Posts Categorized: Voices of the Bar

Voices of the Students 8/13/2015: What has been the most memorable part of the BBA Summer Jobs Program?

This summer, a record breaking 65 Boston Public School students participated in the BBA’s Summer Jobs Program. Not only did they gain valuable on-the-job professional experience, the students also participated in a series of enrichment seminars, attended a Mock City Council hearing, and visited Bankruptcy Court.

As the program comes to a close, we reached out to the student to find out,

“What has been the most memorable part of the BBA Summer Jobs Program?”


Kamay Gordon – Interned at Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office
Rising freshman at Emory University
“The most memorable part of the BBA Summer Jobs Program was the seminar where BBA interns, like myself, got to meet different professionals in the law field. It was very eye-opening to not only see the different careers in law but also, to learn about the various types of law that one could practice. Overall, this seminar was very enlightening and showed me that within the law field, there isn’t one set path or career that I can pursue. The opportunities are endless. ”

Huang_JoyceJoyce Huang – Intern at Brown Rudnick LLP
Rising first year at Mount Holyoke College
“The most memorable part was having other interns in the same firm that I was in and being able to have the connection as peers. Occasionally, there would be projects where I was able to work with my peers and seek advice on approaching certain subjects or tasks to my supervisor and they helped a lot. I had a great experience at Brown Rudnick.”

Smith_TyTy Smith – Intern at Nutter Mclennen & Fish LLP
John D. O’Bryant School of Math & Science
“The most memorable aspect of BBA Summer Jobs Program has to be the opportunity of getting to watch how people older than you manage themselves. Being able to speak to the many people in a firm and interact with them is what I found valuable and was critical to my growth. Not many people are exposed to this, so I definitely appreciated this experience.”


Tateyauna Wilson – Intern at Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Urban Science Academy
“There are so many ways I can answer this question. Mainly, the most memorable part has been growing as a person. When you surround yourself with positive people, it reflects on you. This program has been awesome for me to be a part of because I learned so much and found so many ways to reach success.”


Nensi Gjata – Intern at Goodwin Procter LLP
Boston Latin School
“The most memorable part of the BBA Summer Jobs Program so far would be drafting various Motions and knowing that such documents would be an integral part of an actual case. I mean, either that or the view from when I snuck onto the 28th floor of the Exchange Building.”


Venus Pimentel – Intern at Prince Lobel Tye
Snowden International High School
“The most memorable part of the BBA Summer Program would be the actual opportunity to work in the office. You get to learn something new every day along such talented and understanding individuals. The office is so welcoming and kind, I wouldn’t have wished for anything else.”


Lasaunna Powell – Intern at Committee for Public Counsel Services – Roxbury Youth Advocacy Division
Rising Freshman at UMass Boston
“The most memorable part of the BBA Summer Jobs program was experiencing what happens in the court room. I’ve always wanted to experience the process of what really happens in the court room and how judges decide who is innocent and guilty. I was granted the opportunity to sit in on trials multiple times, and I think observing the process was memorable for me.”


Lenita Lee – Intern at City of Boston Legal Department
East Boston High School
“The most memorable part of BBA would be the law office I worked in. This summer internship really helped me explore my interest and dislikes because of that I’m able to figure what career I want to gear towards later in life.”


Danielle Miles-Langaigne – Intern at Sullivan & Worcester LLP
Boston Latin Academy
“The most memorable aspect of the BBA Summer Jobs internship so far has been the ability to network with various people. Although all tied to the legal profession in some manner, every being I have encountered through the program has brought a different yet informative insight on their life experiences and careers. The persons I have met through the program have been all so diverse, and have given me some token of knowledge that I plan on using for my future endeavors.”


Meggie Noel – Intern at Lynch, Brewer, Hoffman, & Fink LLP
Boston Latin School
“The most memorable part of the BBA Summer Jobs so far has been … daily observations of what really goes on behind the scenes in a law firm. The attorneys, paralegals, legal assistants and office staff all put in countless hours of work and dedication to do what they are passionate about and help others prepare for their future. It’s simply inspiring, and I am blessed with the opportunity to be a helping hand.”

Voices of the Bar 7/30/2015 – If you could go on any dream vacation to any destination, where would you go?

