Posts Categorized: Voices of the Bar

Voices of the Bar 5/11/17: Tell Us About Your Law Day in the Schools Session

We are two weeks into our Law Day in the Schools program, and for the next month, volunteers will continue to go into classrooms in the city of Boston and teach students of all ages about due process in the law. We checked in with volunteers who have already completed their sessions to ask how it went.

“Tell us about your experience with Law Day in the Schools.

Jennifer Durand – Schmidt & Federico
“My colleague, Glenn, and I taught Ms. Haynes’ 4th Grade class at the Mozart School in Roslindale.  This was my first experience as a Law Day in the Schools teacher and I was a bit nervous.  The experience could not have been better.  We had a great class filled with students who were engaged, lively and active participants.  Their teacher, Ms. Haynes, was excellent as well.  She kept the students engaged, focused and had an excellent rapport with the students.  At the end of the program there is a five minute question and answer session during which the students are allowed to ask questions about our jobs, being lawyers, etc.  Our question and answer session lasted at least fifteen minutes as the students peppered us with great questions on a variety of topics, legal and non-legal; they certainly kept Glenn and me on our toes.

The students seemed genuinely interested and eager to learn and their participation and spirit was infectious, which made the experience that much easier for two newbie Law Day in the Schools teachers like Glenn and me.  I walked out of the classroom completely energized and looking forward to my next Law Day in the Schools experience.”

Joseph Molina Flynn – Attorney at Law
“My law day in the schools session was excellent. Some of the students were really well-prepared and asked really poignant questions. I am always amazed by the way students interpret the lessons based on their lived experiences. This year, we received a lot of questions regarding the applicability of due process in immigration proceedings; that was a topic we did not expect to cover but based on recent headlines students were eager to know more about.”

Wadner Oge – Massachusetts Board of Bar Examiners
“I had a great, rewarding experience speaking to school students about the Due Process during my Law Day in Schools Session at Charlestown High School.  The students are immigrants from Asia and Latin America, who are learning English as a second language.  I was particularly moved and motivated by fact that I could see myself in them because I sat in a similar classroom 24 years ago.  I shared with them that I was once an immigrant student who came from Haiti, attended Dorchester High School, and became a lawyer.  I was pleased to hear back from their teacher that my co-presenter and I inspired at least two students to think about becoming lawyers one day regardless of their immigrant status and socio-economic background.”

Michael Rossi – Conn Kavanaugh
“We had a wonderful visit to the Haley Pilot School in Roslindale.  I was so impressed and encouraged by the students’ curiosity and engagement.  They had some very challenging questions for us on topics ranging from transgender rights to stand-your-ground laws.”

Voices of the Bar 4/20/17: What Was Your First Summer Job?

This week, the BBA transforms into a gaming spot for a good cause. The Boston Bar Foundation’s annual Casino Night fundraiser supports opportunities for Boston’s youth, including the BBA Summer Jobs program.

In the spirit of this fun event and our wonderful community partners, Summer Jobs employers, and students, we’re reaching out to ask:

“What was your first (or favorite) summer job?

Erica Han – Ropes & Gray
“My first “professional” summer job was a college internship at a PR firm.  I was interviewed by phone while studying abroad in Europe, so I had never seen the company in person until I showed up on my first day.  To my surprise, it was a one-person operation in her parents’ basement.  Not what I had expected, but it was a great experience nevertheless.”

Colin Korzec – U.S. Trust
“My first (and favorite as a matter of fact) job was when my dad helped me start a poor mans’ landscaping business – really I mowed lawns.  I was probably 12 years old and by the time I moved away for college, I was mowing upwards of 45 lawns on a routine basis.  It was a great opportunity to run my own little business and spend some time with my dad.”

 Louis Tompros – WilmerHale
“My first summer job was as the sports photographer for my small-town newspaper, the “O’Fallon Progress.”  I got to walk the field during American Legion baseball games and visit the high school’s pre-season football practices, snapping black-and-white photos.  They paid me $5 per published photo — so usually no more than $10 a week — but it was a great way for a not-so-athletic kid to spend the summer outside!”

Susan Cohen – Peabody & Arnold
” My favorite summer job was teaching swimming and lifeguarding at Whalom Park Lake in Lunenberg, Mass.”

