Monthly Archives: February 2014

Boston Public High School Students Have Skills for Firms of Any Size

Stephan Pierre, a senior at Brighton High School, worked on an assignment at Hinckley, Allen & Snyder LLP last summer.

Stephan Pierre, a senior at Brighton High School, worked on an assignment at Hinckley, Allen & Snyder LLP last summer.

We’ve already heard from 31 law firms and offices who have committed to hiring 45 Boston public high school students. We know every firm in Greater Boston wants to show their commitment to Boston youth by offering them a paid internship, but some of our midsize and smaller firms aren’t sure if they have enough work for the students to fill an eight week internship. Our Summer Jobs students are of the highest quality, selected from a competitive application and interview process by our friends at the Private Industry Council. We’ve compiled a few ways students can make an impact around the office:

  1. Standard office work: this includes all of those projects you’ve been putting off for months, such as data entry, filing, mailings and scanning. For example, students have helped transition law firms to paperless offices.
  2. Legal assistance: students have typed memos, summarized depositions, prepared documents, created client files, and conducted internet research.  One of our former students decided to draft a closing statement for a case he observed and the prosecutor ended up using a portion of it in her own closing statement. Another student researched law journal articles on cybercrime and wrote summaries for her employers.
  3. Anything IT or computer-related: from helping to answer simple help desk inquiries to creating well-designed powerpoints, the students often possess strong tech skills.
  4. Human resource assistance: Students can help sort and file I-9 forms, format job descriptions, compile lists of recruiting agencies, create welcome letters for new employees, and make interview and new employee packets.
  5. Receptionist duties: the students are excited to work in professional environments and gain experience. In the past, students have enjoyed greeting everyone coming into the office and answering phones in reception, which in turn frees up your front desk staff to tackle other projects.
  6. Language skills: In addition to English, many students speak Spanish, French, Haitian-Creole, Chinese, or one of the 77 languages spoken by Boston public school students. They have been known to help with interpretation and translation in some instances.
David Lozano, a senior at Boston Latin Academy, interned at Nixon Peabody last summer.

David Lozano, a senior at Boston Latin Academy, interned at Nixon Peabody last summer.

Regardless of the task—however big or small—you are affording the students an opportunity to work in a professional environment and exposing them to the legal field. We are here to help you brainstorm potential projects for the summer.

With 45 position secured, the Summer Jobs Committee continues to work hard to secure additional summer positions for Boston public high school students. The BBA would like to thank the 31 firms and organizations that have already committed to the Summer Jobs Program and its mission to enrich the lives of Boston’s youth:

Anderson & Kreiger LLP 
Boston Bar Association *
Boston Bar Foundation *
Burns & Levinson LLP*
Choate Hall & Stewart 
City of Boston, Office of the Corporation Counsel *
DLA Piper
Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP *
Ferriter Scobbo & Rodophele 
Fish & Richardson P.C. 
Foley Hoag 
Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen and Loewy, LLP 
Hemenway & Barnes LLP **
Hinckley, Allen & Snyder LLP 
Holland & Knight LLP 
LPL Financial 
Margolis & Bloom LLP 
Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo P.C. 
Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP 
Nixon Peabody LLP 
Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP 
Pierce Atwood 
Prince Lobel Tye LLP 
Ropes & Gray LLP *
Rosenfeld Rafik & Sullivan, P.C. 
Shaevel & Krems 
Shilepsky Hartley Robb Casey Michon LLP 
Sugarman, Rogers, Barshak & Cohen, P.C. 
Sunstein Kann Murphy & Timbers LLP 
Todd & Weld 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

If you are interested in hiring a student, please contact Katie D’Angelo, Public Service Programs Coordinator, at kdangelo@bostonbar.org.

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M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program Kicks Off in Roxbury

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Amy Lipman-White (Law Office of Lipman & White) and Sarah Barr (Suffolk Law School) discussed the basics of personal finance and budgeting with a group of students at John D. O’Bryant School of Math & Science.

Last week, volunteers headed out to 15 schools in the Greater Boston area to teach students about how to make sound financial decisions as part of the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program. The BBA interviewed two volunteers, Amy Lipman-White (Law Office of Lipman & White) and Sarah Barr (Suffolk Law School) who taught Personal Finance and Budgeting to a group of very engaged students at John D. O’Bryant School of Math & Science last week. Amy, a long-time volunteer who has been donating her time since the start of the program, and Sarah, a first-time volunteer, led the students through the basics of budgeting and the basics of taxes with the aid of a jolly rancher reward system. Here’s what they had to say about the experience:

Why did you volunteer for the program?
Amy: I believe this program can make a difference in a student’s life.   I feel that if I can reach just one student and that student benefits in the future from even just one idea, then I’ve made a difference.