This week’s Reception for International Lawyers got us thinking about exciting locales and far-off destinations. It’s the time of year when, if you haven’t gone on vacation already, you may have one planned – whether it will end up happening, or it’s all in your head!

With this in mind, BBA Week reached out and asked:

“If you could go on any dream vacation to any destination, where would you go?”

Alexis B. Kaplan – Law Offices of Alexis B. Kaplan, LLC
“I would travel to Italy, where my husband and I went on our honeymoon.  Venice in particular was beautiful and I would love to explore the city.  This time around I would share in my daughter’s excitement with riding the boats along the Venetian canals.”


Cassie Ramos  – Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.
“I would love to visit Turkey. I’ve been interested in the intersection between the Christian and Muslim cultures in that country since I took a class on Turkey while studying abroad in Strasbourg, France. I’d especially like to visit the different religious sites and see the history of the country through art.”


Phelps T. Turner – Sugarman, Rogers, Barshak & Cohen, P.C.
“Without a doubt, I would go to Nepal. The country is currently recovering from the tragic earthquake of April 2015 and its aftershocks, but one day I would love to explore the Himalaya.”


Kathryn Rattigan – Robinson & Cole LLP
“If I could go on any dream vacation, I would love to visit the Greek islands –from the beautiful beaches, ancient ruins, exotic harbors and volcanoes, I’m sure there would be so much to see! ”


Lindsay Manning Burke – Kenney & Sams, P.C.
“I would visit the Portuguese Madeira Islands, where my grandfather’s family is from. I would go for the hiking, old churches, beautiful lace, a glass of Madeira wine at the end of the day, and maybe dinner with some long-lost cousins. Preferably right in the middle of a Boston winter!”

Matthew Yospin – The Law Office of Matthew M. Yospin
“It’s hard to choose, because there are so many great places to explore: Cape Cod, Maine, Paris (France, though Paris, Maine is nice too), Greece, Acadia, Yellowstone, Utah and Wyoming for dinosaur fossils, Puerto Rico, and plenty more. For a dream vacation, though, I’d go back to Hawai’i. Great weather, amazing and varied beaches, terrific mountains and hiking, great food, horse country, a huge mix of terrain and different islands to explore, active volcanoes, fantastic snorkeling and SCUBA diving… I could go on, but I’d rather go to Hawai’i.”

If you would like to respond to a future Voices of the Bar, make sure you send a
 headshot, and contact Galen Byrne at

Voices of the Bar 7/23/15: What is your advice to those taking the bar exam next week?

Cue the ominous music: next week is the bar exam. We’re sure that many recent graduates are busy cramming – and worrying – about this test. Do you have anything to say that might help ease their nerves?

With this in mind, BBA Week reached out and asked:

“How did you prepare for the bar exam? What words of advice and encouragement do you have for those who are preparing to take it next week?”


Chief Justice Angela M. Ordoñez – Probate & Family Court
“I passed on my second try and my focus was to not allow my lack in confidence of not passing the first time to get in my way of preparation and studying. I made a sign for myself that said “Never Again” and kept that in front of me so that I would stay focused. You have worked hard to be ready now go in there and showcase your preparation.”


Christina E. Miller – Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office
“You are about to complete a marathon. Trust your training – everything you did to prepare is all you need to finish the race. On a practical note, make a rule with friends that you will not talk about the test while you are taking the test. It will only create unnecessary anxiety. Remember what you did to keep yourself calm during a law school exam? Do that. You’ll do great!”


Robert Ward – Law Office of Kenneth V. Kurnos
“I strongly urge test takers to go and see a light/funny movie Sunday evening. Something like “Trainwreck” or the Minions flick are perfect. Decompress, relax and clear the mind for a few hours.   Watching something at home is just not the same. Get out of your studying space.”


Bert S. Ng – Health Policy Commission
“I did bar preparation as a 9 to 5 full time job, 5 days a week. I took weekends off by taking trips to Fenway when the Sox were in town. To de-stress each night before the exam, I had a nice dinner and a glass of wine.”


Melissa Conner – Conner Law Offices
“This is not a time for self-doubt. Forge ahead. You’re nearing the end, and most of what you’re doing now is about making yourself feel better, which is very important at this time. Practice thinking without relying on the carafe of coffee beside you, sharpen an unreasonable quantity of no. 2 pencils, download “Eye of the Tiger,” and schedule a break with the worst attorney you know. That person passed the bar, and so will you.”


