Posted in: Lawyers › None
Michael Abro has worked as a mental health counselor and as a lawyer. Now, in a newly created position at the South Carolina Bar’s Lawyers Helping Lawyers Program, she gets the opportunity to tap into her passion for helping others and put both careers’ skill sets to use.
“My new role as education and outreach coordinator provides the perfect opportunity to marry my mental health and law passions,” Abro says. “I have an opportunity to provide outreach services and education to judges, lawyers, and law students facing substance use, mental health, and stress-related issues.”
Abro, former director of alumni services at Charleston School of Law, joined the SC Bar in July.
In the new role, Abro will provide education and outreach programs to members of the South Carolina legal community facing mental health, substance abuse or stress-related issues.
“I've known Michael for some time now and have always appreciated her understanding of the importance of good mental health to the legal community,” says Lawyers Helping Lawyers co-director Beth Padgett. “She has all the skills and experience necessary to fill this position, along with an impeccable work ethic. She has been with us less than a month and has already made quite an impact!”
Michael recently took time to discuss her background and provide more insight about her new role in the Lawyers Helping Lawyers program.
Q: Tell us about yourself.
A: I am originally from Charleston. After attending college and graduate school at the University of South Carolina, I moved to the West Coast for a couple of years. It was initially a culture shock. Also, life in Los Angeles was a little different from life as I had known it in Charleston and Columbia. So, 15 years ago, I moved back to South Carolina. My entire family lives in South Carolina, so no one was disappointed when I let them know that I was coming home. I have an incredibly kind, supportive husband and a hilarious, outgoing 7-year-old daughter. I can be found riding my bicycle with my family or reading a book in my free time.
Q: How did you get started in your law career?
A: Law is my second career. I have an Educational Specialist degree in Counselor Education and worked as a mental health counselor in my first career. I truly enjoyed the work I did as a counselor and recognized that I could expand my opportunities for helping others if I also had a law degree. In the work I do, I use both degrees daily.
Q: What are some of the goals you would like to accomplish in your first year as Education and Outreach Coordinator?
A: This is a brand-new position, so I am excited about the opportunity to work with others to build it up, starting at the foundational level. From the outset, I am focused on providing outreach and education to the South Carolina legal community. I will be expanding services to underserved groups in underserved communities. I also enjoy public speaking, so I am looking forward to providing additional continuing legal education opportunities to all legal community members. In addition, I am enthusiastic about expanding the Lawyers Helping Lawyers volunteer base.
Q: What is the most important thing for the South Carolina legal community to know about your position and the LHL program?
A: If judges, lawyers and law students could know only one thing about my position, it would be that I am here and available to help. Lawyers Helping Lawyers has numerous resources available to those in the legal community facing substance use or mental health concerns. We assist throughout the state and want to make sure that people are aware of the services available to them.
Q: What should members of the legal community do if they want to learn more?
A: Contact me! I am always available to talk about services available through Lawyers Helping Lawyers and opportunities to get involved as a volunteer. I can be reached via email at email@example.com. Members can also visit our website to learn more about the resources available to them.