Category Archives: M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program
This summer, the BBA Summer Jobs students and the Nelson Fellows of the U.S. Federal District Court took yet another field trip to visit Chief Judge Bailey and Judge Feeney’s courtrooms at the Boston Bankruptcy Court. The trip to Bankruptcy Court was the final portion of the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program, which was folded in to the students’ weekly enrichment seminars. Through the Financial Literacy program, students were primed on how to budget, use credit wisely, and finance a car, and this final session gave them a glimpse of what happens if they make poor financial decisions from inside the courtroom.
This fieldtrip marked the end of the BBA Summer Jobs weekly enrichment seminar series, which included a mock City Council meeting in Boston City Council chambers, a “speed dating” session where they heard from lawyers of three different backgrounds, a trip to the John Adams Courthouse, and much more.
Take a look below for more images from the fieldtrips:
The Nelson Fellows participated in the Consequences session with Chief Judge Frank Bailey.
The BBA Summer Jobs students visited Judge Joan Feeney’s courtroom at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the final session of the M. Ellen Carpenter 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:
“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
Don’t miss out on the Boston Bar Foundation’s newest event, Passport to Pairings, next Thursday! Not only will the event be fun and delicious, but 100% of the proceeds are going to a great cause all of the—BBA public service programs!
It goes without saying (as the BBA’s Public Service Blog) that Beyond the Billable is pretty excited about this event. Here’s a sneak peek at what guests can expect on June 26th:
- The event will feature gourmet food and beverage pairing stations celebrating the BBF’s partnership with the BBA.
- Some of the Pairings stations include sushi & Saki, craft beer & gourmet hot dogs, artisanal donuts & specialty coffee, and much more.
- Each ticket gets you access to deluxe food & beverage stations, beer & wine, live music and our raffle, so don’t miss out on all of the fun!
BBF Events like Passport to Pairings make it possible for the BBA to continue to strengthen and expand our public service efforts, including the Marathon Assistance Project, the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program, the BBA Summer Jobs Program, and the Lawyer for the Day in the Boston Housing Court Program. Thanks in large part to the support of the BBF (our partner in public service) this year marked a very successful year for the BBA’s programs. The numbers below are all the proof you need:
- 23 pro bono trainings trained nearly 600 attorneys to take cases ranging from special education appeals to veterans benefits.
- 64 Boston public high school students were placed in summer internships in local Boston law firms and offices through the BBA Summer Jobs Program.
- 1,300 Boston public school students learned about the importance of voting through our annual Law Day in Schools program.
- 18 schools state wide received Financial Literacy Training in the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program’s 10th year.
- 275 calls were fielded from active duty military members and veterans since the BBA began hosting the Veterans helpline in September.
- Continued to assist individuals and businesses that were affected by the tragic events on Marathon Monday in areas, including employment and tax issues. Since the program began last year, 84 attorneys have helped over 70 individuals and small businesses owners.
Convinced? The event will take place on Thursday, June 26th at 6pm at 16 Beacon Street. Buy your ticket today to the maiden voyage of this event and help us continue to grow our public service programs!
In its 10th year, the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program taught students from 15 Greater Boston schools about the importance of making informed financial decisions. However, none of this would be possible without the help of our wonderful volunteers. Thanks in large part to our dedicated volunteers; the Financial Literacy Program was able to reach more classrooms than ever before! Beyond the Billable would like to acknowledge the 142 attorneys, legal staff, and law students who volunteer their time to teach students how to make sound financial decisions.
You may also remember this post about the Financial Literacy Program, which ran in Western Massachusetts this fall. Are you interested in getting involved? Please watch for opportunities to volunteer for the Financial Literacy Program this summer as part of the enrichment seminars for the BBA’s Summer Jobs students.
Thank you to the following volunteers:
Warren Agin, Swiggart & Agin, LLC
Susan Anderson, U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission
Honorable Frank Bailey, U.S. Bankruptcy Court
Joseph Baldiga, Mirick O’Connell – Westborough Office
Andrea Balsamo, Liberty Mutual Group
Scott Bell, Liberty Mutual Group
Mark Berman, Nixon Peabody LLP
Amanda Blaskey, U.S. Bankruptcy Court
Honorable Henry Boroff, U.S. Bankruptcy Court
Christopher Brine, Culik Law P.C.
