National Depression Screening Day (NDSD) is “dedicated to raising awareness and screening people for depression and related mood and anxiety disorders.” Each year, thousands of organizations participate by offering information and both in-person and online screenings to their communities. You can locate a mental health screening site or take an online screening at www.HelpYourselfHelpOthers.org.

An article in The American Lawyer discusses the importance of self-screening for lawyers and law students. It features David Jaffe, Dean of Students and CoLAP Advisory Committee member, in a discussion about depression in law schools and the need to “…soften or alleviate the perception that students won’t be admitted to the bar should they seek help.”

This week the Canadian Bar Association, the Mood Disorders Society of Canada and Bell Let’s Talk launched a free online course designed to assist the legal profession with mental health and addiction issues. The course provides education, support and resources to help you:

  1. Recognize signs and symptoms of mental health and addiction challenges;
  2. Describe stigma, both generally and with specific reference to the legal profession context;
  3. Outline available treatment options and other resources; and
  4. Discuss proactive and remedial coping strategies for those with mental health and addiction challenges.

You can access the course “Mental Health and Wellness in the Legal Profession” here or learn more about it from this promotional video.

An Australian nonprofit dedicated to suicide prevention, R U OK?, and 18 law firms have partnered to launch the new “Look Deeper” campaign designed to encourage conversations about mental health issues in the legal profession. “Look Deeper” was launched on the annual R U OK? Day, but board member Kathryn Howard wants people to know that “this is a 365-day message…” As part of the campaign, one young lawyer spoke about his own personal experiences with stress. Sandeep Varma had just landed a great legal job, but found himself barely able to cope with day-to-day life. Read his story here.

While receiving the Spirit of Sobriety Award earlier this month, actor Rob Lowe spoke to the audience about the value of being in recovery. Lowe told the crowd, “Being in recovery has given me everything of value that I have in my life. Integrity, honesty, fearlessness, faith, a relationship with God, and most of all gratitude. It’s given me a beautiful family and an amazing career. I’m under no illusions where I would be without the gift of alcoholism and the chance to recover from it.” The recognition commemorates 25 years sober for Lowe.

Read more here.

In the recent Wyoming Lawyer Magazine article, “Lawyer Burnout,” Clinical Director John Ordiway offers some tips on how to recognize symptoms of burnout. Burnout is an often overlooked issue in the legal profession – day-to-day stress seems natural to lawyers and is often praised as an attribute of being hard-working – but it can lead to more serious and potentially life-threatening behaviors such as substance abuse and should be addressed.

Read the full article here (pg. 34) in which Ordiway offers advice on how to avoid and deal with burnout.


Washington has recently shed some light on what some are calling the “gray area” of the intersection between attorneys and marijuana in the state. The Washington State Bar’s Ethics Committee recently issued Washington Informal Op. 201501,  providing that an attorney may participate in a marijuana-related business if it is “separate and apart” from his or her law practice and does not affect his or her ability to comply with the state’s Rules of Professional Conduct. It further provides that an attorney may purchase and use marijuana provided that it does not interfere with the attorney’s ethical obligations to provide competent legal advice and otherwise.

For more on this, see this article in the Legal Ethics in Motion blog and the Washington State Bar’s Ethics Committee Advisory Opinion 201501.


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