Pay now and not only will you lock in this year’s dues rate, your membership will be good through the next program year (August 31, 2015). Learn More!
The BBA's Summer Jobs program is setting the pace, 44 firms have secured 60 paid internships for Boston Public High School students. Learn more here.
Statehouse Update. For the full post, click here.
If you are a recently admitted lawyer in MA, take a look at the BBA's Practicing with Professionalism Page to register. Don't delay, five dates are already sold out!
On May 12, 1,300 members of the bar will hear from keynote Mayor Martin Walsh and see 60 volunteers honored for their work on the BBA Marathon Assistance Project. Learn More.
Lawyers were not the first responders. They were not the police and safety personnel who protected the Commonwealth. They were not the doctors and nurses whose expertise saved dozens of lives. However, lawyers responded to the Marathon bombing the best way they knew how – by offering to provide pro bono legal assistance for individuals and small businesses affected by the bombing through the BBA Marathon Assistance Project. Over the course of this year, our volunteers have traveled to homes to complete One Fund applications, assisted small business owners in filing insurance claims, and helped both business owners and individuals navigate a range of other legal issues as a result of the bombings. Here is a snapshot of the Project to date:
If you would like to hear personal accounts of the impact of the volunteer’s work, we’ve gathered a few stories for you. To learn more about the work of our volunteers for small businesses click here. You can learn more about legal assistance for individuals in this recent mailer or the spring edition of the Boston Bar Journal.
However, the work is not yet done. As the city continues to heal, members of the Bar stand ready to assist with the second distribution of the One Fund and continue to offer legal assistance to those affected.
Stephen Cohen (Choate Hall & Stewart) and Eric Teasdale (Choate Hall & Stewart) taught seniors at Edward M. Kennedy Academy of Health Careers about the hidden costs of buying a car.
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
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.”