Voices of the Bar 4/13/17: What Do You Love About the Boston Marathon?

The excitement is in the air for this year’s Boston Marathon. We like to give our members a chance to let us know if they are running, and what the highlight of their day is every year on Patriot’s Day.

For this week’s “Voices of the Bar” column, we’re reaching out to ask:

“What do you love about the Boston Marathon?

Yareni Sanchez – Goulston & Storrs
“What I love most about the Boston Marathon is the sense of community that it inspires.  From Hopkinton to Copley, spectators of every age gather along the sidelines to hand out candy, energy bars (and sometimes even a beer), make a weary runner laugh with their funny signs and offer high fives or hugs to total strangers.  I’ve run marathons in other cities, but nothing compares to the raucous energy in Boston on Marathon Monday.”

Emily Hodge – Choate, Hall & Stewart
“What I love about the Boston Marathon is the dedication of the charity runners and the fans who support them.  Seeing other charity runners out on the course during training runs is inspiring – every one of them is out there running to support a cause they are passionate about.  On the day of the Marathon, the charity runners start together, and throughout the race the crowds are incredible.  They read the runners’ names and cheer for their charities, thanking the runners for being committed to the cause, and there is no better motivation.  Monday will be my eighth Boston Marathon with the Dana-Farber Challenge Team, and one of the best parts of the day will undoubtedly be when strangers yell as I jog by, “Thank you for running for Dana-Farber, Dana-Farber saved my life.”

 Hannah Bornstein  – Nixon Peabody
“For the second straight year, I am running the Boston Marathon for the PAIR Project.  PAIR is a Boston legal services non-profit that provides pro bono representation to low-income asylum seekers and unjustly detained immigrants.  I am truly honored to run for PAIR again.  My favorite part about the marathon is the run down Boylston Street:  the City of Boston is cheering you on, it’s incredibly loud, and the street is lined with countries’ flags – it feels like the Olympics.  It’s one of the most unbelievable moments in sports!”
Chinh Pham – Greenberg Traurig
“There are so many things to love about the Boston Marathon. Here are my reasons from having run this race over the years (not in any particular order): It is not only a premier Boston event, but an international phenomenon. It is THE marathon to run if you are a runner.  It has a long and storied history.  The crowd along the course is amazing and knowledgeable about running.  The challenging and technical nature of the course, including significant drops in elevation and the cruel placement of Heartbreak Hill, won’t allow you to zone out.  There are only six Marathon Majors and Boston is one.  I get to run in support of the Boston Museum of Science and their  wonderful community outreach programs.”

Heather Cox – Parker Scheer
“I love how the Boston Marathon brings out a sense of community you only see a few times a year. Spectators cheering on strangers and runners inspiring other runners. It is a beautiful thing. I also love how the city comes alive in the days leading up to the race. You can feel the excitement and anticipation in the air.”

Denise Chicoine – Englander & Chicoine
“I always look forward to this world-class athletic event which has inspired millions over the years.  As a past participant and aspiring qualifier in the future, it is thrilling to see the elite of the sport and the masses who struggle valiantly.”

If you would like to respond to a future Voices of the Bar, make sure you send a headshot, and contact Lauren DiTullio at [email protected].

Voices of the Bar 4/6/17: What should ISPs do to balance customer privacy with business interests?

Internet service providers (ISPs) soon will be able to sell their customers’ data — including their browsing histories — without their consent after the House voted to rout the Federal Communications Commission’s broadband privacy rules.

This week’s Voices of the Bar question is:

“How should ISPs balance their business interests with their customers’ need for privacy?

Yale Yachiel Robinson, M. Robinson & Company

ISPs need to consider the consequences of disclosing customers’ data without harming either the customers or third parties.  A situation may arise where the disclosure of an anonymous internet user’s data could harm other individuals whose identities are known.  Compare Ajemian v. Yahoo! Inc., recently argued before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (docket no. SJC-12237).  The case involves a family’s request to recover the email archives of a deceased relative.  Yahoo’s attorney argued, inter alia, that the third parties who exchanged emails with the decedent did not consent to disclosure of those communications by anyone other than the decedent himself.  I agree with that argument, and more broadly, I suggest that the effects of disclosing information may extend far beyond the specific individual whose information is disclosed.  Therefore, ISPs should consider any possible impact on third parties before disclosing customer data.

