Recap of Suicide Prevention Twitter Chat

Yesterday the ABA Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs hosted a live Twitter Chat on “Suicide Prevention and Postvention in the Legal Profession.” The guests were Kate Bender, Programming Director of the Dave Nee Foundation, and Yvette Hourigan, Executive Director of the Kentucky Lawyer Assistance Program. They discussed the disproportionately high rate of suicides in the legal profession, symptoms or behaviors that might indicate a person may be considering attempting suicide, how to get help or refer someone else to help, and ways law schools and law firms can better address suicide.

Missed it? Not to worry! You can access a recap of the entire conversation here.


University of Wisconsin Law Student Wellness Coalition Receives WisLAP Award

The following post was written by Mary Spranger, Program Manager of the Wisconsin Lawyers Assistance Program (WisLAP) at the State Bar of Wisconsin. 

On June 15, 2017, at the State Bar of Wisconsin Annual Meeting, the University of Wisconsin Law Student Wellness Coalition was awarded the annual Jack DeWitt WisLAP Volunteer Award.  The student and faculty members of the Wellness Coalition recognized that students could benefit from help with the stress of law school and acted upon that realization.  Despite the stigma that still exists around mental health issues, members of the Coalition formed an organized student group with a mission, programming, and outreach initiatives.  The Coalition seeks to counter the misconception that to seek help and support for the challenges of life and law school is to expose a vulnerability that is best left unacknowledged.  Coalition members carry the message that there are positive ways to counter law school stress.  The Coalition is deserving of recognition for their vision, energy, and commitment to helping their peers achieve health and wellness at UW Law School.  WisLAP is proud to partner with the UW Law School Wellness Coalition in its endeavors.

Pictured from left to right, Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Daniel Kelly, newly graduated UW Law Student John Lightfield, UW Law Student Dana Roth, and UW Faculty Advisor Stephanie Johnson, MSSW.

Read more in the University of Wisconsin Law School article, “Law Student Wellness Coalition honored by state bar.”

Executive Director of Kansas Lawyers Assistance Program Receives Award

Anne McDonald, Executive Director of the Kansas Lawyers Assistance Program (KALAP), was awarded this year’s Chief Justice Kay McFarland Award presented by the Women Attorneys Association.

The Award “recognizes an individual who has achieved professional excellence in her field and has influenced other women to pursue legal careers, opened doors for women lawyers in a variety of job settings that historically were closed to them, or advanced opportunities for women within a practice area or segment of the profession.”

KALAP was created by the Kansas Supreme Court to assist to Kansas lawyers facing mental health and substance use disorders. Anne has been the Executive Director of KALAP since 2009.

Congratulations, Anne. This recognition is well-deserved.

For more information, access the full news release here.

“Getting Lost in Our Own Lives,” a Free ABA CLE Webinar

June 28, 2017 | 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM ET

Credits: 1.00 Substance Abuse or Mental Illness CLE Credit Hours

Robynn Elizabeth Moraites, Executive Director of the North Carolina Lawyer Assistance Program

Program Description: 
Lawyers suffer increasingly from depression and anxiety, which are not only impairments in and of themselves, but also major contributing factors to substance abuse. In this program, our seasoned panelist will examine some of the root causes of lawyer distress and factors that the legal profession and lawyers’ personalities contribute to these conditions. Based on the premise that “Work—Life Balance” is a modern day fiction, the program will focus on areas of life that lawyers can control in order to increase their happiness and emotional resilience.

Topics of discussion will include:

  • Identifying root causes of lawyer distress
  • Focusing on areas of life that lawyers can control
  • Increasing your happiness and emotional resilience



Upcoming Twitter Chat on Suicide

On June 27th, the ABA Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs will be hosting a live Twitter Chat on “Suicide Prevention and Postvention in the Legal Profession.” From 1:00 to 2:00pm Eastern time, @ABACoLAP will be discussing the topic over Twitter with special guests, Kate Bender of the Dave Nee Foundation (@NeeFoundation) and Yvette Hourigan of the Kentucky Lawyer Assistance Program (@KYLAPtweets). All are encouraged to follow along by tracking tweets with hashtag #LawyerSuicideAwareness and to participate with questions and comments by using #LawyerSuicideAwareness in your tweets.

Please help spread the word about this very important event! Download the flyer below. Flyer - Suicide Twitter Chat - Image

Spotlight on Health & Wellness from the Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division

For the third year in a row, the Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division (YLD) has designated May as “Health & Wellness Month” to “bring awareness to mental and physical issues that affect the quality of life of lawyers in Florida.” Throughout the month, the YLD will be hosting a series of wellness webinars, issuing “daily challenges” via social media (#livewell and #flayld) and encouraging others to host their own health and wellness events and activities.

Learn more about Health and Wellness Month here.

The Florida Bar’s 2016 Economics and Law Office Management Survey found that 60 percent of attorneys under age 35 ranked “quality of life” as the second biggest factor impacting their ability to practice law successfully. The YLD is responding by increasing their focus on wellness and mental health.

Hear from YLD President Katherine Hurst Miller, and President-elect Designate Christian George, about their plans to prioritize mental health in The Florida Bar News article, “Bar YLD promotes health and wellness.”

Alabama Bar Devotes March Journal to Stress and LAPs

The Alabama State Bar has devoted its most recent issue of The Alabama Lawyer to issues surrounding the stress of practicing law and the resources available through the Bar’s Lawyer Assistance Program (LAP). In it, State Bar President J. Cole Portis shares his own touching story, readers get to “Meet the Alabama Lawyer Assistance Program,” and Robert Thornhill, Director of the Alabama LAP, discusses the effects of stress and how to reduce it. For most of the second half of the issue, six lawyers – some anonymous and some not – recount their struggles with addiction and mental health in a series of articles. By “Sharing Stories of Hope and Redemption,” the Alabama Bar hopes to encourage others who may be struggling, and through open discourse, reduce stigma. The issue ends with a piece on resilience, by Professor Pamela Bucy Pierson at the University of Alabama School of Law.

Access the March 2017 issue of The Alabama Lawyer here.