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Hon. Joan N. Feeney, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Massachusetts, Bankruptcy Section Co-Chair D. Ethan Jeffery, Janet Bostwick and Bankruptcy Section Co-Chair Lee Harrington
After ten years, the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy program is still going strong at the BBA. That is in no small part due to the hard work of Janet Bostwick (Bostwick Law), an experienced bankruptcy attorney who believes passionately in the importance of educating high school students about financial responsibility.
This week, the BBA’s Bankruptcy Law Section, together with the judges of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Massachusetts, honored Bostwick for her dedicated work on the program. For twelve years, Bostwick co-chaired the Financial Literacy Committee, but stepped down at the end of the spring. John Loughnane (Nutter, McClennen & Fish) will join Doug Rosner (Goulston & Storrs) as the attorney co-chairs of the committee.
Hon. Joan N. Feeney, who has also co-chaired the program since its inception and will continue to do so alongside Loughnane and Rosner, praised Bostwick for her efforts to rally BBA members to volunteer and support the program. Judge Feeney said Bostwick “does not know how to say ‘no,’” which is how she came to be the Financial Literacy Program’s champion.
The program is named for the late M. Ellen Carpenter, a bankruptcy attorney who knew Bostwick and Judge Feeney well. Carpenter was the BBA president in 2004 and appointed the Joint Task Force on Financial Literacy for Students, charged with identifying the underlying reasons for financial problems among young adults and the need for financial literacy education. As a result of the task force’s work, Carpenter, Bostwick and Judge Feeney helped outline a course to teach financial literacy to high school students. At the time, there were no similar programs in nearby districts, Judge Feeney said.
“She created something out of nothing,” Judge Feeney said of Bostwick.
The room was filled with Bankruptcy Section members who warmly congratulated Bostwick. The Boston Bar Association is extremely thankful for her many years of dedicated service to the program.
Janet Bostwick and Hon. Frank Bailey, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Massachusetts
At the Boston Private Industry Council (PIC) Annual Meeting last week, attendees heard Boston Public Schools Superintendent Tommy Chang, Chief of Economic Development for the City of Boston John Barros and GE Foundation President Ann Klee express the importance of connecting young people with employment opportunities.
The BBA is proud to have partnered with Boston PIC for the past 23 years on the mayor’s Summer Jobs Campaign. In our copy of PIC’s annual report, we were pleased to find that the BBA is sixth on the list of PIC’s top employers.
This year, we placed 58 students with more than 40 employers for the summer. They picked up many new skills in the offices of law firms, legal services organizations, and even here at the BBA. Thanks to funding from the Boston Bar Foundation, 10 organizations were able to employ a student at no cost to them, a benefit to some of our employers that are legal services organizations, government agencies, or courts.
In order to adequately prepare teens for the kinds of jobs that are available and desirable today, the team at the PIC has broadened the training students complete before they apply for a summer job, School-to-Career Director Josh Bruno said.
Before, career specialists focused on getting students through the interview process with flying colors – conducting mock interviews and building resumes. Now, students also receive a crash course in using common computer programs like Microsoft Office. The PIC also does an assessment of each student to determine his or her interests and strengths. For example, bilingual students in the BBA’s Summer Jobs program were able to assist with translating documents and promotional materials.
Bruno said one of the biggest benefits of the BBA’s program is that students are exposed not only to an office environment, but to enrichment seminars meant to promote career exploration and critical thinking.
“The orientation, morning meetings with attorneys, and field trips to places like the State House and the courthouses show students that the BBA is not just made up of lawyers. There are a lot of other jobs that keep the legal system running. All of that builds a student up and gets him or her thinking about their choices for their future career,” he said.
For more information on the BBA Summer Jobs Program or the work of the Boston Private Industry Council, please contact Cassandra Shavney at email@example.com.
Mass Legal Answers Online (MLAO) is a brand new way for busy attorneys to do pro bono in Massachusetts. Through Mass Legal Answers Online, low-income Massachusetts residents can ask civil legal questions on the web at www.masslao.org. This program, administered by the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute with help from the Volunteer Lawyers Project, will function like a “virtual legal clinic,” providing attorneys with a 21st-century platform to give free legal advice.
Eligible site users can post legal questions, and volunteer attorneys can choose which questions they would like to answer. MLAO helps alleviate the time and place constraints that clients and attorneys sometimes face in a traditional legal clinic or on the phone.
On Monday, Rochelle Hahn from the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute and Barbara Siegel from the Volunteer Lawyers Project spoke at a BBA program about this innovative project and how to participate. If you missed the program, here are some things you should know:
This project embodies the idea of “bite-sized pro bono” and, according to Rochelle Hahn, “is an ideal opportunity for busy attorneys who want to help, but have limited time. It allows you to virtually share your expertise with people struggling to navigate the legal system — without committing to ongoing representation or a set schedule. Answering even just one question a month can make a real difference to people in need. Sign up and give it a try!”
Curious and want to find out more? For more information about the program and all aspects of participation, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Rochelle Hahn at email@example.com.