If you would like to respond to a future Voices of the Bar, make sure you send a headshot, and contact Lauren DiTullio at [email protected].

Voices of the Bar 3/23/17: Why is federal funding for legal aid important?

This week, we are reaching out to members at legal services organizations and members who subscribe to our Legal Services Section to hear your thoughts on the importance of funding for the Legal Services Corporation (LSC).

As you have likely seen in the news, President Trump’s budget proposes to eliminate the LSC, and federal funding for legal aid along with it. While the federal budget process is only just getting underway, we have heard concerns from many our partners in the legal community. We wanted to give members the chance to speak out on this issue.

“Why is federal funding for legal aid important?

Jayne Tyrrell – Massachusetts IOLTA Committee
“Legal services programs in every state, including Massachusetts, provide critically needed legal assistance to prevent illegal foreclosures and evictions, domestic violence, financial abuse and other injustices for struggling students, families, veterans and seniors.

In addition to de-funding civil legal aid, the President’s proposed budget would eliminate or deeply cut many other programs that help vulnerable residents, including, heating subsidies, work-study, housing assistance, health care, job training, education, work safety programs and Meals on Wheels as well as grants to banks and credit unions that support financial services in underserved communities. Legal services programs play a valuable role as a safety net for low-income people, advocating on their behalf in court, with administrative agencies and with lawmakers.”

Rebecca Cazabon – Foley Hoag
“The Legal Services Corporation provides essential grants to local legal aid agencies in every state in the United States. LSC-funded legal aid organizations successfully partner with private law firms, such as mine, screening cases for financial eligibility and merit, providing training, and supervising pro bono lawyers, which enables law firms to take cases. Eliminating federal funding for legal aid would have a devastating impact on the most vulnerable low-income individuals and families in Massachusetts and elsewhere, who depend on free legal help.  In addition, cutting federal funding for civil legal aid would make it nearly impossible for law firms to continue to represent domestic violence survivors, veterans seeking benefits, families being unfairly evicted, and others most in need.”

Suzanne Elovecky – Todd & Weld
“Federal Funding for legal aid is vital because it (a) provides access to the legal system for those with limited resources, (b) ensures that our court system is not a privilege only for the elite, and (c) it evidences that we – as a society – advocate for all persons to have access to the systems of our government.  Through legal aid funding, those with limited resources are given more opportunities to pursue their rights in important areas, such as family well-being, health, safety, housing and livelihood.”

If you would like to respond to a future Voices of the Bar, make sure you send a headshot, and contact Lauren DiTullio at [email protected].

Voices of the Bar 3/9/17: Who Has Been an Influential Woman in Your Life?

In honor of International Women’s Day on March 8th, we wanted to give members a chance to tell us about a woman that has inspired them in their career, personal life or otherwise. Here is what they had to say!

“Who has been an influential woman in your life?

Cameron Casey – Ropes & Gray
“As an undergraduate, I served as an intern to Ruth J. Simmons, who had just become the 9th President of Smith College and who later served as the President of Brown University.  President Simmons provided an example of strength, eloquence and grace in the face of challenge.  What influenced me most, though, was President Simmons’s unwavering commitment to civil discourse.  She encouraged us to discuss issues about which we disagreed strongly, and to do so with an open mind and respect for the opposing viewpoint.  She has said, “One’s voice grows stronger in encounters with opposing views.”  It may be the most important thing I learned at Smith; and it’s certainly relevant twenty years later.”

Valerie Moore – Ferriter Scobbo & Rodophele
“My grandmother is an influential woman in my life. From a very early age, she encouraged me to read everything I could get my hands on, to take risks, and to always be curious about the world.”

Megan Gates – Mintz Levin
“My aunt, Betsy (“Bree”) McKenny, has been very influential on my life and in particular my career path. Before she retired, she was a trusts and estates lawyer and was the co-author of a book called Everyday Law Made Simple, which even as a young girl I thought was incredibly cool. From my earliest memories of what it meant to have a career, I wanted to be a lawyer like “Aunt Bree.” I knew from her example that there was nothing standing in my way of pursuing that path.”

