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Co-sponsored by:

Boston Bar Association Committee for Attorneys with Disabilities

Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA) Attorneys with Disabilities and their Allies Section

 

The legal profession is known for its demanding nature, requiring meticulous attention to detail, strong analytical skills, and the ability to think quickly on your feet. While these qualities aid in success, at times they can also pose challenges for neurodivergent individuals, who may think, learn, and process information differently. In addition to challenges, neurodiversity also presents advantages that neurotypical individuals might lack. Neurodiversity refers to the spectrum of human brain function and some examples include ADHD, autism spectrum, dyslexia, and dyspraxia.

Join us for an illuminating panel discussion on embracing neurodiversity in the legal profession. Our panel of neurodivergent lawyers will delve into their unique experiences navigating the legal landscape.

We aim to foster a deeper understanding of neurodiversity and its intricacies and explore strategies to break down barriers, emphasize strengths, and be successful as a neurodivergent lawyer. Also, learn practical tips for having conversations about neurodiversity within your workplace and explore concerns around self-disclosure.

 

Illustration of brain with glowing neural pathways

RELATED RESOURCES:

Three Ways to Boost Neurodiverse Inclusion in the Legal Field [Hispanic Executive]

Helping You to Identify and Understand Autistic Masking [Book]

The Guide to Good Mental Health on the Autism Spectrum [Book]

Avoiding Anxiety in Autistic Adults [Book]

Unmasking Autism [Book]

Untypical: How the world isn’t built for autistic people and what we should all do about it [Book]

Autistic Peer Social Groups run by Full Spectrum Agency (autistic (self-diagnosis included) and questioning folks welcome):

Ally Affinity Group: for those who may wish to learn more about autism from autistic individuals. Meetings are designed for allies to ask questions and learn.

Practicing Law with ADHD Support Group (LCLMA)

Transforming ADHD: Simple, Effective Skills to Help You Focus and Succeed [Book]

ADHD 2.0: New Science and Essential Strategies for Thriving with Distraction–from Childhood through Adulthood [Book]

Taking Charge of Adult ADHD: Proven Strategies to Succeed at Work, at Home, and in Relationships [Book]

Looking Back, Looking Forward: Challenging the Mindset of the Legal Profession from Awareness and Acceptance to Inclusion of Attorneys with Disabilities [Boston Bar Journal]

ABA 17th Annual Labor and Employment Law Conference (2023, Materials Published)

Drs. Lisa and Rich Orbe-Austin. They are each psychologists and executive function coaches, and offer a course “Own Your Greatness” which focuses in overcoming imposter syndrome. The course and workbooks are available here on their website.

HNBA Attorneys with Disabilities and their Allies Section

Upcoming Events for MA Office on Disability

MEET OUR PANEL

Each panelist provided us with their own bio with their preferred way of identifying themselves.

Amy Levine, Director of Programs & Volunteers, LCL MA

Amy Levine, Director of Programs and Volunteers, LCL

(Moderator)

Amy Levine has over 20 years working in the legal industry including working at Goulston & Storrs and Hale and Dorr (currently WilmerHale) and spent the last 15 years working as a vice president and legal recruiter at one of the top legal staffing firms in New England. She has experience in recruiting, coaching, counseling, professional development, and career management. She has presented at Boston University Paralegal Certificate program, the Massachusetts Paralegal Association and resume workshops. Additionally, she has coached Attorneys, Paralegals and Business Professionals on resume writing, job search techniques, and other elements of this process to find their ideal job. She received her Master of Social Work degree from Boston University and has dedicated her career to improving people’s lives.

Shawn Healy, PhD, Staff Clinician, LCL MA

Shawn Healy, Director of Administrative Operations and a licensed Clinical Psychologist, LCL

Shawn Healy, PhD is the Director of Administrative Operations and a licensed Clinical Psychologist on the clinical staff at Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers in Boston, MA. In his clinical role he provides individual clinical consultations and groups to law students, lawyers, judges, and legal professionals. He regularly presents and publishes on all manner of mental health topics germane to the legal community. Dr. Healy serves on the Massachusetts SJC Standing Advisory Committee on Professionalism, as well as on the Massachusetts Bar Association’s Lawyer Well-Being Committee. Dr. Healy is also the coauthor of the book The Full Weight of the Law: How Legal Professionals Can Recognize and Rebound from Depression (ABA Publication, 2017). Dr. Healy runs LCL’s ADHD support group which meets weekly on Wednesday mornings.

Tierra Jenkins headshot

Tierra Jenkins, Esq., Senior Labor & Employee Relations Specialists, UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester

Tierra Jenkins is a Senior Labor & Employee Relations Specialists with UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester, where she supports management-side labor relations for several collective bargaining units. Tierra has experience in both public and private sector labor law, representing management in grievance administration, contract negotiation, and arbitration.

