Young Lawyers Journal
Young Lawyers: Find a Lifeline –- Get Involved!
by Brigid Mitchell, associate attorney, Denise Squillante
The life of an attorney can be isolating at times and for many
of us this can be an unwelcome part of the practice. For those of
us that transitioned into the practice after years of being a
student, the transition can be a bumpy road as it requires major
life changes. Many of the pressures of being a student are
different from those we experience as practicing attorneys and the
change in our everyday life can be dramatic.
In my experience, I find that my social circle has shrunk
considerably since entering private practice or even since entering
law school. I have wrestled with why this has happened throughout
my journey from college student to law student to practicing
attorney but I cannot pinpoint any one reason. However, I do know
that the practice itself can be very isolating for a variety of
reasons including the public's perceptions about attorneys.
Many of my young colleagues have had similar experiences and we
find solace in one another in adjusting to our new life as
practicing attorneys. One particular place I have found to be a
tremendous lifeline is the Massachusetts Bar Association and in
particular the Young Lawyers Division.
Bar association involvement - on all levels - can provide
attorneys at all stages of their careers with an invaluable support
system. Many lasting friendships and connections are to be made
through bar association involvement. I for one have met so many
amazing people through my experiences with bar association work. It
is very comforting to know there are other people in a similar
situation with similar experiences and it helps to know you are not
alone. I so enjoy networking and socializing with other attorneys
outside of the adversarial process. Stepping outside of an
adversarial role with other lawyers promotes civility and can work
against negative perceptions people may have about attorneys. This
can be achieved through bar involvement and volunteerism.
The difficult transition into practice makes bar involvement
early in one's career that much more important. The isolation and
pressure of the practice cause many people to leave the practice.
Therefore, it is our responsibility as active participants in bar
associations to educate our fellow young lawyers about the
significance of bar involvement and bar leadership as a safety net
for lawyers. If this safety net is put into place right away -
beginning with law school - fewer people may leave the
There are so many benefits to bar involvement beyond providing a
lifeline and support network. Bar involvement serves to enhance and
enrich the lives of all lawyers alike on both a professional
and personal level.
Admitted to the bar in December 2009, Mitchell is an
associate attorney at Denise Squillante PC in Fall River, where she
focuses in the areas of family law and personal injury. A member of
the MBA's Young Lawyers Division Board of Directors, Miitchell is
also a General Practice, Solo & Small-Firm Section Council