Category Archives: Training

Attorneys Learn Ins and Outs Of Housing Court

Chris Saccardi (The Law Office of Christopher T. Saccardi), Lawrence Wind (The Law Office of Lawrence A. Wind), and Judge Jeffrey Winik (Boston Housing Court) led Monday’s  Housing Court training.

Chris Saccardi (The Law Office of Christopher T. Saccardi), Lawrence Wind (The Law Office of Lawrence A. Wind), and Judge Jeffrey Winik (Boston Housing Court) led Monday’s Housing Court training.

On Monday evening we kicked off a week of Boston Housing Court events at 16 Beacon with “Trying a Case in Housing Court.” The BBA partnered with the Volunteer Lawyers Project to teach attorneys the ins and outs of trying a Housing Court case from opening to closing – with a special presentation on evidence rules as they pertain to eviction cases. In exchange for the free training, attorneys are expected to volunteer with the Lawyer for the Day in the Boston Housing Court Program – which brings us to our next event.

As our readers may remember from this post, we will be celebrating the 15th Anniversary of the Lawyer for the Day in the Boston Housing Court Program this Thursday at 5 pm. Be sure to join us and salute the amazing accomplishments of this program (more than 15,000 pro se litigants helped!) and thank our hard working volunteers. Be there!

Monday’s training was a great success, with more than 35 attorneys in attendance. To learn more about the experience, Beyond the Billable sat down with event panelist and seasoned veteran of the housing court Chris Saccardi (The Law Office of Christopher T. Saccardi) to hear more about the training. Here’s what he had to say:

What do you hope attendees learned from the training?

“I hope that attorneys who are considering taking their first pro bono housing case feel a little bit more confident appearing in front of the Housing Court judges and potentially taking their case to trial. Our goal was to give attendees some tips on how to conduct a trial in the Housing Court and to give them the opportunity to hear from Judge Winik, who has been a big supporter of the Volunteer Lawyers Project’s pro bono programs. “

Why should attorneys get involved in pro bono efforts in the Housing Court? How can pro bono experience help attorneys build a practice?

“First, regardless of one’s practice area, taking cases at the Housing Court is an excellent way to gain valuable litigation experience. Because the vast majority of litigants are unrepresented, there are ample opportunities to appear for various motion hearings and, if participants wish, to conduct trials. Second, if an attorney is interested in taking housing cases as part of their private practice, I can’t think of a better way to gain the procedural and substantive knowledge necessary to successfully pursue such cases. Third, while these are pro bono cases and attorneys should not necessarily expect to be paid, there is the potential for an award of attorney’s fees if one wins under a statute that includes a fee shifting provision. Finally, the most important reason to volunteer is because there is a large, unmet need for representation, particularly among the low- and middle-income population that VLP typically serves. These individuals often face an attorney on the other side and the involvement of a volunteer attorney can often make a huge difference in the outcome of the case, sometimes resulting, for example, in a preserved tenancy where an unrepresented tenant might otherwise have ended up homeless.”

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BBA Preps Attorneys to Handle Arts and Culture Cases

Ken Parker (Parker Keough LLP) and Megan Low (Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts) walked attorneys what they need to know in order to help arts and cultural organizations.

Ken Parker (Parker Keough LLP) and Megan Low (Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts) walked attorneys through what they need to know in order to help arts and cultural organizations.

The BBA New Lawyers and Intellectual Property Sections teamed up with Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts to train attorneys on ways that they can help art and cultural organizations. The event was a primer on topics such as common art law issues, understanding the legal needs of artists and how to build a client base.

After the training, Beyond the Billable checked in with Ken Parker (Parker Keough LLP), who organized the training, to learn more. Here’s what he had to say:

What do you hope attendees learned at the training?

“Megan Low did a fantastic job of describing the wide range of legal services needed by the arts community and some of the particular challenges of representing artists. I hope that attendees learned about these needs and challenges, as well as about how their legal expertise matches up with the needs of the arts community.”

