It has been roughly three weeks since the Supreme Judicial Court Standing Committee on Lawyer Well-Being issued its Report Summarizing Affinity Bar Town Hall Meetings (the “Report”). The Report shines a necessary light on the issues facing attorneys and law students in the Commonwealth, particularly attorneys of color and historically excluded individuals.
Now where do we go from here? Apart from reading and re-distributing the Report to friends, family, colleagues, and peers, we must continue to speak up, as we have always done, in the face of injustice. We must also consider ways to effectuate concrete change in the Commonwealth. Simply meeting a diversity “quota” or providing a boilerplate training without more is wholly insufficient to addressing the real problems underrepresented groups face as legal professionals. Being an effective ally means listening to the issues faced by marginalized groups, understanding how this may impact their well-being and professional advancement, and taking a proactive role in ensuring marginalized groups are supported throughout their careers, both personally and professionally.
The Massachusetts LGBTQ Bar Association was proud to participate in the Committee’s efforts and hope the Report serves both as a wake-up call for members of the Massachusetts bar as well as a path to move forward in addressing the many obstacles underrepresented and systematically oppressed populations still face in and outside of the Commonwealth.
In the coming weeks, the Bar Association will be hosting a town hall to discuss the Report in greater detail and solicit input from our members for recommendations moving forward. Stay tuned for more.
Annika Bockius-Suwyn and Daniel Ball
Co-Chairs of the Massachusetts LGBTQ Bar Association