Lawyer Assistance Programs

Lawyer Assistance Programs

Attorneys and other legal professionals face an increased risk of substance abuse, depression, anxiety and even suicide.

Between exacerbating factors such as the high stress and demands of the profession and the isolation that often comes with long hours, many attorneys find themselves up against these very serious challenges. Fortunately, programs across the country offer assistance to attorneys in need.

Substance Abuse:

Attorneys are generally said to face challenges with substance abuse at twice the national average. These struggles often manifest in the workplace and lead to professional misconduct complaints and malpractice claims, creating problems not only for the attorney at hand, but for their colleagues, friends and families, as well.

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, there is help. The American Bar Association’s Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs (LAP) has compiled a list of LAP programs in every state. To find out more or to locate your local program, please click here. A nationwide list of LGBT 12 step recovery meetings can be found here.

Depression and Suicide:

Attorneys suffer from depression at a significantly higher rate than the 10% of the general population affected. Much like substance abuse, the demanding schedules and high stress of the legal profession are factors leading to increased rates of depression. With this comes a greater risk of suicide.

If you feel as if you or someone you know may be suffering from depression, resources are available. Along with your local LAP program, you may wish to use one of the support organizations listed with the National Alliance on Mental Health.

If you are having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Helpline immediately at 1 (800) 273-8255.

A list of national resources can be found here.

The LGBT Bar and LAP:

The LGBT Bar offers 12 Step Program meetings each morning prior to the start of the day’s events at Lavender Law.

Additional information and potential speakers can be found in the National Conference for Lawyer Assistance Programs’ 2013, 2014 and 2015 program books.

Additional Resources:

Students looking for help may wish to read the ABA’s Substance Abuse & Mental Health Toolkit for law students or Helping Law Students Get the Help They Need.

The Lawyers With Depression blog provides readers with real life experiences.