Why should attorneys get involved in efforts to provide pro bono assistance to arts and cultural organizations?

“Providing pro bono legal assistance to artists and cultural organizations is a great way to get experience solving interesting legal problems while giving back to the community. It can be fun and inspiring to work with creative professionals and it is an opportunity to make a real difference in people’s lives.”

Partnering with BBF Grantee to Train Lawyers on Handling Juvenile Immigrant Cases

The BBA and Lutheran Social Services teamed up to train attorneys to take special immigrant juvenile status cases.

The BBA and Lutheran Social Services teamed up to train attorneys to take special immigrant juvenile status cases.

The BBA continued the trend of hosting pro bono trainings with BBF grantees by partnering with Lutheran Social Services for a training on Special Immigrant Juvenile Status. While it was the first time we hosted the training at the BBA, it was a hit among attendees. Beyond the Billable reached out to Christina M. Borysthen-Tkacz (Lutheran Social Services), who ran the training with Tilman Jacobs (Lutheran Social Services), to hear more about the training.

Take a look at what she had to say:

What do you hope attendees learned from the training?

“We hope that our training provided a good introduction to pro bono opportunities in immigration law, and to the challenges that unaccompanied immigrant children face, as well as the legal relief available to them.”

Why should attorneys volunteer to take these types of cases?

“All of our cases, and Special Immigrant Juvenile cases especially, offer attorneys an opportunity to gain valuable litigation experience. Most importantly, attorneys should take these types of cases pro bono because they are a great opportunity to make a lasting impact on a child’s life and to give that child a chance at a successful and happy life in the United States.”

Certifying Attorneys in Limited Assistance Representation

Joanna Allison (VLP) and Ned Notis-McConarty (Hemenway & Barnes LLP) led the LAR certification training.

Joanna Allison (VLP) and Ned Notis-McConarty (Hemenway & Barnes LLP) led the LAR certification training.

Attorneys braved the weather on Wednesday to attend the BBA’s Limited Assistance Representation (LAR) training. The free certification training taught attendees the basics of going into court for a single event in a case.

So why was this training so important? LAR provides an opportunity for attorneys to gain valuable courtroom experience by providing litigants with representation for unresolved legal issues. At the same time, it helps ease the burden on courts facing unprecedented numbers of pro se litigants. Following the certification training, attorneys learned about practicing LAR in the Boston Housing Court and the Boston Municipal Court in breakout sessions led by the Honorable Jeffrey Winik (Boston Housing Court), Honorable Raymond Dougan, Jr. (Boston Municipal Court), Attorney Lawrence Wind (the Law Office of Lawrence A. Wind), and Attorney Thomas Beauvais.

Honorable Jeffrey Winik (Boston Housing Court) and Attorney Lawrence Wind (the Law Office of Lawrence A. Wind) led the Housing Court breakout session on using LAR to assist landlords and tenants.

Honorable Jeffrey Winik (Boston Housing Court) and Attorney Lawrence Wind (the Law Office of Lawrence A. Wind) led the Housing Court breakout session on using LAR to assist landlords and tenants.

 

Honorable Raymond Dougan, Jr. (Boston Municipal Court), and Attorney Thomas Beauvais outlined how to use LAR in the Boston Municipal Court.

Honorable Raymond Dougan, Jr. (Boston Municipal Court), and Attorney Thomas Beauvais outlined how to use LAR in the Boston Municipal Court.

Beyond the Billable reached out to Joanna Allison (VLP), who led the certification training with Ned Notis-McConarty (Hemenway & Barnes LLP), to hear more about the training. Here’s what she had to say:

What did attorneys learn from the training?

“They learned the procedure for appearing before the court on a limited assistance representation and where to find answers to their questions and concerns about LAR. From the very knowledgeable presenters, they learned the specific practices and requirements of both the Housing Court and the Boston Municipal Court. I am grateful to Judge Raymond Dougan of the Boston Municipal Court and Judge Jeffrey Winik of the Boston Housing Court for giving their time and expertise. “

Why should attorneys become LAR certified?

