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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. Alternatively, you can 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 am Pro Se in a lawsuit I initiated. Opposing counsel has done the following: Emailed me about witnesses understanding or use of Zoom (despite not being represented by him) and then claiming he cannot give them zoom instructions because he doesn't represent them; Continually sent emails with incorrect dates (in an accusatory tone, only to eventually, usually send corrected emails); Confusing dates/times for depositions and motions; Asking me the same questions repeatedly (sometimes 3 or more times, e.g. who the court reporter will be); Potentially confusing me with another case; Listing out dozens of open cases he is involved in, then saying his schedule will be wide open in the midst of these cases. (Submitted August 2021.)

ANSWER:

We gather that, although there is not a question specified, you’d like to know what to do about this concerning situation.  You mention that you are acting pro se, so we don’t know whether you are an attorney.  If you are, you would have a duty to report conduct if it is at the level “that raises a substantial question as to that lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer.”  In any case you are not in a position to diagnose the opposing counsel’s mental status.  It is hard to know how to assess the behaviors you describe:  Cognitive impairment?  ADHD?  Being stressed/overwhelmed?  Intentional tactics?  Other?

Nonetheless, if you have a strong impression that the attorney is behaving inappropriately, it would seem appropriate to report him.  At this point, we need to clarify that you have submitted your question to this LCL anonymous online Q&A system, which is staffed by clinicians who seek to help lawyers, not by lawyers.  If you are concerned about this or any lawyer’s mental health status, you are welcome to recommend that they contact us for clinical consultation.

For the rest of the question, we cannot provide authoritative advice, but suggest that you might want to first communicate with the judge in the case, if it is an active case, probably via the clerk.  Beyond that, you can call the Board of Bar Overseers/Office of Bar Counsel (617-728-8750), either as a fellow attorney or as a consumer, to ask for guidance and, if indicated, to make a report involving professional misconduct/impairment.

[Filed under Ethics/Disciplinary Process]

Q: On my resume that I included with my law school application I listed two volunteer positions with student groups that I was part of in undergrad. I don't have references or contacts to list to confirm that I was a member of these groups for the character and fitness section of the bar. Will this be a problem? I'm not sure how to prove I was a member of these groups. (Submitted August 2021.)

ANSWER:

The following statement is not legal advice on your application to the bar: Your situation does not appear problematic to us. As always, 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: Are these resources, group meetings, workshops, etc. only for lawyers who are licensed in MA? (Submitted July 2021.)

ANSWER:

Thank you for your interest! Our services aren’t exactly only for lawyers licensed in Massachusetts — but close. First, anyone is welcome to view resources on our blogs, including webinars.

From there, services like consultations, groups, workshops, and other programs with limited availability/space, are typically reserved for Massachusetts legal professionals, including law students, and please note the following:

  • Our consultations with licensed therapists are also for immediate family members of Massachusetts lawyers, judges, and law students.
  • Some groups are exclusive to Massachusetts lawyers, some are exclusive to law students, some have other requirements for other groups within the legal profession designed for specific purposes, e.g. Solo | Stress Connection is only for solo and small practice lawyers, Immigration Support is limited to immigration lawyers, Professional Conduct is limited to lawyers facing disciplinary issues.
  • Find a listing of LAPs similar to ours in other states here.

 

[Filed under Career/Practice Concerns]

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]

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