Voices of the Bar 5/21/15: Who is the best commencement speaker you’ve ever seen?

It’s commencement season, and the BBA wants to offer a hearty congratulations to the graduating classes of our five sponsor law firms, as well as to all of the other graduates in the Boston area. We’re also looking forward to hearing about the inspiring words of advice that they’ll be hearing from this year’s commencement speakers, who include Chief Justice of the SJC Ralph Gants, Senator Edward Markey, and David Simas.

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

“Who is the best commencement speaker you’ve ever seen??”

Harvey Weiner – Peabody & Arnold LLP
“I will never forget the 2008 Harvard Commencement address of J. K. Rowling.  She spoke of the fringe benefits of failure and the importance of imagination.  Her address was original and devoid of platitudes, just what you might expect from the creator of Harry Potter.”


Paul C. Bauer – Bowditch & Dewey, LLP
“My sister’s school gave an honorary degree to Stevie Wonder and he rocked out with his band for about 20 minutes.  So that by far was the best “Commencement Speaker” I have seen.”


Michael Sommerville – Cetrulo LLP
“William E. Bailey Esq. (deceased  brother of F. Lee Bailey and also a great speaker) is far and away the best speaker I have ever seen.  Intellectually brilliant, warm, personable and funny. Saw him speak many times, always to a standing ovation.”



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.

Celebrating Milestones: Professional Edition

As a storied and historic institution with hundreds of regular programs and events on offer, the BBA celebrates several milestones every year — every month, even. With commencement season upon us (another major milestone for many of our law student members), we’re feeling a little nostalgic and reflective as we consider recent and upcoming program anniversaries and other big news.

And with commencement on the mind, we started to think about what would surely be a major milestone for our members: work anniversaries, or how long you’ve been in practice. We’re lucky to have members across all practice areas, and in sectors ranging from private practice to the government to legal services; some are just embarking on their journeys, while others have been part of the profession for years.

We want to celebrate our members and all that they do for the law in Boston. Which means…

It’s poll time!

How long have you been an attorney?

How long have you been an attorney?

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Voices of the Bar 5/14/15: What is your favorite dynamic duo or pairing?

Passport to Pairings is coming up fast — only a little over a month separates us from the BBF’s newest signature summer event, which features not only great food and beverage pairings, but also pairs each station to a public service project of the BBA. To start getting excited about the event, we reprised a traditional question and asked the Passport to Pairings Steering Committee about their favorite pairings. Who knows — maybe we’ll see some of them served at the event on June 25th!

“What is your favorite dynamic duo or pairing?”

John A. McBrine – Nutter McClennen & Fish
“R2-D2 and C-3PO. I can’t wait to see what they’ve been up to in December.”


Kimberly B. Rainen – Tamkin & Hochberg, LLP
“What is better together than milk and cookies? My favorite pairing or dynamic duo is that childhood favorite comfort food of a warm chocolate chip cookie, fresh out of the oven, and an ice cold glass of milk for dunking!”


Christopher J. Somma – Goodwin Procter LLP
“Me and my husband. He’s sweet, kind, caring, and compassionate — and more importantly, lets me be the star!”


Marissa Urban – Holland & Knight
“Call me old fashioned – or perhaps it’s the Colorado girl in me – but I just don’t think you can ever beat some chips and Hatch Green Chili salsa with a nice microbrew. It’s the perfect combination of refreshing and spicy!”

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.

Which Classic Food Pairing Are You?

Ever wonder whether you’re more a bacon & eggs or cookies & milk type of person? Take our quiz to find out which classic food pairing you are — and don’t forget to mark your calendars for the BBF’s Passport to Pairings, coming up on June 25th at the BBA, so that you can find out which of these pairings might be making an appearance there.

Voices of the Bar 5/7/15: Whom do you wish you could meet from the past or present – and why?

Spring at the BBA means a slew of programs featuring hot topics and influential speakers, including programs like Cutting Edge Issues in Criminal Law and Meet the Banking GCs. We’re excited to hear from these great minds of the present as they comment on pressing and relevant issues to the profession.

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

“Whom do you wish you could meet from the past or present, either within the legal community or outside of it – and why?”


Ruth O’Meara-Costello — Zalkind Duncan & Bernstein LLP
“I would love to talk with my favorite childhood author, Louisa May Alcott. In addition to writing heartfelt and insightful children’s novels about families, she was a suffragist and early feminist, and an abolitionist who worked as a nurse in a Union hospital during the Civil War. In view of my practice as an employment lawyer representing plaintiffs in gender discrimination cases (not to mention my own efforts to juggle work and kids) I think it would be fascinating to hear her thoughts on women’s roles in the workplace today.”


Anthony E. Fuller — Collora LLP
“Without question, Oliver Wendell Holmes. I recently re-read his famous Memorial Day speech from 1884 (“In Our Youth Our Hearts Were Touched With Fire…”) and was struck by how timeless that speech is. I would like to ask him to describe how his military service in combat influenced his life as a lawyer and judge. I also suspect he would have been a good guy to have a beer with.”


