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Learning by Listening

Success in the law profession (as well as life) does not come from hearing, but rather from listening. These were the wise words a mentor imparted to Kevin Quigley that have stuck with him.

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Written By: Kirsten Ballard

Success in the law profession (as well as life) does not come from hearing, but rather from listening.

These were the wise words a mentor imparted to Kevin Quigley that have stuck with him.

Quigley was four when he lost almost all of his hearing for an unknown reason and received hearing aids. He relied heavily on lipreading, frequency modular (FM) transmitters and sitting at the front of the class. He graduated from Boston College Law School in 2012 and is now a principal at Choate, Hall & Stewart LLP in Boston, specializing in patents, trade secrets, and other disputes in the life sciences and technology fields.

Quigley received the George H. Nofer Scholarship for Law and Public Policy.

“I’ll always be grateful that the Nofer Fund helped pay for a terrific education at Boston College Law School,” he says. “A decade later, with graduate school costs only continuing to rise, I’m sure the scholarship is all the more urgent and appreciated by each new set of recipients.”

“The Nofer Scholarship opened my eyes to the broader community of deaf and hard-of-hearing lawyers. I believe I made a connection with John Stanton [a Washington, D.C. attorney and AG Bell board member] through the scholarship process, and then to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Lawyers Facebook group, which has been a great resource through the years.”

He urges lawyers with hearing loss or hearing impairments to speak up about accommodations that they need and that will make their life easier. He says the benefits will far outweigh any initial awkwardness associated with asking. He also recommends staying abreast of technology that can improve a person’s life.

“For the first several years of my career, using the phone was the biggest challenge because I relied so heavily on lip-reading. Thankfully, Choate was extremely supportive in arranging for CART transcription services for long conference calls and court hearings, and my colleagues quickly adapted to favoring in-person meetings and emails over impromptu calls,” he says.

In 2017, he received a cochlear implant (CI). “I found the CI to be a life-changing improvement over my hearing aids. I no longer need to rely on CART for phone calls, and Zoom calls are even better because I can lip-read to fill in any gaps. I still have difficulty at times, particularly in noisier situations — restaurants and the like — but on balance my hearing impairment has receded into the background of my day-to-day practice,” he says.

He enjoys his work and the company of his colleagues and clients.

“At the end of the day, it’s the relationships with colleagues and clients who become friends.  There are few things more rewarding than helping to solve a difficult problem for someone you care about,” he says.

Outside of work, he lives with his wife, Emily; toddler, Caroline; and French Bulldog, Freddie. He says a silver lining of quarantine and working from home has been all the extra family time.

Before attending law school, Quigley majored in English in undergraduate studies at Boston College. His love of reading, writing and critical thinking led him to a law career. “Being a lawyer can be challenging, but it’s never boring. And as a mediocre ex-intramural athlete, I think litigation scratches my itch for competition,” he says.

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Aprender escuchando

El éxito en la profesión de abogado (así como en la vida) no se consigue gracias a la audición, sino a la escucha.

Estas fueron las sabias palabras que un tutor transmitió a Kevin Quigley y que siempre ha tenido presentes.

Kevin tenía cuatro años cuando perdió casi toda la audición por una causa desconocida y empezó a utilizar audífonos. Dependía en gran medida de la lectura de labios y de los transmisores de frecuencia modular (FM), y se sentaba en la parte delantera de la clase. Se graduó en la Facultad de Derecho del Boston College en 2012 y actualmente es director de Choate, Hall & Stewart LLP (Boston), un bufete de abogados especializado en patentes, secretos comerciales y otros litigios en los ámbitos de las ciencias biológicas y la tecnología.

Kevin recibió la beca George H. Nofer para Derecho y Políticas Públicas.

«Siempre estaré agradecido al Fondo Nofer por su ayuda en el pago de una excelente educación en la Facultad de Derecho del Boston College», asegura. «Una década después, considerando que los cursos de grado son cada vez más caros, creo que la beca es muy importante y apreciada por los nuevos grupos de beneficiarios.

«La beca Nofer hizo que me diera cuenta de la gran comunidad de abogados con sordera e hipoacusia. Creo que, en primer lugar, establecí contacto con John Stanton [un abogado de Washington, D.C., y miembro de la junta de AG Bell] a través del proceso de becas y después con el grupo de Facebook de abogados con sordera e hipoacusia, que ha sido un gran recurso a lo largo de los años».

Anima a los abogados con sordera o hipoacusia a que pregunten por las adaptaciones que necesiten y que les faciliten la vida. Asegura que los beneficios superarán con creces cualquier incomodidad inicial asociada con el hecho de preguntar. También recomienda mantenerse al tanto de la tecnología que pueda mejorar la vida de una persona.

«Durante los primeros años de mi carrera, la utilización del teléfono fue el mayor reto al que me enfrenté por mi gran dependencia de la lectura de labios. Afortunadamente, Choate fue un gran apoyo en la organización de servicios de transcripción CART en el caso de largas teleconferencias y vistas judiciales, y mis colegas no tardaron en mostrar su disposición hacia las reuniones en persona y los correos electrónicos en lugar de las llamadas improvisadas», afirma.

En 2017 recibió un implante coclear (IC). «Descubrí que los IC eran dispositivos extraordinarios, en comparación con los audífonos. En las llamadas telefónicas ya no necesito utilizar CART y las llamadas de Zoom son incluso mejores porque puedo leer los labios y llenar cualquier laguna que pueda tener. A veces me enfrento a dificultades, especialmente en condiciones de gran ruido, como es el caso de restaurantes y lugares similares, pero en general la discapacidad auditiva ha pasado a un segundo plano en mi práctica diaria», apunta.

Disfruta de su trabajo y de la compañía de sus colegas y clientes.

«Al final de todo, lo que importa son las relaciones con los colegas y los clientes que se convierten en amigos. Existen pocas cosas más gratificantes que ayudar a resolver un problema difícil para alguien que te importa», señala.

Aparte del trabajo, vive con su esposa Emily, su hija pequeña Caroline y un bulldog francés que se llama Freddie. Comenta que el lado positivo de la cuarentena y el trabajo desde casa ha sido todo el tiempo extra que ha podido dedicar a su familia.

Antes de estudiar en la facultad de derecho, Kevin realizó estudios de grado de inglés en el Boston College. Su afición por la lectura, la escritura y el pensamiento crítico le impulsaron a estudiar la carrera de derecho. «Ser abogado puede ser un reto, pero nunca es aburrido. Habiendo sido un atleta mediocre, creo que los litigios me despiertan el deseo de competir», añade.

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