The BBA New Lawyers Section preparing law students and new attorneys to successfully meet the challenges of practicing law through networking receptions, community outreach and practical skills programming. Want to get involved? Contact the New Lawyers Co-Chairs or check out our calendar for the next Steering Committee Meeting.

Are you looking for information on the newly instituted SJC Rule 3:16 Practicing with Professionalism Program at the BBA? Click here for more or to register.

From Issue Spot: Walk to the Hill, But Make Sure You See Your Legislators Too

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Equal Justice Coalition’s Walk to the Hill is coming up very soon – on January 30th at 11 a.m. at the Massachusetts State House.

While this lobbying event – one of the largest of its kind — is an opportunity to socialize, network and get your picture taken with your law firm, Walk to the Hill needs to be more than that.  It’s great that lawyers show up en masse for the speaking program – this year Chief Justice Ireland, BBA President J.D. Smeallie and a legal services client are among those that will speak to the need for more funding for civil legal services.  But let’s remember that even more important is your visit with your legislator.  More than ceremonial, these visits really matter.

Here are a few tips to maximize your effectiveness at Walk to the Hill:

If you get to your representative or senator’s office and there is a long line of other lawyers waiting to deliver the same message, don’t be discouraged.  Be encouraged!  You live in a district full of people that care about this issue.  But don’t assume that because there is a crowd your presence isn’t noticed – leave your name and business card with someone in the office with a note that you want the representative or senator to support legal aid.  Numbers matter – the more people that leave their name, the better.

If your legislator is not available, speak to a staff member.  In most cases the staff person is often the one with the most knowledge on an issue.  Legislative staff welcomes the input of constituents on issues.  Staff members often act as gatekeepers and make recommendations or put issues on their boss’ radar. Winning over the staff member is one of the best ways to win over the representative or senator.

If you learn your legislator does support funding for civil legal aid and you feel like you are preaching to the converted, take this opportunity to thank them for their continued support and ask them to do more.  Ask the legislator to make funding for MLAC one of his or her top three budget priorities.

If you sense that your legislator could use more information about civil legal aid programs, follow up with facts easily obtained from MLAC.  Funding for civil legal aid has been severely cut in recent years while requests for legal assistance have escalated to unprecedented levels.

If you’re a new lawyer, solo practitioner or part of a smaller firm, don’t be dissuaded from coming.  Every year the BBA’s New Lawyer and Solo & Small Firm Sections meet as a group and head over to the State House together.

Prepare yourself with the most up-to-date information from the Equal Justice Coalition using this fact sheet and review their suggested talking points.  This will allow you to make your pitch quickly while hitting all of the key points.

Walk to the Hill is more than just a symbolic showing of support for legal aid funding.  It is a demonstration of the impact legal aid makes on peoples’ lives and the important role it plays in our communities.  As important as the message is – legal aid is in crisis and the MLAC line item must be funded at $15.5 million for Fiscal Year 14 – personally delivering your message is  even more important.  This year we ask that you do more than show up – follow up with your representative and senator too.

- Kathleen Joyce
Director of Government Relations
Boston Bar Association


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New Lawyers Committees

  • New Lawyers Law School Outreach Committees
    This Committee seeks to integrate Boston area law students into the local legal community by encouraging participation in the BBA. We conduct programming, in conjunction with other sections of the BBA and local law schools, designed to promote the professional development of law students. Through these programs, the Committee provides students with opportunities to obtain practical substantive legal knowledge and to network with attorneys and other students.

    Contact Information

    Rebekah Provost

    Suffolk University Law School

    (617) 573-8000

    Tali Shulman

    (617) 633-5033

  • New Lawyers Practical Skills Committee
    This Committee creates programming geared towards the needs of new lawyers to help them develop basic and advanced skills, both generally and within their substantive areas of practice, and to practice more effectively. Programming consists of presentations and panels covering a broad range of topics—from how to file an appeal, how to work with partners, to the basics of a purchase agreement. Committee members, who are responsible for managing these events from concept through to completion, have the opportunity to work closely with senior lawyers in numerous practice areas when facilitating these programs.

    Contact Information

    Michael C. Birch

    Lurie, Lent & Friedman, LLP

    (617) 367 1970

    Elizabeth J. McEvoy

    Donoghue, Barrett & Singal, P.C.

    (617) 720-5090

  • New Lawyers Public Service Committee
    This Committee serves as a resource for new attorneys interested in starting or expanding their pro bono and community service work. The committee runs the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program which offers free tax help to low-to-moderate income persons in Massachusetts.

    Contact Information

    Margaret A. Caulfield

    Partners Health Care System

    (617) 954-9895

    Sara Farnum

    Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General

    (207) 712-8555

  • New Lawyers Social Events Committee
    This Committee organizes monthly gatherings for the New Lawyer's Section, including wine tastings, a casino night, happy hours, and more.

    Contact Information

    Michael Licker

    Foley Hoag LLP

    (617) 832-1197

    Ben Montgomery

    Partners HealthCare

    (617) 954-9525

    Adam M. Veness

    Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo P.C.

    (617) 542-6000

  • Steering Committee
    The leadership committee of the Section organizes programs and discusses policy. To inquire about opportunities, please contact the Section Co-Chairs.