Attorney Licensure and the Impaired Professional

(3143 Ratings)

Produced on: March 27, 2017

Course Format On Demand Audio

Taught by

Categories:

Course Description

Time 62 minutes
Difficulty Intermediate

Substance abuse and addictions can affect any attorney regardless of gender, culture, ethnicity, age, or socioeconomic status. This program, taught by seasoned attorneys Tracy Kepler and Laurie Besden, instructs attorneys on how to recognize the impaired professional, provides various resources to assist in the recovery, and identifies the possible disciplinary implications of an impaired attorneys’ conduct.

Learning Objectives: 

  1. Understand addiction as an illness, recognize the characteristics of various addictions and how they affect the legal professional
  2. Spot warning signs of, and learn how to begin the conversation with, an impaired attorney
  3. Learn about the interface between potential attorney disciplinary action and impairment as well as possible reporting obligations
  4. Identify resources available to the impaired legal professional and their colleagues

Faculty

Laurie J. Besden

Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers (LCL)

Laurie Besden is the Executive Director of Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers of Pennsylvania, Inc. (“LCL”). Since 2011, she has served as LCL’s Deputy Executive Director overseeing LCL’s Helpline operations and serving as the primary contact for intervention requests, expanding LCL’s law school outreach, and increasing LCL’s presence within the organized Bench and Bar. As the newly appointed Executive Director, Ms. Besden is now responsible for LCL’s administrative and financial operations as well as Judges Concerned for Judges (judges’ assistance program).

Ms. Besden is a licensed attorney in Pennsylvania (1999) and New Jersey (1999). She practiced law from 1999 through 2001 and 2009-2011 in several capacities including:

  • Attorney-at-law (general civil and criminal practice), East Norriton, PA
  • Law Clerk (Pennsylvania Superior Court), Philadelphia, PA
  • Law Clerk (Philadelphia Municipal Court), Philadelphia, PA

She received her B.A. in Criminology and Criminal Justice from the University of Maryland, College Park, MD (1995) and her J.D. from The Dickinson School of Law of the Pennsylvania State University (1999).

Ms. Besden was the 2015 recipient of the Montgomery Bar Association’s Henry Stuckert Miller Award for her dedication to public service in the legal profession.   

Tracy Kepler

ABA Center for Professional Responsibility

Tracy L. Kepler is the Director of the American Bar Association’s Center for Professional Responsibility (CPR), providing national leadership in developing and interpreting standards and scholarly resources in legal and judicial ethics, professional regulation, professionalism and client protection. In that role, she manages and coordinates the efforts of 18 staff members and 13 entities including five ABA Standing Committees (Ethics, Professionalism, Professional Regulation, Client Protection, and Specialization), the ABA/BNA Lawyers’ Manual on Professional Conduct, the Center’s Coordinating Council and other Center working committees.

From 2014-2016, Ms. Kepler served as an Associate Solicitor in the Office of General Counsel for the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO), where she concentrated her practice in the investigation, prosecution and appeal of patent/trademark practitioner disciplinary matters before the Agency, U.S. District Courts and Federal Circuit, provided policy advice on ethics and discipline related matters to senior management, and drafted and revised Agency regulations. From 2000-2014, she served as Senior Litigation Counsel for the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission (ARDC), where she investigated and prosecuted cases of attorney misconduct.  

