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The 2014 Conference is being held in Nashville, Tennessee starting Tuesday, October 7 until Friday, October 10, 2014. This year’s conference theme is “Getting in Tune – Lawyers Helping Lawyers in Music City.” The conference will have sessions of interest to judges, disciplinary staff, bar leaders, lawyer assistance program directors and staff, law school administrators and law firm managers, as well as abundant opportunities to network with LAP personnel and volunteers involved in lawyer assistance programs from across the U.S. and Canada.

Conference programming will include such varied sessions/topics as: “Treatment and Recovery Enhancement for Sustained Recovery,” “The Roadmap to Wellness: Incorporating Attachment Theory and the Trauma Model in the Recovery/Discovery Process,” “Find Your People,” “What’s New in Drug and Alcohol Testing: New Markers and Devices for Monitoring Participants,” “Judicial Roundtables – Building Community Among Judges,” “Founders Presentation,” “The Health of Today’s Law Students: Reporting Results of a National Survey on Well-Being of Law Students and Discussing Next Steps,” “Pragmatism or Saving a Life…How about Both,” “Living Well – One Day at a Time.”

In addition, the Conference features an Exhibit Hall of facilities from around the US and Canada that focus on treating drug abuse, addictions, mood disorders, eating disorders, etc. This is a wonderful opportunity to discover new facilities and interact face to face with the facilities you use currently.

For more information, including registration, exhibitor registration, the schedule, hotel accommodations, speakers and travel information, click here.

Visit CoLAP Nashville’s Facebook page here.

LAPs in the News

Wyoming Lawyer Assistance Program (WYLAP):
In a segment called “Wyoming Program Assists Lawyers With Alcohol Abuse, Depression,” on the recent launch of the Wyoming Lawyer Assistance Program, KCWY13 News interviews WYLAP Board Member John Masterson, and Casper, WY attorney Dallas Laird. In the video, the two offer insight on why the legal community especially needs the program – citing the Wyoming State Bar Life Satisfaction Survey which found that over 60 percent of Wyoming lawyers experience unhealthy amounts of stress – and explain that WYLAP is a safe and stigma-free place for struggling attorneys to proactively seek help.

Watch the video here.

Kentucky Lawyer Assistance Program (KYLAP):
KYLAP was recently featured in the Business Lexington article, “Trend in Lawyer Suicides Leads to Action in Legal Community,” which includes quotes from Yvette Hourigan, executive director of KYLAP, and John Meyers, executive director of the Kentucky Bar Association (KBA). Concerned with the high rates of lawyer depression and suicide in Kentucky, the KBA and KYLAP have “stepped up to curb the alarming trend.” Hourigan and Meyers explain the unique pressures lawyers face, how the job market and student loan debt contribute to the problem, and how KYLAP and the KBA are addressing the issue through programming and outreach.

Read the article here.

According to University of Denver law professor Debra Austin, it’s not just anxiety, panic attacks, depression, substance abuse and suicide that law students need to worry about as possible side effects of too much stress, (as if those aren’t enough), it’s also the weakening or even death of brain cells. In her recent Loyola Law Review article, Austin explains how high levels of stress – the exact kind law students experience – can actually diminish cognitive capacity. She offers neurobiological reasons why programs such as onsite gyms, stress management classes and mindfulness training work to improve student and employee performance, and aims to educate students, faculty and lawyers on how to be proactive in mitigating stress-related damage.

Read the ABA Journal coverage here.
Read the Loyola Law Review article here.

Have your doctor write you a prescription…for sunshine and relaxation.

The ABA Legal Technology Resource Center (LTRC) is inviting you to join them for a free webinar they’re calling, “How to Vacation as a Lawyer,” and asking you to consider your health when deciding whether or not you have time to take that much-needed, and of course, well-deserved vacation. Time away is said to decrease stress, and ultimately leave you more refreshed and better able to perform at work upon your return. These benefits are particularly important to the legal community which has been proven to suffer higher than normal rates of depression.