If you would like to respond to a future Voices of the Bar, make sure you send a headshot, and contact Lauren DiTullio at [email protected].

Voices of the Bar 3/2/17: What are you reading?

The BBA staff is comprised of avid readers, and we love to share that enthusiasm with our members! In honor of National Book Day, we asked some attorneys what they are reading right now, and what they think of the book.

“What are you reading?

Debra Squires-Lee – Sherin & Lodgen
“I am reading The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery, a story about an elegant apartment in Paris peopled with a cantankerous concierge, a wildly intelligent and precocious twelve-year old girl, and a wealthy Japanese tenant.  In the first four chapters, I already underlined and highlighted the following gems, both from the concierge: “As always, I am saved by the inability of living creatures to believe anything that might cause the walls of their little mental assumptions to crumble.” And: “Let us just say that the idea of struggling to make my way in a world of privileged, affluent people exhausted me before I even tried.”  I am hooked on the language, the characters’ perspectives, and the story.  I cannot wait to continue reading this book.”

Emily Shanahan – Tarlow Breed Hart & Rodgers
“I just started a new book, The Muse, by Jessie Burton, so it is too early to tell what I think of it.  I am optimistic, however.  I read the author’s first book, The Miniaturist, which was a beautifully written and captivating story; it kept me engaged (and surprised) up until the end.  The books I recommend most frequently these days are a collection of three books by a Swedish author, Fredrik Backman, A Man Called Ove, My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, and Britt-Marie Was Here.  They are wonderfully told stories with quirky characters and unlikely heroes.  Backman’s books are testaments to the goodness and kindness of people without being sappy or trite.  Plus, they made me laugh.  Must reads!”

Michael Tuteur – Foley & Lardner
“I’m reading “Sun, Moon, Earth: The History of Solar Eclipses from Omens of Doom to Einstein and Exoplanets,” by Tyler Nordgren. As an astronomy buff, I am reading the book in (tremendous) anticipation of the Great American Eclipse, which (our astronomers tell us) will occur on August 21, 2017. (Who says we can’t Make American [Eclipses] Great Again?) I will be observing my very first total solar eclipse in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, at precisely 11:35 Mountain Daylight Time. For those interested in seeing the eclipse, the path of “totality” (only about 60 miles wide) will cross the Oregon coast near Salem and sweep southeast, leaving the continental US just north of Charleston, SC. A word of warning: I’ve been told that once you’ve experienced a total solar eclipse, you will be doomed to chase them for the rest of your life!

If you would like to respond to a future Voices of the Bar, make sure you send a headshot, and contact Lauren DiTullio at [email protected].

Voices of the Bar 2/23/17: Who Are You Rooting for at the Oscars?

We can’t believe it’s Oscar season already! Whether you put together your office’s annual Academy Awards pool or you have that one special film or performance that struck you this year, we reached out to ask our members about their favorites.

“What Oscar nominees are you rooting for?

Nancy Weissman – Law Offices of Nancy Weissman
“I’m rooting for Lion (for its treatment of the linked questions of identity and connection), Dr. Strange, and Sing (a Hungarian film called Mindenki in its native language). I’m invested in the last category due to an obscure connection: my distant cousin won in the Short Film: Live Action Category in 1991!”

Shannon Lynch – Beck Reed Riden
“While I have not yet seen all of the 2017 Oscar-nominated films, if I were to receive an invitation to join the 6,000-member Academy, my votes would go to Manchester-by-the SeaLa La Land, and Lion. My Best Actor vote would go to Boston’s own Casey Affleck for his emotionally-intense performance in Manchester-by-the-Sea. My vote for Best Director would go to Damien Chazelle for his mesmerizing work in the musical La La Land. In the category of Best Picture, I would cast my vote for Lion, an unforgettable story with breathtaking cinematography and gritty performances by Nicole Kidman and Dev Patel. ”

Brian Atherton – Saul Ewing
“I’m rooting for O.J., Made in America to win the Oscar for Best Documentary.”

 

Patricia Weisgerber – M. Robinson & Company
“Best Original Screenplay has to go to The Lobster. The premise was that you have 45 days to find your one true love, otherwise you get turned into your animal of choice and the main character chose a lobster. I haven’t been to Legal’s since I saw it.”

