Suffolk University Law School SBA Executive Newsletter

Issue 18: March 23, 2015

SBA NEWS
Contents
Message from SBA
President Tom Davis

1

SBA Happenings
2
SBA President and
VP Elections
3

Dear Students:
The 2015 SBA president and vice president elections
are upon us. As you will likely notice, today,
Monday, March 23, is the first day for candidates to
begin campaigning. Over the next week please take
the time to listen to and consider the candidates’
platforms and how they will impact Suffolk Law
School as a whole. The positions come with a high
level of visibility and an important voice within the
legal community, which has the power to lead to
either a positive or negative reputation. This year’s
SBA leadership dramatically increased the perception
of our student body by working each day in a
professional manner. Consequently, think hard about
which pair of candidates you want representing you
to the legal community at large; it matters.

Student Spotlight:
Berley McKenna
4
Alumni Spotlight:
Bill Athanas
5-6
Alumni Spotlight:
Sean Capplis
7-8
Contact List & Preamble
9

Best,
Tom Davis
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Suffolk University Law School SBA Executive Newsletter

Issue 18: March 23, 2015

SBA Announcements & Happenings
FREE YOGA PRESENTED BY THE SBA AND THE
OFFICE OF HEALTH & WELLNESS

Monday, March 23 and 30, from 5-6pm in the First
Floor Function Room

• On March 23 and 30, from 5 - 6pm in the
First Floor Function Room, the Suffolk Law
SBA, in partnership with Suffolk’s Office of
Health and Wellness, will offer FREE yoga
sessions with a certified yoga instructor. If
these sessions generate good interest we
hope to continue them on a weekly basis
through finals.

Happy first week of spring!

STATE HOUSE DAY
Wednesday, March 25, from 4:30 – 6:30pm at the State House
• Come get to know our state legislators and celebrate the many Suffolk Alumni
engaged in public service. Please RSVP to Colette Heefner at
csheefner@suffolk.edu.
SUFFOLK CONNECT ALUMNI EVENT
Thursday, March 26, from 8 – 6pm at the Omni Parker House
• Connect with Suffolk Law alumni participating in a wide range of legal fields.
Complimentary hors d’oeuvres will be served and business attire is required.
BOG MEETING
Sunday, March 29, at 6pm
• The March BOG meeting will take place on March 29, at 6pm. The BOG
meetings are open to all students so feel free to stop by for all or some of the
meeting to see your student body government in action.
STAFF APPRECIATION DAY
Monday, March 30, from 12 - 2pm in the First Floor Function Room
• Please join the SBA for Staff Appreciation Day and come say thank you to the
members of the Suffolk Law School staff! All staff, faculty, and students are
welcome. Lunch and refreshments will be served. For any questions please
contact director of the SBA External Affairs Committee Christine DiBiase at
cdibiase@suffolk.edu.

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Suffolk University Law School SBA Executive Newsletter

Issue 18: March 23, 2015

SBA President and Vice President Elections
The 2015 SBA president and vice president elections are upon us. As you will likely
notice, today, Monday, March 23, is the first day for candidates to begin
campaigning. Over the next week please take the time to listen to and consider the
candidates’ platforms and how they will impact Suffolk Law School as a whole. The
positions come with a high level of visibility and a voice within the legal community,
which has the power to lead to either a positive or negative reputation. This year’s
SBA leadership dramatically increased the perception of our student body by
working each day in a professional manner. Consequently, think hard about which
pair of candidates you want representing you to the legal community at large;
it matters.

2015 Presidential Election Timeline
• Monday, March 23: Candidates may begin campaigning pending the
verification of the nomination forms by the SBA Chief of Operations.

• Thursday, March 26: Candidates will give speeches to first year day students at
3pm and first year evening students at 5:30pm in the First Floor Function
Room. The speeches will be recorded and uploaded to Campus Cruiser as well
as the Suffolk Law SBA website (suffolklawsba.com).
• Friday, March 27: Open candidate Q&A session and meet and great reception.
All candidates will be available to the student body to answer questions. This
session will be recorded and uploaded to suffolklawsba.com.
• Monday, March 30 at 8am – Wednesday, April 1 at 5pm: VOTING.
Voting will take place on Campus Cruiser and all current SULS students
may vote, including LLM students.
• Thursday, April 2: Winner will be announced via email to all SULS students.
For questions, concerns, or complaints regarding the election please contact SBA
Chief of Operations Callie Grossman.
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Suffolk University Law School SBA Executive Newsletter

