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In a recent law firm blog, attorney Stuart Mauney asks, “Where is the outrage?” He’s referring to underage and binge drinking, and the inadequate response to its dangers from the media and the public. He points out that despite the alarmingly high rates of abuse and the thousands of lives it harms each year, it just doesn’t make the headlines.

In 2014, a survey of law student well-being was conducted. Some preliminary results show that 43% of respondents reported binge drinking at least once in the last two weeks while 21.8% reported binge drinking at least twice in the past two weeks. 52.9% indicated that they drank enough to get drunk at least once in the last 30 days. This shows us that Mauney’s concern is well-founded in the legal arena, as well.

Mauney is an Advisory Committee member to the Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs (CoLAP) and Shareholder at Gallivan, White & Boyd P.A. You can read “Underage And Binge Drinking: Where is the Outrage?” in the firm’s Abnormal Use blog here.

LAPs in the News

Virginia Lawyers Helping Lawyers Honored for 30 Years of Assistance

Virginia Lawyers Helping Lawyers was recently honored in a ceremony before the Virginia Supreme Court in recognition of their 30 years of service to lawyers, law students and judges. At the ceremony, representatives of the Virginia State Bar and Virginia Bar Association praised the program for helping thousands of people over the years.

Read more here.

State Bar of Texas to Fund Treatment for Lawyers

The State Bar of Texas’ 2015-2016 budget allocates $250,000 to a fund that provides lawyers with money for substance abuse and mental health treatment. The contribution to the to the Sheeran Crowley Memorial Trust is an initiative of the Bar’s president-elect, Allan DuBois, whose one-year term starts in June.

Read more here.

A recent Asked and Answered podcast from the ABA Journal asks, “Would your practice be prepared if something happened to you?” The Journal’s Stephanie Francis Ward, together with two experts on the issue, discuss ways to prepare your practice so that you, your colleagues and your clients are protected in the event of death or incapacitation.

The podcast features Steve Crossland, former Washington State Bar Association president and chair of the WSBA’s task force succession planning, and Barbara Fishleder, executive director of the Oregon Attorney Assistance Program and author of the book Planning Ahead: A Guide to Protecting your Client’s Interest in the Event of your Disability or Death.

Listen to the Podcast here.

The Missouri Lawyers’ Assistance Program has just released a video called “Together We’ve Got This” that illustrates how taking care of other people’s problems can often lead to lawyers neglecting to take care of themselves. It expresses how even the best lawyers can struggle due to the high demands of the profession, and that MOLAP is there to help.

The video is currently published on The Missouri Bar’s two video social media channels, YouTube and Vimeo.

MOLAP Together We've Got This

The Minority Corporate Counsel Association has dedicated the cover story of its March/April 2015 issue of Diversity & the Bar to “Battling Mental Illness in the Legal Profession.” The article is jam-packed with experienced and insightful contributors, including:

• Terry Harrell, Chair of the ABA Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs and Executive Director of the Indiana Lawyers and Judges Assistance Program
• Rachel Barrett (Executive Director) and Katherine Bender (Program Director) of the Dave Nee Foundation
• David Jaffe, Associate Dean of Student Affairs at American University’s Washington College of Law
• Larry Kreiger, law professor at Florida State University

See what they have to say in the full article here.

In case you missed it, the Wyoming Lawyer Magazine dedicated their February 2015 issue to “Finding tranquility in a turbulent profession.” Features include:

• Addiction and Attorneys: Confronting the Denial
by Timothy D. Edwards and Gregory J. Van Rybroek

• The Lawyer’s Light: Daily Meditations for Growth and Recovery
by Kevin Chandler (reprinted from an ABA book sponsored by the ABA
Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs and Senior Lawyers Division)

• One Lawyer’s Journey Through Depression
by Dan T. Lukasik

• How Can the Wyoming Professional Assistance Program Help You?
by Candice Cochran

• Finding Your Way
by John Ordiway

• Stress Management for Lawyers: An Ounce of Prevention…
by Martha D. Burkett

Access the February 2015 Issue of Wyoming Lawyer from the Wyoming State Bar here.

A recent ABA Journal article discusses how stressed-out lawyers who self-medicate, instead of seeking help, could end up stealing client funds. And it becomes a pattern – the resulting theft causes shame and guilt, spiraling into more self-medicating, and so on. The article includes recent examples of cases involving theft and substance abuse.

Terry Harrell, CoLAP Chair and Executive Director of the Indiana Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program, is featured in the article and discusses the important role other lawyers can play to get a colleague to seek help as well as how lawyer assistance programs are there to provide confidential assistance.

Patrick Krill is also featured. Krill is Director of the Legal Professionals Program at the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation and notes that Hazelden Betty Ford and CoLAP are currently collaborating on a new research project to survey the rates of substance use and mental health issues among licensed attorneys throughout the United States. The results are expected to be released this summer.

Access the ABA Journal article “Lawyers who self-medicate to deal with stress sometimes steal from those they vowed to protect” here.

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