Monthly Archives: February 2014

A Healthy Dose of Green Pro Bono Opportunities

Attorneys learned about recent changes in Boston zoning code which impact urban agriculture at a recent brown bag.

Attorneys learned about recent changes in Boston zoning codes, which impact urban agriculture at a recent brown bag.

On Thursday, the Environmental Law Public Service Committee and the Health Law Social Action Committee sponsored a panel discussion on “Cultivating Local, Healthy Food: Urban Agriculture Initiatives & Pro Bono Opportunities.” Despite the recent cold snap, it’s not too early to plan on making your spring more sustainable. Here are four volunteer opportunities to check out.

  1.  The Conservation Law Foundation’s (CLF) Pro Bono Legal Services Food Hub: CLF is launching a pro bono legal services network for farmers, food entrepreneurs, and food-related organizations. The focus will be in cases involving transactional issues, land acquisition/transfers, contracts, taxes, and corporate formation, among others. For more information, contact Jenny Rushlow, Director of CLF’s Farm & Food Initiative at jrushlow@clf.org.
  2. Green Bro Bono: Through Green Pro Bono, lawyers can help environmental non-profits, and social enterprises access legal services. For more information, visit their website.
  3.  The Food Project Serve & Grow Program:Join your BBA colleagues on April 8th for a morning outdoors working on the farm and supporting The Food Project, a non-profit devoted to promoting sustainable food systems. For more details, please visit the event page on the BBA’s website.
  4.  MA Environmental Justice Assistance Network (MEJAN): Find an opportunity to provide corporate and real estate support to community groups working on urban agriculture. For more details, contact Staci Rubin, Esq, Alternatives for Community & Environment, Inc. at staci@ace-ej.org.
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BBA Financial Literacy Program – Celebrating 10 Years of Success

Last night, program leaders, volunteers, and teachers gathered in the Claflin Center to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program. The evening focused on celebrating the success of the Program, which has reached more than 4,000 students statewide with the help of over 425 volunteers since 2005. Attendees also gained a firsthand account of the impact of the program from 2013 Summer Jobs Student Ben Haideri, who has put his financial literacy into practice, opening a savings, checking and credit account since experiencing the Program.

Did you miss the event? Don’t worry, here’s a look at the evening:

: Program Co-Chairs Janet Bostwick (Janet Boswtick, P.C.), Judge Joan Feeney (U.S. Bankruptcy Court), and Mackenzie Shea (K&L Gates LLP) with Chief Judge Frank Bailey (U.S. Bankruptcy Court).

Program Co-Chairs Janet Bostwick (Janet Boswtick, P.C.), Judge Joan Feeney (U.S. Bankruptcy Court), and Mackenzie Shea (K&L Gates LLP) with Chief Judge Frank Bailey (U.S. Bankruptcy Court).

Judge Joan Feeney spoke about the history of the program and highlighted everyone who has made the program possible over the past ten years.

Judge Joan Feeney spoke about the history of the program and highlighted everyone who has made the program possible over the past ten years.

Ben Haideri, a senior at Boston Latin Academy and 2013 Summer Jobs Student, shared his experience in the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program last summer.

Ben Haideri, a senior at Boston Latin Academy and 2013 Summer Jobs Student, shared his experience in the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program last summer.

Dr. Donna Costa, Tom Higgins, Karen Sikorski, and Rosemary Slattery from Peabody High School attended the event. Tom Higgins’s Law Class has participated in the program since 2007.

Dr. Donna Costa, Tom Higgins, Karen Sikorski, and Rosemary Slattery from Peabody High School attended the event. Tom Higgins’s law class has participated in the program since 2007.

Hampden County Bar Association President-Elect Christina Turgeon (Law Office of Christina M. Turgeon) and Western Massachusetts Financial Literacy Co-Chairs John Davis (Cooley Shrair, P.C.) and Elizabeth Katz (Ostrander Law Office).

