May 09

Volunteer work isn’t just correlated with happiness; it actually causes it, at least according to some pretty good research. And according to some other good research, it influences health and longevity, too.

And if that sounds too crazy for you to believe, that’s okay. Pro bono work is also an opportunity to network, and develop and exercise your legal skills.

So now you’re really excited to find a pro bono project, yes?

Good news. MassProBono is a new interactive website that can match you with a project based on your interests, location, and schedule. MassProBono is developed by the Volunteer Lawyers Project of the Boston Bar Association, in partnership with Pro Bono Net, a national nonprofit organization, the Massachusetts Legal Aid Websites Project housed at the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute, and the Massachusetts Bar Association, with funding from a Legal Services Corporation Technology Initiative Grant.

To help with your pro bono projects, the website also provides a library of resources, email groups, and a calendar of events.

In raising awareness of the need for pro bono work and highlighting great existing pro bono work in the state, MassProBono hopes to close the gap of an estimated 80% of low-income people with unmet civil legal needs.

You can find out more about joining MassProBono here.

Jan 30

If the main rules of real estate are “location, location, location,” then the main rules of thriving emotionally in the field of law are “boundaries, boundaries, boundaries.” You can preserve your emotional and mental health by establishing firm boundaries early in the legal career. These boundaries will help you successfully navigate all of the ego-damaging obstacles along the way.

Some boundaries, like drawing the line about how late you are going to check that flashing BlackBerry on a Friday night, are obvious. Other boundaries are equally as crucial, but it’s slightly more difficult to recognize their importance when you are just starting out your legal career and are eager to advance. The determination to excel and the mental stamina required to climb the metaphorical legal ladder are very admirable. It takes a special kind of personality and strength of character to be willing to compete in the field replete with aggressiveness and power games. The legal discipline embodies survival of the fittest at its best.

To survive, developing the instinct of self-preservation is a must. In this case, we are talking about the preservation of a stable self-image, which leads to the preservation of the emotional and mental well-being.

The self-image of a young lawyer can get attacked from a myriad of directions: Continue reading »

Jan 11

A report published last month by Wisconsin’s state bar, based on a survey of new lawyers, found that newly admitted attorneys faced “huge law school debt, unemployment, underemployment, or inadequate pay,” along with fewer opportunities for training.  The result, of course, is not only economic depression but emotional depression.  (Click here to read the Wisconsin Bar article.)

None of this comes as a surprise to me as a clinician at LCL,  Continue reading »

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