Category Archives: Judicial Internship

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:

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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.

Summer Judicial Interns Get Schooled in Criminal Law

In addition to working in the courts, the Summer Judicial Interns have had the opportunity to attend a number of enrichment events.

In addition to working in the courts, the Summer Judicial Interns have had the opportunity to attend a number of enrichment events.

The BBA’s Summer Judicial Interns have started off their summers strong, not only putting in the hours in the courtroom but also getting first-hand knowledge of the profession thanks to BBA enrichment programs. Earlier this month they got their first taste of the BBA’s Summer Career Series, designed to give the interns a better sense of what lies ahead for them after graduation. In addition to volunteering at least 15 hours per week in the courts, they are taking part in numerous enrichment activities put on by the BBA.  A particularly engaging day of enrichment activities for these law students took place early this month to expose the students to the practice of criminal law.

The series kicked off with “What’s It Like to Practice Criminal Law,” featuring speakers Christina Miller (Chief of District Courts and Community Prosecutions at the Suffolk County DA’s Office) and Lisa Medeiros (Committee for Public Counsel Services Supervising Attorney for Roxbury, Dorchester and West Roxbury), sharing stories about their respective career paths and cases they had worked on “while in the trenches.”

Beyond the Billable wouldn’t be doing our duty if we didn’t check in with our interns to see how the session was, so we asked Boston University School of Law student Chris York  for some feedback on the talk:

“It was interesting to hear their humorous, candid, and differing views on the judicial process and their respective roles in it.”

We have more judicial intern takeaways from the talk here.

While others might have called it a day after that session, our interns did the opposite – they took a walk to the John Adams Courthouse   to observe and also serve as jurists for the 2014 Advanced Trial Training Program’s final competition. Initiated by Judge Robert N. Tochka, the Program pairs newer prosecutors and defense attorneys from across Massachusetts with seasoned mentors for a trial advocacy skills competition (it’s friendly, we promise). Essex County, Norfolk County, Suffolk County, and Worcester County with seasoned mentors for friendly competition on trial advocacy skills.

Our interns observed and judged opening statements through direct and cross examinations, the two-person advocacy teams argued the mock case, “Commonwealth v. Green” with students from the Another Course to College charter school making a guest appearance as witnesses.

Silvia Stockman, a law student at Boston University, gave Beyond the Billable her impressions of the experience:

“The event was an entertaining way to observe real lawyers engaging in a colorfully written case, followed by a very moving reception that honored two fallen members of the legal community. It was a great way to bond with our fellow interns and do some networking with the competitors and audience members!”

As you can see, our Summer Judicial interns have a packed summer ahead of them, so be sure to check Beyond the Billable regularly for updates!

Staying Busy This Summer – Law Students Start Summer Judicial Internships

 

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The 2014 Summer Judicial Interns, ready to begin their internships at various courts throughout the Greater Boston Area.

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!

2014 Summer Judicial Internship Program Gets Underway!

Judicial Interns visiting the Supreme Judicial Court.

Last Year’s Judicial Interns visiting the Supreme Judicial Court.

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?

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Kyle Litfin, Boston College Law School

“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.

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.

A Year in Photos

The BBA has had a quite a year of public service. For a look back at our members’ commitment to the community, take a look at the photos below:

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In January 2013, the John & Abigail Adams Benefit raised over $560,000. That amount helped to fund grants to 24 Massachusetts community organizations providing legal services in areas such as immigration, domestic violence and homelessness.

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The BBA held two free Limited Assistance Representation (LAR) trainings during the winter to certify nearly 100 lawyers to accept cases for limited representation. LAR provides an opportunity for attorneys to gain valuable courtroom experience, and most importantly, more people with unresolved legal issues that require representation receive the help they need. Attorneys received certification in the Probate and Family Court, Land Court, Housing Court, and Boston Municipal Court.

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In 2013, the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program more than doubled in size, reaching nearly 1,300 students across Massachusetts with the help of 158 volunteers.

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Lisa Menelly (Raytheon Company) traveled to Mozart Elementary School in Roslindale to teach Ms. Pearl-Haynes’s 4th grade class about the 2013 Law Day in the Schools theme “Realizing the Dream: Equality for All.” From May 1st-3rd, 41 volunteer attorneys traveled to seven Boston public schools to teach 782 students about the topic.

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Members of the BBA’s Public Interest Leadership Program (PILP) leveraged the resources of the bar to launch the Community Reentry Readiness Program through the Federal Court to provide information to federal probationers on key civil-legal issues that they will face when re-entering society.

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After the tragic events on Marathon Monday, the BBA offered pro bono legal assistance to small business and victims affected by the Boston Marathon bombings. The BBA recruited over 200 attorneys, firms, and law schools who were eager to help. The BBA’s Lawyer Referral Service received 70 calls and through collaboration with the Mayor’s Office and Massachusetts Office of Victim Assistance, the BBA volunteer attorneys assisted 63 small business owners and victims with legal matters in the wake of the Boston Marathon events.  In addition, the BBF demonstrated its commitment to Boston by donating $25,000 to the One Fund to further assist victims.