Anthony Rufo – Foley Hoag
“I am torn between Viola Davis and Michelle Williams for Best Actress in a Supporting Role.  They each have multiple nominations under their belts.   One thing they both have in common – they are almost too good.  Each is so believable in every role that it doesn’t even seem like acting.  That is the hardest thing to do. ”

Mark Fleming – WilmerHale
The Lobster – not only was it surprisingly well-written and well-acted, but it reminded me of high school and why I’m so glad those days are behind me.”

 

Dustin Hecker  – Posternak Blankstein & Lund
“As I have only seen one of the movies, with my three sons Christmas time, I will have to be rooting for Rogue One to win in the best video effects category.  Clearly, I need to get out a little bit more.  But it is college hoops season, and March Madness is right around the corner.  So I likely will be catching a few of these on Netflix.”

If you would like to respond to a future Voices of the Bar, make sure you send a headshot, and contact Lauren DiTullio at [email protected].

Voices of the Bar 2/2/17: Boston Attorneys Respond to Executive Order on Immigration

As you’ve likely read in the news, on Saturday night, many attorneys joined fellow citizens in opposition of President Trump’s executive order banning  immigrants from seven countries from entering, or re-entering, the U.S.

We asked our members who were there to share something about what they saw, what they did, and what they were feeling on Saturday night when the dropped what they were doing (some even went straight from the Boston Bar Foundation’s Adams Benefit, the area’s largest fundraiser for legal aid, to help) and rushed to Logan Airport and to the federal courthouse.

Matthew Segal – American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts
“The ACLU told President Trump we would see him in court if he ordered this unconstitutional ban on Muslims, and we have. As soon as we heard about the illegal, unconstitutional, and dangerous Muslim ban, we began trying to help its victims. On Saturday, January 28, I learned from attorneys Susan Church and Kerry Doyle about U.S. lawful permanent residents who were being detained at Logan Airport. Lawyers from the ACLU of Massachusetts, Mintz Levin, and the American Immigration Lawyers Association of New England sprang into action. We hurried to draft and file a complaint, and to ask the federal court to convene an emergency hearing. The court agreed.

We all rushed to the Moakley Courthouse in Boston, and two federal judges heard our arguments in the middle of the night, in front of a courtroom packed with civil rights advocates and journalists. By the time the hearing ended, just before 2 a.m., we had historic rulings from federal courts in Boston and throughout the nation to block the ban, at least temporarily. Now we are fighting for its full repeal.”

Heather Yountz – Demissie & Church
“Susan Church and I went to the airport on Saturday afternoon to hang some fliers with information about free legal advice for family members of people who may be detained. An Air France flight came in around 5:30, and we noticed a few people standing in front of us staring at the door where passengers were coming out. I told Susan that they had been waiting for a while. One of the women said something like “case by case basis.” Susan immediately popped up. From the moment we spoke with them, we knew we had at least one plaintiff. The airport scene was very loud. Hundreds of protesters were chanting and holding signs, police officers were standing by, Elizabeth Warren arrived, and reporters and cameras were everywhere.

In the midst of it all, Susan and I were coordinating with the ACLU to prepare the paperwork for a lawsuit and to find an available judge.  At the same time, we were trying to protect our clients from the media. As we waited, some of our plaintiffs were released. A judge agreed to have a hearing at 9:30 PM in the Federal Courthouse. We raced from the airport to the court, and met Kerry Doyle, the ACLU attorneys, and several other lawyers there. While we waited for the judges to arrive, we went over the briefs and discussed our various arguments. We coordinated with Derege Demissie, Susan’s husband and law partner, who was filing the paperwork from home. He was on the phone with us until well after midnight. The judges did not make a decision until nearly two in the morning.

What I remember the most was the feeling of everyone coming together. In the airport, there were several attorneys assisting Susan and me every step of the way. In the courtroom, the clerks and court staff did everything they could to help us move the case forward in an efficient manner. There were more than six attorneys who joined us in the courtroom for the remainder of the night. When the restraining order was issued, we were thrilled with the result. It was more than we had asked for. It was a true team effort.”