Issue 18: March 23, 2015

Student Spotlight
Berley McKenna
Berley McKenna is a 1L evening student in
section 4A.
Where are you from?
Arlington, MA
Where did you attend undergrad?
Tufts University BA96
As an evening student do you work during the
day?
Yes, I work full time as a property manager at Harvard University
Do you have any advice for other evening students or incoming evening students on
balancing work and school?
Be present in whatever it is that you are doing at that moment. If you are studying,
study. If you are at work, work. If you are spending time with friends, then focus
on that. It's not really a balance if you are trying to take a break from school work
but think about or worry about it the entire time.
What do you enjoy doing outside of law school?
Any spare minutes I have (ha!) I spend with my wife and kids. They're the best.
Before school I used to run more than I seem to do now and I also like to sew/quilt.
Do you plan on focusing on a certain area of law?
Perhaps Real Estate Law but I'm not completely sure yet.
Berley’s Favorites:
Favorite place to study: 5th floor reading room at the library
Favorite study break: We have a 100 year old house that we are slowly renovating so
there is always a project to work on if I need to give my brain a rest and do
something with my hands.
Favorite part of Suffolk Law: The people. The evening students and faculty are so
engaged and supportive. It makes for a great learning environment.
Favorite movie: Love Actually
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Suffolk University Law School SBA Executive Newsletter

Issue 18: March 23, 2015

Alumni Spotlight
Bill Athanas --- 1995
Bill Athanas, a member of the class of 1995, is a
partner at Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis, LLP in
Birmingham, Alabama. Interview conducted by SBA
Alumni Affairs Committee Co-director Eunice AikinsAfful.
What is your current position and where?
I am a partner at the firm of Waller Lansden Dortch &
Davis, LLP, and work out of the firm’s Birmingham,
Alabama, office.
Where did you attend undergraduate?
The University of New Hampshire.
What journals/activities/concentrations did you participate in at Suffolk Law?
I was a member of the Law Review. Other than that, I was not involved in many law
school activities - I spent most of the first two years studying and the last one
working. Everybody has to find their own way, but that approach worked for me.
What do you consider the best part of your job?
Trying cases, when the opportunity presents itself. Otherwise, I have come to
appreciate the challenge of solving problems before they turn into full-blown
lawsuits or prosecutions. Litigation will always be my first love, but over time my
practice has evolved to include developing strategies to keep clients out of court.
What type of attorney did you want to be upon entering Suffolk Law?
I knew that I wanted to be a litigator, but beyond that, I didn’t have a clear sense of
where I wanted to specialize. It wasn’t until I started clerking that I realized that
white collar criminal cases were the most interesting and challenging for me.
What was your favorite class while at Suffolk?
Trial Advocacy. I was terrible at it, but it confirmed for me that I wanted to try cases
for a living. The skills I learned from Professor Wilton were a great building block,
and the rest I picked up usually by doing things wrong the first time.
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Suffolk University Law School SBA Executive Newsletter

Issue 18: March 23, 2015

Who was your favorite professor?
Tough question; can’t pick just one. I really enjoyed learning from Professor
Cavallaro, Professor Wittenberg and Professor Rustad.
What is your greatest professional achievement?
I spent several years investigating a bank fraud case in Blountsville, Alabama when I
was a federal prosecutor. The case produced two trials, the second of which lasted
two months. The case spawned three appeals to the Eleventh Circuit, all of which I
briefed and argued. It was the most difficult and rewarding experience of my
professional life and the people I worked with on it - including co-counsel,
paralegals, and federal agents - are friends for life.
Who is your favorite Supreme Court Justice, living or deceased?
A tie between Justice Breyer and Justice Souter - they always appeared to me to be
the most intellectually honest; always working to arrive at a principled, workable
result.
Any interview tips?
Be prepared. When I was interviewing, there were no law firm websites. Now,
there is no reason not to know, at a minimum, where your interviewer went to
school, what area of law he or she practices, what the firm does, etc. If a candidate
won’t take the time to gather that information before an interview, that’s usually a
pretty good indicator that he or she is not going to be a good associate. Also, have
some real questions for the interviewer.
One piece of advice?
Don’t be afraid to explore life beyond the 617 area code. If you had told me when I
graduated that I would end up practicing law in Birmingham, Alabama, I would
have thought you were crazy. The road to finding success and happiness practicing
law can be long and difficult, but is worth the journey. Don’t discount opportunities
just because they require you to step outside of your comfort zone.