Grace L. McGuire – Sugarman, Rogers, Barshak & Cohen, P.C.
“Triage is key at this point in your preparation. Focus on the areas where you know you are weak. Come up with a list of the top five most tested subareas for each type of essay and focus on knowing that law cold, and let the rest go. Focusing on the main subjects that are tested on both the essays and the multistate is also a good way to double your study productivity.”


Adam C. LaFrance – Lawson & Weitzen, LLP
“Like training for a race: start early, be diligent and consistent, pace yourself, and rest. By the last week, I appreciated that cramming in the final days would be less helpful than resting. In the end, do what works for you—you’ve made it this far and you know your study habits by now, so work to your strengths; don’t stress about deficiencies. On Exam day, stay quiet and focused. (And, while you may think you’re not anxious, it’s probably best to avoid shaving the morning of the Exam….) Afterwards, have something fun planned and don’t look back!”


Debra N. Lally – Law Office of Barry V. Grunin
“To prepare for the bar exam, I enrolled in a Barbri course. After following the syllabus and completing the coursework, I created several condensed outlines to determine the areas in which I felt confident and those on which I needed to focus my time. In the last few days before the bar exam, I found it was more important to focus on self-care and combating anxiety rather than trying to cram in additional memorization. My strongest piece of advice for the day of the exam is to make sure you keep an eye on the clock, especially during the essays. It’s easy to get engrossed in one essay and end up with insufficient time to finish the others. Don’t be fooled by your seemingly super-confident peers on the day of the exam; everyone who’s taking the bar is just as nervous as you. Try your best to remain confident that your preparation will lead to success.”


Kevin M. Yurkerwich – WilmerHale
“After I graduated from law school, I took a prep class for the California bar exam, which I took in the summer of 2013. During the fall, I prepared for the Massachusetts exam by answering Massachusetts essay questions under simulated conditions. There is no substitute to writing out full length answers to essay questions under simulated exam conditions. One interesting aside: during the essay portion of the actual bar exam my laptop was stuck in a Windows update spiral for about a half an hour. Once my laptop went down, I did not immediately start hand writing my answers. Instead, I used that time to outline a response to each question. The outlines provided a useful framework to answer each question once my laptop was back online. In the end, it all worked out. I’d recommend trying to stay even-keeled over the course of the exam.”


Briana Cummings – Branch Legal
“The best preparation is doing practice questions, especially essay questions. I put all my study materials away a day before the exam, and from that point until the end of the bar exam I focused on not thinking about anything law-related for any minute I was not actually taking the exam. That made me much calmer!”


Phil Picillo – WebsterBank
“I prepared by taking two practice exams using all of the same materials I was taking to the exam, wrist watch, pens (erasable). Reminded myself that I prepared for this day for the past 3 plus years. Took a deep breath. It can be done and many do succeed, you will be one of them.”


Kevin Larivee – MA House of Representatives
“I reviewed topics I knew I was weak in the nights before the exam, but nothing too strenuous. It paid off. I also gave myself plenty of time to get to the exam site so I wouldn’t be unnecessarily stressed. That strategy was a partial success—someone fainted in the red line car I was riding in the first morning of the exam, stopping the train, and I ended up sprinting to find a cab. I got to the test site on time, but it wasn’t exactly a stress-free morning. It sounds hokey, but the most important thing you can do at this point is trust yourself: you’re prepared, you’re capable, and it’s an exam of minimum of competency. Are you minimally competent? Sure you are.”


If you would like to respond to a future Voices of the Bar, make sure you send a headshot, and contact Gabrielle Guarracino at

Voices of the Staff 7/16/15: What is your favorite outdoor event or activity to do in Boston during the summer?

Summer break is definitely upon us! You have to love the irony: we reached out to a random list of members to find out about their favorite outdoor activities and events in Boston, and it seems like pretty much everyone is out of the city on vacation! Special shout-out to Grace McGuire of Sugarman, Rogers, Barshak & Cohen, who let us know, “There are a lot of great places to rent kayaks for a spin out on the Charles River. Try Paddle Boston in Waltham on Moody Street.”