Christopher Candon, Sheehan Phinney Bass + Green PA
Joanne Carleton, Liberty Mutual Group
Jennifer Catenacci, Liberty Mutual Group
Pamela Cates, New England Law Boston
Allison Chamberlin, Liberty Mutual Group
Fred Chase, Liberty Mutual Group
Stephen M Cohen, Choate Hall & Stewart LLP
Tara Colby, Liberty Mutual Group
Michele Collins, MetLife
Christopher Condon, Murphy & King, P.C.
Jaime D’Almeida, Duff & Phelps
Jeanne Darcey, Sullivan & Worcester LLP
Caryn Daum, Liberty Mutual Group
Scott Davis, Sun Life Financial
Patrick Dinardo, Sullivan & Worcester LLP
Mark DiOrio, Bulfinch Companies, Inc.
Adrienne Drew, Gesmer Updegrove LLP
Elizabeth Duffy, Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP
Lisa Evangelista, Liberty Mutual Group
Andrew Fagenholz, Liberty Mutual Group
Anne Farina, Sun Life Financial
Honorable Joan Feeney, U.S. Bankruptcy Court
Megan Felter, Choate Hall & Stewart LLP
Eric Forni, U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission
Toni Frain, Liberty Mutual Group
Brendan Furey, American Student Assistance
Jesse Garfinkle, Brown Rudnick LLP
Matthew Gendron, Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General
Sean Gilligan, Gesmer Updegrove LLP
Barbara Gilmore, U.S. Bankruptcy Court
Sarah Grandfield, Choate Hall & Stewart LLP
Michelle Greco, Sun Life Financial
Nancy Gregory, BlumShapiro
Ross Hamlin, Dalton & Finegold, LLP
Richard Harper, U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission
William Harrington, Office of the U.S. Trustee
Rachel Hershfang, Securities & Exchange Commission
Christine Heshion, Liberty Mutual Group
Honorable Melvin Hoffman, U.S. Bankruptcy Court
Sofia Hussain, U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission
Nicole Jackson, Choate Hall & Stewart LLP
John Kacoyannakis, Liberty Mutual Group
Anne Kaczmarek, Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General
Geraldine Karonis, U.S. Department of Justice-NH
Elizabeth Katz, Ostrander Law Office
Michael Katz, Bacon & Wilson, PC
Justin Kesselman, Posternak Blankstein & Lund LLP
Keith Kollmeyer, Jones Day
Andrew Lizotte, Murphy & King, P.C.
John Loughnane, Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP
Benjamin Loveland, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP
Bill Lynch, Liberty Mutual Group
Joyce Mahoney, Liberty Mutual Group
Lauren McCarthy, Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General
Kristin McDonough, Riemer & Braunstein LLP
Kevin McGee, Seder & Chandler, LLP
Kathleen McGrath, Liberty Mutual Group
Lisa Menelly, Raytheon Company
Richard Mikels, Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo P.C.
Rose Miller, Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General
John Morrier, Casner & Edwards, LLP
Maura Murphy, Sun Life Financial
Thomas Murray , Sun Life Financial
Patrick Noone, U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission
Carolyn O’Brien, U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission
Kim O’Connell, Liberty Mutual Group
Catherine O’Donnell, Liberty Mutual Group
Helen O’Rourke, Liberty Mutual Group
Laura Otenti, Posternak Blankstein & Lund LLP
Gregory Pakhladzhyan, American Student Assistance
Amy Palmer, Sun Life Financial
Steven Pohl, Brown Rudnick LLP
James Pugh, Liberty Mutual Group
Jesse Redlener, Dalton & Finegold, LLP
Erika Reis, Office of the Corporation Counsel City of Boston
Lynne Riley, Casner & Edwards, LLP
Michael Riley, Goulston & Storrs, PC
Alex Rodolakis, Gilman McLaughlin & Hanrahan LLP
Douglas Rosner, Goulston & Storrs, PC
Jonathon Roth, Jones Day
Adam Ruttenberg, Looney & Grossman LLP
Patricia Saint James, Looney & Grossman LLP
A. Hugh Scott, Choate Hall & Stewart LLP
Naomi Sevilla, U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission
Mary Sharon, Pro Se Debtors Bankruptcy Clinic
Mackenzie Shea, K&L Gates LLP
Richard Sheils, Bowditch & Dewey, LLP – Worcester Office
Kiersten Taylor, Brown Rudnick LLP
Eric Teasdale, Choate Hall & Stewart LLP
Lisa Tingue, Office of the U.S. Trustee-Worcester
Macken Toussaint, Riemer & Braunstein LLP
Janice Townsend, Liberty Mutual Group
David Travers,Todd & Weld LLP
Jacob Walker, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP & Affiliates
Adrienne Walker, Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo P.C.
