Next week, a familiar scene will take place at the historic Faneuil Hall: Excited family members will pack the galleries of the Great Hall. Gradually, the floor seats will fill up with recent admittees to the bar. Finally, Clerk for the County of Suffolk to the Supreme Judicial Court Maura Doyle will take the stage and orient the audience to the historic hall in which they are sitting and the significance of the ceremony that is about to take place.
For so many, the Faneuil Hall swearing-in ceremony is the first official step into new lives as practicing members of the legal profession. We more experienced attorneys have all been in those shoes at some point, and I’m sure we can recall the sense of pride, excitement, and accomplishment that accompanied the event. The sense of gravitas felt as we swore to uphold the standards of the profession was enormous and has stayed with us throughout the years.
So to the new lawyers who are embarking on this journey and joining the noble tradition of the law: I congratulate and welcome you. You became a part of the legal community as a law student. As a new lawyer, it is now time to put your passion into practice and find ways to protect the rights of those who cannot always protect themselves. Your hard work over the past several years has finally paid off, and I hope you find that the years to come exceed your expectations and offer you fulfillment.
I would be remiss as President of the BBA if I didn’t take this opportunity to urge you to become involved or increase your involvement in the BBA. Many of our members and volunteers would agree that it has been one of the best choices they have ever made, personally and professionally. I can attest to that as well: as a young attorney, I was encouraged to join a BBA committee by the founder of the firm where I was then working. Through this initial step, I got involved in the BBA’s Delivery of Legal Services Section, which connected me to like-minded attorneys and allowed me the chance to work more closely on issues of access to justice and civil legal aid. , These issues were very important to me, and I did not have the opportunity to work on them as a part of my regular legal practice. My experiences with the BBA played a huge role in my subsequent work with the Equal Justice Coalition and led to the privilege of serving as president of Greater Boston Legal Services.
With this in mind, I encourage you to view the BBA as a stepping stone for discovering new opportunities, making valuable connections across all areas of the legal community, and finding roles –particularly leadership roles – that may be outside your practice area. The BBA hosts a range of educational programs, but that’s only a small part of its offerings. There are many ways to be a part of the critical work it does in the greater Boston community and meet other enthusiastic, committed volunteers. Here are just a few upcoming programs and events:
- The BBA holds ongoing pro bono trainings to educate attorneys about ways that they can volunteer to help those unable to access or afford legal assistance; our upcoming trainings include Representing a Pro Bono Debtor in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy and Special Education Advocacy for At-Risk Children.
- The New Lawyers Section is a great way to increase your activity at the BBA. They host networking and professional development events, like the upcoming Young Professionals Networking Night, the Section’s monthly Professional Development Breakfast, and the Section’s Winter Reception. They also support community causes and donate their time to volunteering. On November 22, for example, they will be heading over to Cradles to Crayons to put together donations bags for disadvantaged children.
- We’re already looking ahead to 2015 and preparing to Walk to the Hill for civil legal aid on January 29.
This is only a quick look at some of the programming the BBA has lined up in the next couple of months. I invite you to explore our calendar for other events and public service opportunities, and to seriously consider a membership at the BBA – it will enhance your experience even further.