From 2009-2016, Ms. Kepler served in various capacities, including as President, on the Board of the National Organization of Bar Counsel (NOBC), a non-profit organization of legal professionals whose members enforce ethics rules that regulate the professional conduct of lawyers who practice law in the United States and abroad. Ms. Kepler also taught legal ethics as an Adjunct Professor at American University’s Washington College of Law. Committed to the promotion and encouragement of professional responsibility throughout her career, Ms. Kepler has served as the Chair of the CPR’s CLE Committee and its National Conference Planning Committee, and is a frequent presenter of ethics related topics to various national, state and local organizations. She has also served as the NOBC Liaison to the ABA CPR Standing Committees, and to the ABA Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs (CoLAP), where she was a Commission member, a member of its Advisory Committee, the Chair of its Education and Senior Lawyer Committees, and also a member of its National Conference Planning Committee. Ms. Kepler also participates as a faculty member for the National Institute of Trial Advocacy (NITA) trial and deposition skills programs, and served as the Administrator of the NOBC-NITA Advanced Advocates Training Program from 2011-2015. She is a graduate of Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, and received her law degree from New England School of Law in Boston, Massachusetts.



Reviews

MS
Michael S.

Her story was heartbreaking. I am glad she is still alive.

BB
BARBARA B.

impactful!

CS
Carole S.

The attorney who was a recovered addict was compelling.

HT
Holly T.

Very powerful. One of the most honest and profound ethics course I have ever seen.

DL
Darren L.

Excellent

JG
Jason G.

Great lecture.

SR
Sarah R.

Excellent!

SC
SHAWN C.

This was good.

SS
Steve S.

Good course

LF
Laura F.

Great information and appreciate the honesty and openness of the instruction to provide real insight on the struggles face

MH
Maria H.

This program was excellent.

MG
Mary E G.

excellent

DC
Damon C.

great episode

KS
Kerry-Ann S.

Very powerful

RM
Retha M.

Research statistics provided during this course were excellent. Such info strongly supports the need to address the topic of substance abuse in the legal profession.

JH
John H.

Uplifting

SH
Sharon H.

super presentation on a growing issue.

TL
Todd L.

Well done! Thank you for sharing!

JD
John D.

War stories and personal experiences are particularly effective methods of teaching/learning.

GM
Gerard M.

important topic well done

MK
Mary Kay K.

Eye opening

PR
Patricia R.

Really excellent. Should be mandatory for the profession.

AL
Angela L.

I think it was great the attorney was willing to speak about her personal story.

KS
kathleen s.

A video not just for attorneys but for all great job

JR
James R.

The personal testimonial by Laurie was AWESOME and effective!!!!!!!

HA
Helen A.

This program was so interesting and eye-opening and I appreciate the lawyer sharing her story of addiction and recovery. Completely unbelievable what she want through and overcame.

DM
Denise M.

Thank you for sharing your story and for the incredible work you do!

LG
Lawrence G.

Brilliant and courageous; brava!!

AP
Andrew P.

Great speakers Very Informative Amazing story

JL
James L.

good

TP
Tony P.

Excellent presentation

CF
Cissy F.

This was a very powerful, interesting, and engaging seminar. The speaker was exceptional.

GM
Gerald M.

This program was enlightening and inspirational.

JM
James M.

Excellent presenters.

DN
Darrell N.

I was amazed at the attorney who was in recovery and her ability to continue to work during her addiction and, the judges who did not appear to observe any changes within her.

DC
Doug C.

I took the course to satisfy an Ethics requirement for PA, but I was so caught up in the presentation that I would not even pause the video when I had a phone call. Thank you for this presentation.

LF
Lisa F.

Very interesting personal story

SB
Steven B.

The presenter's personal story was inspiring. I recommend emphasizing the statistics on success rates even more.

VH
Valerie H.

Excellent presentation.

BR
Barry R.

One of the best programs I have heard on this topic.

DB
Douglas B.

Very informative, powerful and moving

MF
Megan F.

Powerful presentation; every attorney should be required to watch that presentation to know that there is help available if ever things start to fall apart.

PC
Patrick C.

Inspiring story

RH
Ronald H.

Amazing story of recovery !

MD
marc d.

The lady is the real deal...and I always say, "real shit happens to real people."

RD
ralph d.

Thank you for an excellent presentation. Hearing Laurie's story left a strong impression and it's wonderful she is now able to help so many others

TR
Tera R.

I appreciate the candor and vulnerability of the speaker sharing her personal story.

