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.

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From Issue Spot: Advocacy Skills In Action

Monday, February 04, 2013

Thank you to our members who took the time out of their busy schedules to gather at the State House for yesterday’s 14th annual Walk to the Hill.  BBA members were among the 650 attorneys who put their advocacy skills into action in support of civil legal aid.  Walk to the Hill 2013 was a great success, but our work to ensure adequate funding of civil legal aid is only just beginning.

A real life example of how civil legal aid helps people was described by South Coastal Counties Legal Services client, Daniele Bien-Aime.  Through no fault of her own, this mother of two young children lost her job, and then her health insurance and came close to being evicted from her apartment — while undergoing a bilateral mastectomy and follow-up treatment for breast cancer. A legal aid attorney helped her get her job back, continue her treatment and stay in her home.

A surprise visit from Governor Patrick provided an opportunity for us to thank him for recognizing the importance of civil legal aid.  Last week, House 1 proposed $15.5 million for Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation (MLAC).

Gov and BBA Banner

The most important part of the morning followed the pep talks from Chief Justice Roderick Ireland, BBA President James D. Smeallie and others, when attendees headed toward the offices of their lawmakers to continue the conversation about the need for civil legal aid funding.  As we described in Issue Spot before, making a personal connection and building a relationship with your own state senator and state representative is key to effective advocacy.

Ellen Kief, a member of the BBA’s Solo & Small Firm Section and a resident of Weston, met with her legislators, Senator Michael Barrett and Representative Alice Hanlon Peisch. She shared her perspective on civil legal aid as a constituent and an attorney. In particular, Ellen emphasized her experience with immigration law and the positive impact that civil legal aid has had on her own clients.

Ellen Kief with Rep. Peisch

Meeting with a key staffer is just as important.  As Issue Spot has said in earlier posts, staff often makes recommendations and it’s a great way to get to know what’s important to your legislator.  BBA President J.D. Smeallie sat down with an aide to his state representative, Jerald Parisella. This was an opportunity for President Smeallie to make a direct connection with the person who advises the lawmaker.

JD and House aide 2

It was great to see advocacy in action as lawyers filled the State House halls.  These conversations will continue throughout the budget process that will run through the end of June.  We need to cultivate these relationships and circle back to our legislators between now and June in order to provide them with additional information and facts, tell stories and keep the dialogue and discussions going.  We need to arm them with the reasons why civil legal aid is important and should be one of their top budget priorities.

- Kathleen Joyce
Director of Government Relations
Boston Bar Association

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

    Central West Justice Center

    (508) 425-2814

    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 HealthCare System, Inc.

    (617) 954-9895

    Sara Farnum Shannon

    (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

    Acceleron Pharma Inc.

    (617) 649-9348

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