Academy. Even though the program is about to get started, the BBA is still looking for volunteers to help meet the demand. That’s why Beyond the Billable checked in with one of our Financial Literacy Co-Chairs, Janet Bostwick (Janet E. Bostwick, PC); to hear the four best reasons you should volunteer for the program. Here’s what she had to say:
(1) Because you don’t know the fun you are missing. I have received numerous calls from volunteers after teaching their first class, who tell me they can’t wait to sign up again. Volunteers enjoy going to the classroom and interacting with the students, while teaching them about budgeting, credit cards or buying a car.
(2) Because as little as five hours of your time will make a big difference in the lives of the students. From start to finish (training, preparing, travel, and class), the time commitment is typically five hours or less. Helping the students learn the basics about personal finance and credit will provide them with skills they will use for the rest of their lives.
(3) Because you wish someone had told you about credit and personal finance when you were their age. Maybe it was your first paycheck (when you saw how little you took home). Maybe it was that first car you bought (when the salesman talked you into a pricier model.) Or, maybe it was juggling that first credit card and the minimum payments. We all had to sort through personal finance and credit issues at some point in our life, but often on our own. You can help provide these students with the information now, and prepare them for those crossroads.
(4) Because you will be an ambassador for your profession. This spring we are in 15 schools in Boston, Greater Boston, and Worcester. Some of our students had little prior contact (or positive contact) with attorneys and the legal profession. Your presence and involvement will help them have a better understanding about our profession. (And, maybe you will be the spark for one of them to consider becoming a lawyer in the future.)
Are you convinced? Click here to sign up for an open volunteer session.
As Public Service Programs Coordinator at the BBA, I get a firsthand look at the great work the BBA and its volunteers do on behalf of Boston youth, veterans, and unrepresented litigants. That’s why I jumped at the opportunity to participate in a BBA Public Service Program as a Boston Debate League judge at English High School in Jamaica Plain on Friday.
While I had participated in debate during high school, it had been seven years since I had attended a debate tournament and I was not sure what to expect. When I walked into my first round, I saw two boys skateboarding in the corner and two girls chatting with each other about their weekend plans. I could barely hear the students when I asked them to introduce themselves and the teams exchanged awkward handshakes without making eye contact. The first girl who stood up to speak was so nervous that she restarted her speech three times. However, halfway through her speech the dynamic in the room completely changed. She began speaking louder and placing emphasis on her key arguments. At the same time, the two boys on the other team began furiously writing out their next speech and rustling through their folders for the evidence to counter the arguments. Both teams spent the rest of the hour long debate firing questions back and forth and discussing the pros and cons of eliminating the United States’ trade embargo on Cuba. The second round followed a similar format where the students were initially very shy and disengaged but started passionately debating the strengths and shortcomings of the Cuban healthcare system and the United States’ moral obligation to address the widespread human rights violations and political oppression in Cuba a few minutes into the round. It was clear that these students are passionate and driven and debate brought out these qualities.
As a former high school debater, I can honestly say that debate had the biggest impact on my preparation for college and professional endeavors because it helped me develop critical skills at an early age. Debate helps you improve skills, such as public speaking, research, and critical thinking, while also building confidence. Boston Debate League brings this opportunity to high school students throughout the Boston public school system who may not get this chance elsewhere.
I encourage you to see the impact of Boston Debate League for yourself by judging at an upcoming tournament. The commitment is small—just 4 hours—and you can volunteer on a Friday or Saturday depending on your schedule. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on how to get involved.
Katie D’Angelo is the Public Service Programs Coordinator at the Boston Bar Association.
Volunteers braved the pouring rain on Tuesday night to attend the annual M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program Training. Judge Joan Feeney (U.S. Bankruptcy Court and Jeanne Darcey (Sullivan & Worcester LLP) joined ), Janet Bostwick to walk the packed room through the volunteer materials and discussed tips for engaging high school students. As you may have heard from this article, 15 schools have signed up for the program, which means one thing—we need lots of volunteers.
Are you interested in volunteering? Click here to view the available sessions.
Volunteer Lawyers Project of the Boston Bar Association thanks the following attorneys who accepted cases or provided consultation through the Lawyer for the Day in the Boston Housing Court Program or Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Program in November and December:
Lawyer for the Day in the Boston Housing Court Program
Stefanie Abhar, Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo P.C.