Sarah: I am concentrating in Business Law and Financial Services at Suffolk Law School, so this seemed like a great opportunity to give back to the community in a way that corresponds to my career goals and personal values. I think that financial education should begin at a much earlier age than the college years, because this is the time when kids are first beginning to make financial decisions which can really impact their future, such as taking out student loans, applying for credit, paying bills, etc.

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Sarah Barr (Suffolk Law School) discussed the difference between fixed and variable expenses with the students.

Why should other attorneys get involved?
Sarah: Other attorneys (and law students!) should get involved because this is a fantastic opportunity to give back to the Boston community, and provide high school students with some very practical skills in order to help them make educated financial decisions. This program empowers students by giving them the information they need in order to independently make good financial decisions.

What was the highlight of the session?
Sarah: This group of students was very engaged in the conversation, which gave us the opportunity to ask a lot of questions and get the students involved during the entire class. The students seemed to truly care about the issues we were talking about, and were proactive in connecting the information we provided with things that were going on in their everyday lives.

What information did the students seem to find most interesting and useful?
Amy: They were really interested in the W-4 and W-2’s and taxes.  However, this was a unique group of students. Most of them worked one or two jobs with significant hours and had already filled out the W-4 forms and had no idea why or what it was and they were just getting their W-2’s for the first time so they were interested in that topic because they didn’t know they might have to file taxes or that they could file a tax return and get money back or possibly have to pay.  The other topic they always find interesting is making out the budget, it is fun for the students.  They can use their imagination of what they want now and in the future, think about the reality of what things cost and then dream about what they will do to make it happen.

Are you interested in volunteering? Click here to view the available volunteer sessions.

This fall, volunteers delivered the program to students at three high schools in Western Massachusetts in collaboration with the Hampden County Bar Association and the Hampshire County Bar Association. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program, a collaboration between the BBA and the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Massachusetts.

Calling All Legal Services Organizations–The BBF Is Now Accepting 2014 Grants Applications

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The Victim’s Rights Center was a 2013 BBF Grantee. The BBA also supports grantees in other capacities including holding pro bono trainings and recruiting volunteers for their efforts. In the photo above, staff from the Victim’s Right Center discuss volunteer opportunities with interested law students at the Suffolk Pro Bono Fair in October.

On February 4th, the Boston Bar Foundation (BBF) released its application for the 2014 grants cycle. As you probably know, the BBF grants support programs and organizations that advance access to legal services, improve fair administration of justice, and help expand public understanding of the law. Combined with money raised from events such as the John & Abigail Adams Benefit, the BBF grants its portion of Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts (IOLTA) funds to legal service organizations. However, in response to the decline in IOLTA funding, the BBF has stepped up and increased its commitment to funding legal services by granting a greater portion of its own fundraising. Within the past ten years, the BBF’s contributions to the total funds granted to legal services organizations has increased by more than 35 percent.

So how does the grant making process work? Beyond the Billable is bringing you a firsthand look at how the grant decisions are made. Take a look below:

The members of the BBF Grants Committee spend countless hours reviewing each application, discussing the current needs within legal services and the Greater Boston area, and examining emerging issues affecting low-income individuals in our community. While reviewing applications, the BBF Grants Committee looks for organizations that:

  • Provide civil legal services to low-income people and/or underserved populations, especially organizations and programs that address an unmet legal need.
  • Develop or strengthen pro bono programs through which the private bar delivers substantial voluntary legal services to low-income and underserved populations.
  • Demonstrably enhance the administration of justice in Massachusetts (i.e. improve the courts’ effectiveness, address systemic problems in the court system or provide information to low-income, underserved or special needs populations regarding their legal rights and/or accessibility to the courts).

Last year, the BBF granted $900,000 to 28 community legal service providers. Among the grantees are organizations working to assist low-income families and individuals who face problems relating to immigration, domestic violence, and homelessness, as well as increasingly prevalent issues such as human trafficking and environmental justice. To learn more about last year’s grantees, please check out our website.

Please contact the BBA/BBF Public Service Manager Sonia Shah at sshah@bostonbar.org if you have any questions about the BBF grant process.