Hampden County Bar Association President-Elect Christina Turgeon (Law Office of Christina M. Turgeon) and Western Massachusetts Financial Literacy Co-Chairs John Davis (Cooley Shrair, P.C.) and Elizabeth Katz (The Law Office of Elizabeth Katz).

Volunteers Deborah Dong, Kristin McDonough (Riemer & Braunstein LLP), and John Loughnane (Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP).

Volunteers Deborah Dong, Kristin McDonough (Riemer & Braunstein LLP), and John Loughnane (Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP).

Stay tuned for more on the event. 

Financial Literacy Volunteers Share Their Stories

M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Volunteers enjoy the opportunity to give back to their community and address a real need among high school students.

M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Volunteers enjoy the opportunity to give back to their community and address a real need among high school students.

This winter is flying by and we are already halfway through the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program in the Greater Boston area. BBA Week thought it would be a great idea to reach out to the volunteers who have already participated in the program to see what they enjoyed most about their experience. The response was overwhelming, which is why we couldn’t help sharing it with our readers. If you haven’t volunteered yet, see what you are missing out on here.

Are you interested in getting involved? It’s not too late to volunteer! Click here to view available sessions.

Take a Student to Work Day – BPS Students Shadow at Law Firms

The PIC's Job Shadow Day introduces Boston public school students to different careers, and in some cases, leads to summer employment opportunities through programs, such as the BBA Summer Jobs Program

The PIC’s Job Shadow Day introduces Boston public school students to different careers, and in some cases, leads to summer employment opportunities through programs, such as the BBA Summer Jobs Program.

Each year, our friends (and partners of the BBA Summer Jobs Program) at the Boston Private Industry Council coordinate a Job Shadow Day for Boston public high school students. This year, we are pleased to report that seven local law firms hosted twenty students from Boston Community Leadership Academy, Josiah Quincy Upper High School and Charlestown High School.

Beyond the Billable touched base with School-to-Career and Employer Engagement Director Josh Bruno (Boston Private Industry Council) and Summer Jobs Co-Chair Matt McTygue (Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP) to hear more about the day.

Take a look at what Josh had to say about the importance of Job Shadow Day:

“For many students, Job Shadow is the first school-to-career activity that they participate in. It’s a unique introduction to the workplace and an opportunity for these students to imagine themselves in a professional career. Supervisors get the chance to meet students one-on-one as they consider hiring teens for summer employment. The experience is beneficial for everyone and so successful that every year, a number of students are offered full time summer employment on the spot.”

Here’s what Matt had to say about why his firm participates in the program:

“First, our firm is committed to increasing the diversity of the legal profession in Boston, so we enthusiastically support programs like the Job Shadow Day that help build a pipeline of diverse future attorneys in our community. Second, the Job Shadow Day program allows us to screen potential applicants for the Boston Bar Association Summer Jobs Program. Edwards Wildman anticipates hiring at least two summer interns through this program, and we hope our Job Shadow Day students will apply for these positions.”

Is your firm or office looking for an opportunity to support Boston public high school students? While Job Shadow Day has already passed, there’s another opportunity around the corner. Hire a student to work at your office through the BBA Summer Jobs Program. Join this growing list of firms and offices who have already committed to providing a Boston public high school student with an opportunity to gain professional experience and exposure to the legal field. Click here for more information.

Below are the firms who participated Job Shadow Day:

Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP
Hemenway & Barnes LLP
Holland & Knight LLP
Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.
Rindler Morgan, P.C.
Sullivan & Worcester LLP
Thornton & Naumes, LLP

Financial Literacy Finishes Up in Western MA

Students from Holyoke High School traveled to the Springfield Bankruptcy Court to learn about the Consequences of making poor financial decisions.

Students from Holyoke High School traveled to the Springfield Bankruptcy Court to learn about the Consequences of making poor financial decisions.

While the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program is only halfway done in the Greater Boston area, volunteers spent the fall and early winter delivery the program to students in Western Massachusetts. Each year the Hampden County Bar Association and Hampshire County Bar Association team up with the BBA and U.S. Bankruptcy Court to teach 100 students at Holyoke High School, Northampton High School, and Easthampton High School about the importance of making informed financial decisions.

