November 01, 2017

SOGI Liaison Highlight

BY: MATT MECOLI

What is your name?
MM: Matt Mecoli 

What is your position with SOGI (years and organization of orientation)?


MM: 
This is my first official year with SOGI as the co-Liaison from the Law Student Division. 

How many years have you been involved with the ABA?

MM: I’m coming up on my third year of being involved with the ABA. I spent my first year as the 3rd Circuit Governor on the Board of Governors fo the Law Student Division

What is your day job (if student, what school and year)?

MM: I’m a 2L at Drexel’s Kline School of Law.

Other than ABA SOGI, with what other organizations are you involved?

MM: I’m actively involved with founding a nonprofit in my home city of Philadelphia that hosts events around the city for LGBT individuals, particularly in traditionally underrepresented communities.

Why did you seek /accept the SOGI Liaison position?

MM: SOGI was recommended to me by both of the former liaisons as the best group in the entire ABA. I’m happy to say their recommendations were well-founded.

On what SOGI Committees do you currently serve?

MM: I serve on the Advocacy Committee.  

In what SOGI project are you most interested?

MM: I’m working with the Anti-Bullying Roundtable on a project that will hopefully launch within the next few months. The new project will provide resources to students, educators, and advocates on the legal rights and recourses available to LGBT students. This should provide a manifestation of the excellent work done by the Anti-Bullying Roundtables thus far.

What has surprised you the most about the work that SOGI does in the bar and/or community?

MM: The level of hard work and dedication demonstrated by the members of SOGI is only surpassed by their concern and care for one another. It is a small family, and I have been honored to be one of its members. One of the first things you worry about when you find out you've been appointed to a liaison position as a law student is whether or not your relationship with your new entity will be a productive and meaningful one. Will they care about law student input? Will they need you to be involved? In my experience with the law students in the ABA, particular as the former 3rd Circuit Governor, I found that the law student who choose to be involved with the ABA, overwhelming do so out of a genuine desire to improve the profession for the law students of today and the lawyers of tomorrow. So here I was, hoping that there would be a place for me with the Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity. I was hoping to make a difference and hoping there was work to be done. And SOGI answered that call, as it always does. Through a tumultuous year for the LGBT community, SOGI has always striven to do more to ensure that the rule of law protects that community.

What is your originating organization doing in terms of SOGI-relevant issues?

MM: The Law Student Division takes a progressive stance on most issues involving diversity, including those related to sexual orientation and gender identity. Just last year, the Assembly passed a resolution endorsing the changes to Model Rule 8.4 and a resolution adding gender identity and expression to the non-discrimination language of our Division’s bylaws, both of which were authored by myself and my co-liaison, Nathan Bruemmer.

How do you think SOGI can work to support your originating organization?

MM: The best way SOGI can work to support the Law Student Division is to ensure that they remain a resource and a partner to the members of the Division’s leadership when embarking on diversity projects. Again, these are just a starting off point to help our readers understand how our Liaisons work, where they come from, and how we can build off of those relationships. I welcome your thoughts.

MATT MECOLI

Law Student Division Liaison