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The BBA would like to congratulate and welcome the thirteenth iteration of the Public Interest Leadership Program. This group of seventeen attorneys represent a wide variety of practice areas, including attorneys from firms, legal services, and solo practice. We wish them the best of luck, and look forward to the accomplishments they will achieve as Public Interest Leaders.
Amanda Orcutt-Holland & Knight LLP Hometown: Saratoga Springs, NY Law School: Syracuse University College of Law
Amanda is an associate in Holland & Knight’s Litigation and Dispute Resolution group, where her practice encompasses a wide array of commercial disputes, including employment disputes, contract disputes, and business torts. Amanda also maintains an active pro bono practice representing individuals and non-profit organizations. She has successfully handled several prisoners’ civil rights claims, and recently obtained a large jury verdict for a client in federal court. Prior to joining the firm, Amanda served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in West Africa. Amanda is a graduate of Syracuse University and Syracuse University College of Law, where she served as Editor-in-Chief of Syracuse Law Review.
Brian McLaughlin- Brian McLaughlin, Esq. LLC Hometown: Easton, MA Law School: Boston College Law School
Based in Boston, Brian practices in the areas of family law, special education law, disability law, real estate law, and both unemployment and veterans benefits. He uses his experience with mediation and collaborative law to give the best legal advice to his clients. Brian zealously represents his clients, researching all possible legal issues to their fullest extent. Brian is currently undergoing CASA volunteer training where he will become appointed by the Court to write briefs to help judges determine the best interest of the child. He also currently collaborates with the Volunteer Lawyer Project, and serves on the board of Shelter Legal Services and the Assistive Technology Loan Committee, which seeks to provide low interest loans to folks seeking to obtain assistive technology. Brian is a co-chair of the Legal Policy Committee for the Special Needs Advocacy Network.
Prior to starting his own practice, Brian worked as an Intelligence Analyst for the Federal Bureau of Investigation and as an outreach coordinator for the Massachusetts Office on Disability. Brian has served in the private sector for the small litigation firm, Healy & Healy, assisting in civil tort litigation matters, both plaintiff and defendant.
David Scheffler- Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General Hometown: Newton, MA Law School: Boston College Law School
David M. Scheffler is an Assistant Attorney General in the Medicaid Fraud Division of the Office of Attorney General Maura Healey. He prosecutes criminal and civil cases involving fraud on the Massachusetts Medicaid program, MassHealth. He has investigated and prosecuted cases against physicians, laboratories, pharmaceutical and medical device companies, and providers of in-home health care services, in connection with fraud schemes including false claims, kickbacks, and off-label marketing. In 2014, he received the Office of the Attorney General’s Outstanding Team Award for his work prosecuting a physician office laboratory that paid illegal kickbacks to the owners of sober houses to induce referrals of lucrative drug-screening business. Prior to joining the Attorney General’s Office, David served as a law clerk to the Honorable George A. O’Toole, Jr., United States District Judge for the District of Massachusetts, and as an Associate at Ropes & Gray LLP, where his practice focused on complex business litigation and health care fraud. He serves as a basketball coach at the John H. Barry Boys & Girls Club of Newton and in the Middlesex Magic AAU program.
Emily Jennings- Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP Home town: Hingham, MA Law School: Boston College Law School
Emily is an associate in the Litigation Group at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP. Her practice involves a wide range of complex commercial, securities, insurance and regulatory matters. Emily has litigated in state and federal trial courts within the Commonwealth and has advised clients in connection with various government and internal investigations. She also maintains an active pro bono practice and has represented individuals in connection with the Boston Bar Association’s Marathon Assistance Project and the Women’s Bar Foundation’s Family Law Project. Emily is a graduate of Villanova University and Boston College Law School.
Hannah Joseph- Beck Reed Riden LLP Home town: Queens, NY Law School: Boston College Law School
Hannah T. Joseph practices complex business litigation at Beck Reed Riden LLP, where she represents corporate and individual clients in matters involving restrictive covenants, trade secret law, close corporation shareholder disputes, employment law, and complex commercial disputes. Hannah is also very active within the Boston legal community, as a co-chair for the BBA’s Intellectual Property Committee (and former liaison between the New Lawyers Section and the Intellectual Property Section), and as a co-founder of the Boston Associates’ Networking Group. Hannah received her J.D. from Boston College Law School. At BC Law School, Hannah represented underserved populations through the school’s Legal Assistance Bureau. She also coordinated fundraising efforts for BC Law School’s Public Interest Law Foundation, which provides stipends to law students taking public interest summer internships. Hannah is proud to be a Big Sister through the Big Sister Association of Greater Boston.
