Monthly Archives: May 2014
Beyond the Billable recently chatted with a few excited Summer Judicial Interns about their upcoming summer and what they were most looking forward to about their experience. Fortunately, for our 28 interns, the wait is over – their summer job has officially begun as of last evening’s orientation session at 16 Beacon. At the orientation students participating in the Program learned about general procedures for working in the courts from BBA’s Manager of Member Engagement Kristen Scioli White and Judge Robert Tochka. Kristen and Judge Tochka spoke with interns about the expectations for their internship and answered questions to help ease concerns about the law students’ first time working in a court. Following the presentations, the interns, participating judges, and past participants of the program gathered for a reception and celebrated the beginning of this year’s Summer Judicial Internship Program. We’ll be following our interns progress closely this summer, so be sure to check Beyond the Billable for more updates!
Every six months, the Boston Bar Association hires a co-op student from Northereastern University to work with the BBA Lawyer Referral Service. We asked Samantha Odreman, who is currently five months in to her co-op, to share her experiences with our readers.
My Co-op Experience
Samantha Odreman – LRS Intern
Northeastern University, Sophomore
International Affairs with French, Psychology and Social Entrepreneurship Minors
Five months ago I began my first Cooperative Education (Co-op) experience working as an LRS Intern at the Boston Bar Association. When I started working for a bar association, I didn’t know what to expect. I wasn’t sure what exactly I would be doing, or what the role of a bar association was in the community. As I near the end of my internship, I realize what an opportunity I have been given to explore and analyze different career paths and make informed decisions about my future.
From the theoretical world of school and books, I have come face to face with the legal profession and its many different facets, and have decided that someday, after much more preparation and experience, perhaps I could become a part of that world as a successful attorney. As an LRS Intern I have learned how important it is to carefully listen to issues and how equally important it is to analyze them in order to help people get to the appropriate legal assessments and resources. The LRS is a dedicated public service that works to reduce the gap between the underserved communities and the legal world. Each year, the Lawyer Referral Service helps thousands of people by connecting them to attorneys and other legal services that can assist with their needs. As the largest public service initiative of the Boston Bar Association, the LRS has attorneys that practice in more than 350 areas of law who also offer a variety of fee structures. In addition, the LRS also works with other community organizations to make sure everyone has the chance of getting legal assistance no matter what their financial situation might be.
During my experience at the BBA, I have learned to work hard by following the example of a wonderful group of people who give their best each and every day to achieve their goal and help the BBA increase the number of people that it can help each year.* This opportunity gave me the confidence to pursue my own goal as I continue my studies. I want to do productive and meaningful work that will contribute to alleviate the many needs of society. The Boston Bar Association is a leader in serving the community and I am so grateful to have been a part of it for a little while. I really don’t think I could have had a better first experience in a better place than here at the BBA where people are committed and ready to serve and who want to improve access to justice for all.
*We promise we didn’t force Samantha to say this!
Our longtime Beyond the Billable readers know how focused the BBA is on providing Summer Jobs for Boston youth. That’s why in addition to sharing stories of our own student’s successes, we are always looking to track down research supporting the impact of these initiatives. In a recent Boston Globe article by Ruth Graham titled: Are Teen Jobs Becoming a Luxury Good?, Graham investigates racial and wealth inequalities of high schools students working during the summer, and how that can impact their overall success when it comes to education and income later in life. Here’s one excerpt that struck us:
They end up with better adult jobs and higher incomes, according to studies, as well as stronger “soft skills” like dependability, punctuality, confidence, and communication. For boys, especially, the chances of enrolling in and graduating from college are significantly higher for those who worked in high school. “Work experience matters a lot,” said Paul Harrington, director of the Center for Labor Markets and Policy at Drexel University.
The article also shared some sobering statistics on the current summer jobs situation*:
- On average only about 25% of students age 16-19 work in a given month, the lowest rate since the 1940’s, and 20% lower than in 2000.
- In summer 2012 only 21 % of teenagers from low-income families worked at all
- 38 % of teenagers with household incomes between $100,000 and $150,000 worked last summer.
- White teenagers were 2 times as likely to have worked last summer as black teens.
- Last summer, almost ½ of all white male teens with family incomes between $100,000 and $149,000 had jobs
- Only 9.1 % of black male teens with families in the lowest income group had jobs last summer.
- Teenagers who work in high school and college wind up with salaries 16 % higher than teens who don’t work.
