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 gguarracino@bostonbar.org.

Happy Fourth of July!

All has been quiet on the Voices of the Bar front — but the silence is deceptive! We have plenty planned for the summer, including more chances to meet the BBA/BBF staff, more polls, and of course, more baby animals.

In the meantime, we hope all of our members enjoy the holiday weekend, and that your Fourth of July is as sweet as this pup….

patriotic pooch


…and as cool as this cat.*

patriotic kitty



After this weekend, stay tuned for more original content!


* Unfortunately, we’re pretty sure nothing can be as cool as this cat.

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 gguarracino@bostonbar.org.

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 gguarracino@bostonbar.org.

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 gguarracino@bostonbar.org.

Summertime and the Living Is Easy…Now Who’s Ready for Vacation?

(Have we mentioned yet that we’re really excited that warmer weather is finally here? Really, really excited?)

We hate to see the program year go (check out our upcoming tribute to the outgoing Section Co-Chairs), but we’re absolutely thrilled to welcome the advent of summer. Maybe we’ll regret that when it’s the dog days of July; but for now, we’re getting our summer on here at VoB.

On that note — we hope you are, too! And because this is Voices of the Bar, we’re curious to find out whether our members are eagerly anticipating summer for any particular reason. Like, say…a notable vacation?

So tell us: do you have a vacation already planned? Is it an outdoor backpacking adventure? A relaxing beachside weekend? Let us know in the poll below!


What are your summer vacation plans?

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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 gguarracino@bostonbar.org.

Where Should You Host Your Big Summer Bash?

Let’s face it: we can’t all host our summer bashes at 16 Beacon Street, the home of many upcoming end-of-year celebrations. But your soiree doesn’t have to be a bummer! We know it’s the time of year when people are planning get-togethers of all sorts for a range of reasons, and we’re to help you figure out the perfect location for your next party – whether it’s for 5 or 500

Voices of the Bar 5/28/15: What are you most looking forward to this summer?

80-degree+ weather, sunshine, barbecues — after a long winter and a beautiful but short spring, it looks like we’re jumping headlong into summer. The season heralds school vacation, exotic trips, and even small joys like beach trips and outdoor marketplaces; at the BBA, it means we’re gearing up for our Summer Career Series and a whole host of Year in Review CLEs. The BBA staff is definitely excited about the summer programs — and some other summer plans.

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

“What are you most looking forward to this summer?”

Jackie Querubin – CLE Coordinator
“Spending the 4th of July in Washington, D.C. I hear they really like America there.”


Kerry Crisley – Director of Communications
“That’s easy! I can’t wait for my annual weekend in Eastham with my Book Club girlfriends. The eight of us spend a wonderful two days on the Outer Cape. We hit the beach, talk, laugh, read, swim and enjoy a great dinner out. Sometimes a dance party will break out. When it does, we just go with it. It’s my favorite weekend of the summer. And yes, we do talk about the book!”


Christopher Whyte – Web & Technologies Project Coordinator
“I am excited to spend days cruising on the motorcycle around New England and enjoying walks with my Yorkie-poo Vader rather than trudging resentfully through the snow. Also, plan my wedding…maybe. ”


Jonathan Schreiber – Legislative & Public Policy Manager
“Ultimate frisbee, weekend morning coffee on the porch, and marrying my best friend in September!”


Ashley Young – Member Enrollment Coordinator
“After a couple of years working on my degree part time, even over the summer, I’m looking forward to not having research and school work to do. Instead, I’m looking forward to spending a long weekend in New York City next month, planning and celebrating birthdays for one of my nephews and my niece, taking a trip to the Berkshires later this summer, and hopefully visiting some friends on the west coast.”


Gabrielle Guarracino – Communications Assistant
“I’m beyond excited to embark on my first solo plane trip to Chicago at the end of June for my college friend’s wedding…you know it’s going to be a good one when the invitation asks you the join in the ‘post-wedding bacchanal.'”


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