Monthly Archives: July 2014

Volunteer Lawyers Give BBA Summer Jobs Interns Legal Lessons

Mirna Diaz  (Diaz Law Group) spoke with the Summer Jobs interns and LRS intern about family law as part of the LRS training series.

Mirna Diaz (Diaz Law Group) spoke with the Summer Jobs interns and LRS intern about family law during an LRS training session.

The two Boston public high school students interning in at the BBA’s 16 Beacon Street headquarters through the BBA Summer Jobs Program have been in high demand this summer. In between their long list of projects, office duties, enrichment seminars, and field trips, Alejandra and Harmoun have also been receiving legal lessons from members of the BBA Lawyer Referral Service on various areas of law.

Beyond the Billable checked in with Alejandra and Harmoun to hear more about the trainings. Here’s what they had to say:

Alejandra Bautista

“I honestly loved all of them because I learned so many new things that I’ve never heard of. I feel grateful because I am going to leave this internship having a lot of knowledge about law, especially the family law one and the public benefits one. I found a little bit of my passion in these trainings.”- Alejandra Bautista, rising junior at Boston Community Leadership Academy

“All of the LHarmoun TaibRS trainings were extremely helpful. I learned a variety of different laws that I have never heard of before. I also had the pleasure to meet different attorneys from local law firms. The LRS trainings gave me a better understanding of different areas of law and the type of law I would like to pursue as a career. My favorite training was on immigration law. I emigrated from another country and I would like to help other immigrants because I think they need to have a second chance.” – Hermuna Taib, rising senior at East Boston High School

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New Lawyers Learn Ins and Outs of Legal Service Careers

 

Law students and new attorneys learned about legal service careers at last week's Career Series Lunch.

Law students and new attorneys learned about legal service careers at last week’s Career Series Lunch.

Last Thursday, new lawyers and law students gathered at 16 Beacon to get the inside scoop on what it’s really like to work in legal services as part of the BBA’s Summer Career Series. Attendees gained insight from attorneys of diverse backgrounds with years of legal services experience, asked questions about the profession, and learned tips on how to pursue a career in legal services. Panelists also recommended pursuing volunteer and pro bono opportunities at various organizations as a means of identifying areas of law they are interested in pursuing professionally.

The all-star lineup of panelists includes:

  • Yugo Nakai and D’Andre Fernandez, both attorneys from the Volunteer Lawyers Project of the Boston Bar Association, shared stories about the types of cases they handle and offered tips on how to deal with these clients, whose circumstances offer a unique and often challenging experience.
  • Katharine Milton, an attorney at Casa Myrna Vazquez, emphasized that because legal service organizations do not have extensive support staff or large budgets, working in legal services calls for patience and resourcefulness.
  • Sherley Rodriquez, an attorney working at a fellowship program through Suffolk University Law School, further emphasized the importance of making positive connections with other attorneys in legal services who will remember you further down the line when more opportunities and positions open up.

After the luncheon, Beyond the Billable checked in with BC Law student Caryn Sigurdson about the panelist discussion and her interest in legal services. Here’s what she had to say:

“The Legal Services panel for the Summer Career Series was informative and helpful. I have always considered working in legal services, but didn’t really have an idea of what that meant. Now I’m convinced that it is something I want to do at some point in my career. I find it frustrating that everything in law school and at networking events focuses on firms, and everyone assumes that working at a large firm is your life’s goal, so it is nice to have an opportunity to meet with other public interest-minded people whose passions are to help those in need.”

Interested in attending a Career Series lunch? Check out the final lunch called “What’s it REALLY Like Being a Real Estate Attorney?” tomorrow at 12:30 pm. Stay tuned for more career series programs in the fall!

Summer Jobs Students on the Bench at the SJC

Students tested out the Justices’ seats during a tour of the Adams Courthouse yesterday.

Students tested out the Justices’ seats during a tour of the Adams Courthouse yesterday.

