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Below you can find answers to non-legal questions about the human side of lawyering.  Answers are written by licensed clinicians with the purpose of providing information, and are not a substitute for a clinical evaluation.

We do not post responses to questions that seem frivolous or unrelated to our mission — or that don’t seem to be from Massachusetts lawyers, law students, judges (or family members). We have no way to check back with you if you submit your question anonymously — consider using the private, confidential option.

BAR ADMISSIONS

For inquiries regarding bar admissions, including completion of bar admission applications and requirements for disclosure of information, contact to the Massachusetts Board of Bar Examiners, by email to info@bbe.state.ma.us, or by telephone at (617) 482-4466. The Board of Bar Examiners welcomes these inquiries. Please note that telephone inquiries may be handled ANONYMOUSLY at the request of the caller.

Additional Resources: Character and Fitness Standards for Bar Admission in Massachusetts and BBE FAQ on Character and Fitness

ANONYMOUS QUESTIONS

Your question and answer will be published on this page, where anyone can view it.

Please exclude identifying details or indicate any details you would like us to exclude from posting. You can also choose to submit a private, confidential question.

PRIVATE + CONFIDENTIAL QUESTIONS

Only a licensed clinician will see your question, and will treat it confidentially.

The clinician will respond to your question privately. The same exceptions that apply when seeing any licensed mental health provider apply to your question.

Most Recent Questions

Q: I recently quit a job where the partner belittled me, ignored me despite numerous times of me asking them to please follow up and work with me, physically attacked me for her laptop once I told her I was quitting, and now refuses to allow me to obtain my belongings even though I’ve expressed to her my need for them she says she will mail them (at some point). Additionally, she is non responsive to clients, has taken on way more cases than she can handle and I’m just one of many associates she’s treated so terribly. Any advice? Do I file a BBO complaint? (Submitted June 2021.)

ANSWER:

While we often hear associates’ tales of partners who may be insensitive, exploitative, unsupportive, etc., you are describing someone whose interpersonal behavior has reached extreme levels, and we’re sorry to hear how distressing this has been. We LCL clinicians would be available to meet with her about her issues, or with you about coping with what you’ve experienced (it only takes a call to our main number (617) 482-9600 or click here to start the scheduling process.

Regarding reporting to the BBO (either optionally or as a duty if clients are adversely affected), probably the best source of information about that would be the BBO’s Ethics Hotline, at (617) 728-8750 (staffed Monday-Wednesday-Friday, from 2pm-4pm). You should be able to get guidance on that question without initially identify the partner.

[Filed under Career/Practice Concerns]

Q: Hi, in 2014 I accepted a CWOF for assault with dangerous weapon (felony) and threats to commit a crime (misdemeanor). I did one year of probation and the charges were dismissed. Now thinking about going to law school but wondering if this is prohibitive to the application process or later down the line as a practicing attorney. Thanks! (Submitted May 2021.)

ANSWER:

You can get the most definitive answer possible by contacting the Massachusetts Board of Bar Examiners directly. They welcome these inquiries and accept anonymous questions by phone (617) 482-4466, and you can also email questions to info@bbe.state.ma.us. If you’re struggling with stress related to this concern, consider booking a free & confidential consultation with one of our licensed clinicians.

[Filed under Career/Practice Concerns]

Q: Do you have to report dismissed academic dishonesty allegations? I have not been accused of academic dishonesty, but my classmate has. It was investigated but found to be meritless by the Law School. They did not commence any disciplinary proceedings. I heard that you have to report alleged academic dishonesty, even if it is found to be meritless. Is this true? (Submitted May 2021.)

ANSWER:

You can get the most definitive answer possible by contacting the Massachusetts Board of Bar Examiners directly. They welcome these inquiries and accept anonymous questions by phone (617) 482-4466, and you can also email questions to info@bbe.state.ma.us. If you’re struggling with stress related to this concern, consider booking a free & confidential consultation with one of our licensed clinicians.

[Filed under Career/Practice Concerns]

Q: Does the Mass Bar get a copy of your law school application? (Submitted March 2021.)

ANSWER:

You can get the most definitive answer possible by contacting the Massachusetts Board of Bar Examiners directly. They welcome these inquiries and accept anonymous questions by phone (617) 482-4466, and you can also email questions to info@bbe.state.ma.us. If you’re struggling with stress related to this concern, consider booking a free & confidential consultation with one of our licensed clinicians.

[Filed under Career/Practice Concerns]

Q: I am in need of practice coverage during a medical leave. Do you have any such resources? (Submitted March 2021.)

ANSWER:

We are sorry to hear of your trouble and sorry that we don’t have resources or a network to connect you with, but can offer a few suggestions. First would be to check with your local bar association to see if you might find a connection there who practices in your area. Also, you could try the Massachusetts SOLACE chapter — we’re not entirely clear on what they might be able to suggest but they assist lawyers in need. Finally, you might also want to check your malpractice insurance for coverage.

[Filed under Career/Practice Concerns]

Q: I had a few jobs (summer jobs, jobs during academic year...) during college; these were listed on my law school application. I also had a few random one- or two-day things (all on-campus) that I got paid for that I wouldn't consider employment, that I honestly don't even remember much of anymore. I didn't have these listed on my law school application. Will this be a problem for me come bar application time? Should I amend the law school application to create a catch-all entry for "various on-campus opportunities" employment? (Submitted January 2021.)

