Lawyers in Transition Committee addresses work life balance issues

Issue July/August 2007

The Massachusetts Bar Association provides programs and services to support attorneys who have either left the practice of law or have moved to a limited practice.

The programs help attorneys stay in touch with the legal community or transition back into the profession. Attorneys who stop practicing law or limit their practice for any reason are given encouragement to return to the profession and offered help in making a smooth transition once they decide to come back.

These programs are developed through the Lawyers in Transition Committee, chaired by MBA Vice President Denise Squillante. This committee works to identify members of the profession who are in transition and find ways to serve their particular needs.

One program the committee is developing seeks to address a problem identified in the Equality Commission’s report: the tension between parenting and practicing.

"One of the concerns of not having women stay connected to the profession is that we will then not have women who are bar leaders, women who are at the top of the profession, and women on the bench. That’s the real fear that is raised by that report," said Squillante.

The Lawyers in Transition Committee is examining the issue of attorneys who, because of parenting demands, drop out of the profession entirely rather than scale back or find a more flexible environment to practice in.

"Lawyers in Transition hopes to make lawyers aware that they do have lifelines at the Massachusetts Bar Association – mentoring programs, work-life balance programs, partnering and developing programs – so they don’t feel they are in isolation."