Brett Dakin – Child Mind Institute

Creating caring connectivity and counseling for kids during COVID-19

Depression. Post-traumatic stress disorder. Abuse. Anxiety.

Under “normal” circumstances, many of today’s young people struggle with mental health and learning disorders. Now, add to the mix COVID-19, school closures, civil unrest.

Brett Dakin – Child Mind Institute

Brett Dakin | General Counsel | Child Mind Institute


It’s a lot for a child to process, says Brett Dakin, general counsel for the Child Mind Institute, noting that the number of parents and educators visiting its website has grown exponentially since March.

To support children and adolescents in crisis, the Child Mind Institute provides them and their families with effective, evidence-based clinical care and resources. It’s a strategy that empowers families and communities to get help and cope with the coronavirus.

Brett Dakin – Child Mind Institute

“When our offices closed, we immediately moved our services online, giving us an opportunity to reach new audiences. We’re being mindful of how we communicate to a growing number of people who are seeking help in talking to and supporting children,” Dakin explains. “Many kids are stuck at home, and they continue to struggle with all of these issues. Here’s a way we can help.”

The doctor is “in”

Founded in 2009, the Child Mind Institute is an independent national nonprofit dedicated to transforming the lives of children and families struggling with mental health and learning disorders. Headquartered in midtown Manhattan, the organization has research sites in Harlem and Staten Island and recently opened a clinical center in San Mateo, California.

Dakin is the one-man legal operation helping to guide the Institute, handling everything from reviewing cleaning contracts to drafting statements on systemic racism. More recently, he is working to support the Institute’s shift to telehealth, ensuring that it protects patient privacy.

Brett Dakin – Child Mind Institute

Even as the Institute slowly reopens its offices, though, most appointments remain online, via video conference with a clinician. The new model is opening doors to new patients.

“During this crisis, we have found that our ability to reach families in need has improved,” Dakin says. “It’s an outcome we’re looking to build on, taking our work nationwide,” though he admits, in such a rapidly evolving situation, the leadership team doesn’t always have the answers.

“It’s not a comfortable message for leadership, but it’s important for the staff to hear,” he notes. “Transparency is key.”

Calming counsel

The need to quickly shift gears—from handling a thorny legal issue over video conference to negotiating with a landlord— is an aspect of the job this Harvard Law School grad happens to enjoy. But it’s his role as a trusted advisor that Dakin finds most purposeful.

“Many of my colleagues are clinicians who spend their days helping people in need—but they need help as well,” Dakin says. “My job is to offer them objective advice about the issues they are confronting.”

Brett Dakin – Child Mind Institute

Reflecting on his career since he earned his J.D. in 2003, Dakin points to his clerkship at the international criminal tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague as a formative experience—one that unexpectedly prepared him for the Institute. At the tribunal, he absorbed the often-brutal testimony of victims of war crimes committed during the Bosnia conflict.

“It was painful to listen to this testimony, but it has turned out to be helpful preparation for our work now—treating children in difficult, often tragic situations,” Dakin says, quietly.

Thankfully, the Institute’s patients and Dakin’s colleagues alike have a port in the storm where they can work through the trauma during these troubled times.

“It’s a time of great anxiety for everyone,” he adds. “Children, especially, need to know that they are never alone. We are here for them.”

Published on: July 23, 2020



Showcase your feature on your website with a custom “As Featured in Vanguard” badge that links directly to your article!

Copy and paste this script into your page coding (ideally right before the closing tag) where you want to display our review banner.


As promised in advance, my feature in Vanguard has increased my visibility within the profession and prompted more than a few people I have not communicated with recently to reconnect. One of the Italian law firms I have used in the past is now in the process of interviewing me for an article on their website and tweeting out the feature story. Activity and the number of people connecting with me on LinkedIn has soared, which is great. The Vanguard writers and editorial staff were great to work with—highly professional and made the effort to make the experience both fun and rewarding (they were also respectful of the time pressures and demands all lawyers face). I was very pleased with the experience and the final outcome. Needless to say, I have been very pleased. All in all working with Vanguard has been a very positive experience which generated good publicity for both Shawcor and myself. My sincere thanks.
– Tim Hutzul, General Counsel, ShawCor Ltd.
It was a great honor to be featured in Vanguard Law. Working with every member of the team, from the initial interview with Erin Clark, through production with Victor Martins, writing the article with Taryn Plumb and creating the final content with Dave Gushee, was a true pleasure. Everyone was very professional, enthusiastic and supportive, and their creative approach and positive attitude clearly came through in the final product.
– Kevin C. Rakowski, Senior Vice President, Deputy General Counsel, Compliance with Radian Group Inc.
I was honored to be the subject of an article. I enjoy reading Vanguard articles and seeing how other attorneys got to their positions and see their jobs. It's also interesting to see how different law firms partner with the subjects of the articles.
– Henry Marquard, in-house counsel, Stanley Consultants Inc.
The piece highlighting my company, Bob Baker Enterprises, Inc., came out fabulous. Our company is in the new and used car sales and service industry. Everyone was great to work with and extremely professional. They produced a high-quality product and have provided expert assistance and guidance post-production of the article.
– Wade Poulson, General Counsel, Bob Baker Enterprises Inc.


Summer I 2024



  • * We’ll never share your email or info with anyone.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.