The BBA Summer Jobs students continued their summer adventures with a stop at the Adams Courthouse for VIP tour and crash course on the history of the Massachusetts legal system. After touring the building and taking turns posing in the Justices’ seats, the students met with Justice Cynthia Cohen to learn more about her career path and her role as an associate justice on the Massachusetts Appeals Court.

Take a look below for more highlights from the field trip:

Barbara Berenson, a senior attorney at the Supreme Judicial Court, gave the students a tour of the building and provided an overview of the Massachusetts legal system.

Barbara Berenson, a senior attorney at the Supreme Judicial Court, gave the students a tour of the building and provided an overview of the Massachusetts legal system.

Justice Cynthia Cohen spoke with the students about her role as an associate justice on the Massachusetts Appeals Court and her career path.

Justice Cynthia Cohen spoke with the students about her role as an associate justice on the Massachusetts Appeals Court and her career path.

Summer Jobs Key to Addressing Unemployment Crisis Among Young Minorities

Unemployment rates among minorities under the age of 25 are particularly high. Graph Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, courtesy of NPR

Unemployment rates among minorities under the age of 25 are particularly high. 

Our dedicated readers may remember this recent post about inequalities in the current summer jobs market for teens. If you’re interested in learning more the unemployment among minorities under the age of 25, this recent NPR piece is a must listen. The piece highlights the long-term career implications of the lack of summer job opportunities, particularly for minority teens.

Here’s what William Spriggs, an economist from Howard University, had to say about the value of a summer job in the interview:

“It’s very important, and again it’s that network. It’s getting to know other people who work. It’s getting an employer who can vouch for you when you go to get another job. It’s having on your resume that you have that experience. And it’s understanding an industry and understanding what the opportunities are within that industry.”

This is why programs, such as the BBA Summer Jobs Program, play such a critical role in shaping the future of many of our Boston teens. Our students walk away with a network of professional contacts and skills that lay the groundwork for a successful career and future opportunities. Learn more about our program, which set a record high of employing 64 Boston teens this summer, here.

Image source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, courtesy of NPR  

Not Your Standard Summer Job – Students Get Crash Course on Credit & Budgeting

The BBA’s Summer Jobs Students excitedly answered participated in their first Financial Literacy Program.

Our loyal Beyond the Billable readers are well aware of the plethora of long-term benefits of offering Boston public high school students professional experience. The short-term benefit (and a major plus for the students) is, of course, the opportunity to earn a paycheck. Now that the students have already earned their first summer paycheck, they are beginning to make decisions about how to spend it. Should they buy new clothes, see a movie, or save for their first semester of college? The BBA Summer Jobs Program enrichment seminars are offering the students guidance on educated decisions about their money via the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program. So far, the students have learned how to create a budget, the importance of paying yourself first, how interest on credit cards work, and the difference between a debit and credit card. Over the next few weeks, the students will continue to acquire tools through additional sessions on buying a car and learning about the consequences of making poor financial decision at Bankruptcy Court.

Beyond the Billable checked in with two BBF-funded students working at the Volunteer Lawyers Project this summer to hear what they’ve learned so far. Here’s what they had to say:

Liraniz Colon

“I thought the sessions were pretty good because I already have a debit card. I tell myself all of the time now that I shouldn’t go over a certain amount on my debit card because I want to save money. If I know I have enough money in my account, I’ll save my paycheck for something like school. [The volunteers] really taught me to budget.”

Liraniz Colon, a rising senior at John D. O’Bryant School of Math & Science

“In [the Using Credit and Credit Cards] seminar, I learned that you have to be really careful with your credit and how you spend your money and what company you choose. You have to choose wisely and you have to make good decisions about what you spend. You have to ask yourself do I need this or not; can I wait or can I not. You have to be very responsible.”

