Can you help me, please?

 

Good morning (…) (from Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain)

My name is Manel Atserias Luque. I am a lawyer, and I am currently finishing the Advanced Master in Legal Sciences at Pompeu Fabra University. Furthermore, I am a member of the Barcelona Bar Association (ICAB, in Spanish and Catalan) since September 2014.

I read one notice at Idealex.press under which both the State Bar of Michigan Young Lawyers Section Health and Wellness Committee and the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law sponsored the conference “Young Lawyers: Mental Health for Lawyers & Law Students” on March 14, 2017. Taking into account that I have an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), I am very interested in knowing what kind of activities the Dave Nee Foundation, Law Schools, State Bars, and the American Bar Association (together with other centers or organizations) carry out concerning this topic.

I am reading “Reducing the Stigma: The Deadly Effect of Untreated Mental Illness and New Strategies for Changing Outcomes in Law Students“, and it is incredible how the stigma affects both law students and lawyers when they need to ask for professional help or, merely, explain their problems to their colleagues. Nonetheless, it is important to emphasize that the American experience is very different from the Spanish one. Unlike you, we do not have this level of awareness. For this reason, I would like to change this situation. 

There will be elections to choose the new Barcelona Bar Association Board of Directors soon. I asked candidates about this issue in Linkedin, and one of them, Mr. Jordi Pintó Sala (together with their team) showed much interest. In fact, I have already had a meeting with one of his teammates to talk about the importance of mental health in our area. 

I would like you to explain to me what kind of activities you do. My purpose is to fight against the stigmatization and discrimination which both law students and lawyers suffer because of their mental health problems.

God Bless America!

Harvard Law School

Note: Manel Atserias Luque has been admitted to participate in an international program (Global Perspectives and International Law) which will take place at Wasserstein Hall, on the Harvard Law School Campus (Cambridge, Massachusetts). Nonetheless, it is important to emphasize that this program is not organized by Harvard University, but by the CBL International and Worldstrides organization.  

When I was diagnosed with an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) in 2010, the disease controlled my life. At that time, doctors could not believe I was studying my third year of Bachelor of Law. Even, one of them recommended me to take a break because my level of intrusive thoughts was extremely incapacitating.

Bearing in mind that it was tough to follow the academic rhythm because of my OCD, I needed to demonstrate to myself that I could pass my courses despite difficulties. It was not easy, but I achieved it. On September 2014, I was already a member of Barcelona Bar Association and could practice Law before courts.

But it was not enough. After experiencing some improvements thanks to medical and psychologist treatments, I wanted to take a step forward. For this reason, I decided to do the Advanced Master in Legal Sciences at Pompeu Fabra University (Barcelona) in 2015.

It was then when I discovered my real passion: Constitutional American Law. Although I live and study in Barcelona, my mind and heart are in the U.S. since I began my master’s degree. Reading U.S. Supreme Court opinions and legal literature, listening oral arguments of this court, talking to American law students have already become in quotidian activities. In fact, I would like to do my Ph.D. in the U.S. and, if it is possible, to live there.

Harvard is the best university around the world. The best American legal minds have studied there. For instance, U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Associate Justices Elena Kagan (she was even its dean), Stephen G. Breyer, and Anthony M. Kennedy (the former Justice Scalia, too) were law students at Harvard Law School.  

When I hear the word “Harvard”, my mind associates this word with honor and excellence. I am sure that I am going to improve my legal skills with this program, as well as having the opportunity to live one of my best American experiences.

Lastly, I want to say that I am no longer a slave to my intrusive thoughts. I look forward to learning and knowing my real abilities. If I can attend this course, I will be able to test myself again. And that is fantastic.

My personal history

 

Dear reader, 

I would like you to watch this video where I explain my disease: the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Considering that I talked about this topic in Spanish (the audience was primarily from Spain and Latin American countries), it is possible that my American colleagues also want to know what I said. In this case, do not worry because I will attend XXIV Annual Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Conference, which will take place in San Francisco from July 7-9. Furthermore, I will participate there as a presenter, together with three American colleagues.