Mary Dunnewold, a legal writing instructor at Hamline University School of Law, discusses the benefits of Lawyer Assistance Programs (LAPs) in a recent article appearing in the ABA’s Student Lawyer. In describing the role of LAPs in the legal profession, this article is also clear that their services can also be very useful to law students struggling with dependence and mental health issues. Existing in virtually all states, most LAPs provide assistance services including assessment, intervention, counseling, support groups, and referrals for counseling. And, while it is encouraged that impaired lawyers or law students reach out for help before the problem becomes too serious, LAPs can also provide support in the event that a disciplinary matter has been initiated. Given the ominous nature of character and fitness exams sitting on the horizon for all law students, having such a resource – especially one that emphasizes confidentiality – can be invaluable.
The article, which also contains links for additional resources and contact information for LAPs, can be found here.