Mackaila Garcia, a rising senior at Charlestown High School

VLP Announces Honor Roll for May and June

Volunteer attorneys are the backbone of the Lawyer for the Day in the Boston Housing Court Program.

Volunteer attorneys are the backbone of the Lawyer for the Day in the Boston Housing Court Program.

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 the Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Program in May and June:

Lawyer for the Day Volunteers

 Sam Ames
Caryn Appelbaum
Marea Beeman
Nicholas Bentley, Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.
Rose Billeci
Jennifer Brown, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP
Alison Burr, Ropes & Gray LLP
Esther Cho
Andrew Cohn, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP
Chloe Coravos
James Creed
Milton D’Andrea
Brent Davis, Roger Williams School of Law
Sally Davis, Ropes & Gray LLP
Matthew Ellison
Emily Gauthier
Jennifer Gorman, Ropes & Gray LLP
Michael Grem
Laura Hadley
Sarah Hymes
Sharon Jones
Esther Laine, Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office
Patrick Long
Casey Lyons
Justin Murphy, Law Office of Justin M. Murphy
Christopher Pavlow, McCarter & English, LLP
James Plotkin
Stuart Schrier
Daniel Sieck, McLane, Graf, Raulerson & Middleton, Professional Association
Stephen Thompson, Ropes & Gray LLP
Irina Vaglica
Heather Ward, Law Office of Heather M. Ward
Katy Ward, Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.
Lawrence Wind

 Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Program

David Baker, Law Office of David G. Baker
Eric Blythe, Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.
Peter Fellman
Scott Hubbell, Hubbell Law
Marques Lipton, Law Office of Timothy Mauser
H. Luke Mitcheson, Mitcheson Viana LLP
Joanna Morris
Kristofer Munroe, Lallier Munroe P.C.
Nina Parker, Parker & Associates
Steven Pohl, Brown Rudnick LLP
Adrienne Walker, Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.
Kevin Walsh, Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.
Neil Warrenbrand, Law Office of Neil Warrenbrand
Benjamin Zalman

 

 

Students Experience City Council Firsthand

Larry DiCara (Nixon Peabody) met with the students who served as City Council members at yesterday’s enrichment seminar to go over how the voting process works.

Larry DiCara (Nixon Peabody) met with the students who served as City Council members at yesterday’s enrichment seminar to go over how the voting process works.

Yesterday morning, Boston City Council Chambers was filled with sounds of students debating the pros and cons of a law which would create a 9 pm curfew for people under the age of 17. Through the annual Mock City Council enrichment seminar, the BBA Summer Jobs students had the opportunity to test out their acting skills as they learned about the legislative process in the City of Boston.

With the help of former Boston City Council President Larry DiCara (Nixon Peabody), students took on a variety of roles.  Some students served as representatives of the Boston Senior Alliance and the Pediatricians for Peace who advocated on behalf of the law, while other students acted as members of the Boston Teen Council and Neighborhood Merchants Association who opposed the law. The students put their debate skills to work in an effort to convince their peers, who served as City Council members, to vote in their favor. Not surprisingly, the student-led council voted again a curfew, which was viewed as too restrictive on the rights of teens.

Jose Maria, btb josea rising senior at New Mission High School and an intern at Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP, argued on behalf of the Boston Teen Council. Here’s what he had to say about the Mock City Council hearing:

“I really enjoyed [the Mock hearing] and it’s a really good opportunity to learn what happens in the City…It was nice to know that we were dealing with real life situations.”

BTB RUSH

We also checked in with Rusheika Gordon, an intern at Pierce Atwood LLP, who served as the spokesperson for the Neighborhood Merchants Association. Beyond the Billable asked Rusheika why she volunteered to speak for her group and what she learned from the experience. Here’s what she had to say:

“I felt like it was time for me to step up and do something out of my comfort zone and try to present my ideas. I enjoyed having questions posed and being prepared to respond back. I learned to think on my feet. “

Take a look below for more images from the morning:

Thomas Vu, who is interning at Nixon Peabody LLP this summer, served as City Council President.

