Each year our members dedicate their time and skills to
different volunteer and pro bono programs, such as the Boston Debate League and
the BBA's new Military Help Line. Throughout October, the BBA will celebrate Pro
Bono Month with a variety of different public service events, CLE programs, and
trainings. To learn more about the BBA's calendar of Pro Bono Month events click
With Pro Bono Month kicking off, BBA Week asked members:
"What is your most memorable volunteer or pro bono experience?"
If you would like to respond to a future Voices of
the Bar, make sure you send
a headshot, and contact Eric Fullerton at
Daniela Sorokko - Attorney at Law
joined the Boston University Civil Litigation Program as a 2L in the fall of
2011 to get an idea of what real litigators do and to take a much-needed break
from the socratic method. I expected to find myself in a relaxed setting working
on handpicked cases designed for the benefit of my legal education. What I
walked into was much more of a baptism by fire than a spoonful of sugar
experience. While most of my peers started off with unemployment benefits
appeals hearings at the DUA, I joined a three-student litigation team working with our supervising attorney on a federal district court case that was right in the middle of discovery. Our opposing counsels were partners at two different firms with about 65 years of experience between them. What should have been a one-semester employment litigation experience at Greater Boston Legal Services (GBLS) turned into a two-year stay and a complete revision of my career plans. During my fifth deposition I realized how much I was learning and enjoying being a student attorney. I was able to help clients in a way that I had never anticipated when I first signed up for the clinic. During the two years, I got the chance to argue (and win) my first summary judgment motion in state district court, contribute to several cases at the Massachusetts Commission of Discrimination, represent clients in Family and Probate Court, and, of course help a few clients win their unemployment benefits at the DUA. There wasn't one specific memory that affected me more than the rest. All of my pro bono experiences as a student attorney shaped the way I will practice as an attorney."
Elizabeth P. Hinkley - Public Interest Attorney
"I am currently assisting my grandfather with a claim he brought against a hospital stemming from the negligent maintenance of medical records and resulting billing dispute. It has been a thrill to advocate for someone so dear to me, someone who dedicated his own life to advocating for his family and community. This is why I became an attorney and I am hopeful I will have many more pro bono opportunities like this throughout my career."
Brendan T. St. Amant - Donnelly, Conroy & Gelhaar, LLP
"My most memorable experience was serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Niger, West Africa from 2002-2004. The conditions were rugged, but my village and fellow volunteers were great, and we achieved much together."
Michael Sugar - Attorney at Law
"My most memorable pro bono case involved helping people who had been the victims of a foreclosure prevention scheme. A con man had convinced people with equity in their homes to sign over their homes to him in order to save the properties from foreclosure. He then took out new loans against the properties, kept the proceeds and left the previous owners with no equity in their homes and subject to foreclosure from the new lenders. I helped the victims obtain non-dischargeable judgments against the con man after he declared bankruptcy."
Francisco J. Rosa - Rosa Law, LLC
"I assisted a tenant in a landlord/tenant matter after the tenant failed to comply with the stipulated judgment. It was an unfortunate situation due to serious medical conditions and lack of steady income. I was glad to have counseled the tenant to speak directly to the judge so that the tenant could get the necessary help. The tenant was very grateful for my help, although I felt my contribution was minimal. The tenant received additional time to get things in order, which meant a lot during such difficult times."
Eugene B. Benson - Massachusetts Association of
"Being on the Board of Trustees of The Food Project is my most recent memorable volunteer experience. I completed two three-year terms on the board in June, my last two years as chair of the board. I can report that being on the board, a time intensive and sometimes intense six years, was worth every minute and more in learning and satisfaction. I had the pleasure of working with many wonderful board members, staff, and high school student interns who make the organization a success. We helped a remarkable organization that combines youth development, food justice, and sustainable agriculture. During my tenure as board chair, we successfully managed an executive transition and search, on-boarded a new executive director, spun off one of our programs so that it could stand on its own, had an exciting and successful 20th anniversary fundraiser, welcomed many new board members to the organization, and grappled with the usual board oversight responsibilities of finances, programs, and planning. I departed the board (term limits for board members) happy to have volunteered my time and energy, a bit wiser (I hope), and with good memories to last a lifetime."