Nadiyah Humber – Northeastern University School of Law
“I wish I could meet Thurgood Marshall, so I could hear his thoughts on fighting for civil rights issues in 2015.”


Basilios E. Tsingos – Plymouth Rock Assurance Corp.
“If I could meet anyone from the past or present it would be the defendant of arguably the most famous trial in history: Jesus of Nazareth. I know, I know: Jesus is one of those names that, if mentioned at all in polite company or professional circles, can cause an uncomfortable silence. Still, I spent too many Sundays in Sunday School and church as a child, and since then, not to have often wondered what he must have been like in person.

Scholars argue about the ‘historical Jesus.’ As a lawyer, the ‘legal Jesus’ fascinates me. Talking of the Judeo-Christian foundation of our system of law and government can seem cliché. But, it’s amazing how much of what we believe law, justice and equity are, or ought to be, are grounded on this Jewish rabbi’s teachings from and interpretations of the Hebrew scriptures. Separation of what we call ‘church’ and ‘state’? (‘Render unto Caesar….) Speaking truth to power? (‘Let the one among you who is without sin, cast the first stone.’) The importance of procedural due process? Even as we constantly seek to improve the flaws and problems we see in our own day, the events commemorated on Good Friday powerfully inform our understanding that a system of jurisprudence that would let one guilty person go free is to be preferred to one that would permit an innocent to be wrongly convicted and sentenced to death.”


J.W. Carney, Jr. – Carney & Associates
“Thurgood Marshall. He was a brilliant strategist on civil rights issues, and I would like his perspective on what the President should do in this area.”



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.

The People You Need to Know — on the BBA Staff!

Our unofficial theme of the week is ‘the people you need to know.’ The BBA loves to bring in speakers from all over the legal community and beyond and throws networking events at least once a month to introduce our members to people we feel like they’d want to know and encourage cross-practice discussion across the board.

But there’s another side to the BBA — the side you see when you wake up out of dead sleep in the middle of the night drenched in a cold sweat, thinking to yourself, “Oh no. Oh NO. I forgot my BBA login information! Who do I ask to get it back?!”

(It’s okay…trust us, we’ve all been there.)

Being a member of the BBA means you might end up with a lot of questions and ideas, which we want to hear. You might not know, however, the right person to ask for your specific need. That’s why, without further ado, we’re presenting an initial installment of:

Five Staff Members You Need to Know for the Following Situations

Q: “Oh no. Oh NO. I forgot my BBA login information! Who do I ask to get it back?!”

A: Yes, that tech nightmare. For your login info needs, we want to introduce you to Ashley Young, our Membership Enrollment Coordinator.


Q: “I had the best idea for a program that I think BBA members would love. Who should I talk to?”

A: That would be Kristen Scioli White, our Manager of Member Engagement. P.S. — check out her sweet John Adams mug!


Q: “Public service and pro bono work are super important to me, and the BBA has loads of public service programs. How do I get involved?”

A: Just talk to Katie D’Angelo, our Public Service Programs Coordinator extraordinaire! (Is that Beyond the Billable we see on her screen…?)


Q: “You have an event coming up and I want to attend! How do I get tickets?”

A: Erica Southerland, our Events Coordinator, has you covered…just look at how excited she is about one of our newest and most recent events!


And finally, perhaps the most important question of all…

Q: “HELP! The Keurig is out of water! I need that caffeine fix.”

A: Where would any of us be without the dynamic presence of the one and only Matthew Colleary, our Meeting & Events Set-Up Assistant?


Obviously there are many more staff members working behind the scenes to keep your BBA experience running smoothly! We’ll be back with more introductions; check back so that you can put names to faces when you’re at the BBA — and so you never feel stranded with a question again.

A Room with a View — Photo Post

Happy Law Day, BBA! As promised, we want to share a couple of the beautiful office views that were sent in.

From Carla Moynihan at Sherin & Lodgen — “New law firm, new downtown view and new orchid plant:”

sherin office

And from Phelps Turner at Sugarman, Rogers, Barshak & Cohen: “Sunset over Boston from the offices of Sugarman, Rogers, Barshak & Cohen, P.C.:”

sugarman office

Gorgeous! But these totally can’t compare to the incredibly scenic, picturesque, romantic view from the office of the BBA’s very own Director of Communications:


You know you’re jealous.

Missed the chance to send in a picture? Don’t worry! We’ll have plenty of other interactive opportunities coming up on Voices of the Bar.

Voices of the Bar 4/30/15: What is your favorite lawyer joke?

This Friday is Law Day, a celebration of the legal profession and all that it contributes to our society. The BBA celebrates every year by visiting Boston public schools students during Law Day in the Schools and presenting a lesson on the law, democracy, and the justice system to the students. These lessons – and hearing about the kids’ ideas about lawyers – are unfailingly entertaining; and we think that being able to have a good laugh at the stereotypes surrounding lawyers is valuable.

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

“What is your favorite lawyer joke?”