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Suffolk University Law School SBA Executive Newsletter

Issue 18: March 23, 2015

Alumni Spotlight
Sean Capplis --- 1996
Sean Capplis, a member of the class of 1996, is a
founding partner at Capplis, Connors & Carroll, PC in
Boston. Interview conducted by SBA Alumni Affairs
Committee Co-director Eunice Aikins-Afful.
What is your current position and where?
I am a founding partner at Capplis, Connors & Carroll,
PC, a medical malpractice defense firm in Boston.
Where did you attend undergraduate?
Boston College where I graduated cum laude in 1993
with a Bachelor's Degree in English.
What journals/activities/concentrations did you
participate in at Suffolk Law?
I worked three legal jobs throughout the majority of
my law school experience. I worked for a medical
malpractice plaintiff's firm, a small Boston general practice firm and the Committee for
Public Counsel Services. I gained invaluable experience working for the Committee for
Public Counsel Services and turned down job offers after graduating from Suffolk Law to
start as a trial attorney with the Committee. I also completed a heavy concentration of tort
related courses throughout my second and third year at Suffolk. During my third year at
Suffolk Law I authored an item that was published in the leading criminal defense treatise,
Massachusetts Criminal Defense.
What do you consider the best part of your job?
I represent extremely intelligent and articulate clients. Serving as their counsel, I am forced
to master complex and challenging medical/legal issues on a daily basis. The lawsuits filed
against physicians tend to be high exposure cases attracting local and regional attention,
which makes the work very exciting. Despite the stress involved in handling such matters,
it is very rewarding work.
What type of attorney did you want to be upon entering Suffolk Law?
I wanted to be a litigator prior to starting my career at Suffolk. I leaned toward criminal
defense and enrolled in the Suffolk Voluntary Defenders Program, providing
representation to indigent criminal defendants in the local court system under the
supervision of a senior volunteer attorney. I cherished my relationship with my mentor,
Attorney Frank Doucette, and my passion for working in the courtroom blossomed.
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Suffolk University Law School SBA Executive Newsletter

Issue 18: March 23, 2015

What was your favorite class while at Suffolk?
Advanced Torts with Tom Lambert.
Who was your favorite professor?
Tom Lambert was a giant in the field of Torts. I evolved as a tort lawyer under his tutelage
and I began thinking "outside the box" using my creative abilities to assist in the
representation of my clients.
What is your greatest professional achievement?
I was involved in a wrongful death case trial which resulted in a favorable defense verdict.
The verdict was overturned due to the trial judge’s finding that a fraud had been
committed upon the court during trial. The case was extremely significant, as it involved a
world-renowned physician from Massachusetts General Hospital and several of the major
Boston defense firms. My role became more prominent after the trial as I represented the
managing partner from my former law firm before the Board of Bar Overseers and I was
lead counsel on the appellate brief, which I argued before the Supreme Judicial Court. I
was particularly proud of my work and the favorable reported decision we received from
the SJC overturning the trial court’s decision and reinstating the defense verdict.
Who is your favorite Supreme Court justice, living or deceased?
The Honorable Antonin Scalia.
Any interview tips?
Oftentimes after a candidate leaves an interview, my partners and I commonly remark
about the interviewee’s sweaty hands. As minor and superficial as it may appear,
employers expect their associates to represent their office confidently and professionally. A
cool, firm handshake conveys to the world that you are a competent and professional
attorney. Simply by avoiding clutching or holding an item throughout the interview
should allow an interviewee to alleviate a sweaty hand shake at the conclusion of the
interview. Additionally, listen carefully to what the interviewers say, and if you can take
something that an interviewer says and weave it into an answer later, you are likely to
create a good memory in the mind of the attorney who you quoted and also convey that
you are a good listener.
One piece of advice?
Do not accept “No” for an answer. Be creative, and with hard work, you should be able to
overcome any obstacles or challenges that you face. Don't be shy to call or sit down with a
seasoned attorney and ask for help on a particular legal issue or a question on how to reach
a certain accomplishment. However, be honest and don't use such an opportunity to think
that it will evolve into a job opportunity.

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Suffolk University Law School SBA Executive Newsletter

Issue 18: March 23, 2015

Contact Information
Name
Tom davis
Monica Bellevue
Neil Lindquist
Callie grossman
Kelley Sweetser
Nick Smalley
Colette Heefner

Position

Email

President
Vice President
Chief of Staff
Chief of Operations
Treasurer
Chief Justice
Council of Presidents Liaison

trdavis@suffolk.edu
mkbellevue@suffolk.edu
nlindquist@suffolk.edu
cgrossman@suffolk.edu
ksweetser@suffolk.edu
ndsmalley@suffolk.edu
csheefner@suffolk.edu

For a full contact list of all SBA Directors please visit our website at
suffolklawsba.com

Vice President Monica Bellevue and
President Tom Davis

SBA Constitution Preamble
“We the Students of Suffolk University Law School, in order to support and
encourage academic excellence and professional development; to preserve the
right of students to acquire a quality legal education in a just and reasonable
environment; to provide a means of communication between students and the
Law School; and to maintain a connection with alumni, do herby establish this
Constitution for the Student Bar Association of Suffolk University Law School.”
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