Henry Tran– Prince Lobel Tye LLP Home town: Mountain View, California Law School: Northeastern University School of Law
Henry Tran is a litigation associate at Prince Lobel Tye LLP, where he practices in a range of civil litigation matters including employment discrimination, state and federal regulatory compliance, and complex commercial disputes. Before entering private practice, Henry completed placements at the Special Litigation Section of the U.S. Department of Justice and the Enforcement Division of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, where he developed specialties in state enforcement matters and high-stakes securities litigation. Henry previously served as the Executive Lieutenant Governor for the ABA Law Student Division and, prior to law school, spent two years abroad working in government relations and international development in China and the United Kingdom. Henry is a graduate of Northeastern University School of Law and the University of California, Irvine.
Jane Lovins- U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts Law School: Boston College Law School
Jane is the career law clerk for United States District Court Judge George A. O’Toole, Jr. She recently served as the law clerk dedicated to the proceedings in United States v. Tsarnaev (Boston Marathon bombings case). Previously, she was a senior associate at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP. Her practice included complex commercial litigation and securities litigation and enforcement. She also maintained an active pro bono practice focusing on juvenile justice, education, and family law. While in law school, Jane served as Note Editor of the Boston College Law Review, was a Rappaport Fellow in Law and Public Policy at the Office of the Governor’s Legal Counsel, and helped found the Pro Bono Pledge Program. Prior to attending law school, she taught in the South Bronx as a Teach for America corps member and in the Boston area as a research teacher at Tufts University. Jane is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Columbia University, and Boston College Law School, where she graduated summa cum laude and was the recipient of the Richard G. Huber Award, Equal Justice America Fellowship, and Pro Bono Excellence Award.
Michael Koehler- Keegan Werlin LLP Hometown: Reading, MA Law School: Suffolk University Law School
Michael J. Koehler is an associate at Keegan Werlin LLP specializing in energy and regulatory, public utility and environmental, municipal and land use law. He represents energy and utility clients before administrative agencies such as the Department of Public Utilities, the Energy Facilities Siting Board and the Cape Cod Commission, as well as various local authorities. His representative matters have involved rate issues, long-term power purchase agreements for renewable energy, net metering and the siting and permitting of an array of different energy infrastructure facilities.
Before joining the firm in 2008, Mike served as a law clerk for the Justices of the Superior Court of Massachusetts. He is admitted to practice in Massachusetts and is an active member of the Boston Bar Association, where he has served as co-chair of the Energy and Telecommunications committee; a member of the BBA’s Environmental Sustainability Task Force; and a member of the Education Committee. In addition to his professional pursuits, Mike serves on the Alumni Council of Phillips Academy (Andover) and on the Board of Trustees for Thompson Island Outward Bound Education Center in Boston Harbor.
Matthew Connolly– Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP Home town: Cambridge, MA Law School: Northwestern Pritzker School of Law
Matthew Connolly is a senior associate in Nutter’s Litigation Department. Individuals and companies rely on Matt for a variety of litigation matters, especially in complex business disputes and white collar defense and investigations. A wide range of clients, from individuals and small businesses to some of the largest companies and banks in the United States, frequently select Matt to represent them in federal and state courts, and before multiple agencies, including the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Massachusetts State Ethics Commission. In particular, Matt has extensive experience representing energy companies and traders in enforcement and compliance matters, including a matter that resulted in the largest public settlement in FERC’s history.
Mark Woodroffe– Cooley LLP Home town: Tampa, FL Law School: Boston College School of Law
Mark Woodroffe is a corporate associate at Cooley LLP in Boston. His practice includes advising public and private life sciences and technology companies on matters ranging from entity formations and financings to M&A transactions, public offerings, and securities law compliance. Mark is an active member of Cooley’s Pro Bono Committee, representing low-income entrepreneurs and child immigrants. He also works to promote diversity through his involvement with the Hispanic National Bar Association, the Boston Lawyers Group, and Cooley’s Diversity Committee. Mark is a cum laude graduate of both the University of Florida and Boston College Law School, where he served on the Executive Board of the Boston College Law Review and received the Richard G. Huber Award for Scholarship and Leadership in Extra- and Co-Curricular Activities. Prior to becoming an attorney, Mark worked for the Detroit Lions, The Honda Classic, and the Florida State Golf Association.