Fortunately, the BBA staff has a ton of great ideas for summer fun up their sleeves. Summer associates who are in Boston just for the summer, take note — there is plenty of time to enjoy all of the below. And if you’re feeling like getting a little more legal education, you can always attend the BBA’s Summer Career Series. Coming up next week: what’s it really like to practice family law?

To find out the best of the best in Boston’s summer offerings, BBA Week reached out and asked the BBA staff:

“What is your favorite outdoor event or activity to do in Boston during the summer?”


Maggie DeMoura – Membership Outreach Coordinator
“Nothing beats the magic of watching a Sox game in Boston’s cathedral, Fenway Park.”


Christian LaVancher – Database & IS Administrator
“Get thee some cultcha by taking in Shakespeare on the Common. This year is King Lear – July 22nd to August 9th.”


Jonathan Schreiber – Legislative & Public Policy Manager
“I love SOWA market on Sundays in the South End. If you’re feeling up to braving the crowds, the food trucks and farmers market have delicious fare and the vintage market and arts and crafts dealers are creative and fun to explore. It’s a great event for strolling, people/dog watching, and getting some treats on a beautiful summer Sunday afternoon!”


Jing Li – Executive Intern
“My favorite (outdoor) activity to do in Boston is getting tea at the Boston Public Library. There’s nothing better than sipping tea and eating tiny pastries while reading a good book or chit chatting amongst friends. The Courtyard there is beautiful—especially in the summertime!”


Gabrielle Guarracino – Communications Assistant
“Have you been to the Lawn on D Street yet? From a giant, multicolored translucent maze to an installation of two-story inflatable glowing rabbits, their public art displays have been incredible (not to mention the food trucks). There’s also the Outside the Box Art Festival on the Boston Common coming up, as well as the Figment art exhibition on the Rose Kennedy Greenway next weekend. There’s funky outdoor art pretty much everywhere you look in Boston over the summer.”


Kathleen McCarran – Accountant GL
“The polo matches at Myopia in Hamilton are a fun way to enjoy a few hours outdoors on a Sunday afternoon. Bring a picnic for a field-side tailgate party and marvel as the ponies display their athletic prowess.”


Jamila Odeh – Assistant to the Executive Director
“My favorite outdoor activity is running, and Boston is full of great places for it. The top of my list of places to run is Jamaica Plain: Jamaica Pond, Arnold Arboretum, and Franklin Park (all connected by the Emerald Necklace). Of course, the classic choice of the Charles River Esplanade is always great too.”


Beverlie Sopiep — Web & Technologies Project Coordinator
“Now I work on a different side of the Common, my new favorite thing to do is wandering through Beacon Hill — especially through those hilly streets. It is a great workout for my calves, and I get to do some imaginary house hunting. ”


If you would like to respond to a future Voices of the Bar, make sure you send a headshot, and contact Gabrielle Guarracino at

Voices of the Bar 7/9/15: What are you reading?

Summer often gives us the opportunity to breathe a little easier and catch up on pursuits that may fall by the wayside during the rest of the year – like reading. Whether it’s a casual “beach read” novel or an intense work of nonfiction, there’s something out there for everyone to work their way through over the summer.

With this in mind, BBA Week reached out and asked:

“What are you reading — or looking forward to reading — this summer?”


Alicia Downey – Downey Law LLC
“I’m reading The Hell Screen, the second in a mystery series by I.J. Parker, featuring Sugawara Akitada, a well-educated, emotionally-conflicted aristocrat and government functionary in 11th century Kyoto, Japan. My ambitious goal for this summer is to read all fourteen books in the series, in order of publication.”


Cory Lamz – Northeastern University School of Law
“I’m currently reading “The Velvet Rage” by Alan Downs. It’s an insightful read about the psychology of gay culture and coming out in a straight man’s world… It’s also very timely. Given the recent Obergerfell decision, it’s been an interesting exercise, from a cultural perspective, to think through how the ruling could impact a lot of the issues discussed in this book for future generations of people – LGBT or straight.”


John J. Carroll – Meehan, Boyle, Black & Bogdanow, P.C.
“A great read for lawyers is “Inventing Freedom”, by Daniel Hannan. It’s about the role The Magna Carta and English common law played in the development of our American Constitution and common law. I just finished it.”