Beyond the Billable would like to thank the volunteers who donated their time and expertise to the Program:

Honorable Henry Boroff, United States Bankruptcy Court
Janet Bostwick, Janet E. Bostwick, PC
Jennifer Butler, Weiner & Lange, P.C.
John Davis, Cooley Shrair, P.C.
Henry Geberth, Hendel & Collins, PC
Alex Hogan, Shatz, Schwartz and Fentin, P.C.
Elizabeth Katz, Law Office of Elizabeth D. Katz
Michael Katz, Bacon & Wilson, PC
Eric Kornblum, The Law Office of Eric Kornblum
Joseph Lange, Weiner & Lange, P.C.
Karen Murphy
Andrea O’Connor, Weiner & Lange, P.C.
Denise Shear, Ostrander Law Office
Spencer Stone, Hendel & Collins, PC
Christina Turgeon, The Law Office of Christina M. Turgeon
Gary Weiner, Weiner Law Firm, PC
Toby Wilson

Make sure you don’t miss Western Mass co-chair Liz Katz’s response to this week’s Voices of the Bar, asking volunteers why they participate in the Financial Literacy Program

BBA LRS Joins 8,000 at Quincy Lunar Festival

Attorney Mary Lee (Mary K.Y. Lee P.C.) speaks to an attendee about the BBA LRS, the only lawyer referral service in greater Boston approved by the American Bar Association.

Attorney Mary Lee (Mary K.Y. Lee P.C.) speaks to an attendee about the BBA LRS, the only lawyer referral service in greater Boston approved by the American Bar Association.

This past Sunday, the BBA Lawyer Referral Service (LRS) staff joined 8,000 guests at North Quincy High School to celebrate the Quincy Lunar Festival as part of its ongoing community outreach. This marked the 26th year for the event hosted by the Quincy Asian Resources, Inc, and the 4th year the BBA LRS attended.

Joining LRS staff was bilingual LRS panel member Attorney Mary Lee (Mary K.Y. Lee, P.C), who answered questions and explained to attendees how to they could obtain legal representation from the BBA Lawyer Referral Service.

The dance troupe that performed the lion dance also paid the LRS table a visit.

The dance troupe that performed the lion dance also paid the LRS table a visit.

In addition to speaking with individuals, the LRS staff enjoyed the festivities, including cultural performances and vendors selling Asian foods and goods to celebrate the year of the Horse.

Many attendees visited the LRS booth, including Massachusetts State Representative for the 1st Norfolk District, Bruce Ayers, and Quincy City Councilman, Joseph Ginn.

Many attendees visited the LRS booth, including Massachusetts State Representative for the 1st Norfolk District, Bruce Ayers, and Quincy City Councilman, Joseph Ginn.

 

To access the BBA Lawyer Referral Service please 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. You can also email us at LRS@bostonbar.org or visit us on our newly re-designed website at www.bostonbarlawyer.org.

 

Partnering with BBF Grantee to Train Lawyers on Handling Juvenile Immigrant Cases

The BBA and Lutheran Social Services teamed up to train attorneys to take special immigrant juvenile status cases.

The BBA and Lutheran Social Services teamed up to train attorneys to take special immigrant juvenile status cases.

The BBA continued the trend of hosting pro bono trainings with BBF grantees by partnering with Lutheran Social Services for a training on Special Immigrant Juvenile Status. While it was the first time we hosted the training at the BBA, it was a hit among attendees. Beyond the Billable reached out to Christina M. Borysthen-Tkacz (Lutheran Social Services), who ran the training with Tilman Jacobs (Lutheran Social Services), to hear more about the training.

Take a look at what she had to say:

What do you hope attendees learned from the training?

“We hope that our training provided a good introduction to pro bono opportunities in immigration law, and to the challenges that unaccompanied immigrant children face, as well as the legal relief available to them.”

Why should attorneys volunteer to take these types of cases?

