The Impaired Lawyer - A Call for Action

15 Jul , 2021

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Recent studies have shown that there has been a dramatic increase in impairment due to alcoholism, addiction and mental health disorders among members of the legal profession. The statistics are compelling and clearly indicate that 1 out of 3 attorneys will likely have a need for substance use or mental health services at some point in their careers. When added to the impact on the profession of the COVID-19 crisis and the resultant uncertainty, we have opened a Pandora’s box of unintended consequences. 

Rule 8.3(c) of the Rules of Professional Conduct will be discussed as it relates to the duty to report attorney misconduct. 

In addition to a breakdown of the results of the recent ABA and Law.Com studies, Mr. Quinn will discuss: 

1. The early warning signs of impairment, including alcohol and drug use and mental health disorders such as depression, stress and anxiety. 

2. The free services that Lawyers Assistance Programs provide to lawyers, judges, their family members and law students. 

3. A close look at what barriers exist that prevent lawyers from seeking the help they need will be provided. 

4. The role that education plays in breaking the stigma and fear associated with addiction and mental illness in the legal profession. 

5. How best to approach the impaired individual who may be in denial and how to avoid enabling behavior.

 

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