KM
Kathryn M.

Amazing story of recovery. This should be mandatory viewing for all law students.

JK
jodi k.

Amazing story.

RD
Rebecca D.

Great program!

AF
Amy F.

Very moving story!

JS
Jordan S.

Good content.

LC
Larry C.

Glad for your recovery and willingness to share!

WG
William G.

Powerful Story.

AW
Ann W.

Incredibly powerful presentation. Amazing to hear Laurie share her story - hopefully it will inspire many dealing with addictions.

KG
Kim G.

I really appreciate the courage that the lecturer had to tell her story and encourage others who may have the same impairment

SZ
Stuart Z.

serious discussion of major issue in the profession

EH
Edward H.

Particularly effective to include a speaker with real life experience as an attorney dealing with addiction.

MO
Maureen O.

Great course!

KH
Katherine H.

This was one of the best presentations that I have ever seen on this topic. The first hand account given here is powerful. The presenter accepts responsibility for herself and does not blame others. Hers is a very hopeful story!

SH
Stephen H.

Best program I have watched

AH
Allison H.

Very powerful testimony.

GH
GENA H.

Fantastic presentation. One of the best yet!

DB
Deanna B.

This is the BEST PRESENTATION i HAVE EVER SEEN ON THIS TOPIC! This is my 17th year in practice, so I've seen a lot. Awesome speakers and a ton f great information. Kudos!

BS
Brenda S.

This was one of the best programs that I have ever watched.

DE
Diane E.

A concern to all lawyers with the possibility it could happen to all of us.

RG
Richard G.

A course for all lawyers

MK
Mark K.

Good course. Scary, very well told story.

JA
Jennifer A.

Valuable life lessons.

LS
lewjene s.

Outstanding almost “too real “

AB
Alison B.

This was one of the best ethics courses I have attended.

AW
Andres W.

Powerful & Excellent!

GM
George M.

Excellent course.

JR
Julia R.

inspiring

CD
Charlyn D.

Interesting and very good information to know.

MB
Mark B.

Amazing Story

DB
Donald B.

Excellent

MM
Maria M.

Excellent program. The personal story was informative and educational.

JH
Jean H.

Fascinating presentation and great presenters!

QP
Quentin P.

Interesting.

RH
Ronda H.

Highly recommend! Thanks for sharing your story.

AA
Andrew A.

Thought provoking

JM
JOHN M.

Very informative and interesting.

DD
David D.

Great course. Substance abuse subject matter is much more effective and impactful when presented by someone who has experienced these issues and recovered.

KB
Kay B.

EXCELLENT, in particular Ms. Bresden's story.

LS
Lowell S.

Amazing story!

DZ
david z.

VERY INFORMATIVE

LS
Lorien Elizabeth S.

This was a great program, the speaker who shared her experience really made an impact as did the facts and studies provided, I would definitely recommend this course.

SF
Stacy F.

I found Laurie Besden's story very compelling. It was a good example of how addiction isn't necessarily obvious when you are in the midst of it.

BH
Benjamin H.

very insightful

LB
Lucinda B.

Great program. With important material

HG
Howard J. G.

This course sheds light on an often-overlooked problem facing professionals in all fields. It was very brave of Ms. Besden to come forward with her story, and the course provided useful information on how to recognize the signs of impairment and help those affected.

DB
Dianna B.

Excellent and moving presentation on a timely topic

MH
Mark H.

excellent

FK
Frank K.

scary stuff

LS
Lewis S.

This was an incredible program

WW
Wayne W.

What an incredible story

SH
Summer H.

Brave presenter conveying important information.

PM
Patrice M.

Exceptional course. Thank you for sharing your story.

MW
Mark W.

Informative

SC
Shelby C.

powerful program!

NH
Nancy H.

Powerful personal testimony brought the regular information to life.

VJ
Virginia J.

Wondefully honest! Therefore, very helpful, interesting and enlightening.