Stephanie Angel, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP
Nicholas Bentley, Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo P.C.
Rose Billeci, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP
Eric Cronin, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP
Francis Curren IV
Alexia De Vincentis, Ropes & Gray LLP
Marissa Eisenberg, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP
Julia Harmatz McAneny
Rebecca Izzo, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP
Yvonne Lee, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP
Stephanie Marzouk, Glickman Turley LLP
James McGinnis, Ropes & Gray LLP
Gretchen Roin, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP
Brandon Scruggs, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP
Allison Stoddart, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP
Keerthi Sugumaran, Goulston & Storrs, PC
Mark Vaughn, Ropes & Gray LLP
Michael Vito, Ropes & Gray LLP
Michael Zalosh, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Program
Roger Bertling, Harvard Legal Services Center
Tia Chatterjee, Brown Rudnick
Christopher Floyd, Brown Rudnick
Steven Hoort, Ropes & Gray
Jonathan Marshall, Brown Rudnick
Steven Pohl, Brown Rudnick
Last night, nearly 40 attorneys visited 16 Beacon Street to hear from five successful alumni of the BBA Public Interest Leadership Program offer insight into the program and the application process, answer questions from the audience, and reflect on their past experience.
Moderator: Chris Morrison – Partner, Jones Day
Darren Braham – Associate, Prince Lobel Tye LLP
Samantha Morton – Executive Director, Medical Legal Partnership | Boston (MLP | Boston)
Suleyken Walker – Assistant Attorney General, Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office
Raquel Webster – Senior Counsel, National Grid
If the credentials of our expert panel weren’t enough to convince you to consider PILP, check out these five takeaways from their discussion:
- PILP gives each participant a voice and the ability to really give back. PILP is all about working together to navigate the organization and get something done.
- PILP is one of the most valuable tools for networking and meeting people in the profession.
- In addition to being a major entryway into leadership at the BBA, participation in PILP makes you especially aligned for other leadership opportunities outside of the BBA, particularly nonprofit board service.
- PILP steers your career in new and exciting directions and connects you to job opportunities that you otherwise wouldn’t have been exposed to.
- PILP is the ultimate resume builder.
The BBA will be accepting applications to PILP through February 14th for the class beginning in May. More information on PILP and the application process is available here. Please email Susan Helm, Member Programs Coordinator, at email@example.com with any questions on PILP.
Last Thursday, attorneys started out the New Year by attending a pro bono unemployment training at the BBA. Now that the attorneys have learned the basics of unemployment law they can volunteer to take pro bono cases through the Volunteer Lawyers Project of the Boston Bar Association (VLP). Beyond the Billable checked in with Brian Flynn (Greater Boston Legal Services), who ran the training with Lynn Girton (VLP), to hear more about the training and volunteer opportunities. Here’s what he had to say:
What do you hope that attorneys learned from the training?
“Unemployment benefits for our clients can make the difference between being able to support themselves and their families during this critical time when jobs are scarce. We have had countless clients who have been able to prevent eviction, foreclosure and homelessness because they secured representation. For many clients an unemployment hearing is the first time that they have ever been in an adverse relationship with a state agency and they are often scared and uncertain how to proceed. Having a representative on their side can make all the difference between winning and losing.”
Why should attorneys get involved in pro bono unemployment benefit efforts?
“In all my years of doing this work, I have never heard anyone report back that it was not a positive experience. Some lawyers report back that it is one of the more memorable experiences of their career because of how appreciative the client was for their help. Additionally unemployment insurance representation is the perfect pro bono opportunity because it is a limited time commitment, but during the courts of representation, you draw upon many legal skills: client counseling, factual and legal investigation, cross-examination. Finally, VLP offers a tremendous support system for volunteer attorneys who take these cases and Greater Boston Legal Services is also committed to offering any additional back up support.”
Here’s what Lynn Girton added:
“These are absolutely great cases to work on: they are time limited and you get to explore all the aspects of preparing a hearing. As Brian indicated, these are life-sustaining benefits for clients, and if they win these benefits, their lives will remain stable and not fall apart. Clients are enormously grateful for the lawyer’s assistance. Additionally, we are often able to identify other employment issues for the clients that can be pursued either by the lawyer for the unemployment matter or referred back to VLP or GBLS. ”
If you are interested in future pro bono trainings, please contact Katie D’Angelo at firstname.lastname@example.org.