Participants will learn tips on preparing for, scheduling, and maximizing vacation time this summer, as well as discover how to:
• Understand the importance of vacation;
• Pick tools to support your absence;
• Pull in outside help; and
• Enjoy yourself!

Register for the Webinar here, which will take place Thursday, June 26 from 2:00pm – 2:30pm ET.

Congratulations to Tracy Kepler (USPTO), Mistie Bauscher (Bauscher Law Office-ID), Terry Harrell (CoLAP-IN), Don Lundberg (APRL-IN) and Ed Novak (Polsinelli-AZ) for their well-received presentation at the ABA Center for Professional Responsibility Conference in Long Beach last week. An article recognizing their work is in the ABA BNA Lawyers’ Manual on Professional Conduct. If you have an online subscription, you can read the article here.

The conference report on the presentation is titled, “Many States Embrace Conditional Admission But Panelists Point Out Difficulties in Process.” Generally, conditional admission grants applicants who have a history of chemical dependence or mental illness a license to practice law, but with a period of oversight until they demonstrate successful rehabilitation or treatment. The speakers addressed a variety of issues on the subject of conditional admission, including:

• The three sets of interests that conditional admission tries to balance;
• A description of what it’s like to be conditionally admitted – the everyday rules and requirements – featuring the candid perspective of Ms. Bauscher, who was conditionally admitted in Idaho;
• The debate over whether conditional admission is akin to making a reasonable accommodation or whether it merely burdens people who have already demonstrated their fitness, thereby violating the Americans with Disabilities Act;
• The “huge imbalance of power” in the bar application process and the “powerlessness of the unrepresented applicant”;
• The role of a lawyer assistance program (LAP) in the conditional admission process; and
• The question of confidentiality – whether the conditionally admitted are obligated to notify their clients.

The ABA has just published The Lawyer’s Light: Daily Meditations for Growth and Recovery, by Kevin Chandler and sponsored by the Senior Lawyers Division and the Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs (CoLAP). Here’s what people are saying about this book:

“Kevin Chandler’s book brings a reflective resource to our legal profession. His work is welcomed and will be quoted and referenced for years to come. Lawyer’s Light is an ideal gift for attorneys in and beyond early recovery or adding insight and inspiration to any lawyer’s briefcase.”
– Bill Kane, Director
New Jersey Lawyers Assistance Program

“For the lawyer who finds him or herself in the double bind of living the complicated and demanding life of the law and having also been visited by that all too human condition known as alcoholism or addiction, Kevin Chandler has given us a tool that we can use to deal with this dilemma and help untie the knots and loosen the ropes.

Mr. Chandler has taken quotes from 233 separate lawyers, jurists and great civic figures as diverse as Tertullian to Rose Kennedy, Thurgood Marshall to Lord Chesterfield and come up with a year’s worth of meditations on each for the recovering lawyer. It’s a gift in the 11th Step tradition of recovery that helps one not only live, work and thrive as a sober lawyer, but also be a better friend, spouse, parent, child and human being. What a gift.”
– Andy Branham, Executive Director
Counsel On Call

Visit the ABA Web Store to purchase The Lawyer’s Light.

The Connecticut Bar Examining Committee (CBEC) has recently changed its questions, making admission easier for an applicant with a history of mental illness. Starting next year, instead of focusing on disorders, diagnoses, and past treatment, the questions will focus on past conduct to determine whether an applicant is fit to practice law. Mental health issues could still be revealed under the new questions through an applicant’s explanation of circumstances leading to certain conduct, but the questions themselves will no longer specifically reference drugs or disorders, a change that advocates say at the very least will be less intrusive. These changes are a result of a continuing effort to comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act and come as a response to lobbying efforts and a recent U.S. Justice Department finding of discrimination against bar applicants with mental illness in Louisiana.

To read the Courant.com article, click here.

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