Anthony A. Froio – Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi LLP
“A lawyer dies and goes to Heaven. ‘There must be some mistake,’ the lawyer argues. ‘I’m too young to die. I’m only 55.’ ‘Fifty-five?’ says Saint Peter. ‘No, according to our calculations, you’re 82.’ ‘How’d you get that?’ the lawyer asks. Answers St. Peter, ‘We added up your time sheets.'”


Martin J. Newhouse – New England Legal Foundation
“A partner and an associate had worked together on a trial. Once the matter was submitted to the jury and the lawyers had left the courtroom, the partner turned to the associate and said, ‘As you know, this case took much longer than we expected, and I’ve got to leave tonight on a cruise with my wife. I know that I can safely leave the case in your hands at this point. But just make sure that if the jury comes back with its verdict while I am away, you cable me immediately to let me know what the jury decided. Here is the name of the our cruise ship and how to send me a cable.’ At that, the partner left with his wife for their cruise.

Every day of the cruise, the partner waited for word about the jury’s verdict. Finally, after three days, a cable arrived from the associate: ‘The jury reached its verdict. Justice has been served.’ The partner cabled back: ‘Appeal immediately.'”


Larry S. DiCara – Nixon Peabody LLP
“A lawyer knocks on the doors of heaven. St. Peter suggests he looks good for someone who is 102. The lawyer responds he just turned 80. St. Peter responds: ‘That’s not what your time sheets tell me!'”


Joseph M. Griffin – The Law Office of Joseph M. Griffin
“Q: What do you call a smiling, sober, courteous person at a bar association convention?
A: The caterer.”


Christopher D. Strang – Strang, Scott, Giroux & Young
“My favorite lawyer joke is Cole Young.”



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.

Legal Vision: What’s Your View?

On Friday, the legal community will be celebrating Law Day, which offers special recognition to the legal community and how it shapes our society. Naturally, the BBA is ready to have a week-long celebration and reflection of the profession leading up to the day itself. (Actually, who are we kidding — we celebrate the legal community and its members all year round!)

Part of the purpose of Law Day, besides educating others about the law, democracy, and the justice system, is about communicating what it’s really like to be a lawyer and what lawyers do on an everyday basis — including some of the more nitty-gritty details. We want to really dig into the idea of “A Day in the Life of a Lawyer” to give a more comprehensive picture of what it’s actually like.

To that end, we’re asking for your participation! An open call:


Send us a picture of the view from your office!


We’re looking for all types of submissions. Maybe you’re on the top floor of a downtown skyscraper and look out over the whole city; or maybe the most accurate view of your office is the piles of important legal documents you’re working on. We want to see it all! With enough responses, we’ll run a photo set this Friday on Law Day itself.

To participate, send in your photo (with a brief caption, if you’d like) to bbaweek@bostonbar.org by 4:00 pm on Friday, May 1.

We’re excited to see what you see on a daily basis — so start sending those snapshots!

Voices of the Bar 4/23/15: What is your favorite ‘rip-off’ song?

Did you know that April 29 is World IP Day? We’ve heard plenty about high-profile lawsuits in the news recently, particularly when it comes to some of today’s most popular hit songs. Even though tunes like “Blurred Lines” and “Ice, Ice Baby” ripped off earlier songs, we have to admit they’re still pretty catchy. There is also a more recent trend of sampling from songs (with permission) to create remixes, mash-ups, etc.

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

“What is your favorite ‘rip-off’ song, or song that borrows in some way from another?”

Bruce D. Jobse – Burns & Levinson, LLP
“Eric Carmen of the Rasberries 1975 solo release “All by Myself” based on 2nd movement of Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor. A very classy rip-off, but still cost him 12% royalty because the Rachmaninoff work was not yet in the public domain.”


Zachary Kosan – Northeastern University School of Law
“I’d have to say “Are You Gonna Be My Girl” by Jet, which appears to lift quite a bit from “Lust for Life” by Iggy Pop. I like both songs, but didn’t make the connection until a musician pointed it out.”


Lena Cavallo – Northeastern University School of Law
“”Me and My Broken Heart” by Rixton, which rips off “Lonely No More” by Rob Thomas.”


Brendan T. St. Amant – Donnelly, Conroy & Gelhaar
“One of my favorite songs from back in the day is B.I.G.’s “Mo Money Mo Problems” which heavily samples Diana Ross’s “I’m Coming Out.””


Madhanga Wickramasinghe – New England Law Boston
“I would have to say “Surfing USA” by The Beach Boys, in which The Beach Boys borrowed Chuck Berry’s “Sweet Little Sixteen.” Unlike many other ‘rip-off’ songs I have listened to, it is easy to tell that these two songs do relate to each other. I heard “Surfing USA” first and fell in love with it. Growing up in California, having the occasional surfing sessions with my friends at the places the song talks about made me feel like I am a part of the song. Then I stumbled upon “Sweet Little Sixteen,” and the first idea that came to my mind was “hey, he is copying Beach Boys.” But, later I found out that it was vice versa. The songs have the same harmony and rhythm, but different lyrics. Now, I have fallen in love with both songs, every time I feel stressed or tense I listen to these two songs first. ”


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.