If you would like to respond to a future Voices of the Bar, make sure you send a headshot, and contact Gabrielle Guarracino at

Voices of the Bar 7/2/15: What was your favorite summer job growing up?

This week, the BBA kicked off its Summer Jobs program and sent 65 Boston public high school students out to their summer internships at area law firms, government organizations, and local nonprofits and businesses. It’s a great opportunity for them to experience the legal profession and gain valuable office skills.

With this in mind, BBA Week reached out and asked:

“What was your favorite summer job growing up?”


Brendan T. St. Amant – Donnelly, Conroy & Gelhaar LLP
“During high school, I was a sleepaway camp counselor for four summers in Connecticut. Sailing, swimming, s’mores, and spending money. That was the best.”


Joanna Allison – Volunteer Lawyers Project of the Boston Bar Association
“The summer before I began high school, I was employed by the high school as a “janitorial assistant.” I learned a great deal from the real janitor including how to do hard work with a grateful heart, how to ride on the floor buffer and how to be able to see in a pitch black gymnasium. Most exciting was my opportunity to go into the teachers’ lounge unhindered, a place entered by students only at risk of school suspension. Granted I found none of the objects of torture that students believed were hidden there, but I did learn they had soda and candy vending machines.”


Shane Early – City of Boston Office of the Corporation Counsel
“My favorite summer job was caddying at Tatnuck Country Club in Worcester. I was outside. I worked with a lot of fun people, and I was well paid. It was a great way to spend the summer.”


Stephanie Singer – WilmerHale 
“After my senior year in high school, I worked at Borders bookstore, in the children’s department. I loved recommending books to customers – it was a chance to rediscover and share my enthusiasm for all of my favorite books from when I was a child. Plus they let employees borrow books for personal use, which was a great perk (especially since my town did not have a public library). It was a sad day when Borders shut down.”


Eric A. Haskell – Middlesex District Attorney’s Office
“The summer after I graduated from high school, I worked for the municipal finance department of the city where I grew up. Municipal finance wasn’t for everyone – I’d call it an acquired taste! But I had a terrific boss who gave me a lot of responsibility, and the value of public service stuck with me. And what I learned at that job continues to be helpful to this day, now that I serve as a volunteer member of my town’s advisory (i.e., finance) committee.”


If you would like to respond to a future Voices of the Bar, make sure you send a headshot, and contact Gabrielle Guarracino at

Voices of the Bar 6/25/15: Who would you like to see on the new $10?

You might have heard the news recently: so long, Hamilton, and hello to a different face on the $10 bill! Later this year, the U.S. Treasury will reveal which visage of a famous woman from history will grace the $10 bill. The question is, who is it going to be?

With this in mind, BBA Week reached out and asked:

“Who would you like to see on the new $10?”

Bronwyn L. Roberts – Duane Morris LLP
“I am thankful that this question is posed as it is and does not have the US Treasury’s requirement that the woman be deceased. Our role models should be modern with fresh ideas and simply put, need not be in the ground. (I take no issue with the other requirement that the woman must embody the theme of the bill’s new look: “Democracy.”) For me, I would like to see former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright appear on the new $10. As an immigrant to the United States who went on to become the highest-ranking woman in the history of the United States government at the time of her appointment, she embodies the American Dream. Through her work as Secretary of State, and thereafter, she vigorously advocated for democracy and human rights. If the US Treasury were to deem Secretary of State Albright ineligible or unworthy for this honor, it would be my plan to vote (and stuff the ballot box) for my personal hero, Tina Fey.”


Manisha H. Bhatt – Greater Boston Legal Services
“Our nation’s history is replete with women who took courageous action in the presence of significant adversity and to their personal detriment in order to advance the greater good. The intention behind their sacrifice was to evolve us in to a nation centered on justice, compassion and equality for all. The recent events in Charleston, Baltimore and Ferguson to name a few; indicate the paramount need to effectively address and have ongoing dialogue regarding the persistent issues of racism in the United States post the civil rights era. Therefore, I would like to see Rosa Parks’ picture on the new $10 bill with the hope that keeping all that she stood for and all she still represents at the center of our nation’s conscience, we can achieve what we ardently need.”