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On June 6th, members of the BBA’s Public Interest Leadership Program (PILP) hosted a groundbreaking symposium addressing the emerging legal and community-based issues associated with human trafficking. The event drew in over 125 attendees and national press coverage.

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This year, 32 diverse law students participated in the Diversity & Inclusion Section’s Judicial Internship Program which places students in local courts including the Boston Municipal Court, Probate & Family Courts and US Bankruptcy Court.

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In its 20th year, the BBA Summer Jobs Program placed a record-breaking 58 Boston public high school students in paid positions at Boston law firms, legal departments, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations. This year, the BBF increased its commitment to the program by funding paid positions for 13 students at non-profit community organizations, government offices and courts.

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Pro Bono Month, which happens every October, was jam-packed with trainings and volunteer opportunities to encourage attorneys to give back to our community. The BBA held five pro bono trainings that prepared 206 attorneys and law students to engage in pro bono work and connected 250 new attorneys and law students with 28 Boston-area legal service agencies through a Pro Bono Fair.

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On September 1, 2013, the BBA Lawyer Referral Service became the new home of the Military Legal Help Line, which was established to connect veterans, military personnel, and their families with lawyers and other legal resources appropriate to their needs. The service refers callers to qualified attorneys offering reduced fee and pro bono legal assistance or the appropriate government or non-profit agency. In an effort to prepare attorneys to help with these reduced fee and pro bono cases, the BBA held a four-part CLE series this fall on topics including, family law, labor and employment, Chapter 7 bankruptcy, Chapter 13 bankruptcy, trusts and estates, and education benefits.

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On November 20th, BBA President Paul T. Dacier joined over 150 of Boston’s leaders in visiting Boston Public Schools (BPS) to gain a firsthand look at the successes and challenges of the city’s school system as part of the BPS Principal for a Day Program. Paul shadowed William Thomas, the headmaster of Charlestown High School, for the morning. Charlestown High School is one of the largest high schools in Boston with 954, 39% of its student body is Limited English Proficient, and 46% of students qualify for free or reduced-priced school meals.

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The BBA President Paul Dacier and BBA Executive Director Rich Page joined Mayor Thomas Menino along with the current representatives and alumni of the Mayor’s Youth Council (MYC) at the 20th Anniversary Celebration on November 29th. As you may know, the BBA is a longstanding partner of the MYC, combining efforts with the City of Boston and Northeastern University.

Judicial Internship Offers First Hand Look Inside the Courts

Judicial Interns visiting the Supreme Judicial Court.

Judicial Interns visiting the Supreme Judicial Court.

Beyond the Billable caught up with New England Law | Boston 2L, Krzysztof Momot, following his fall semester internship in the Boston Municipal Court to learn more about his experience working alongside Judge Ronquillo, the soon to be  Chief Justice of the Boston Municipal Court. Here is what he had to say about his internship in the BMC:

“When I saw an opportunity to intern for a judge, through the BBA, I immediately applied for it. I was thrilled when I found out that I would intern for Judge Robert Ronquillo Jr. at the East Boston Division of the Boston Municipal Court.  I did not know what to expect when I first started the internship. Judge Ronquillo was very open and welcoming and made me feel comfortable at the courthouse from the first day. I was introduced to the court staff and learned that they do just as much work at the courthouse if not more than the judge.  He showed me a whole new perspective of how the courthouse works.

I thought the most valuable aspect of the internship was the one on one time with the judge. After Judge Ronquillo stepped from the bench and we went back to his chambers he always started the conversation by saying “Questions?” and I always had plenty. Another great part of the internship was that Judge Ronquillo always wanted my advice on things he was doing and got me involved. He gave me assignments that mattered not just for the sake of giving me something to do. Those assignments provided me with a lot of satisfaction and self-confidence after hearing positive feedback from the Judge.

Judge Ronquillo really wanted me to learn and get experience during my internship. He introduced me to other judges with whom I got to intern for a day. Over the course of my internship I got an opportunity to learn from: Judge Fiandaca, Judge Leoney, Judge Yee, Judge Karstetter, Judge Lyons, and Judge McDonald. In addition, I got to sit in on trials, jury selections, motions, mental health hearings, pleas and arraignments. To sum it up I feel the experience I got from this internship gave me the knowledge and confidence to walk into a courthouse and feel like I belong there.”