GP
Gregory P.

Best and most true to life mental health Cle I have viewed to date.

MG
Michael G.

Thank you to Laurie for such a personal and powerful sharing

DC
Daniel C.

The personal story related by the second speaker was truly moving. This was both an informative and heartfelt lecture.

JF
Jenifer F.

Great listen! Great information, terrific speakers!

DM
Donna M.

Amazing presentation. Every lawyer/law student should hear Laurie’s story.

ED
Emily D.

Ms. Besben 's honesty is incredible.

SB
Samantha B.

This was an excellent program.

GB
Gail B.

My training approach is to include real life stories and events to reinforce the material. I applaud Ms. Besden for sharing her story and commend her for her success in overcoming the addiction. I do wonder, though, about the Superior Court Judge she was working for at the height of her meth addiction.

RK
Randi K.

Compelling and moving presentation. Truly a pleasure to see success.

KY
Katrina Y.

Great presentation

MG
Marc G.

The speakers were informative and held my complete attention during the seminar. Very well done.

LH
Laurence H.

Laurie Besden is a blessing to the legal profession! Her brutal honesty about her own amazing recovery is something that I believe needs to be shared with every attorney, practicing, retired, whatever -- and from my experience as the Minnesota state court administrator, with every judge as well!

BC
Benjamin C.

Really brings things home!

LD
Louis D.

Very insightful. One of the best seminars on the topic I have observed.

AK
Ann K.

This was a topic I had not given much thought to before the presentation. I did not realize impairment and addiction were so pervasive in the profession.

CO
Catherine O.

Excellent presentation, Ms. Besden's story is compelling.

JD
John D.

Laurie's story was amazing

LD
Lisa D.

Powerful story -

EP
Elizabeth P.

i am a lawyer who has practiced over 25 years in Texas. this is the most impactful, meaningful CLE I have ever witnessed. Continue to do your good work. Just sorting out how I can help.

VS
Vincent S.

Informative

LG
Lynne G.

Excellent program.

DD
Donald D.

Laurie is giving life, love and hope. She not only saved her life, she is saving every day hundreds of lives. Her courage to share her horrors and her redemption is the most powerful story I have ever heard. Don't ever stop sharing and saving the families and friends by rescuing the addicts' futures. Laurie is the voice of hope and love for everyone not just the statics.

AR
Angela R.

best presentation I have heard. Tell a story that is real and down to earth. Awesome.

FC
Frank C.

Personal story helped to demonstrate responsibilities of a self-regulating profession and application of ethics rules.

KK
Karen K.

This was easy to listen to and the compassion was obvious from both speakers.

EN
Eric N.

Very informative CLE. More of such CLE's should be provided by Lawline.

DG
Dennis G.

This was an outstanding course! I will be watching it again and I really appreciate the openness with which Ms. Besden was willing to share her very compelling story! Thank you!

CS
Christine S.

Laurie Besden's testimony was very powerful! Her candor about struggling with and overcoming addiction was courageous and inspiring.

JG
Joseph G.

Great!

KB
Ken B.

Interesting presentation.

DL
Dorothy L.

Frank discussion of real issues.

DW
Denise W.

good program

JR
James R.

Very informative.

TH
Tara H.

Very impactful personal story.

LR
Lawrence R.

An incredible presentation.

GA
Grant A.

interesting and inspiring program

MI
Miriam I.

This was one of the best presentations I have heard since I began Lawline!

RL
Richard L.

Very brave to tell a personal story; thank you.

GC
Gerald C.

Thanks

JS
Jorene S.

Thank you for your service

KN
Kari N.

Best course I've ever taken.

DD
Dave D.

Interesting

KK
Kay K.

Best, most beneficial and best presented of all of the courses. Most interesting as well.

TM
Tanya M.

Best CLE yet.

YK
Yuka K.

Ms. Besden's personal story portion was the most compelling part of the entire MCLE series.

