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!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. More information is available here.
On Tuesday evening, mentees and mentors from the Diversity & Inclusion Section’s Group Mentoring Program braved the sweltering heat to celebrate a successful year of group mentoring at the BBA.
The program brings together diverse Boston-based attorneys in mentoring groups composed of 10 new lawyer mentees and 2 seasoned mentors, for monthly meetings designed to address the common professional development challenges that all new lawyers face while fostering supportive professional relationships. If you are interested in participating in the program in the upcoming year, contact Susan Helm at email@example.com for more information or see the program handbook here.
As you’ve no doubt noticed, Beyond the Billable is always posting about our public service partnerships across Greater Boston. One of our newest partnerships is the Boston Debate League (BDL)—which works to develop academic debate skill among Boston Public High School students. As we learned when we sat down with two BDL representatives recently, March is a particularly busy month for the program, for both potential and past volunteers.
Here’s what’s happening this month:
(1) Are you looking to volunteer? Serve as a judge at the Fish & Richards City Debate Championships on March 15th or 16th at English High School and Trinity Middle School. Volunteers judge for about 4 hours and a short training is provided. Please contact Sarah Amaral, BDL Volunteer Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up.
(2) Want to sit in on a debate session before volunteering? On March 19th you will have a chance to see the top debaters in action at the City Council Debate 2013 hosted by Councillor Charles Yancey. , where students will debate current Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority policies for an esteemed panel of judges. The event will take place from 5:30-7:30 pm at Boston City Hall.
(3) Have you volunteered as a judge or mentor? Don’t miss the chance to join the Boston Debate League in honoring the hard work of the debaters on March 22nd at the Annual Spring Awards Ceremony from 6-7:30pm. The event is hosted by the Boston University School of Education, the Boston University Black Law Student Association, and the Boston Debate League and will take place at the Boston University Law School Alumni Auditorium.
Did anything above catch your eye? Contact Katie D’Angelo, Public Service Programs Coordinator, at email@example.com for more information. To learn more about the impact BDL has on urban youth, click here.
Last year, as we began our partnership with the Boston Debate League (BDL), enlisting lawyers to be judges for debate tournaments, there was a buzz of excitement throughout the BBA. In a few short months the partnership is already a resounding success.
Every month from October through March, BDL holds debate tournaments for Boston Public High School debate teams. So far this year, almost 40 BBA volunteers have been judges at tournaments. After a successful January tournament, BDL reached out to the BBA to thank us for our collaboration:
This month we had a struggle for volunteers but it all worked out. The BBA members allowed our tournament to have a good core of knowledgeable judges for our more experienced divisions (varsity/championship) and made themselves available for our divisions who didn’t have as many volunteers sign up to judge for the weekend. Thank you so much for your support.
In addition to the judges, there are also four BBA members who are mentors for BDL. These mentors spend one to two hours a week supporting a debate team in a particular high school.
The BBA’s partnership with BDL fulfills three of the BBA’s many public service goals: 1) using lawyering skills to make a significant impact on the Boston community, 2) providing BBA members with a meaningful volunteer opportunity, and 3) expanding the diversity pipeline into the legal profession.
We would like to thank our volunteers:
Catherine Drislane (Boston Latin Academy)
Greg Peterson (Charlestown)
Jessica Block ( EMK High School)
Stephanie Hoelplinger ( Irving Middle School)
Elizabeth Ybarra Crean
For more information about volunteering or the program, please contact Katie D’Angelo, Public Service Programs Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Unemployment for youth remains high, especially among Latinos and African-Americans. Data provided by the Economic Policy Institute tells that one in seven young adults ages 16-24 are unemployed. You have the opportunity to make a difference – at the same time helping to broaden the pipeline of diverse Boston youth exposed to the legal profession.
The BBA, in partnership with the Boston Private Industry Council (PIC) seeks law firms and law offices to hire students for the summer of 2013. Burns and Levinson LLP, Chu, Ring, and Hazel LLP, Mintz Levin, Pierce Atwood, and WilmerHale have already committed to hiring a Boston Public High School student for 8 weeks of employment this summer, and we invite you to join them.
Over the past 19 years, the BBA has introduced more than 385 young adults to the legal profession. A recent article on the PIC’s school-to-career programs highlights Escarolyn Garcia’s experience participating in the BBA’s Summer Jobs Program.
To hire a student, or for more information on the program, please contact Katie D’Angelo, Public Service Programs Coordinator at email@example.com.
Last year I volunteered as a coach and interviewer for the Job Interview Skills Program that the Massachusetts Black Lawyers Association and the Federal Bar Association conduct for CARE/RESTART, reentry programs of the Federal District Court of Massachusetts. One of my most vivid memories was working with one of the probationers on his interviewing skills. We worked on one particular question over and over, as I knew that if he gave a potential employer the answer he was giving me, he would never get a job. By the end of our session I thought we had made real progress, but wasn’t sure what would happen when he was in a real interview.
