Questions and AnswersIn this area of the site, 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 to be 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, because of the mechanism that keeps this anonymous.


or click any of the topics in the above list to access a wealth of information accumulated in years of archived Q&A columns.


For questions about how to function as a lawyer, such as the proper way of setting up a contingency fee arrangement — Please visit our program for practice management services, masslomap.org.



Question 1, received 3/17/17: What should a bar applicant do when she realizes something in her law school application’s resume is wrong?

Question 2, received 4/2/17:  Hello! I have a few questions about the typical C&F process. First, do most C&F boards compare and contrast the law school application with the Bar application in its entirety to look for minor discrepancies, or does that tend to only occur if a red flag has already been raised in the C&F process? Second, if a C&F board does catch a minor exaggeration on the law school application (for example, in her prior work experience, the applicant claims that she served around 25 customers with a consulting firm when really it was more like 10 customers), but this exaggeration is not repeated on the Bar application, would this likely be sufficient to deny the applicant Character and Fitness certification? And finally, if an applicant has a period of self employment in her employment history, is it generally necessary to provide the C&F board with a reference that can attest to the entire period, even if the applicant did not have any one customer or employee with whom she worked for the entire period of self-employment? Or would a customer/client whom she worked with for just half of the period of self-employment generally suffice as a reference? Thank you so much for taking the time to consider these questions,


The answers to both of these questions are:  (1) This is not really what LCL does — we help with the human, behavioral, emotional side of coping with being a lawyer or law student.  (2) However, our clinician Barbara Bowe, LICSW, who serves as our primary liaison with law schools, may be able to point you in a useful direction if you contact her here at LCL.  (3) In addition, it is possible to call the executive director of the Board of Bar Examiners, and you may be able to pose questions without identifying yourself.

For readers other than the person who anonymously submitted this question, what’s important is to recognize that providing false information, or attempting to hide key, relevant information, in the course of law school (starting with the application) or applying to the bar is often more likely to create problems for you than having provided accurate/relevant information in the first place — at least that’s how it has appeared to the clinician who writes these responses.



I am a private attorney on a CAFL panel.I am being arraigned on Assault & Battery against a neighbor c.265 § 13A(a). Am I required to report this to CPCS? And, if yes, when?


LCL’s purview is actually the area of wellness, mental health, career satisfaction, and the like, so this question is really not for us. But you can refer to the CPCA Assigned Counsel Manual, Paragraph 3 (Notice of Complaints or Potential Conflicts), which we are told says:

“An attorney certified or approved to take assignments in CPCS cases, whether through the Private Counsel Division, the Children and Family Law (CAFL) Division, the Public Defender Division, the Youth Advocacy Department, or the Mental Health Litigation Unit, shall notify the appropriate Deputy Chief Counsel (Deputy) or Director

within three business days of learning of any of the following:

  1. The attorney has been charged in any criminal complaint or indictment….”.
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