May 02, 2013

May 2013: Brian McLaughlin


Solo Practitioner Thrives Helping People Find Solutions

Brian McLaughlin says that it was his attending West Point and a visit to the John F. Kennedy Museum that instilled in him the spirit of volunteerism and service.  This spirit led him to Boston College School of Law, from which he graduated in 2008.

After working briefly as an intelligence analyst in the FBI field office, McLaughlin, who has cerebral palsy and cannot write, took the leap into opening a solo practice, which he decided would allow him to work on his own terms.  His power wheelchair and technology such as Kurzweil & Dragon Naturally Speaking makes it possible for McLaughlin to maintain an active practice.  He finds the legal profession welcoming overall, and other counsel willing to work with him and his accommodations.  He observes, however, that “barriers are only barriers if you let them be.  There’s still a lot of work to be done, but let’s remember how far we’ve come.”

McLaughlin volunteers for the Boston Bar Association’s Volunteer Lawyers’ Project, the Women’s Bar Foundation Family Law Project, the Unemployment and Family Law Panels. McLaughlin is a past board member of Easter Seals Massachusetts, and currently serves on the board for Shelter Legal Services Foundation

Underlying all of his endeavors is his commitment to help people in difficult situations and to provide a resolution. McLaughlin believes that his disability has allowed him to relate to people in different, unconventional ways.  “Communication cannot be learned from a book.”  McLaughlin is able to connect with his clients during their vulnerable moments and inspire them to make positive moves forward in their life by using his perspective from a wheelchair.

As for the future, McLaughlin eventually sees himself teaching law, and hopefully, after having helped numerous families re-shape themselves in the wake of a crisis, to have a family of his own. 

Click here to read more about Brian McLaughlin, and his experiences his first year after passing the bar exam.