On Demand

Attorney Licensure and the Impaired Professional (Update)

1h 1m

Created on February 03, 2022



$59 $0


Substance use disorders and mental health challenges 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 impaired attorneys' conduct.

Ms. Besden will share her personal journey from the darkness and depths of despair in struggling with a substance use disorder as a licensed attorney, to her path of long-term recovery, where she received a full Governor's Pardon by Governor Wolf in 2020.

Course Syllabus:

· Introduction

· Setting the Stage – Personal Recovery Story of Laurie Besden

· Discussion of Prevalence Rates of Substance Use and Mental Health Challenges in the Legal Profession, including the most recent data

· Discussion of why legal professionals are at high risk for Substance Use and Mental Health disorders

· Disciplinary statistics relevant to attorney impairment

· Warning signs that someone is struggling and how to help them with resources/a loving conversation

· The Model Rules of Professional Conduct relevant to attorney impairment

· Lawyers assistance program resources – nationally and the 2021 trends

· What should firms be doing to help support attorneys that may be struggling

· Solutions: Wellness tips and self-care strategies 

Learning Objectives:

  1. Explore substance use disorders and mental health challenges as medical diagnoses and how their prevalence rates affect the legal professional - as told by one of the presenters, who is in long-term recovery, herself

  2. Identify warning signs of, and learn how to begin the conversation with an impaired attorney

  3. Discern the interface between potential attorney disciplinary action and impairment as well as possible reporting obligations

  4. Identify confidential, safe, free, and supportive resources available to the impaired legal professional, their family members, and their colleagues

  5. Apply wellness tips that attorneys can apply in daily life, without much effort, that will positively impact mental health, in both the personal and professional realms

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