Thomas Vu, who is interning at Nixon Peabody LLP this summer, served as City Council President.

 

Jose Maria, who is interning at Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP, presented arguments against the proposed curfew on behalf of the Boston Teen Council.

Jose Maria, who is interning at Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP, presented arguments against the proposed curfew on behalf of the Boston Teen Council.

Liraniz Colon, who is interning at the Volunteers Lawyers Project, cited the importance of sleep for teenagers and argued in favor of the proposed law on behalf of the group, Pediatricians for Peace.

Liraniz Colon, who is interning at the Volunteers Lawyers Project, cited the importance of sleep for teenagers and argued in favor of the proposed law on behalf of the group, Pediatricians for Peace.

 Rusheika Gordan, who is interning at Pierce Atwood LLP, responded to questions from the City Council members after presenting arguments against the law on behalf of the Neighborhood Merchants Association.

Rusheika Gordon, who is interning at Pierce Atwood LLP, responded to questions from the City Council members after presenting arguments against the law on behalf of the Neighborhood Merchants Association.

Larry DiCara (Nixon Peabody) handed over the gavel to his firm’s summer intern, Thomas Vu, who served as City Council President during the hearing.

Larry DiCara (Nixon Peabody) handed over the gavel to his firm’s summer intern, Thomas Vu, who served as City Council President during the hearing.

BBA LRS Expands Reach to Hispanic Community

LRS ESPANOL Last week, the BBA Lawyer Referral Service (LRS) launched a new Spanish-language website.   The website provides all of the same features found on the main site, and has a fully responsive design to mobile and tablet technologies. The BBA LRS has been committed to connecting historically underserved populations with lawyers and legal resources for over 50 years.  The LRS has a bilingual staff member and developed the site in response to the increase of Spanish callers over the years.

Beyond the Billable reached out to Solana Goss, the coordinator of the Lawyer Referral Service, to learn more about the website expansion. Here’s what she had to say: “We have recognized the language barrier gap for many Spanish speaking callers seeking legal assistance.  Ensuring the Spanish-speaking population has access to our information on how to connect with legal resources is vital to our goal of increasing access to justice.  I think it is important that we empower people from the public to stick up for their legal rights by making them aware of their options and how to access help.”

Check out the Lawyer Referral Service’s new Spanish site directly at www.bostonbarlawyer.org/es or through the language toggle option located at the top of www.bostonbarlawyer.org.

If you are a bilingual attorney interested in joining the BBA Lawyer Referral Service, please email LRS Intake Coordinator, Solana Goss at sgoss@bostonbar.org.   Members from the public can call the LRS at 617-742-0625 or request an attorney online at any time through the website.

BBA Judicial Interns Reflect on First Weeks on the Job

The 2014 Summer Judicial Interns at the BBA  for their orientation to the program.

The 2014 Summer Judicial Interns at the BBA for their orientation to the program.

Beyond the Billable recently gave you the details on BBA’s Summer Career Series geared towards new lawyers, law students, and our Judicial Interns – but if you’re wondering how our Summer interns are faring in the courts, we’ve got you covered.  We reached out to Boston College Law School student Kyle Litfin to hear more about his experience in his first two weeks working in the Boston Municipal Court’s Dorchester session with Judge James W. Coffey.  Here’s what he had to say:

KJL2

Kyle Litfin, Boston College Law

“It has only been two weeks and I feel like I have learned more about being a lawyer in my short time at the Dorchester Court than I have my entire first year in law school. Not only has the job provided interesting research and writing opportunities, but I have had the chance to witness pre-trial conferences, status conferences, and trials from start to finish. Watching an entire case, from jury selection to a verdict is truly remarkable. More importantly, watching lawyers give opening and closing statements, seeing different techniques for witness questioning, and observing when and how lawyers decide to object to statements and exhibits is both exciting and instructional.