Ann Walsh, Liberty Mutual Group
Karen Wright, Liberty Mutual Group
Last week, Beyond the Billable shared highlights from two legal offices’ experiences “adopting a classroom” through M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program. While Sun Life Financial and Liberty Mutual participated in the model in the past, two new legal offices also stepped up to the plate to provide volunteers for the three classroom-based sessions at two Boston public high schools. The U.S. Security and Exchange Commission adopted a classroom at Snowden International High School and Choate Hall & Stewart adopted a classroom at Edward M. Kennedy Academy for Health Careers.
Beyond the Billable checked in with attorneys from Choate Hall & Stewart to hear more about their experience. Here’s what they had to say:
Why did Choate Hall & Stewart choose to participate in the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program?
“Attorneys at Choate are long-time participants in and supporters of the Financial Literacy Program. When the opportunity arose for the Firm to adopt a classroom this year, we jumped at the chance to expand our work with the Program. Choate is pleased to serve the youth in our community by teaching them practical lessons in effective personal financial management.” – Meg McKenzie Feist, Choate Hall & Stewart LLP
What was the highlight of the Program for your volunteers?
“As a volunteer, I was very impressed with the knowledge the students already possessed, as well as their eagerness to learn more about budgeting, saving, and credit. My group of students was engaged throughout the presentation and asked me pointed questions. It was a joy to work with the students and I look forward to engaging with a new group next year.” – Tyler Masse, Choate Hall & Stewart LLP
Last Friday, a group of students from New Mission High School in Hyde Park took a field trip to Boston Bankruptcy Court to meet “Sally Spender” and learn what happened to “Sally” when she failed to budget appropriately and accumulated high amounts of credit card debt. This lesson, Consequences, was fourth and final module of the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program. The experience wasn’t all about Sally’s mistakes, though. Students got a first-hand look inside a courtroom and had the opportunity to ask lawyers, Judges and court staff questions about what Bankruptcy Court is like.
The Program wraps up in Greater Boston area next Friday after two additional Consequences sessions once students from Woburn High School, Greater New Bedford Technical School, Snowden International High School, Peabody High School, and John D. O’Bryant School of Math & Science make the trip to Post Office Square. Take a look below from highlights of the fieldtrip:
While students are still traveling the Boston and Worcester Bankruptcy Courts, the classroom based sessions of the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program have wrapped up in the Greater Boston area. This year, four legal offices stepped up and “adopted a classroom” to help meet the growing demand for the program in fifteen schools. In this model, legal offices commit to providing 3-6 volunteers to cover each of the three classroom based sessions. In return, the legal offices were able to provide their employees with an opportunity to give back while partnering with a fellow colleague.
Beyond the Billable reached out to the legal departments of Sun Life Financial and Liberty Mutual, both of whom participated in the “adopt a classroom” model last year as well, to hear more about the experience. Sun Life Financial adopted a classroom at Joseph P. Keefe Technical School in Framingham and Liberty Mutual adopted four classrooms at Boston Community Leadership Academy in Hyde Park.
Here’s what they had to say:
Why did your legal office choose to participate in the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program?
“As in house counsel and compliance professionals in the financial services industry, supporting a financial literacy program has been a great way for us to give back to the community and utilize our skills. We selected the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Program for a few reasons. First, volunteers don’t have to be attorneys and this allows us to make the opportunity available to more people in our department. We also like being able to sponsor the same school every year. We have found that consistency of the same teacher, class format and class size every year enhances the success of the program. Volunteers know what to expect and can build off of best practices from prior years to improve upon our delivery of the program for a technical high school. Lastly, the volunteer materials provided by the BBA are very comprehensive, which helps cut down on preparation time, and are designed such that the volunteers can be flexible about deciding how to select content of an organization for a particular session.” – Michelle Greco, AVP & Senior Counsel, Sun Life Financial
“The M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program provides a unique opportunity for both the students and the Liberty Mutual Insurance volunteers. Students have the opportunity to learn about finance-related topics from volunteers who have significant real-world knowledge, which we think enables the students to continue to build practical skills as they enter young adulthood. The volunteers enjoy interacting with the high school students and having the chance to make a difference in their lives. In addition, the program gives some of our volunteers with backgrounds in finance a chance to make an impact and help students avoid financial pitfalls in advance, rather than merely helping after the fact.”— Andrew Fagenholz, Corporate Counsel, Liberty Mutual
What was the highlight of the program for your volunteers?