“Attendees came away with a new tool in their practice that will help them make a living, while increasing the number of people who can afford access to justice. I also hope they came away with a commitment to use their new certification in their pro bono work .” This doesn’t actually answer the question. Is it actually necessary?

Did you miss this training? Don’t worry—the BBA is holding another LAR certification training on March 13th. The breakout sessions will focus on LAR in the Probate & Family Court and Land Court. Feel free to just attend the breakout sessions if you are already certified.

Save the date! On May 15, 2014 come hear nationally recognized LAR expert Stephanie Kimbro discuss about how you can incorporate LAR into your practice and how to communicate the availability of LAR to potential clients.

Prepping Volunteers to Offer Financial Literacy Education to 15 Schools

Janet Bostwick (Janet E. Bostwick, PC)

Janet Bostwick (Janet E. Bostwick, PC) discusses her experience volunteering for the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program with new volunteers.

Volunteers braved the pouring rain on Tuesday night to attend the annual M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program Training. Judge Joan Feeney (U.S. Bankruptcy Court and Jeanne Darcey (Sullivan & Worcester LLP) joined ), Janet Bostwick to walk the packed room through the volunteer materials and discussed tips for engaging high school students.  As you may have heard from this article, 15 schools have signed up for the program, which means one thing—we need lots of volunteers.

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

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.

Educating Attorneys on Advocating for At-Risk Youth

Marlies Spanjaard shares strategies for successfully navigating the school discipline process.

Marlies Spanjaard (the Children’s Law Center of Massachusetts) shares strategies for successfully navigating the school discipline process.

Last night, the BBA held a first of its kind pro bono training which provided pro bono attorneys with the knowledge and tools to represent youth who are facing long-term suspension or expulsion. The training, a collaboration of the BBA and EdLaw Project ( a joint initiative of the Children’s Law Center of Massachusetts and the Committee for Public Counsel Services – Children & Family and Youth Advocacy Divisions), included relevant Massachusetts and federal legislation and case law governing school discipline.

So why did busy attorneys take the time to attend this three hour training? These statistics explain it all:

  • Suspended students are 3x more likely to drop out which triples the likelihood of incarceration later in life.
  • Two-thirds of the students who experience expulsion or long-term suspension are special education students and 60 percent are low-income.
    • The cases are disproportionately African-American and Hispanic students.
  • The average individual benefit from preventing or recovering school dropouts is $209,200 per student.
  • For a concrete example of the impact attorneys can have on an at-risk youth, read Danny’s story here.

In exchange for attending this free training, attorneys agreed to take at least one pro bono discipline case during the school year.

BBA and MBA Join Forces to Hold Free Conciliation Training

Conciliation training participants tested out their new skills during role plays.

Conciliation training participants tested out their new skills during role plays.

Last Friday, family law practitioners filled the BBA’s Claflin Center for the second annual BBA/MBA Conciliation Training. The training was open to attorneys with at least five years of domestic relations experience and offered them the opportunity to become certified as a conciliator. Attorneys learned how to mediate and successfully intervene early on in family law cases in order to obtain a quick and fair resolution.

Beyond the Billable reached out to Timothy Linnehan, an ADR Coordinator for the Trial Court and a trainer for the session, to hear why this training was so important. Here’s what he had to say:

“The training benefits the SERV program in Suffolk Probate Court by providing a training program for volunteers to assist the Court in serving unrepresented parties in resolving their case.  The program also benefits the use and expansion of conciliation services to help parties resolve cases.  This training program complies with the SJC 8-hour training requirement to be a conciliator for court-connected programs.   Currently, nine local bar associations have conciliation programs in the Probate and Family Court Department.”

In exchange for a free training, attendees will volunteer as a conciliator at the Probate and Family Court.