EL
Eve L.

Excellent presentation--sincere and truthful!

EH
Erin H.

Really enjoyed the format of this presentation, and was engaged by the speakers.

DG
David G.

That was quite a story

DL
Dianne L.

Well done.

AL
Andrew L.

Fantastic lessons.

LK
Linda K.

This is the best substance abuse program I've taken. very informative.

LH
Lisa H.

Very informative.

SD
scott d.

Riveting stuff. Very proud of Laurie.

BL
Billy L.

very informative

PA
Patrick A.

Very creditable.

GL
Gregory L.

This was the best presentation on this subject I've ever seen. Laurie's story was extremely profound!

CF
Christopher F.

Awesome program and great insight as to problems associated with substance abuse in our profession.

JP
John P.

Very well presented. Very informative

KA
Katherine A.

Really good mix of facts and an example. Thanks to those helping with this!

MV
Milan V.

The presentation was so authentic and gripping that watched the entire hour without even taking a bathroom break!

EW
Eric W.

Eye opening. Statistical information was beyond the numbers I would have anticipated.

MK
Mathew K.

well done

JA
Jo-Ann A.

Very well done! It was powerful to have an attorney in recovery sharing her story.

SE
Stephen E.

Wow! Laurie's story was impressive. I had no idea that the problem of addiction was so large and pervasive.

AM
Arthur M.

Excellent. Very powerful.

JV
John V.

Great Presentation!

AT
Allison T.

The story of the former addict was very compelling.

KC
Kristine C.

Excellent. I applaud your honesty

WM
W. Michael M.

Ms. Besden was very effective and moving as a presenter. I admire that she carefully honored the 11th tradition. As an attorney with almost 30 years of successful recovery I have attempted to be circumspect in this regard. The 12th Step is my guiding principle when balancing the constraints of the anonymity in press, radio and film. Keep the Faith.

HG
Howard G.

This was the best presentation that I have observed on Lawline

DC
doug c.

Outstanding session

JA
Justin A.

Real life made it more interesting

VW
victoria w.

very interesting speaker.

P
Paula .

This was truly an amazing course. It should be shown to high school kids, and parents, as well as to attorneys. Great.

RB
Robin B.

Moving story and amazing recovery. Takes true strength the share her story.

NP
Nancy P.

very powerful and moving lecture.

SK
Socrates K.

Very helpful material, thank you.

BL
Bonita L.

Excellent! The topic is so relevant and realistic discourse so necessary. Laurie is breathtakingly brave. A true warrior.

TJ
T A J.

Excellent!

EH
Eugene H.

Powerful.

DH
Diane H.

Excellent content and presentation.

RG
Rodney G.

Amazing presentation

GS
Gregory S.

The person who has recovered her life was amazing. Hats off to her.

DC
Daniel C.

Important topic area.

JZ
Julie Z.

really enjoyed. thank you.

PJ
Paul J.

I have a son struggling with these issues, and this was very helpful to me to understand what he is going through.

LF
Liza F.

I so appreciated her bearing her soull for the rest of us - very good lecture

JS
John S.

One of the best programs I’ve heard on the topic. Thank you.

RG
Russell G.

Really great story and very brace . Thank you

CR
Chris R.

Fantastic and topical. We just added extra emphasis on substance abuse in Nevada. While I am critical of the lack of written materials on other Lawline courses, this course had good written materials.

JB
Jennifer B.

Great compelling stories

FW
Frank W.

Meaningful and substantive

BS
Brenda S.

very poignant, yet inspiring personal story. Hearing women's voices was also quite a welcomed relief

BH
Brian H.

interesting and compelling story

JM
John M.

courageous and informative

EL
Edmund L.

Powerful message

PO
Patrick O.

Excellent! Both for the lawyer himself and lawyers seeing the problem.

RJ
Richard J.

Very effective and moving talk by Ms. Besden.

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