Tierra currently serves on the Board of Directors for Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers (LCL) where she supports initiatives for attorney well-being and attorneys in recovery. Tierra works toward increasing awareness and breaking the stigma for neuro-diverse attorneys and law students through LCLs weekly ADHD Support Group. She regularly volunteers her time at speaking engagements sharing her journey as an attorney practicing with ADHD. Tierra also served several years on the Board of Directors for the Massachusetts Black Women Attorneys, a not-for-profit professional bar association aimed at supporting and serving as a resource for black women attorneys in the legal community.

In addition, Tierra has shared legal guardianship of her young adult brother who has autism spectrum disorder, through which she gained valuable hands-on experience advocating for adults with intellectual disabilities. Aligned with this experience, Tierra now serves on the Board of Directors for the Massachusetts Sibling Support Network (MSSN), a non-profit organization aimed at supporting siblings of those with physical and/or intellectual disabilities.

Tierra is a first-generation college graduate, earning her Juris Doctor from UMass Law and her Bachelor of Arts from Northeastern University. Tierra credits her career successes to her unique life experiences and the unwavering support of her family and friends.

Christine Sunnerberg headshot

Christine Sunnerberg, Esq., Founding Partner, Ramirez & Sunnerberg

Attorney Christine Sunnerberg is a founding partner of criminal defense law firm Ramirez & Sunnerberg. She has experience representing people at all stages of the criminal process. She has defended drug and sex offense charges in the district and superior courts of Massachusetts, and she also represents people in all levels of parole and parole revocation matters, Sex Offender Registry Board (SORB) hearings, and various other post-conviction matters.

Attorney Sunnerberg has experience advocating for the rights of incarcerated individuals in multiple contexts and has guided numerous incarcerated individuals to early release to the community and to their families. As an abolitionist attorney, this is Attorney Sunnerberg’s favorite part of the job.

Attorney Sunnerberg graduated from Brandeis University in 2013 with degrees in Politics, Legal Studies, and American Studies and from Northeastern University School of Law in 2017. She is autistic and a board member of the non-profit organization Full Spectrum Agency that builds and shares community for autistic adults. She is also the coordinator of the Massachusetts chapter of Full Spectrum Agency. She likes reading, libraries, desserts, and her cat, Trixie.

James Jones headshot

James T. Jones, Esq., Owner, Elevate Law, P.C.

James T. Jones, Esq. has more than 15 years of experience in business formation, contract negotiation, tech startups, and corporations and LLCs. He is the owner of Elevate Law, P.C., which serves early and growth stage tech startups, and specializes in business advisement, organizational restructuring, contract negotiation, outside general counsel roles, and funding deals ranging from Seed to Series A for a variety of clients in a variety of sectors from video games to biotech.

A 2004 graduate of Boston College Law School, Attorney Jones remains connected to the school through various roles. He serves as the summer supervising attorney at BC Law each summer for the past 8 years, servicing the needs of small businesses that are clients of the Community Enterprise Clinic, covering a broad range of corporate matters that include formation, intellectual property conflict resolution, and contract drafting and review. He also teaches a section of “Introduction to Transactional Lawyering” each Spring at BC Law. In his free time, Attorney Jones is a board member of the BC Law Black Alumni Network. James is an autistic attorney.

Salomon Chiquiar-Rabinovich, Esq.

Salomon Chiquiar-Rabinovich, Esq., Boston-Based Immigration Attorney and Organizational DEI Consultant

Salomon Chiquiar-Rabinovich, who has dyslexia and ADHD, is a Boston-based immigration attorney and Organizational DEI Consultant. He is the chair of the  Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA) Section for Attorneys with Disabilities and their Allies, founder and chair of the Boston Bar Association (BBA) Attorneys with Disabilities Committee, and a BBA DEI Section board member. He has served as the Massachusetts Association of Hispanic Attorneys president and the regional president for New England of the HNBA. Education:  BSFS, MSFS, and JD from Georgetown University, and MSLA specializing in Organizational DEI from Boston College.

His recent publications include:

“Neurodiversity Must Be Part of Your DEI Strategy,” Hispanic Executive (Sept. 29, 2022), . https://hispanicexecutive.com/neurodiversity-must-be-part-of-your-dei-strategy/

“Looking Back, Looking Forward: Challenging the Mindset of the Legal Profession from Awareness and Acceptance to Inclusion of Attorneys with Disabilities,” Boston Bar Journal, Vol. 66, no. 2 (2022) https://bostonbar.org/journal/looking-back-looking-forward-challenging-the-mindset-of-the-legal-profession-from-awareness-and-acceptance-to-inclusion-of-attorneys-with-disabilities/

“Fighting Stigma: Lawyering with Dyslexia,” Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly (July 11, 2022) https://masslawyersweekly.com/2022/07/08/fighting-stigma-lawyering-with-dyslexia/

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