Lawyers Helping Lawyers
Often times, a lawyer in trouble with alcoholism or addiction may not be willing at the outset to go directly to a mental health care professional or someone else outside of the legal profession for answers. It is routine that professional peers and trusted members of the legal profession are where lawyers turn for initial support.
If a lawyer is already admitting a problem and seeking help, then encourage them to call JLAP confidentially and obtain reliable advice on their very best course of action to get out of the problem and into the solution without delay. It is critical to encourage the person that all calls to JLAP are confidential. JLAP has helped hundreds of lawyers get help and get into recovery in complete privacy and wholly out of view from the profession or discipline.
Early intervention is the key to confidentiality. If the lawyer seeks help before consequences such as DWI arrests or clients’ complaints to the Office of the Disciplinary Counsel (ODC) convert private health issues into public inquires about alcoholism, addiction, and fitness to practice by the ODC, then the issues can be assessed and treated in total privacy (of course, JLAP never releases any information without written consent of the participant and only if the participant instructs JLAP to do so, etc.)
If the lawyer is in denial and lacks insight as to the severity of the problem, that is not unusual. Denial and a lack of insight are core symptoms of the diseases of alcoholism and addiction. In such cases you can contact JLAP confidentially and obtain answers about how to help someone who does not think they have a problem and who is not ready to admit a problem.
It is paramount to keep in focus that alcoholism and addiction are mental health issues rooted in a disease rather than bad choices and moral failings. Although it can be frustrating, confusing, and even exasperating to try and help an alcoholic or addict, one must try to avoid becoming angry or judgmental.
To that end, keep in mind that JLAP offers confidential support to everyone involved. It is not just the alcoholic or addict who needs support. According to Hazelden research, and alcoholic or addict directly impacts the private lives of eight other people on average. In the realm of a professional population, an alcoholic’s or addict’s damage to clients and the public impacts the reputation of the entire profession.
When we reach out and help another lawyer, it literally saves lives, families and careers. By so doing, the profession and the public are also protected from the severe harm that can result when an alcoholic or addicted lawyer continues to practice law in an impaired state and visits harm upon clients.
The concept of “lawyers helping lawyers” is very effective and powerful. When you call JLAP confidentially and reach out to help another lawyer, you may very well save that person’s life.