East Boston Division of the Boston Municipal Court Department

East Boston Division of the Boston Municipal Court Department

The BBA will be sending student interns to the Boston Municipal Court, District Courts, Probate & Family Court & the US Bankruptcy Court for internships for the spring semester as well as during the summer. In January and February, the BBA will be hosting Judicial Internship information sessions at law schools, so stay tuned for updates. For more information on the program, click here

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Looking for an Internship Next Semester? Apply now for Spring Judicial Internship Program

Students looking to add another layer to their law school experience next semester should look no further than the BBA’s Judicial Internship Program. The program is an unpaid, non-credit internship where law students work directly with a judge, observe courtroom proceedings and enhance their legal research and writing skills. In addition, interns are invited to engage in professional development seminars and meetings held at the BBA. Participating courts include Boston Municipal Court, District Courts, Probate & Family Court & the US Bankruptcy Court.

Don’t just take it from us. Heather Sit, a 2L at New England Law | Boston and alum of the Judicial Internship program, had this to say:

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“My everyday experiences talking with the judges at the conclusion of the various trials and hearings I saw over the summer were fascinating. I felt incredibly lucky to see the humanity and keen insight each of the judges I worked with brought to their decision-making. In class, it’s easy to get caught up in the technical legal issues because of the appellate cases we read, but working with the Roxbury court judges this summer really brought together the legal aspects with their practical, real-life impacts.”

If you are thinking about applying, here’s what you need to know about the process:

  • Interested students should submit applications with a cover letter, resume, and a letter of recommendation from a law school professor by December 13th.
  • Students who have completed their first year of law school and are able to work at least 15 hours per week will be considered.
  • Diverse students are strongly encouraged to apply.
  • The spring internship program begins in early February and runs through the end of the semester.
  • Applications will be collected on a rolling basis with priority placement given to early applicants, so the sooner you get you application in the better.
  • Send completed applications to Susan Helm at shelm@bostonbar.org.
  • If you have any more questions, click here here.

Reflections on an Internship at the US Bankruptcy Court

This semester, the BBA’s Judicial Internship Program welcomed a new partnership with the US Bankruptcy Court to place one deserving student in a semester-long internship with Chief Judge Frank Bailey. Suffolk Law 3L Roxana Babaei was selected after a competitive application process. Beyond the Billable reached out to Roxana to see how her semester is going so far. Here’s what she had to say:

“I discovered the Judicial Internship program while exploring the BBA’s website over the summer.  I submitted my application in hopes of finding an internship position which was in line with my interests and potential practice areas of law.  I was thrilled when the BBA contacted me regarding the opportunity with Chief Judge Frank J. Bailey at the US Bankruptcy Court here in Boston.

It’s such a privilege to be working with Judge Bailey and the other members of his chambers.  The internship has added a dynamic layer of learning to my law school experience.  As a 3L at Suffolk University Law School with a professional background in banking and business, the internship is providing me with an interesting new view of debtor/creditor relationships and greater insight into both consumer and corporate finance issues.  I look forward to working with Judge Bailey through the end of the semester and remain very optimistic regarding my future professional opportunities as a result of this placement.”

The Judicial Internship Program is sponsored by the BBA’s Pipeline & Recruitment Committee of the Diversity & Inclusion Section. The program places diverse Boston area law students in part-time internships in Boston Municipal Courts, District Courts and now the US Bankruptcy Court during the fall and spring semesters as well as during the summer. Students interested in participating in the program for the spring semester should contact Susan Helm at shelm@bostonbar.org for details. More information on the program is available here.

Judicial Internship Program Looks to The Future – Now Accepting Fall 2013 Applications

The Judicial Internship Program offers diverse law students the opportunity gain hands-on experience in the legal field.

The Judicial Internship Program offers diverse law students the opportunity gain hands-on experience in the legal field.

As 25 Summer Judicial Interns finish up their busy summers, the Boston Bar Association is already looking forwards its fall program, where it will provide semester-long internships in Boston Municipal, District and Probate & Family Courts. The program offers diverse law students the opportunity to work directly with a judge, observe courtroom proceedings, enhance their legal research and writing skills and building meaningful connections within the legal community.

Take it from program founder Judge Robert Tochka of the Dorchester Division of the Boston Municipal Court:

“The positive impact the Internship program has made on the participants has surpassed all our expectations. These diverse groups of students have demonstrated their determination to enhance their lawyering skills by working diligently on their assignments. Additionally, they have eagerly jumped at the opportunity to soak up real life experiences from such diverse venues as the Bulger trial and a conference in a judge’s lobby to lunch meetings at the BBA to hear personal stories of the career trajectories of various bar members. It has been a very rewarding and enriching experience for everyone.”

Students who have completed their first year of law school and are able to work at least 15 hours per week will be considered. Diverse students are strongly encouraged to apply. A flexible schedule is available to accommodate other commitments. The internship program begins in early September and runs through the end of the semester.

Interested students should complete the application and submit it along with a cover letter, resume, and a letter of recommendation from a law school professor. Enrollment is limited so early applications are strongly encouraged. Applications will be collected on a rolling basis with priority placement given to early applicants. The application deadline is September 6, 2013. Interested students should send completed applications to Susan Helm at shelm@bostonbar.org. More information is available here.