A few weeks later, as I impatiently waited in a long line at a local coffee shop for my required morning cup of coffee, I heard someone behind me repeatedly say “I didn’t give the same response and I got the job! I didn’t give the same response and I got the job!” My first instinct was not to react – just a random person with a new job, right? Wrong. Seconds later I felt a tap on my shoulder and to my surprise, I recognized the newly hired and very excited youth, he was the probationer I coached in my mock interview sessions, and he was talking to me. Needless to say, I was surprised to see him. When I congratulated him on his new job he replied: “You were extremely tough but I stopped given those bad answers you helped me through!” He went on to explain how much his life had changed and how he finally found a job after being told no over and over again. What really stuck with me was how convinced he was that he would not have gotten the job but for our mock interview and coaching sessions.
I never realized how much impact my mock interview questions and coaching would have on him. However, the excitement on his face and in his voice as he told me about his new job was priceless. Knowing that I, as an individual, could make a real impact in one person’s life is why I didn’t think twice about signing up to work with CARE/RESTART again. As a member of this year’s Public Interest Leaders (PILP) class, I’m excited to be assisting CARE/RESTART by developing a series of educational workshops addressing civil legal barriers that might otherwise hinder these probationers reentry to society. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to work on this pilot project with my fellow PILPers. I may not be lucky enough to have another positive encounter with a participant like the one in the coffee shop, but I will be satisfied knowing that I am doing something to help the CARE/RESTART participants make a positive re-entry into society.
Raquel Webster is Senior Counsel at National Grid USA. Raquel is a member of the Boston Bar Association’s Public Interest Leadership Program.
In this season of reflection and gratitude, many people look for ways to give back. Here are a few upcoming opportunities to get more involved in the community:
(1) Participate in the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program and help low and moderate-income taxpayers fill out tax returns and offer consultations on special credits, such as Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, and Credit for the Elderly. You can learn more about how to get involved at the upcoming VITA information session.
(2) Teach high school students across Massachusetts about making informed and effective decisions regarding their finances through educational and experiential opportunities in the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy program. You can teach students about credit cards, checking accounts, budgeting, and more.
(3) Hire a local high school student for an 8-week internship at your law firm through our Summer Jobs program. Help students learn about the field of law and gain career experience.
Visit the Public Services Programs page to learn about additional opportunities in the community. For more information on the programs, please contact Katie D’Angelo, Public Service Programs Coordinator at 617-778-1914 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Experiencing a day in the shoes of a Boston public school principal has become a tradition for Boston Bar Association Presidents. Since 2004, the BBA president has participated in the Principal for a Day program run by Boston Plan for Excellence (BPE). The Program allows public and private sector leaders to better understand the improvements and remaining challenges in the Boston public school system.
Furthermore, it provides the basis for the types of relationships between the business community and the local school system that can help improve the schools. President James D. Smeallie participated in BPE’s’ annual Principal for a Day Program on Tuesday, November 13th, shadowing the co-headmasters of the Quincy Upper School.
“After a morning at the Josiah Quincy School, what struck me was how genuinely enthusiastic the co-headmasters were in the face of poor facilities, budget constraints and a talent drain to the exam schools,” said Smeallie. “If their ideas and strategies are indicative of our public schools as a whole, there is a tremendous amount of effort and creativity directed toward improving our city’s schools.”
Smeallie had the opportunity to review test results with teachers, meet with the principal and administrative staff, participate in a student government meeting, visit classrooms, and debrief with a teacher after a lesson. Following the morning activities, all 2012 participants ended the day with a lunchtime discussion at Bank of America with a representative from the Mayor’s office, Bank of America Chairman Emeritus and BPE Board of Trustees Chair Chad Gifford, BPE Executive Director Jesse Solomon, Boston School Committee Chair, Reverend Gregory Groover, and Superintendent Carol Johnson.
During time in the schools, Smeallie gained a personal look at the impact of the BBA’s public service programs on the Boston school system. These school-based programs, which include the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program, Law Day in the Schools, Mayor’s Youth Council, Summer Jobs Program, and the Boston Debate League, provide students with real world professional skills to increase their involvement in their communities and prepare them for future careers and higher education opportunities. To cite just one benefit, Smeallie explained that all of the students involved in the BBA’s Boston Debate League program from Quincy Upper School continue on to college and receive scholarships.
For more information about public service opportunities in the Boston public schools, please review our 2012 Public Service Report or contact Katie D’Angelo at email@example.com.