- “Low-promise” respondents—those who have poor grades and low education goals—were almost 3 times as likely to acquire a college degree if they worked consistently approximately 14 hours a week.
These studies, and others, have shown that low-income teens and those who struggle in school benefit most dramatically from working, and in addition, are more likely to contribute their income to family earnings. Through the BBA’s Summer Jobs Program, thanks to the generous support of law firms and legal organizations, we are able to find paid summer jobs for 64 Boston public school students and help change the cycles of inequality in our city. Learn more or join our effort to support Boston youth here.
*Please reference article for citations
This summer, the BBA’s Diversity & Inclusion Section has placed 28 law students in internships at courts throughout the Boston area as part of the BBA Judicial Internship Program. The program, which runs from the beginning of June until the end of August, will give these law students a chance to work closely with a judge and gain courtroom experience by both observing and working on cases. The program kicks off with an orientation next Thursday, followed by a reception where former program participants and participating Judges will meet with this year’s interns and share their stories.
This year, interns will be working at the Dorchester, Roxbury, and East Boston divisions of the Boston Municipal Court, as well as in Waltham District Court, Suffolk Probate and Family Court, and the Bankruptcy Appellate Panel.
We figured our Judicial Interns are starting to get excited about their summer positions, but we wanted to find out for ourselves. We reached out to Kyle Litfin (Boston College Law School), who will be interning at the Dorchester Municipal Court with Judge James W. Coffey, to ask a few questions about his upcoming summer experience. Here’s what he had to say:
Have you ever worked at a court before?
“I have, but only very briefly. Over Spring Break I was lucky enough participate in the New Orleans Gulf Coast Recovery Trip and work with Judge Eldon E. Fallon at the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Louisiana. It was a wonderful experience and is one of the main reasons I decided to apply to the BBA Judicial Clerkship program.”
What do you hope to gain out of this internship?
“I hope that by witnessing hearings, arguments, and working with a judge and his staff, I will begin to see what effective lawyering truly is. What better way to learn how to be a lawyer than watching them argue in court, and observing how a judge renders his decisions and responds to the issues at hand? I cannot think of a better experience for a young and aspiring lawyer than to be in court and working with a judge.”
As part of our weekly “Voices of the Bar” feature, we asked the judicial interns what they were most looking forward to as part of their summer internship. Hear from more of our Judicial Interns here.
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 March and April:
Lawyer for the Day
Nicholas Bentley, Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.
Christine Dieter, Goodwin Procter LLP
Jessamyn Edra, Goodwin Procter LLP
Dahlia Fetouh, Goodwin Procter LLP
Eric Fox , Goodwin Procter LLP
Julia Harmatz, McAneny
Timothy Holahan, Goodwin Procter LLP
Joseph Horne, Goodwin Procter LLP
Jennifer Kent, Goodwin Procter LLP
David Linhart, Goulston & Storrs PC
Stephanie Neely, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP
Allison Orpilla, Goodwin Procter LLP
Bridget O’Sullivan, Ropes & Gray LLP
Nicholas Planty, Goodwin Procter LLP
Sarah Soloman, Goodwin Procter LLP
Leann Walsh, Goodwin Procter LLP
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Program
Christopher Candon, Sheehan Phinney Bass
Adam Ruttenberg Looney & Grossman
Last Saturday, the BBA’s New Lawyers Public Service Committee took time out of their busy weekend to spend some time at the Greater Boston Food Bank, the largest hunger-relief organization in New England and among the largest food banks in the country. The lawyers inspected, sorted, and packed food and grocery products. The group’s efforts helped put together 4, 509 meals for local families. We reached out to some of the New Lawyers to get their take on this event and other public service events they participate in – here’s what they had to say:
“Under the strong leadership of Margaret Caulfield and Sara Shannon, the BBA New Lawyers Section’s Public Service Committee has cemented its role as the preeminent vehicle for new and experienced attorneys alike to work together in serving the community in the Greater Boston area. The volunteer event at the Greater Boston Food Bank was one of many examples this BBA year where BBA members and their guests had the opportunity to interact in casual, collaborative settings while helping those in need.” – Paul Connors, Corporate Counsel, athenahealth
“Volunteering at the GBFB with the BBA is something we look forward to every year. It is always a fantastic event. However, it is just one of the many public service opportunities Margaret and I planned this past year. To name a few, we worked with the Environmental Law Section to clean up Franklin Park. We also volunteered at Cradles to Crayons, helping to put together book packets for kids around Boston. In December we teamed up with the Social Committee of the New Lawyers Section and promoted the Toys for Tots Program by gathering gifts for children for the holidays. We also volunteered with the Prison Book Program by sorting and sending books to various state prisons in the Commonwealth. We also continued our tradition in assisting with the Earth Day Cleanup by volunteering our time (rain or shine) to pick up trash on the Charles River organized by the Esplanade Association.
