“We’re From The Bar, And We’re Here To Help You” Lawyer Assistance Programs


There are times in life, usually times of crisis, when a friendly face is welcomed with relief and gratitude. Sometimes it’s the face of someone we know personally who is willing to do what she can to comfort and console us. Sometimes it’s the face of someone whose familiarity with crises and expertise in such situations is much needed and appreciated. Sometimes it’s the face of someone we’ve never met and who is not a trained professional, but someone who nonetheless has been through exactly what we are going through and is willing to take some time, lend a friendly ear, and offer advice or words of encouragement. A Lawyer Assistance Program (LAP) is, in many ways, a friendly fireman—not there to judge, only to help put out the fire.

From time to time, the person in need, the person in crisis, is an attorney. Such a situation is made all the more precarious by virtue of the position of authority maintained by attorneys in our society and the enormous responsibility that attorneys are asked to carry—for themselves, their partners, coworkers, employees, clients, friends, and family. What happens when an attorney can no longer shoulder that burden? What happens when an attorney’s ability to practice law becomes impaired?

The purpose of this article, originally published in GPSolo Magazine Oct/Nov 2004 Issue, is to examine the type of situation described above, to educate attorneys, their friends, and families regarding one of the resources available to provide assistance to impaired attorneys, and to describe, albeit generally, how this resource assists troubled attorneys, helps them and their families get back on their feet, and returns such attorneys back to the healthy productive practice of law.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© John Clark, Clark Law Firm | Attorney Advertising

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