“Spending any amount of time in a high school is like taking a step back in time. As you think about the decisions that are on the horizon for the young adults who will soon be graduating, you realize that while you may have come to talk about the specifics of buying a car, what you are really there for is to impress upon the students the important differences between what they want, and what they really need and can afford. That theme runs through the various modules, and hopefully our discussion about the realities of owning a car helped the students understand the kind of tough financial decisions they will have to make when they are on their own. The students were interested and active, which made the session a lot of fun, and I hope I can participate in this program again in the future.” — Scott Davis, SVP & General Counsel, Sun Life Financial
“Without a doubt, the primary highlight for our volunteers was the chance to provide guidance to young adults through a live, interactive classroom session with a dynamic group of students. Most of our volunteers do not regularly teach high school classes, and they reported that the experience was energizing and exciting. They enjoyed the hands-on exposure and fielding questions from their classrooms both on the finance topic of the day and other matters the students might raise.”— Andrew Fagenholz, Corporate Counsel, Liberty Mutual
Our volunteers were so excited to share their experiences that we had to turn this into a two part statement! Stay tuned for part two when we hear from Choate Hall & Stewart and the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission volunteers about their experiences.
Volunteers are wrapping up the classroom-based portion of the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program in the Greater Boston area. On Friday, volunteer Attorneys Steve Cohen and Eric Teasdale from Choate Hall & Stewart LLP visited Edward M. Kennedy Academy for Health Careers to teach students about the hidden costs of buying a car. Take a look below for a glimpse at the third module in the Program:
So what’s next? Students will head to the Worcester or Boston Bankruptcy Court at the end of the month for the final module in the Program called Consequences.
On Friday, students in Jerry Howland’s law class at Another Course to College in Brighton had a crash course in credit cards. With the help of Attorneys Adam Ruttenberg (Looney & Grossman LLP) and Patricia Saint James (Looney & Grossman LLP), the students learned the basics of credit and how to build credit while making smart choices about their finances. This is the second session in the four-part M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program (you may remember this post about the personal finance and budgeting session).
Take a look below for more on the session:
Next up for the students is the ever popular “Buying a Car” session, which will be followed by the “Consequences” session at the US Bankruptcy Court. Stay tuned for more!
At last week’s 10th Anniversary Celebration of the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program, guests got to enjoy a unique experience, seeing the effects of the Program in front of their eyes. Ben Haideri, one of the 4,000 students who have participated in M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program since the program began, agreed shared his experience in the Program with party attendees. You may remember Ben (who is a senior at Boston Latin Academy and 2013 Summer Jobs student) from this article or this article—he’s a bit of a legend at the BBA. He took part in the Program during the 2013 Summer Jobs Program, when it was offered as a series of enrichment seminars.
Take a firsthand look at what he had to say:
Beyond the Billable also sat down with him to gain a deeper understanding of what he took away from the Program. Here’s what he had to say:
How have you applied what you learned from the program?
“There are very few programs from which the participants are able to literally walk right out and apply what they learned that very day. The financial literacy program through the BBA, however, stands out as being extremely effective in that regard. Between the day that I participated in the first seminar and now, I have opened a checking and savings account and, more recently, got my first credit card. I don’t believe that I would have been so confident yet careful with such tools that I had at my disposal had it not been for the program.”
What did you like best about the program?
“This program very much epitomizes the learning experience of a student in that it offers the perfect balance between reality and practice. The guest workshop leaders were all professionals who had experience in whatever field they were teaching about, and the financial literacy workbook was just that, a workbook. It combined practice problems that we will most likely face in real life with explanations that are thorough and extensive, attributes that are perfect for those who are learning about financial literacy.”
What do you think was the most important thing you learned?
“The one lesson that stood out the most to me was the one about using credit cards. It may be because I have grown up during a time of general distrust when it comes to dealing with large banks, but I went into the lesson thinking (probably like most people) that credit cards always came with a catch, and in terms of society, seem to have a very negative connotation. Although the credit card companies can be tricky, what I got out of the lesson was just simply to not bite off more than you can chew when dealing with credit cards. The second someone does that he/she is already headed down a slippery slope. The fact is that very few people are able to use cash to buy a car, a house, or even a couch, so, when used responsibly, a credit card, I learned, is a tool that can do a lot of good.“
Is there anything you found particularly useful?
“I very much enjoyed visiting the Bankruptcy Court through the program. While visiting the court, we heard from lawyers and a judge, and it was an amazing experience to be in the presence of people who I look up to. Apart from the experience itself, I would say that since my goal is to become a lawyer, being able to see such people in action is something that I will always find useful.”