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The BBA interns headed to Housing Court last week to see the Lawyer for the Day in the Boston Housing Court Program in action.
Guest Post: Elijah Oyenuga is one of the Summer Jobs Student working at the Boston Bar Association. He recently graduated from Another Course to College in Brighton and will be attending Lesley University next year.
Imaging the chaos of Boston Housing Court was one thing, but viewing it was a whole different experience. My fellow interns and I paid a visit to the Edward W. Brooke Courthouse last week. We didn’t exactly get a standard tour, but we were able to see what Housing Court is really like for the people involved. There were lots of people crowding around the volunteers participating in the Lawyer for the Day Program, carts filled with filed paperwork and people waiting adamantly for roll call to begin. I have to say that it wasn’t what I expected. The day began with people crowding into the courtroom, squishing themselves in seats or standing against the wall as the court officer ordered everyone to stay clear of the doors.
I believed that we were going to be here for hours as they went through each individual case. Instead, each case went rapidly as they called for the tenant and the landlord and for a lot of the cases; one or both parties were not present. But for those who were, they were asked whether they were willing to go to mediation or go to trial and most chose mediation over trial. In all honesty, it was a tedious process; we probably went through forty different cases, so to say the least, I was glad when we finally transitioned to trial.
The Housing Court trials were a great learning experience and they really opened my eyes to the importance of representation. There was a specific case in which one of the parties, the tenant, was pro se and the landlord was represented by a lawyer. There was a significant difference in the way they were able to articulate themselves. The lawyer, who was more articulate, had too much of an advantage over a woman who clearly spoke English as a second language. In addition to that, she had gotten some awful advice from a lawyer stating that if there was construction being done in the apartment, she wouldn’t have to move out if she missed a payment. I could clearly see the difference between having a lawyer standing up for you and not having one. There were other trials that were very engaging and I am very thankful to the BBA for giving me the opportunity to visit the court.
The post A Student Perspective: Visiting Boston Housing Court appeared first on Beyond the Billable.
Photo courtesy of U.S. State Department
“The bottom line is that this is no time for complacency. Right now, across the globe, victims of human trafficking are daring to imagine the possibility of escape, the chance for a life without fear, and the opportunity to earn a living wage…We hear you, and we will do all we can to make that dream come true.” – John F. Kerry, Secretary of State
On Monday the U.S. State Department released its annual Trafficking on Persons Report, which ranks 188 countries on their efforts to combat trafficking. The report aims to assist international organizations, foreign governments, and nongovernmental organizations to examine where resources are most needed.
Want to know what you can do to help? In an effort to raise awareness about this important issue and to prepare attorneys to assist victims of trafficking, the BBA is holding a training on Wednesday, September 30th from 4-6 pm called “Justice for Trafficking Victims: Civil Litigation, Vacatur, Criminal Restitution and the Pro Bono Bar.”
We are honored to host Martina Vandenberg, the President and Founder of The Human Trafficking Pro Bono Legal Center in Washington, DC. She will join local expert, Julia Dahlstrom, a Clinical Legal Fellow at the Boston University School of Law Human Trafficking Clinic, for this much anticipated program.
Don’t miss this important and compelling program. Click here to learn more.
The post BBA to Welcome Prominent Human Trafficking Speakers in September appeared first on Beyond the Billable.
BBA Summer Jobs Students Nensi Gjata and Kevin Truong sit down with their supervisor Edie Fedder, a Human Resource Specialist at Goodwin Procter.
Two bright students, two very different paths to the law: for the third consecutive year, Goodwin Procter is hosting two students this summer as they learn about what law firm life is really like.
The students tell their stories about how they came to be interested in the law with enthusiasm. “I was actually born in Europe, in Albania,” explains Nensi Gjata, a student at Boston Latin School. “When we came over to the United States, we had to go through the immigration process, and that’s when I got my first dose of the legal system here. It got me interested in immigration law specifically.”
Kevin Truong, also a BLS student, cheerfully notes that he was born and raised in the Boston area, but has an equally engaging story to tell: “My parents are trying to build a new house. They bought the land for it and are working on starting the building, and we’re seeing the legal ramifications and intricacies firsthand. I’m interested in studying the law so I can try to understand and help with this process.”
The students have very personal connections to the legal system, and there’s no better place to learn about it than Goodwin Procter, one of the largest law firms in the city and the original office of the now-international firm. The students are splitting their time between the Conflicts department and Court Procedures department – Nensi currently in the former, while Kevin spends time in the latter – and will be switching shortly.
What have they done so far? “It’s not all Law & Order!” Nensi laughs. “There’s a lot more that happens behind the scenes – it’s not just litigation. I’m working on digitally filing certain client forms so that they’re more readily available for the attorneys in the office.” Kevin details his trips to the different courthouses with filings for the administrative offices, calling the experience “eye-opening.”
This is the third year in a row that Goodwin Procter has hired two Boston public high school students through the BBA Summer Jobs Program.
Each task that they complete is a smaller part of a much larger whole, their supervisor Edie Fedder, Human Resources Specialist at Goodwin, adds. “They’re zeroed in on these projects, and what they don’t see yet is that they’re actively helping Goodwin to reach its goals and initiatives. The work they’re doing is really necessary.”
Fedder notes that a summer job like those that are offered through the Summer Jobs Program might be a student’s first professional experience, and that Goodwin is an eager participant in the program to help the students jumpstart their careers and build their resumes. She hopes that their summer jobs will give them exposure to the experience of working in a law firm and help them to gain insight about their career paths, regardless of whether it leads to the legal profession or not.
The jury is still out on that, so to speak – after all, while they’re both interested in the law, Nensi and Kevin are still in high school and just starting to think about college. But they know that what they have gained already over this summer will have a huge effect on how they approach their future professional lives. “It’s been very eye-opening,” Kevin says. “And you can’t just do the tasks without understanding them. When I go to the courts, I have to know what the documents are, what they mean, and what the process is before bringing a case to court, in case the court office asks questions.”
Nensi agrees that the experience has changed the way she perceives the legal field. “This experience with the law is definitely different from what I expected. When I’m doing my work, I can hear some of the conversations the attorneys are having – it’s so complex. With my own work, I’ve really learned patience and diligence.”
And there’s so much more to learn.
The post Summer Jobs Snapshot: Double Perspectives on Learning the Law at Goodwin appeared first on Beyond the Billable.