For The Record

Photograph by Mark Gormus/Richmond Times-Dispatch

For her efforts that resulted in the Virginia Board of Bar Examiners no longer asking applicants to disclose mental health treatment, Mental Health America of Virginia recognized Gray O’Dwyer, L’18, as its Advocate Champion of the Year in 2019.

As a Richmond Law 3L, O’Dwyer helped spearhead an initiative to urge the Virginia State Bar to make this change, collaborating with fellow students on letter-writing campaigns, reaching out to the media to raise awareness, and partnering with the Student Bar Association. The question, which was part of the bar application’s “character and fitness” assessment, was a potential barrier to law students seeking counseling based on fears that it could affect their admission to the bar.

“If we can start people down the path that it’s OK to ask for help,” said O’Dwyer, who now works as an assistant attorney general specializing in environmental law. “I think we can avoid so many of the problems that have become an issue in the field and make happier, healthier, safer lawyers.”