Not only are these public service events wonderful for networking with other attorneys, but they are also rewarding and a lot of fun.” – Sara Shannon, Assistant Attorney General, Environmental Crimes Strike Force
As many of you readers know, the BBA just finished up its Law Day in the Schools Program, and this year, thanks to the continuing strength of the program and the work put in by our volunteers, Law Day in the Schools reached more students than ever! This year, 87 volunteers brought the program to 50 classrooms in 9 different Boston Public Schools to teach over 1,300 students of all ages about “Why Every Vote Matters.”
Beyond the Billable would like to acknowledge the attorneys, legal staff, and law students who volunteered their time to be a part of Law Day! Without their time and effort this program would not be possible. Thank you to:
For more information about Law Day in the Schools, please contact Katie D’Angelo, Public Service Programs Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monday night, over 1,400 attorneys came out for the annual Law Day Dinner held at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center. At the Dinner, friends, colleagues, judges, and legislators joined together to welcome Boston’s new Mayor, honor achievements, and celebrate the strength of our city.
This year, awards were presented to the Marathon Assistance Project’s volunteers, whose quick response to a tragedy through legal assistance changed the lives of many who had been affected by the atrocities and helped them to recover.
Following the honoring of the Marathon Volunteers, the BBA recognized the tireless work of the Boston Private Industry Council (PIC) for their dedication to providing educational and career opportunities to Boston youth, as well as their longstanding support of the BBA Summer Jobs program. This celebration of the PIC’s commitment to students comes as the BBA’s Summer Jobs 2014 Program is about to begin: currently the PIC and BBA are working to place over 60 Boston Public High School students in paid legal positions for the summer.
Last but definitely not least, the BBA honored Bonnie Sashin, the BBA’s former Director of Communications & External Relations, for her 26 years of outstanding service and her contributions to the organization and the legal community. Bonnie received a standing ovation from attendees, while guests and people not in attendance were able to tweet their congratulations to Bonnie at #thankyoubonnie, where the messages were broadcasted live on stage.
The ceremony concluded with a speech from Boston’s mayor, Marty Walsh, who spoke to attendees about his commitment to community and equality, and how the bar and legal professionals can play a role in his vision for the city of Boston. The Mayor began by thanking all of the volunteers of the Marathon Assistance Project, emphasizing the unique role that as attorneys they were able to play in helping the city recover.
Mayor Walsh also spoke to attendees about public service, and giving back the community in which we all live or work. The BBA’s Summer Jobs program was highlighted as one of the many parts of Mayor Walsh’s personal vision for diverse youth employment in Boston, stating that “in a time of growth, no one should be left behind.”
Along with Mayor Walsh, Beyond the Billable would like to thank the Boston Marathon Assistance Projects volunteers, PIC, and Bonnie for their tremendous contributions to making the Boston a stronger, happier, and more progressive city – thank you!
Last week, the BBA’s Law Day in the Schools Program finished up reaching a record number of students. This year’s Law Day theme, “Why Every Vote Matters,” was brought to 50 different Boston Public School classrooms and reached over 1,300 students! The program continued the tradition of bringing lawyers into classrooms across the city to teach students of all ages about voting rights and what it means to be a lawyer.
Missed out on the fun? Although this year’s Law Day in the Schools Program is wrapping up, stay tuned for more information about upcoming public service opportunities, or contact BBA Public Service Programs Coordinator Katie D’Angelo at email@example.com for more information on how you can get involved.
Every year, May 1st marks the official celebration of Law Day—a day to reflect upon the importance of law and the justice system in the United States and to educate young people about how law affects society. BBA President Paul Dacier headed back to Brighton Municipal Court again this year to take part in the annual Law Day celebrations with First Justice David Donnelly, Honorable Patricia Bernstein, and Brighton elementary school students. Students participated in a poster and essay contest on the Law Day theme of “Why Every Vote Matters.”
For a first-hand look at the day’s event from Paul’s perspective, check out Dacier’s Take on…Law Day Celebrations in Brighton’s Municipal Court.