ANSWER:

This does not sound problematic based on our understanding, which is not a definitive answer. You can get the best answer possible by contacting the Massachusetts Board of Bar Examiners directly. They welcome these inquiries and accept anonymous questions by phone (617) 482-4466, and you can also email questions to info@bbe.state.ma.us. If you’re struggling with stress related to this concern, consider booking a free & confidential consultation with one of our licensed clinicians.

[Filed under Career/Practice Concerns]

Q: I was recently diagnosed with cancer for the 4th time. This time it is metastatic. I am depressed and exhausted. I am trying to find coverage for all my cases which is even more exhausting. Is there an attorney or group in western mass that could help me find attorneys for my cases? Thanks (Submitted January 2021.)

ANSWER:

We’re so sorry to hear about your diagnosis and the stresses that it brings.  If you have not already got mental health support in place (perhaps through the cancer treatment center) to help deal with the depression that of course accompanies your circumstance, you might want to schedule an online consultation with one of our staff clinicians.

With regard to your specific inquiry about the process of seeking practice coverage, our Executive Director, Anna Levine, is available to discuss this with you.  If indicated, there might also be a follow-up from the staff of our Law Office Management Assistance Program. Anna can be reached via our main number, 617-482-9600 or by email at anna@lclma.org.

[Filed under Career/Practice Concerns]

Q: Are MA character and fitness reports confidential? Can they disclose their findings in our background checks to schools/employers, etc? (Submitted December 2020.)

ANSWER:

You can get the most definitive answer possible by contacting the Massachusetts Board of Bar Examiners directly. They welcome these inquiries and accept anonymous questions by phone (617) 482-4466, and you can also email questions to info@bbe.state.ma.us. If you’re struggling with stress related to this concern, consider booking a free & confidential consultation with one of our licensed clinicians.

[Filed under Career/Practice Concerns]

Q: Hello, I made a dumb decision when I was 13 that resulted in felony and misdemeanor charges (i.e. burglary, theft, and criminal mischief). Luckily, I was eligible for a diversion program and I believe all charges were expunged. Since then, I have had a clean record. Do I need to worry about not passing the bar exam on this basis once I graduate from law school? Thanks! (Submitted July 2020.)

ANSWER:

We would encourage you not to worry about passing the character & fitness portion of the bar exam based on charges from age 13. Even if the charges were expunged, the current application will instruct you to disclose them — the BBE will recognize your record of better decision-making. You can get the most definitive answer possible by contacting the Massachusetts Board of Bar Examiners directly. They welcome these inquiries and accept anonymous questions by phone (617) 482-4466, and you can also email questions to info@bbe.state.ma.us.

[Filed under Career/Practice Concerns]

Q: I have a non-traffic state petty misdemeanor charge that was dismissed years ago. My Bar application interview asks if I have "ever been charged with or been the subject of any investigation for a felony or misdemeanor other than a minor traffic charge.." Does this require that I disclose the petty misdemeanor? (Submitted June 2020.)

ANSWER:

You’d get the best answer by contacting the Massachusetts Board of Bar Examiners directly. They welcome these inquiries and accept anonymous questions by phone (617) 482-4466, and you can also email questions to info@bbe.state.ma.us.

[Filed under Career/Practice Concerns]

Q: I am currently working on filling out the Bar application. When I reached the employment history section, I remembered a job I held while in high school. I am also remembering that I was paid in cash at this job and do not believe I ever paid taxes on that income. I still plan to list this job and intend to disclose the issue on my application as well. Should I be pursuing any actions to mitigate the issue? Should i now attempt to report that income? Any insight you may have on these types of scenarios would be greatly appreciated! Thanks. (Submitted May 2020.)

ANSWER:

You’d get a better answer by contacting the Massachusetts Board of Bar Examiners directly. They welcome these inquiries and accept anonymous questions by phone (617) 482-4466, and you can also email questions to info@bbe.state.ma.us.

[Filed under Career/Practice Concerns]

Q: Any advice for a lawyer who knows another lawyer is using drugs and practicing? I’m concerned for the lawyer but also the clients. (Submitted March 2020.)

ANSWER:

We have compiled advice here: What You Should Do When You’re Concerned for a Lawyer (or Law Student)Since you indicate you’re certain of the problem, the next best step would be to brainstorm with one of our licensed clinicians — please call (617) 482 9600.

[Filed under Career/Practice Concerns]

Q: I am a first-year attorney and am having trouble managing the stress of my job. I have spoken to a counselor already, but given that she has no idea what being a lawyer was like, the experience was more frustrating than helpful. Because of this, I think that LCL really could be a helpful resource for me. I would like to utilize your services, but I was curious about your availability on weekends. It's hard for me to get to appointments during the week, but I can make weekends work. Are there any counselors that are available on weekends? (Submitted February 2020.)

ANSWER:

We’re very sorry but LCL primarily operates during regular business hours — one of our clinicians does offer some hours before 9 and after 5, which are only Tuesday – Friday.

We realize that there are some kinds of legal work, including early-career positions in settings like large law firms and legal aid services to the community, that make it very challenging to get to a regular weekday appointment, but that obstacle is perhaps mitigated by the fact that our role is to provide assessment & referral rather than ongoing individual therapy.

Among those to whom we refer are some therapists who have seen a number of lawyers, and even a few who actually have law degrees as well as licenses in mental health fields. A caveat is that it can be difficult enough to find someone who matches you on geography and health insurance provider list (assuming you need to use health insurance), without regard to therapist experience with the law.

You can schedule a Free & Confidential online or phone consultation with one of our licensed therapists if you like, which might be more convenient.

[Filed under Career/Practice Concerns]

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