“All of our cases, and Special Immigrant Juvenile cases especially, offer attorneys an opportunity to gain valuable litigation experience. Most importantly, attorneys should take these types of cases pro bono because they are a great opportunity to make a lasting impact on a child’s life and to give that child a chance at a successful and happy life in the United States.”

Keeping Kids in School: Another Benefit of Summer Jobs

Summer jobs in Boston have helped contribute to a decline in high school dropout rates in the city.

Summer jobs in Boston have helped contribute to a decline in high school dropout rates in the city.

If you’re an avid Beyond the Billable reader, you’ve certainly heard a lot about the impact the BBA Summer Jobs Program has on Boston Public High School during their two months of paid summer internships. But what about after the internship is over? Since we’re thinking about Summer Jobs 24/7, we caught a great Boston Globe article that breaks down the statistical impact of students with summer jobs and programs in the city as a whole.

Some quick stats – in Boston, the high school dropout rate has decreased from 9.9 percent during the 2005-2006 school year to 5.9 percent — about 969 students out of 16,293 students — during the 2012-2013 school year. Not surprisingly, one of the key factors contributing to the declining rates is summer jobs. Click here to read the full Boston Globe article which discusses the decline in Boston and the entire state.

Judicial Internship Reps Stop By Suffolk Law School

Suffolk Law students listen in as Denise Fitzgerald, Manager of Legal Research Services at the Suffolk County Probate and Family Court, shares insight into the role of law student interns in the court.

Suffolk Law students listened in as Denise Fitzgerald, Manager of Legal Research Services at the Suffolk County Probate and Family Court, shared insight into the role of law student interns in the court.

On Thursday, representatives of the BBA’s Judicial Internship Program dropped by Suffolk Law School to give students a firsthand look inside the popular summer program. The representatives, program founder Judge Robert Tochka of the BMC, Denise Fitzgerald, Manager of Legal Research Services at the Suffolk County Probate and Family Court, and Mary Sharon, Clerk of U.S. Bankruptcy Appellate Panel for the First Circuit, stressed the highlights of the program to students, which include working directly with a judge, observing courtroom proceedings and enhancing their legal research and writing skills and professional development lunches at the BBA.
Diverse students who have completed their first year of law school and are able to work at least 15 hours per week are encouraged to apply. A flexible schedule is available to accommodate other commitments.

Throughout the winter months, representatives from the BBA’s Judicial Internship Program visited BU Law, New England Law| Boston and Suffolk Law to promote the promote the program and meet students. If you’re interested in applying, don’t delay! The BBA is accepting applications to for the summer program through March 1st. More information on the program and the application is available here. Please email Susan Helm, Member Programs Coordinator, at shelm@bostonbar.org with any questions.

BBA Lawyer Referral Service Launches New Website

A look at the new Lawyer Referral Service Website

A look at the new Lawyer Referral Service website

The BBA Lawyer Referral Service (LRS), which has been connecting members of the community with lawyers and legal resources for 50 years, has announced a website redesign to better serve those seeking legal representation in Massachusetts.The LRS screens approximately 10,000 requests from the public every year, and now that the new website is fully compatible and responsive with all mobile and tablet device technologies, the BBA hopes to increase access to legal services.

The redesigned website will allow visitors to easily request an attorney online, find updates on news related to the Referral Service and the BBA, and quickly access information about the services offered by the LRS — all from a computer, phone, or tablet. For those who contact the Lawyer Referral Service and cannot afford to pay for full fee representation, LRS staff and resources are able to help these people access options suited to their needs, like limited assistance, reduced fee representation, or place them in contact with a legal service agency that deals with their specific legal problem.

The Boston Bar Lawyer Referral Service is the only lawyer referral service in the Greater Boston area to be accredited by the American Bar Association. Take a look at the new website, where you can find out more about LRS Services, and special BBA Projects such as the Military Legal Help Line, and the Marathon Monday Project.

The Lawyer Referral Service website can be found here at www.bostonbarlawyer.org.