Colleagues Under the Influence: Licensure and the Impaired Lawyer

An ABA CLE Webinar | January 23, 2018 | 1:00 PM Eastern

Learn how to recognize a legal professional with an impairment and the resources available to help them. Examine the effects of substance abuse including marijuana despite the recent trend towards decriminalization. Panelists will discuss:

  • Signs and symptoms of substance use problems among legal professionals
  • Understanding addiction as an illness
  • Treatment options
  • The interface between disciplinary action and impairment
  • Obligations to report an attorney with an impairment
  • Lawyer Assistance Programs and how they assist attorneys and their colleagues

Panelists:

  • Wendy Muchman, Esq. (Moderator), Chief of Litigation and Professional Education at the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission
  • Bree Buchanan, Esq., Director, Texas Lawyers Assistance Program, State Bar of Texas, Chair, ABA Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs
  • Doris C. Gundersen, MD PC, Medical Director, Colorado Physician Health Program; President, Federation of State Physician Health Programs; Assistant Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Colorado
  • Tracy L. Kepler, Esq., Director, ABA Center on Professional Responsibility, Past President, National Association of Bar Counsel

Sponsored by: the ABA Government and Public Sector Lawyers Division

Cosponsored by: the ABA Center for Professional Responsibility and the ABA Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs

REGISTER NOW

Advertisements

In Memoriam: John Southworth (1938-2017)

The following post was provided by Jamie Shropshire, Chair of the Idaho Lawyers Assistance Program Committee, about the recent passing of John Southworth, Program Coordinator of Southworth Associates, Service Provider for the Idaho Lawyers Assistance Program. Learn more about John’s story here. 

How do we define a hero? Is it the person who runs into a burning building to save people; a soldier who puts herself in harm’s way to protect her comrades? Certainly, it is those people, and others for whom courage has altered their lives, but is it not also the person who gives his time and resources to others as a way of life? It must be, and John Southworth was such a hero.

John would have shunned the title, real heroes always do. He would have said it’s just what he had to do to stay sane and sober. But there are hundreds, maybe thousands who were able to redirect their lives because John cared and showed them a vision of themselves that is meaningful and selfless. John helped alcoholics and addicts because he had spent his own time in the particular hell that comes with a disease that destroys the mind, body and soul. Whenever John and I talked about an attorney who was suffering, John’s first words were always “what can I do to help.” While he would have liked it to remain a secret, he was known to use his own money to pay for treatment or a flight to a treatment center for an alcoholic who had nothing but the hope that John shared.

The legacy of John Southworth is HOPE. A simple gift that we must pass on to those who come to us now that John is gone. He left us with this hero’s challenge.

“I faced a lot of problems, but one thing I didn’t do is give up. I just wouldn’t give up, and that’s what I want people to hear: Do not ever give up. There’s hope out there.” – John Southworth.

Voices of Recovery Podcast Series – Episode 2

The ABA Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs has produced a podcast series about overcoming substance use disorders, mental health issues and addiction. The lawyers featured in this series have all agreed to tell their story in the hope that it will reduce the stigma surrounding these issues and encourage others to get the help they need.

The second episode in the series is now available, featuring James Heiting, Managing Partner of Heiting & Irwin and Past President of the State Bar of California.

Click here to access all available episodes shown below.

11/27/17 | Episode 2: James Heiting, Managing Partner of Heiting & Irwin, Past President of the State Bar of California

11/10/17 | Episode 1: Laurie Besden, Executive Director of Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers of Pennsylvania, Inc.

 

 

 

 

How to Talk about Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders – a NABE Workshop Panel

Last month, panelists at a program of the National Association of Bar Executives (NABE) Communications Section Workshop shared ways to effectively raise awareness about mental health issues and substance use disorders among the legal profession and reach those in need in order to steer them toward available resources. The ABA Bar Leader article, “NABE Communications Section Workshop panel discusses how to help deliver a life-saving message,” discusses the session and ways in which panelists helped “…communicators learn how to deliver potentially career-saving and even life-saving information…” Lessons include using positive and hopeful messages about recovery, knowing your audience, using personal stories and making connections with lawyer assistance programs. Further, for a synopsis of points shared during the Q&A, see “NABE Comm panelists share thoughts on mental health, bar events, and the role of lawyer assistance.”

In Remembrance of Michael Cohen

Florida Lawyers Assistance, Inc., and CoLAP said a final goodbye to a valued and beloved member of both organizations. Michael Cohen passed away on October 18, 2017, after a lengthy illness which seldom prevented him from doing the work he loved. He was the Executive Director of the Florida program for twenty-two years and an active member of CoLAP during that time. While he served on a number of committees, he is probably best known for his work as part of the Program Evaluation Committee, which played a significant part in the formation of many new or struggling programs.

He shared his own recovery freely and provided hope and encouragement to many lawyers who were discouraged about their careers and their personal lives. As a lawyer friend of Michael posted on Facebook, “There are lawyers who are alive today, who are practicing today, who are not in jail today, who owe everything they are today to the existence of Michael Cohen.”

He left his mark on many individuals and on the organizations he served with such passion. He will be missed and remembered, and the work of FLA and CoLAP will continue.

Post written by Judith R. Rushlow, Executive Director, Florida Lawyers Assistance, Inc.

 

 

 

Introducing New Voices of Recovery Podcast Series

The ABA Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs has produced a new podcast series about overcoming substance use disorders, mental health issues and addiction. The lawyers featured in this series have all agreed to tell their story in the hope that it will reduce the stigma surrounding these issues and encourage others to get the help they need.

11/10/17 | Episode 1: Laurie Besden, Executive Director of Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers of Pennsylvania, Inc.

Podcast player

 

 

Twitter Chat on Problem Gambling in the Legal Profession

On Dec 13, 2017, the ABA Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs will be hosting a live Twitter Chat on “Problem Gambling in the Legal Profession.” From 1:00 to 2:00pm Eastern time, @ABACoLAP will be discussing the topic over Twitter with special guests, Christine Anderson, Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission (@ChristineARDC), Joan Bibelhausen, Minnesota Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers (@mnlcl) and Keith Whyte, National Council on Problem Gambling (@ncpgambling). They will be discussing the consequences of problem gambling in the legal profession, signs and symptoms that might indicate a person may have a gambling problem, how to get help or refer someone else to help, and ways law schools and law firms can better address problem gambling.

All are encouraged to follow along by tracking tweets with #GamblingHelp4Lawyers and to participate with questions and comments by using #GamblingHelp4Lawyers in your tweets.

Download the flyer and spread the word!

PNG Flyer.png