Free Recording of Resilience Webinar Now Available

The ABA webinar, “Fierce & Gritty: Resilience Training for Lawyers,” aired on December 19, 2016. A free recording of that program is now available to view – spread the word!

As a reminder, here is the program description: As lawyers, many people depend on us to be at our best. This includes our clients, who depend on us to guide, help, and protect them. It also includes our families and friends, for whom we want to be our best selves. Developing resilience is critical for lawyers to maintain fitness to practice and to avoid running afoul of the Model Rules of Professional Conduct or applicable state rules. We need to be able to bounce back quickly from setbacks, face challenges with a positive perspective, and feel energized rather than depleted. Fortunately, resilience is a collection of competencies that can be developed. This webinar will provide a general overview of how to build resilience, including strategies taught by the U.S. Army to soldiers in combat.

Access the free version of “Fierce & Gritty: Resilience Training for Lawyers” here.

Find more information, including sponsorship and speakers, here.

Judge Tim A. Baker Talks Treatment

In a recent The Indiana article, U.S. Magistrate Judge Tim A. Baker begins by recognizing how judges, lawyers and law students face mental health issues and chemical dependencies, which can put their lives and careers at risk. And while Judge Baker remarks that these threats “come in many forms,” he continues to say, “fortunately, so do treatment options.”

The article goes on to demonstrate the various types and levels of treatment available – from the more common options like outpatient therapy to the more intensive like inpatient treatment – with the help of medical experts who have experience treating the legal profession. Among the contributors is Terry Harrell, Executive Director of the Indiana Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program and Chair of the ABA Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs. As Dr. Paul H. Earley puts it, lawyer assistance programs are the “secret sauce” to getting better.

Access the article, “Baker: What does treatment look like for lawyers, judges in need?”


Snapshots of Upcoming Programs of Note

YLS: Mental Health for Lawyers & Law Students
As a lawyer, your brain is your most valuable asset, and the practice of law is constantly challenging that asset. For the mind to function optimally, it is important to take care of it. Learn more.

Sponsored by the State Bar of Michigan Young Lawyers Section Health and Wellness Committee, and University of Detroit Mercy School of Law

March 14, 2017 at the University of Detroit Mercy Law School

The Healthy & Happy Lawyer: An Oxymoron?
A happy and healthy lawyer is a better lawyer. What really makes a happy lawyer? And, with all the stresses attached to practice, how is it possible to sustain a practice without jeopardizing your health and happiness? Learn more.

An ABA TechShow Panel

March 17, 2017 in Chicago

The Opioid Epidemic: Impact on Public Health, Regulatory and Private Practice Lawyers
The opioid epidemic is one of the most threatening public health crises in recent decades. As pain management has become more of a treatment priority, public health, regulatory and private practice lawyers all play an important role in reversing this trend. Learn more.

An ABA CLE Webinar

March 20, 2017

Policy, Process & Prevention: A Systems Approach to Improving the Health and Wellbeing of the Profession
This program will highlight key results of the Survey of Law Student Well-Being and the 2016 landmark study conducted by the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation and the American Bar Association Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs (CoLAP). Learn more.

Joint program with attendees of the National Forum on Client Protection at the 43rd ABA National Conference on Professional Responsibility

June 2, 2017 in St. Louis

NM Bar Discusses Secondary Trauma

A recent article in the State Bar of New Mexico’s Bar Bulletin discusses how lawyers and judges, due to the nature of their work, are at risk of experiencing secondary trauma, also known as vicarious trauma or compassion fatigue.  As author Hallie Love explains, “The cumulative direct exposure to others’ trauma can result in emotional duress to the lawyers and judges and other legal personnel who work with traumatized populations.” Secondary trauma can result in a number of debilitating symptoms, putting both lawyers and clients at risk. The article offers prevention measures, such as increasing resilience, as well as body-based treatment options.

Read, “Lawyers Are at Risk for Secondary Traumatic Stress,” in the February 15, 2017 Bar Bulletin.

In October 2014, the ABA Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs sponsored a webinar titled, “Keeping Legal Minds Intact: Mitigating Compassion Fatigue Among Legal Professionals.” In December 2016, CoLAP sponsored the webinar, “Fierce & Gritty: Resilience Training for Lawyers.” Both are available on the CoLAP Website.

ABA Approves Changes to CLE Model Rule, Adding Substance Use, Mental Health Requirement

On Monday, the ABA House of Delegates approved a Resolution amending the ABA Model Rule for Minimum Continuing Legal Education which includes a requirement for lawyers to receive at least one hour of mental health or substance use disorder programming every three years. It also calls for one hour of diversity and inclusion programming every three years. The Resolution was sponsored by the ABA’s Standing Committee on Continuing Legal Education, Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs and Law Practice Division.

The comments detail that while these types of programs generally count toward general CLE or ethics requirements, this Model Rule distinctively recommends a stand-alone requirement. The Resolution’s accompanying Report explains that it may reduce the concern of lawyers who are reluctant to attend due to stigma.

According to the Report, the 2016 study by the ABA Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs and the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation was a catalyst for the change, stating, “Many organizations, including [CoLAP], have seen the study’s findings as a call to action, which led to this Model Rule’s recommendation that all lawyers take one credit of Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Programming every three years.”

Access Resolution 106 and its Report here. 

Educating Law Students and Young Lawyers on Mental Health and Substance Use Issues in Indiana

A 2016 study by the ABA Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs and the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation revealed troubling statistics on the levels of problematic drinking, depression and anxiety within the legal profession. It also uncovered that these problems are more prevalent among younger attorneys.

Last week, an article at highlighted ongoing efforts to help law students and young lawyers address these issues. Among those featured are the confidential services of the Indiana Supreme Court’s Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program, programming at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law, including a new Yoga Club, and the work of the Indiana State Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Section’s Wellness Committee.

Also included is a message to students from the Indiana Board of Law Examiners that “…a willingness to identify and respond to mental health issues actually reflects well on bar applicants…” and to …“never avoid seeking help just because they are afraid of looking bad on a bar exam application.”

Impairment in the Law Firm: Ethical Duties of Partners and Supervisory Lawyers

In a December 2016 advisory opinion, the Supreme Court of Virginia examined…”the ethical obligations of a partner or supervisory lawyer who reasonably believes another lawyer in the firm may be suffering from a significant impairment that poses a risk to clients or the general public.” Distinct from reporting obligations when an impaired lawyer has already engaged in misconduct, this opinion addresses the obligation to take precautionary measures before misconduct occurs.

Relying on ABA Formal Opinion 03-429 (2003), the Court concluded that the state’s Rules of Professional Conduct require partners or supervisory lawyers in law firms to make reasonable efforts to ensure that an impaired lawyer in the firm, or under their supervision, does not violate the Rules, and further, that they take reasonable steps to prevent such violations by the impaired lawyer.

Access Supreme Court of Virginia Legal Ethics Opinion 1886 here, which includes hypotheticals and various approaches firms can take when addressing impairment.