Max Riffin– Chu, Ring & Hazel LLP Home town: Newton, MA Law School: Boston University School of Law
Max Riffin is a corporate associate at Chu, Ring & Hazel LLP. His practice focuses on the representation of investment funds, mature private companies, and emerging growth companies through all stages of the company lifecycle. He regularly counsels clients in connection with entity formation, capital structure, corporate governance, mergers and acquisitions, venture capital financings, private placements, and general corporate matters. He also assists clients with licensing matters, the negotiation of commercial agreements, employee benefit and equity ownership plans, and employment matters. In addition, Max advises the firm’s investor clients in connection with equity and debt financings and matters related to their portfolio companies. Prior to joining the firm, Max practiced as a corporate bankruptcy and restructuring associate in the Delaware and Boston offices of a few national and international law firms.
Maria Granik– Sullivan & Worcester LLP Home town: Moscow, Russia Law School: Boston University School of Law
Maria Granik is an associate at Sullivan & Worcester LLP, where she focuses on complex commercial litigation, as well as on environmental law and employment cases. In her pro bono work Maria has helped clients in a variety of criminal, administrative and civil cases ranging from a habeas petition to asylum proceedings and restraining order hearings. She is also the firm’s representative on the Domestic and Sexual Violence Council, an advocacy organization for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. As a law student, Maria was selected as a Rappaport Fellow in Law and Public Policy, working at the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services on issues such as equal access to healthcare and mental health law. Before becoming a lawyer, Maria earned a PhD in philosophy and taught at Boston University and at the College of the Holy Cross. Her teaching and academic research focused on questions of ethics, political philosophy, and history of philosophy. Maria is a graduate of Tufts University and Boston University where she earned both her PhD and JD.
Nicholas Brown- Pierce Atwood LLP Home town: Staten Island, NY Law School: University of Connecticut School of Law
Nick is a litigation associate at Pierce Atwood LLP with a focus on business disputes, construction law claims, and land use matters. His practice involves both the prosecution and defense of contract claims on behalf of corporate clients, insurance companies, and contractors. In addition, Nick represents municipalities, businesses, and individuals in land-use and real estate disputes. Nick has also devoted substantial time to providing pro bono legal services to those in need. His pro bono work has focused on representing minors from Central America who have fled poverty, violence, and gang-related crime in their home countries. Nick represents his pro bono clients in both state and federal courts to obtain legal immigration status.
Peter Obersheimer-Murphy & King, P.C. Home town: Elma, NY Law School: Boston College Law School
Peter is an associate in Murphy & King, P.C.’s business litigation group. His practice includes representing both individual and corporate clients in a variety of fields, including business torts, commercial lease disputes, health care litigation, and employment law. In collaboration with the Disability Law Center, Peter has represented clients with intellectual disabilities in state eligibility appeals on a pro bono basis. Peter is an active volunteer leader with Best Buddies, a social integration program for individuals with intellectual disabilities, and serves on the Emerging Leaders Board for St. Francis House, the largest homeless day shelter in Massachusetts. Prior to joining Murphy & King, Peter worked as a litigation associate at a firm in New York State, and was recognized as the 2012 recipient of the New York State Bar Association’s President’s Pro Bono Award for the 8th Judicial District for his work on immigration and social security disability appeals. In 2015, Peter was named a New England Super Lawyers Rising Star in Business Litigation. Peter is a graduate of Boston College and Boston College Law School.
Rachel Irving Pitts- Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky and Popeo PC Home town: Pittsfield, IL Law School: Boston University School of Law
Rachel Irving Pitts has been practicing in Mintz Levin’s Health Care practice since 2008. She relocated to Boston in 2002 from Illinois, and worked for the Massachusetts Medical Society before attending Boston University School of Law. Her practice primarily involves healthcare transactions and regulatory matters, and she has represented a variety of pro bono clients for Mintz Levin, assisting a small business and arguing for a client’s Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. Rachel was a Special Assistant District Attorney as part of Mintz Levin’s rotation program with the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office. Rachel is on the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program’s Emerging Leaders Board, and is a member of the BBA, MBA, ABA and AHLA.
Richard Baldwin- Foley Hoag LLP Home town: Arlington, MA Law School: Boston College Law School
Rich is a commercial litigation associate at Foley Hoag LLP. He regularly represents individuals, business and foreign sovereigns in state and federal court and in domestic and international arbitration. He also maintains an active pro bono practice representing individuals in housing, bankruptcy, special education and immigration matters and in obtaining court orders protecting clients from abuse. Last year, Rich coached a group of students as they became the first team from their school to compete in the Mass Bar Association’s High School Mock Trial Program. In 2013-14, Rich served as a Special Assistant District Attorney in the Norfolk District Attorney’s Office. Rich is a graduate of Boston University and Boston College Law School.