Phelps T. Turner – Sugarman, Rogers, Barshak & Cohen LLP
“I have to go with conservationist Rachel Carson, who wrote Silent Spring and helped advance the modern environmental movement.”


Deborah J. Manus – Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP
“There are so many worthy contenders, but my top choice for the ten dollar bill would be Eleanor Roosevelt. She was a formidable political figure in her own right, not merely the wife of a president. She traveled the country in a way her husband could not at a time when our nation was in the grip of the Great Depression and she focused FDR’s attention on the areas of greatest need. Her commitment to civil rights was extraordinary: she had the courage to take stands that were anything but mainstream at the time. Her work at the United Nations was also remarkable.”


Christina E. Miller – Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office
“I would like to see Marian Wright Edelman on the $10 bill. Mrs. Edelman was born in the south in 1939 and rose to attend Spelman College before graduating Yale Law. She became the first African-American woman to pass the bar exam in Mississippi. An activist at heart, she served as a lawyer for the NAACP through tumultuous times and fought hard for equality. Her fight led her to found and lead the Children Defense Fund, where she advocated for the rights of all children. Most significantly, she knew that money was needed to fund education and, particularly, early education as the foundation of success that would build upon the lessons learned. She took her sense of social justice to heart, living and teaching what she believed. As she stated, ‘A lot of people are waiting for Martin Luther King or Mahatma Gandhi to come back – but they are gone. We are it. It is up to us. It is up to you.'”


Jonathan P. Michaud – Cetrulo LLP
“Janis Joplin. Who doesn’t like Janis?”


If you would like to respond to a future Voices of the Bar, make sure you send a headshot, and contact Gabrielle Guarracino at

Voices of the Bar 6/18/15: Legal Services Edition

The Boston Bar Foundation recently announced its list of 23 grantees that altogether will receive a total of $950,000 in grants. Through funding provided by organizations like the BBF, legal services providers are able to make huge changes in the lives of individuals and support the greater Boston community.

With this in mind, BBA Week reached out to a few BBF grantees and asked:

“What is one of your great success stories?”


Veterans Legal Services
“Our client had joined the Army when she turned 18 and served on active duty from 2000 to 2008. While serving, she had a relationship with another service-member and they had a child together after she left the Army. When Melissa came to VLS, she was a working single parent who was going to school part-time and living in a shelter because she was unable to make ends. The Department of Revenue was unable to assist her because the child’s father was also in the military – although he was not fulfilling his child support obligations. With the help of VLS, Melissa was able to locate her child’s father and immediately secure child support with assistance from the Army. VLS also assisted Melissa in obtaining a court order for support and health insurance for her son. Because VLS, with the help of the Boston Bar Foundation, stood up for Melissa, she and her son received the financial assistance they desperately needed and are now stably housed, with her son thriving in school. ”


Finex House
“We had cases that involved three women from different countries who had all been married to U.S. citizen men and had been subjected to physical, financial, and psychological cruelty. They each came into shelter with their children, not knowing that they had any rights of their own at all. The Legal Advocacy Program helped them self-petition under the Violence Against Women Act, and they undertook the long, slow process of obtaining approval and then adjusting their status. Recently, they all obtained green cards, becoming Legal Permanent Residents. They are all working, paying taxes, and planning to travel to their countries of origin to see family members for the first time in years. Most importantly, they are safe from abuse and know they have rights.”


Children’s Law Center of Massachusetts (The EdLaw Project)
“Jimmy was an 11 year-old Latino boy in sixth grade with a diagnosis of bi-polar disorder and a history of multiple hospitalizations. Although Jimmy was receiving special education services for his disability, the school often punished him for his uncontrollable behaviors. The culminating event was an arrest for “Disturbing School Assembly” when he had a psychiatric event during school. His delinquency attorney referred Jimmy to the EdLaw Project. One of our staff attorneys advocated for enhanced services at the school level to more appropriately address Jimmy’s needs. Jimmy was able to receive an out-of-district placement in a private therapeutic day school where he is thriving. As a result of the change in his education situation, all charges against him in juvenile court were dismissed.”


