Attorney; Chair of Legal Studies, Bay Path College, age 39
Justin Dion was on what’s known as the ‘partnership track’ at the Springfield-based law firm Bacon Wilson, P.C. He had established himself as one of the leading bankruptcy lawyers in the region, and it was only a matter of time before he was to be named shareholder.
But then, he took a position as an adjunct faculty member at Bay Path College, and his career path took a turn he couldn’t have foreseen years earlier.
“The more I did it, the more I really enjoyed teaching,” he told BusinessWest. “I found it to be a very empowering experience. And the fact that Bay Path is a women’s college, I found that I was really having a strong impact on these women’s lives, giving them a chance to improve themselves and the lives of their families.”
And now that he’s at Bay Path full-time, as chair of the Legal Studies department, he’s found that he actually has the best of both worlds, or three worlds, to be more precise. Indeed, through his work to create and now direct the Bay Path College Bankruptcy Clinic, Dion can blend teaching with legal work — in an advisory role to students — and also do volunteer, or pro-bono, work, something he found he really enjoyed while at Bacon Wilson.
Working in conjunction with an agency called the Mass. Justice Project, the clinic takes on bankruptcy cases, providing services free of charge to those who cannot afford them.
“This program allows my students to get some real, first-hand experience on what it’s like to deal with clients, and there’s a lot to be said for that,” Dion explained. “You can read about law in a textbook, but until you’re sitting across the table, holding someone’s hand who’s crying, and explaining to them that it’s OK and helping them through the process, you’re not getting the whole experience.”
While Dion enjoys life in those three worlds, the one that matters most is his family — his wife Kathleen, son William, and daughters Bethany, Madison, Sophia, and Charlotte.
“I spend most of my free time as a dad,” he explained, “and that’s the job I enjoy most.”
— George O’Brien