Tovah Miller- New England Law | Boston Home town: Manlius, NY Law School: Syracuse University College of Law
Tovah is currently the Assistant Director of Career Services and Recruitment Coordinator for New England Law | Boston. Prior to joining New England Law, Tovah was the Program Specialist for the American Bar Association Commission on Disability Rights, where she counseled law students with disabilities on obtaining accommodations for law school and associated exams; campaigned to increase the inclusion and visibility of attorneys with disabilities in the legal field; and was a member of the ABA Staff Diversity Council. She is a member of the BBA Committee on Attorneys with Disabilities and their Allies and the BBA Diversity & Inclusion Steering Committee.
Before we send more than 100 of our members into the city’s public schools over the next several weeks to teach students about the importance of Miranda Rights, we wanted to acquaint them with their curriculum.
This week, we held a volunteer training and reception to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Law Day in the Schools. During the session, volunteers had the opportunity to hear from Christopher Day, a teacher at Charlestown High School who spoke about the impact the volunteer attorneys have had on his students.
Chris Day, a teacher at Charlestown High School, gave volunteers an overview of the Boston Public Schools and offered teaching tips to prepare the volunteers for their upcoming sessions.
“They know the (courtroom) drama from TV, but to know they have these rights in real life is a really powerful thing,” Day said.
He added that students “know they matter” when lawyers take time out of their busy professional lives to visit their schools and help them to understand an important legal concept.
“To take the time out of your day shows effort, and they will recognize that effort,” Day said.
Michael McDermott and Kimberly Calvi (Dain, Torpy, Le Ray, Wiest & Garner, P.C.) will be using the book, The True Story of the Three Little Pigs, to teach kindergarteners at the Blackstone Innovation School about the importance of hearing all sides of a story later this month.
After Day addressed them, the attorneys headed into separate sessions to learn about the curriculum for the specific age group they will be teaching. This year’s program will serve over 1,500 students in grades K-12. Younger children will hear the “True Story of the Little Pigs,” which portrays the wolf as a sympathetic character, and conduct a mock trial. Middle and high school students will learn more about the history and case law surrounding Miranda Rights.
Bruce Falby and Michael McGurk, partners at DLA Piper, led fourth grade students at Samuel Adams Elementary School in East Boston through a mock trial of the big, bad wolf from the story of the Three Little Pigs.
A special thanks to law firms and companies who have adopted a classroom:
Anderson & Kreiger LLP; Arrowood Peters LLP; Barclay Damon, LLP; Beck Reed Riden LLP; Burns & Levinson LLP; Choate Hall & Stewart LLP; Conn Kavanaugh Rosenthal Peisch & Ford, LLP; Dain, Torpy, Le Ray, Wiest & Garner, P.C.; DLA Piper LLP; Donoghue Barrett & Singal; Duane Morris LLP; Goulston & Storrs PC; Greenberg Traurig, LLP; Holland & Knight LLP; Krokidas & Bluestein LLP; Locke Lord LLP; Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.; Morgan Lewis; Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP; Peabody & Arnold LLP; Posternak Blankstein & Lund LLP; Prince Lobel Tye LLP; Schwartz Hannum P.C.; Sherin and Lodgen LLP; State Street Corporation; Sugarman, Rogers, Barshak & Cohen, P.C.; Sullivan & Worcester LLP; Ropes & Gray LLP; Verrill Dana LLP; Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP; and White and Williams LLP
We’ve talked about the over-abundance of pro se litigants in housing court, probate and family court. What happens when those cases go on appeal?
Unsurprisingly, many litigants continue to represent their own interests on appeal, contributing to further backup of the court system. That’s why the Volunteer Lawyer’s Project, in partnership with the Appeals Court, nine different law firms and six different legal services organizations, has launched the Pro Bono Appellate Pilot Program in Massachusetts.
The program hosts a weekly Clinic at which volunteer attorneys are available to provide legal assistance to eligible litigants, with the potential for further representation on appeal. The Clinic is currently housed at the Appeals Court Clerk’s Office and operates every Wednesday from 12:30p.m. to 4 p.m.
At a recent training, a panel made up of attorneys, court personnel and Appeals Court Chief Justice Scott Kafker spoke about the benefits of the program.
“As all of you know, there’s nothing more frightening and confusing than being a party in a lawsuit. That fear and confusion is compounded many times when you are without counsel,” Kafker said. “You are going to make the appeals court more fair, more accessible and more efficient. We are incredibly grateful for that.”
Panelists also shared best practices for helping low-income clients and some basic tips for navigating the appeals process.
If you are interested in Pro Bono opportunities, don’t miss out on these upcoming trainings:
Representing Veterans in Discharge Upgrades (Advanced Training) Wednesday, May 18 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Trying a Case in Housing Court Tuesday, June 14 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.