Volunteer Lawyers Project
“After approaching a confused-looking gentleman near the Lawyer for the Day table in Housing Court, VLP determined that he was facing a Motion to Issue Execution for failure to pay approximately $300 in back rent. The client had developmental delays and had been unable to grasp the seriousness of the eviction action. He had failed to attend court and was now facing removal from his subsidized housing within the next week. A VLP volunteer attorney made a limited assistance representation appearance in the matter; as a result, the Motion to Issue was continued indefinitely in order for the volunteer attorney to develop and implement a plan for the client’s continued occupancy. The attorney sought and was granted a referral to an organization that works on homelessness prevention. With the help of this organization, the attorney had a representative payee assigned to the client so rent would be paid on time in the future. As a result of the work of the volunteer attorney through the Lawyer for the Day Project, as well as with the assistance of partner organizations, the client is no longer facing eviction, has a representative payee, and has a service provider through an organization that works with persons with developmental disabilities.”


City Life/Vida Urbana
“After falling prey to a series of predatory refinance loans and working less due to the recession, our client “Enzo” fell behind on his mortgage and the bank foreclosed on his childhood home. Enzo started working both with a casework organizer and a lawyer in early 2011, pursuing multiple legal paths. After “Primed Properties” bought his home and hit him with an exorbitant rent increase, Enzo and his attorney launched negotiations for an affordable lease. Two months after the deposition, Enzo, his attorney, and a contingent of supporters arrived at Boston Housing Court prepared for a jury trial. Instead, their show of strength, both in the courtroom and in the community, had led to an offer: A two-year affordable lease, repairs to the property, and cash to cover Enzo’s counterclaims for damages. This case has become a model for negotiations in other “Primed Properties” cases. ”


If you would like to respond to a future Voices of the Bar, make sure you send a headshot, and contact Gabrielle Guarracino at

Voices of the Bar 6/11/15: What’s the best part about leading a BBA section?

As the program year starts to wrap up, we wanted to take a moment to thank our outgoing Section co-chairs: we sincerely appreciate all of their hard work and dedication over the last two years. After all that they have given to us, we wanted to see what a few had to say about the experience.

With this in mind, BBA Week reached out and asked:

“What’s the best part about leading a BBA section?”


Lili Palacios-Baldwin – Tufts University; Outgoing College & Universities Section Co-Chair
“The best part of leading a BBA section is the BBA! The support the organization provides to section leadership and membership helps to encourage, plan and promote timely brown bag and CLE discussions. Just as important are the numerous opportunities for networking and collaboration with colleagues within and outside the section. Thank you BBA!”


Michael C. Fee – Pierce & Mandell, P.C.; Outgoing Real Estate Section Co-Chair
“Real Estate Steering Committee meetings were a blast. It was inspiring to be surrounded by so many accomplished and dynamic colleagues. I also loved interacting with the many law students and young lawyers who participated in the Section’s activities. Mentoring is something every young lawyer needs, and every experienced lawyer should do. The BBA provides plenty of opportunities for both.”


David Abelman – DentaQuest; Outgoing Health Law Section Co-Chair
“The best part of leading a BBA Section is the opportunity to work with and learn from so many talented, caring and engaged lawyers. Our committee members care so very much about our community and maintaining high standards in the practice of health care law. The Section members know that the ultimate beneficiaries of our work are all of the Commonwealth’s citizens, because we are all patients. It’s just been wonderful to share the experience.”


Alida Bográn-Acosta – Sugarman, Rogers, Barshak & Cohen, P,C.; Outgoing Labor & Employment Section Co-Chair
“Being a BBA section co-chair gave me the chance to meet and work with an incredibly talented group of lawyers, many of whom I may not have otherwise met. These lawyers had brilliant ideas for programs, including a partnership with Lawyers Clearinghouse to provide employment law counseling assistance to local non-profits. They worked very hard at developing great CLEs, like “The Supremes,” an annual review of Supreme Court and SJC cases, and created amazing social opportunities, such as a “Speed Networking” event. It was a wonderful experience and a huge privilege to have had this chance.”


If you would like to respond to a future Voices of the Bar, make sure you send a headshot, and contact Gabrielle Guarracino at

Voices of the Bar 6/4/15: What are you hoping to learn during your summer as a judicial intern?

This week, the Summer Judicial Internship Program celebrated its fifth anniversary. The new class of 24 interns has a lot to look forward to this summer: an inside look at the courts, educational and networking programs held by the BBA, and much more.

