Power of the Law

Over the last 48 hours, since President Trump’s travel ban went into effect across America, I have personally been in a constant state of anger and disbelief. No matter your views on the executive orders effecting hundreds of thousands travelling internationally over this weekend, one undeniable fact remains – lawyers must play a critical role now and in the future.

In the wee hours of Saturday evening, Judge Allison Burroughs of the United States District Court of Massachusetts issued a temporary stay of the controversial executive order. She joined other courts, including the Southern District of New York, granting temporary stays which allowed for immediate release of detainees within these particular jurisdictions. Both of these lawsuits had been filed by local ACLU chapters earlier in the day.  Meanwhile, immigration lawyers set up camps at airports around the country to assist those affected by the executive order. From my perspective, it was truly humbling seeing how many attorneys shown in pictures from Logan Airport who were literally sitting on the ground on laptops attempting to help those in need.

Local ACLU chapters were also tweeting out advice at a near rapid pace throughout the day Saturday advising those travelling abroad of the appropriate steps needed to be taken. Other government organizations supported by lawyers sparked inspiration by opposing the executive orders through social media activity. Attorneys and organizations are not alone – today, thousands of people in cities across the country are protesting the recent executive orders. With the varying ways that attorneys and citizens alike are speaking out about this issue both on the ground and over the internet, it shows how much of an impact that the profession that we are all studying can have. Attorneys and judges were equally working around the clock to seek immediate change of something that was implemented just mere hours prior.

Last night, the Boston Bar Association held their annual Adams Benefit at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Someone tweeted a quote from the event that I have been thinking about over the last several hours. “Everyone has needed a lawyer since the founding of our democracy. Everyone.” This country has been built by those lawyers that have evolved and interpreted our laws to protect our basic principles and the constitution. In order to continue to protect our basic principles, it is vitally important to support the organizations that reflect your beliefs. Organizations such as the ACLU have done amazing work this past weekend and continued support of such organizations are the only way for them to continue having such an impact. Volunteer. Donate. Do whatever you can.

This weekend has been a perfect example of how you can use your law degree to have an immediate impact on this country. Personally, it’s given me hope and it’s given me something to strive towards. Despite the anguish I’ve felt, I’ve felt even more hope because of the lawyer profession using their power, knowledge and skills to fight for immediate, impactful change.

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