Having the chance to work with Judge Coffey, the clerks, and my fellow interns allows for the experience to be extremely interactive. Not only does Judge Coffey always take the time to answer any and all of my questions, but the clerks, the court officers and all of the Dorchester Court staff are there to provide information and guidance whenever possible. Each day is something exciting and new, and I always look forward to going to work.”

Stay tuned throughout the summer as we check in with our Judicial Interns.

BBA Summer Jobs Program Kicks Off

The 64 Boston public high school students pose with Summer Jobs Co-Chair Jeff Mittleman, MBLA President Doreen Rachal, Mayor Marty Walsh, BBA President Paul Dacier, and Chief of Health and Human Services Felix Arroyo.

The 64 Boston public high school students pose with Summer Jobs Co-Chair Jeff Mittleman, MBLA President Doreen Rachal, Mayor Marty Walsh, BBA President Paul Dacier, and Chief of Health and Human Services Felix Arroyo.

 

Monday morning marked the start of the 21st year of the BBA Summer Jobs Program with the annual Kickoff Event. This star-studded event, featuring Mayor Marty Walsh, Massachusetts Black Lawyers Association President Doreen Rachal, and Chief of Health and Human Services Felix Arroyo (also a former BBA Summer Jobs student), celebrated the start of the program and pumped students up for their first day of work. Both Doreen and Mayor Walsh encourage the students to take advantage of their summer internship. When Mayor Walsh addressed the students, he explained, “You can start to build you career this summer and you can start to build your dreams.” With these words of encouragement fresh in their minds, the 64 students headed out to their law offices for their first day of work.

If you missed the excitement,  Beyond the Billable has you covered. Take a look below for highlights from the morning:

Keynote speaker Doreen Rachal, the president of the Massachusetts Black Lawyers Association, told the students about her own career path and encouraged the students to take advantage of this opportunity to gain professional experience.

Keynote speaker Doreen Rachal, the President of the Massachusetts Black Lawyers Association, told the students about her own career path and encouraged the students to take advantage of this opportunity to gain professional experience.

 

Felix Arroyo, Chief of Health and Human Services for the City Boston and former BBA Summer Jobs Student, spoke with Summer Jobs Interns Jerry Rodriguez and Romana Hussain about their internships.

Felix Arroyo, Chief of Health and Human Services for the City Boston and former BBA Summer Jobs Student, spoke with Summer Jobs Interns Jerry Rodriguez and Romana Hussain about their internships.

 

Mayor Marty Walsh emphasized the students’ unique opportunity to learn about the legal field and encourages the students to take full advantage of this experience.

Mayor Marty Walsh emphasized the students’ unique opportunity to learn about the legal field and encouraged the students to take full advantage of this experience.

Emily Schnure (Nixon Peabody) introduced BBA Council Member Navjeet Bal (Nixon Peabody)to their Summer Jobs Student Thomas Vu, who just graduated from Boston Latin Academy, at the Kickoff Event.

Emily Schnure (Nixon Peabody) introduced BBA Council Member Navjeet Bal (Nixon Peabody)to their Summer Jobs Student Thomas Vu, who just graduated from Boston Latin Academy.

Romana Hussain, a rising junior at Boston Latin Academy, will be interning at Thornton & Naumes, LLP with Loretta Connelly (Thornton & Naumes, LLP).

Romana Hussain, a rising junior at Boston Latin Academy, will be interning at Thornton & Naumes, LLP with Loretta Connelly (Thornton & Naumes, LLP).

Mayor Marty Walsh posed with Sarah Lloyd-Wingard and Keila Gomes, who are interning at the City of Boston’s Office of the Corporation Counsel this summer.

Mayor Marty Walsh posed with Sarah Lloyd-Wingard and Keila Gomes, who are interning at the City of Boston’s Office of the Corporation Counsel this summer.