Voices of the Bar 4/9/15: Which sport keeps you glued to your TV every year?

March Madness has wrapped up – both in the sports world, and in the BBA’s Boston School March Madness – and the NHL is entering the playoffs, as we also celebrate the oncoming baseball season with Opening Day.

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

“Which sport keeps you glued to your TV every year?”

Adam M. Stewart – Shapiro Haber & Urmy LLP
“I love to watch football, especially when the Denver Broncos are playing.”


Stacey C. Friends – Ruberto, Israel & Weiner, P.C.
“While I wholeheartedly support the Boston teams and have gone to each teams’ games in person each year (Go Bruins!), football is the only sport I really watch on the TV. That being said, none of the sports “glue” me to the TV, I am more arts-oriented and avidly watch the singing and dancing shows (which is kind of a sport?), in particular SYTYCD!”


Paul R. Kennedy – Attorney at Law
“Every July, I look forward to watching the Tour de France. Even those with no interest in cycling can appreciate the scenery of France and surrounding countries. In the month leading up to the bar exam, watching an hour or so of “le Tour” while eating dinner was how I wound down.”


Brendan Carter – University of Massachusetts School of Law
“College football in the fall, particularly the SEC and Notre Dame. I am only a subway alumni of ND, but I bought into the ND mystique as a kid and I continue to watch every Saturday.”


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

And the Winner Is…

It’s been a long month here in Boston. We’ve seen the Duke Blue Devils triumph over the Wisconsin Badgers; we’ve seen winter think about turning into spring, start heading in that direction, and then give up and go back to winter again. And here at the BBA, we’ve been counting the votes to see who would come out on top in our School March Madness series. A huge thanks for voting week after week; and for the individuals casting their votes for one particular school, that spirit has paid off. Without further ado, the winner of our own March Madness series and thus the school that can claim to have some of the most spirited alums in Boston is…



…(drumroll, please)….



UMass, we are super excited for you! Congratulations on being so awesome that you finished on top. Virtually offering you a huge high-five:


And that concludes our first annual Boston School March Madness! Look forward to more interactive options coming your way on Voices of the Bar for the future.

Are You Running the Boston Marathon?

If so, the BBA wants to know!

The 2015 Boston Marathon is coming up on April 20. Always a special event in our city, it’s been even more meaningful in these past couple of years. We want to make sure to commemorate and celebrate the participation of our members by offering a special shout-out before the race.

So if you’re running this year, please send an email to [email protected] by Wednesday, April 15, including your name; your firm, company, or school affiliation; and how many years you’ve participated in running the Marathon. We’ll include your info in a round-up post that will appear in the April 16 edition of BBA Week so that all of our members can cheer for you on the big day – and make sure to congratulate you after you’ve finished!

Looking forward to hearing from our runners…

Voices of the Bar 4/2/15: What book is at the top of your reading list to pick up next?

Read anything good recently? The BBA hopes you’ll pick up Boston and the Civil War: Hub of the Second Revolution and come to our talk by author Barbara Berenson on April 9 for an inside look at her writing process and Boston’s role in the Civil War.

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

“What book is at the top of your reading list to pick up next?”


Chinh H. Pham – Greenberg Traurig LLP
“I am looking forward to reading 26.2 Miles to Boston: A Journey Into the Heart of the Boston Marathon, by Michael Connelly.  A teammate on the Museum of Science Marathon team suggested this book before our 21 mile run this past Saturday.  With the Boston Marathon coming up in a few weeks, I am hoping that the book can provide additional inspiration as I make my way from Hopkinton to Boylston Street on April 20th.”


Mark D. Smith – Laredo & Smith
“I just picked up Boys in the Boat by Daniel Brown and hope to complete it over the next few weeks.”


Judith R. Sizer – Rose, Chinitz & Rose 
“I’ve already ordered the new book by Mary Norris, a long-time copy editor for The New Yorker (Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen).   Every practicing lawyer should be obsessed with commas, particularly one who tries to complement her legal prose with occasional op-eds and sermons.  And in honor of the recent ceremonial reburial of Richard III, Josephine Tey’s The Daughter of Time is back on my nightstand.  It’s a brilliant British mystery novel revealing that Richard wasn’t so dastardly after all.”


Phelps T. Turner – Sugarman, Rogers, Barshak & Cohen P.C.
“Next on my list is The Perfect Mile by Neal Bascomb, about the race to be the first person to run a mile in less than four minutes. I know how the story ends, but I look forward to reading about Roger Bannister’s journey to breaking the barrier first, and about the British runner’s battle with two runners in the United States and Australia for the record.”


