Proposed Resolution 103 – ABA Model Impairment Policy for Legal Employers

Proposed Resolution 103, which adopts an ABA Model Impairment Policy for Legal Employers and urges legal employers to do the same, will go before the ABA House of Delegates at the Annual Meeting in August. The sponsors of proposed Resolution 103 are the ABA Working Group to Advance Well-Being in the Legal Profession, an ABA Presidential Initiative led by President Hilarie Bass, and the ABA Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs (CoLAP).

The foundation of this policy is the recognition that well-being is essential to an attorney’s duty of competence, and that impairment is antithetical to both the competence and quality service expected by the clients of the legal employer. To support this duty, legal employers must demonstrate a commitment to the well-being of their personnel, to the prevention of impairments, and to assisting their employees in obtaining treatment when needed.

This policy deals only with the impairment of a legal employee, a sub-set of the overall well-being of a legal employee, and is not meant to encompass the panoply of all well-being initiatives that can be implemented in the legal employer setting. Further, this policy would reinforce and bring up to date an existing ABA policy passed by the House of Delegates in 1990, the Model Law Firm/Legal Department Personnel Impairment Policy and Guidelines.

Everyone is encouraged to talk to their state delegates and other ABA entities to garner support for Resolution 103. Contact Tracy Kepler at tracy.kepler@americanbar.org to provide your support or feedback.

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