Joshua Daniels – Goodwin
“I was protesting the executive order at the international terminal at Logan on Saturday night when I got a text from a very good law school friend. She said that she was at the Boston Bar Foundation Adams Benefit, and that Sue Finegan (whom I’ve worked with a lot over the last few months in connection with the Appeals Court’s civil clinic) was on her way to the airport to support other lawyers seeking an emergency TRO.  I emailed Sue and asked if she could use any help, since I was already there.  She met me there, we rushed over to federal court, and I spent the rest of the night researching case law and statutory provisions on my phone to help the AILA and ACLU lawyers who argued the TRO that evening, at around 11:50 p.m.  An unconventional way to spend Saturday night, but I can think of none better.”

Susan Finegan – Mintz Levin
“Throughout the day last Saturday, my Mintz partner Susan Cohen and I had been in touch with Susan Church, president of AILA, to monitor what was happening at the Logan Airport after the executive order issued.  Around 8 p.m., while at the Boston Bar Foundation’s Adams Benefit, I received an urgent call from Susan Church that Customs and Border Patrol had detained a few professors, and that the ACLU was preparing a habeas petition for an emergency filing that evening.  Susan asked me to come to the airport to assist, so I ran out the door (leaving my coat and valeted car) and jumped in a cab with my husband and a law student, Merry Sheehan, who were also at the Adams Benefit.

We had a difficult time getting to Terminal E, given the an ongoing protest and extensive police presence. When we arrived, we learned that there would be a hearing in federal court imminently.  In the meantime, I got an email from Josh Daniels from Goodwin, who happened to be at the airport (at the protest), so we picked him up and headed over in a cab to the federal court to help the lawyers there in any way we could.

It was certainly a unique Saturday night; the Court issued the order at 1:45 a.m.  It has been a whirlwind since, as Mintz Levin is now partnering with the ACLU, the Attorney General’s office and others on this important case, standing up for the rights of these particular individuals and for all individuals, regardless of their nationality, race or religion, whose right to due process has been denied by this overly broad and unlawful action.”

If you would like to respond to a future Voices of the Bar, make sure you send a headshot, and contact Lauren DiTullio at [email protected].

Voices of the Bar 1/26/17: What changes do you expect in your practice area under the new administration?

With a variety of policy issues currently in the news, we wanted to hear from our members about what they expect to change in their practice area under the Trump administration. We reached out specifically to real estate, health law, immigration law and trust and estates law attorneys.

For this week’s “Voices of the Bar” column, we’re reaching out to ask:

“What changes do you expect in your practice area under the new administration?

Tara Myslinski – O’Connor, Carnathan & Mack
“I don’t expect any changes to my business litigation practice due to the new administration. I will continue to work to keep our profession above the fray and to reject the pervasive use of falsehoods and derision of opponents that we are seeing in our politics. Outside of my practice, I expect a lot to change. I expect to spend a lot more of my free time working on behalf of the causes in which I believe, especially protecting the environment and human rights, and supporting elected officials who stand by these values.”

Colin Zick – Foley Hoag
“As a health care attorney, I have spent the better part of the last seven years working on matters related to the Affordable Care Act.  Now we are looking at the repeal, revision and/or replacement of significant portions of ACA by the Trump Administration  It’s difficult to imagine a bigger 180 degree turn in law and policy than we are looking at.”

Jeffrey Pike – Goulston & Storrs
“I’m optimistic that the development community will continue to build on the positive momentum of the past several years.  The Trump transition team has purportedly identified fifty or so projects that they have deemed priorities for our national infrastructure, including finalizing the Green Line extension from Cambridge to Somerville and Medford.  While it remains to be seen whether the federal funding will actually make it to the Hub, initiatives to increase public and private investment – whether through tax reform, direct funding or otherwise – should have wide implications across a multitude of sectors of our economy, with the real estate community being an obvious beneficiary.”


Quinn Hetrick – Mintz Levin
“Trump’s tax proposals call for the repeal of the estate and GST tax, which would bigly impact the trusts and estates practice. If these proposals are passed, estate planners would need to shift our focus to asset protection planning, income tax planning, and the potential return of the estate tax under alternate facts.”

If you would like to respond to a future Voices of the Bar, make sure you send a headshot, and contact Lauren DiTullio at [email protected].