Robert K. Crabtree – Kotin, Crabtree & Strong, LLP
“Andrew Solomon’s Far From the Tree is a must read for those involved in disability law or related fields.  Eloquent, thoroughly researched, and deeply compassionate, this work explores how traits that separate people from their families and/or their communities can drive behavior, define needs, and provoke legal and educational responses.  The book is lengthy, but it need not be read all at once. With topics as wide-ranging as children with Deafness, Down Syndrome or Autism, children of rape, and children who commit crimes, chapters can be read as and when the spirit or needs dictate. Ultimately one learns about a wide range of “different” identities in the world, the advocacy communities, legal systems and support systems that form around those identities, the wider communities’ impact on them and vice versa.  Above all, one learns about the very notion of “identity” and will find one’s moorings nicely loosened a bit in the project. Readers sometimes grow as persons with certain books; this is one of those.”


Catherine Martin – New England Law Boston
“I am looking forward to reading Boston and the Civil War: Hub of the Second Revolution, in part to prepare for the BBA event with the author next Thursday night discussing the legal community’s relationship with the growing abolitionist movement. The book covers a group of Boston abolitionists who participated in the campaign against slavery. While I, and probably most Boston residents, know a good deal about the area’s importance during the Revolutionary War, I was not aware how much activity there was leading up to and during the Civil War. Looking forward to an interesting read and a great event!”


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

Boston School March Madness: The Finals

You’ve spoken and your voices have been heard. After weeks of anticipation, we’re down to our last two schools. Who will come out with the most votes, and the greatest representation of school spirit?

Only one way to find out….

Northeastern University vs. Umass System

  • Umass System (52%, 11 Votes)
  • Northeastern University (48%, 10 Votes)

Total Voters: 21

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April Fool’s!


This seasonally appropriate bunny looks ready for mischief…



Well, there’s no joke here (Voices of the Bar is, of course, extremely serious and never makes jokes at all, ever). But have you been to our homepage yet? Notice anything a little…unusual?

The BBA does like a good joke, so keep an eye on our website and social media pages throughout the day!

Top 10 Things the BBA Is Looking Forward to This Spring

…and we hope you are too!


     10.  Warmer weather

Let’s just start by laying out a universal truth: we’re all sick of snow, transit delays, freezing temperatures, and the concept of winter in general. Time for sunshine and roses, literally.


     9.  Outdoor activities

Hand in hand with warmer weather is the opportunity to take advantage of outdoor activities – like the 16th Annual Charles River clean-up. Soak up the sun while doing good for our city!


     8.  Law Day in the Schools

And speaking of doing good for our city – Law Day in the Schools is coming up April 29-May 6, centered around the theme of the Magna Carta. It’s a great way to volunteer your time to support Boston public school students…and particularly in the younger classes, it’s really, really cute.


7.  The spring edition of the Boston Bar Journal

No spoilers, but we’ve heard that there’s a great line-up of articles on the way. Catch up on your reading here.


6.  Bench-bar conferences…

The perfect chance to meet and ask those burning questions of our esteemed members of the judiciary. Our first one on the calendar is the Superior Court Bench Meets Bar Conference on April 6, along with the Young Bar Meets Bankruptcy Bench on the same date and Bankruptcy Bench Meets Bar in May.


     5.  …and spring receptions

The perfect chance to catch up with other attorneys! We have several lined up with more on the way, so once again, we urge you to keep an eye on that calendar.


     4.  Let’s not forget our affinity bar partner galas!

Our six affinity bar partners throw some pretty great events for the end of the year; not to mention, we’ll be capping off the spring with a multi-bar association mixer.


     3.  The end of the semester

For our law student readers who have been poring over their readings, spring signals the end of, well, seemingly endless studying. Now you can focus on career-oriented events, like our Essential Skills for Succeeding in Multigenerational Workplace (this one is for everybody) and several speed networking events.


     2.  That reminds us – plenty of networking opportunities (with a twist)

The BBA believes in getting groups together as often as we can over educational topics, pressing matters in the profession, and evening events. Of course, we like to spice these up when we can. Have you heard about the New Lawyers Scotch Tasting with the Junior Fellows, with oysters to boot? You have now.


     1.  The Law Day Dinner

Because seriously, have you seen this lineup?