With this in mind, BBA Week reached out and asked:

“What are you most excited about for your summer as a judicial intern; what are you hoping to learn or experience?”

Alberto E. Chavez – Boston University School of Law; Intern at U.S. Bankruptcy Court
“I am most excited about meeting and getting to know all of the judges. I have already met some of the Massachusetts Bankruptcy Court judges and hope to meet more 1st Circuit judges. I’d love to be a judge in the future and would like to learn more about what it takes to become a judge in the 1st Circuit. I hope to improve my analytical, writing, and oral advocacy skills by writing bench memoranda and attending several oral arguments.”


Gary P. Spencer – Boston University School of Law; Intern at U.S. Bankruptcy Court
“This summer I am most excited at the opportunity to collaborate on projects with members of the bankruptcy bench and current bankruptcy practitioners. I hope this will give me a better understanding of the intricacies of bankruptcy law and the subject’s relation to other legal practice areas.”


Amiee N. Parco – New England Law | Boston; Intern at Boston Municipal Court
“I have only been working with my Judge for a day and a half and I have already learned so much. I have been asked to find pinpoint cites and to summarize testimony from a hearing I observed. I also sat in on a session of Mental Health Court, a program of the Boston Municipal Courts providing men and women who suffer from mental illness access to treatment programs as alternatives to traditional sentencing. I can’t wait to learn even more from watching the attorneys present their cases and hearing what the Judge thinks. I’m certain I will get lots of practice with legal reading and researching!”


Clayton W. Brite – Boston College Law School; Intern at U.S. Bankruptcy Court
“I’m excited to observe and participate in my Judge’s meetings, a process few get to experience. In the past, I’ve had the opportunity to observe court from the gallery. However, to see how a Judge thinks through issues and comes to his conclusions will be fascinating.”


Angela I. Fornis – Suffolk University Law School; Intern at Boston Municipal Court
“On my very first day as a Judicial Intern I was able to witness a jury trial, a civil case, and several criminal cases all before lunchtime.

Having the opportunity to sit in these varied cases gave me the opportunity to hone in on each attorney’s particular methods during cross-examinations and closing arguments; and to take notes of the attorney’s triumphs and mistakes in the courtroom. Equally as rewarding was the ability put myself in the shoes of the judge during these proceedings, and to discuss my opinion of the verdicts and holding with the judge at the end of the day.

My first day was a gratifying whirlwind and I found myself asking questions and feeling eager to learn more. I look forward to more rewarding experiences as a Judicial Intern this summer! ”


Alexander C. Conley – New England Law | Boston; Intern at Boston Municipal Court
“I am most excited this summer about getting an inside look at the judicial process that is usually not available to students having only only completed one year of law school such as myself. I am hoping to learn both about the judicial process itself as well as developing a better understanding the Boston court system. Additionally, I am greatly looking forward to seeing many of the legal theories which I have learned in class translated into actual practice.”


Elizabeth Georgiopoulos – Boston College Law School; Intern at Framingham District Court
“I am excited to gain exposure to a variety of legal actions and observe advocacy through the eyes of a judge. I also look forward to applying the legal research and writing skills I have begun to acquire in law school.”


Stephanie Molina – Boston College Law School; Intern at Boston Superior Court
“I am most excited to observe the legal principles I’ve learned so far come to life in the courtroom. I am also looking forward to gaining insight into how my judge decides an issue and hopefully provide her with meaningful work that will assist her in the process.”


Courtney Fears – Suffolk University Law School; Intern at U.S. Bankruptcy Court
“I am most excited to learn as much as possible from Judge Bailey this summer. I am also looking forward to meeting Bankruptcy lawyers and learning about their experiences practicing in Boston.”


Sylvester Paschal – New England Law | Boston; Intern at Boston Municipal Court
“First and foremost, I am so happy to have this opportunity to work in the courts this summer. I am most excited to get to know the judges off the bench. After all, we tend to forget that they were once lawyers, and before that law students like us! I look forward to getting to know how they got to where they are now as it will help me to understand their decision-making.”

If you would like to respond to a future Voices of the Bar, make sure you send a headshot, and contact Gabrielle Guarracino at