As this holiday season draws to a close, and we begin to think about the challenges of 2014, we turned to our friends – all of whom are trying to help people with very basic needs – and put out the query: “What are your hopes for the New Year?”
Here are the answers we got:
Chief Judge Frank Bailey (U.S. Bankruptcy Court):
All I Want for the New Year Is…for every student to leave high school knowing that a $50 pizza dinner purchased on a credit card that bears interest of 22.8% over 10 years really costs $487.49….so my hope is that many BBA members will sign up to teach in the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program in 2014!
Robert Lewis (Clerk Magistrate, Boston Housing Court):
All I Want for the New Year Is…for the volunteer Lawyers for the Day at Housing Court to provide enough attorneys to not only assist pro se litigants on summary process day, but also to assist litigants during the criminal sessions. Housing Court has criminal jurisdiction over code violation cases that are more frequently brought against property owners, and often are not their fault. We at the Court are trying to improve the housing stock in the City of Boston – we’re not trying to punish people and throw them in jail – but these pro se litigants don’t always have the resources to work through the system and have their charges changed to civil charges. If there were volunteer attorneys to help walk them through the steps, it would be a tremendous help both to the court and to the public.
Tony Froio (Chair of the BBF’s Development Committee; Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi):
All I Want for the New Year Is…to meet – and exceed – the $625,000 fundraising goal for the Adams Benefit so that we may better support the community organizations that provide critical legal services assistance to those in need.
Manisha Bhatt (Greater Boston Legal Services):
All I Want for the New Year Is…to break the Walk to the Hill record! I would love to see 1,000 lawyers marching to the Statehouse on January 30, 2014, advocating for the underprivileged by urging their legislators to increase civil legal services funding.
Judge Robert Tochka (U.S. District Court for Massachusetts):
All I Want for the New Year Is…a one hundred percent participation rate in the Judicial Internship Program, which is an ambitious but nonetheless doable goal. Please consider taking on an intern during 2014 – you’ll be glad you did!
Shari Davis (Director of The Mayor’s Youth Council and The Boston Youth Fund):
All I Want for the New Year Is…for community members and youth advocates alike to REACH BACK and work together to enable and empower young people to grow into our future leaders with limitless potential. The Mayor’s Youth Council is one opportunity for volunteers interested in youth advocacy to be a part of the solution.
Mala Rafik (Rosenfeld Rafik & Sullivan):
All I Want for the New Year Is…for more attorneys to volunteer for the Lawyer Referral Services military panel – we need lawyers who focus on benefits claims, employment, tax, family law, and education. Military service members have sacrificed so much for our country. It is incumbent upon us as lawyers to express our gratitude and to show our respect by providing for their legal needs as they reacclimate after what is often an extremely stressful experience.
Josh Bruno (Boston Private Industry Council):
All I Want for the New Year Is…a record number of internship and job shadowing opportunities at Boston law firms for students in the BBA Summer Jobs Program, done in partnership with PIC and the City of Boston.