Voices of the Bar 3-26-15: What is your favorite travel destination?

In the wake of President Obama’s recent Cuba Initiative, the BBA is excited to present an all-star panel at March 30’s “Cuba: Open for Business” educational program. These experts will explore recent legal developments, including the sanctions that have been eased and those that remain; the broader landscape and history of the Cuban-American relationship; and new opportunities for engagement in business, educational, and cultural activities. The thought of these new opportunities inspired us to think about broadening our horizons – literally.

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

“What is your favorite travel destination?”

Sam A. Mawn-Mahlau — Davis, Malm & D’Agostine, P.C.
“Greece. The history is humbling, the food fantastic, the art everywhere, and the people and climate both hospitably warm. And the museums stay open late into the night.”


Vatsady Sivongxay — City of Boston
“I love traveling! My favorite destination is Laos because I get to enjoy the best foods with my family.”


Matthew Ball — Boston University School of Law
“My favorite travel destination is Ventura County, California, especially after this last Boston winter. North of L.A. just enough to avoid the congestion, it’s right on the beach with beautiful sailing opportunities around the Channel Islands. Hiking paths in the hills around Ojai, a short drive from Malibu, and most of all, In-N-Out Burger, make it pretty much the perfect getaway.”


Ellen S. Kief — The Law Office of Ellen S. Kief
“Foremost, my favorite mode of travel is cycling. Vermont, as a local destination, is beautiful, with rolling hills and miles of fields, farms, flowers, and lakes. However, currently we are still in snowshoeing mode!”


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

Boston School March Madness Round 3

This shouldn’t have been a surprise, but the second round of March Madness was even closer and more tense than the first. Northeastern staged an upset over BC, and the neck-and-neck race between MIT and UMass only broke at the last minute to see UMass edge into the final four.

But the biggest shock came from the Greater Boston bracket:

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An unexpected tie!

We do have a tiebreaker rule, however, and we’re sad to say it’s not looking good for the Crimson, although we applaud their valiant effort. The fairest way to determine who advances was to count the total number of votes between two rounds, which left Harvard with 26 and Tufts taking the lead with a solid 30.

So we’ve moved from our Elite 8 to the Final 4. Who’ll take it all the way to the end?

Boston Proper

Boston University vs. Northeastern University

  • Northeastern University (61%, 11 Votes)
  • Boston University (39%, 7 Votes)

Total Voters: 18

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Outside of Boston

Umass System vs. Tufts University

  • Umass System (75%, 12 Votes)
  • Tufts University (25%, 4 Votes)

Total Voters: 16

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The Unexpected Power of a Good Headshot, and How to Get There

We all know the feeling: you need to get your professional headshot updated into something a little sleeker and modern. You get dressed to the nines. You’re ready to go. In front of the camera, you take a deep breath, throw your shoulders back, and give it your best 100-watt toothy grin. You feel calm, cool – regal, even. You feel a little something like this…


…but in reality, you look a little more like this…

crazy cat 1

…or this…

crazy cat 2

…or maybe even this.

crazy cat 3

Something about being in front of a camera changes a lot of people. We go from well-adjusted, functioning human beings to something that looks like Dr. Frankenstein got a little too carried away halfway through and then gave up. We go from the Jekyll of our regular personas to the Hyde of our photographed selves. There are so many rules about how to hold yourself to put your best features forward – and the more you try to follow them, the more those features go running for the hills and your worst features decide to throw a party in their absence.

You also need to think about what your headshot says about you: the best professional headshots will communicate that you’re serious and competent, but also affable and approachable, with a background to match.

Never thought this hard about the psychology of your headshot before, or not quite sure if you believe in it? Let us prove it to you with the help of the BBA’s own Director of Communications, Kerry Crisley, who has bravely offered herself as a subject of our headshot What Not to Do portion and has personally provided candid interpretations of what her past headshots are really saying.

What Your Headshot Says About You

In the “no, never” category:

And in the “nice try, but still maybe not” category:

If you’re starting to feel a bit sheepish about your own headshot, don’t worry: as usual, the BBA has you covered. With the backdrop of the BBA’s classy-chic Claflin Center, we’ll be hosting a headshot photo shoot for BBA members from 2:00-6:00 on Thursday, April 2. Just sign up here, email Maggie DeMoura with your preferred time frame, and you can get on this level:


p.s. here’s a picture of a kitten with a camera. Because – well, do we really need a reason?

kitten with a camera