We thank Patrick Curran, the current representative for the Massachusetts SOLACE Program, for contributing this guest post.
In 2014, the Massachusetts Chapter of the Federal Bar Association and the Massachusetts Bar Association initiated a program in Massachusetts designed to facilitate the provision of assistance to members of the Commonwealth’s legal community in need of help. The program, called SOLACE (an acronym for “Support of Lawyers/Legal Personnel – All Concern Encouraged”), was founded in 2003 by the Honorable Jay Zainey, United States District Judge for the Eastern District of Louisiana, and provides a support network consisting of attorneys and other legal professionals and personnel to all members of the legal community. That includes not just attorneys, but also court personnel, paralegals, and other support staff.
The program is designed to be simple. Participants receive emails from the local SOLACE Program coordinator describing a request for assistance from another member of the legal community. Members who are able to provide the assistance requested may then contact the program coordinator, who then facilitates a connection between that member and the person in need. Likewise, any member who has a need for assistance, or becomes aware that another member of the legal community is in need, can solicit assistance by emailing the program coordinator and providing the relevant details; the coordinator then evaluates the request for assistance and, depending on the circumstances, will distribute the request by email to other members of the Program.
Judge Zainey has had tremendous success with the SOLACE program in his district, and he has helped to implement it in other districts where it has provided invaluable assistance to members of those legal communities. Since its implementation here, the program has provided an enormous benefit to members of the Massachusetts legal community by providing them not only with a source of assistance in times of need, but also with the opportunity to help others both within and outside of the Commonwealth who require assistance. Within the past several years, moreover, the Federal Bar Association has worked with Judge Zainey to implement the program through its membership on a nationwide basis, thus greatly increasing its reach and ability to connect people in need with those capable of helping them.
If you become aware that a member of the Massachusetts legal community is in need of assistance – or if you experience a need for help yourself – please contact the local SOLACE Program coordinator by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. From the SOLACE webpage:
What is SOLACE?
SOLACE is an email based network of legal professionals in Massachusetts who are interested in helping other members of the Massachusetts legal “family,” including lawyers, paralegals, legal assistants and legal staff, court personnel, and anyone who works in the legal profession. SOLACE harnesses the backgrounds and connections of its members to provide critical assistance in times of need, especially when there has been a death in the family, illness or other catastrophic loss.
How SOLACE works
You will receive an email from the SOLACE administrator when someone from the legal “family” needs assistance. If you are able to help, you can reply and be put in touch with the requester. There is never any pressure to offer assistance — participation is purely voluntary.
SOLACE will not seek cash contributions from participants. The program is an opportunity to offer clothing, housing, transportation, medical community contacts and a myriad of other contributions to those in need.
How to join
Join the Massachusetts SOLACE chapter. Sign up today and give yourself the chance to help your fellow members of the legal community.