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Intervention Strategies for Helping Legal Professionals

(344 reviews)

Produced on June 25, 2019

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Course Information

Time 61 minutes
Difficulty Intermediate
Categories Ethics

Course Description

With the alarming prevalence of substance use and mental health disorders in the legal profession, it is imperative that we are all armed with the knowledge and insight of how to approach someone who may be struggling. Certain approaches yield greater results than others. While many of us have viewed the “Intervention” show on television, Johnson style interventions don’t typically produce excellent results. Language is key when approaching someone you care about and having them be able to “hear” what you are saying without getting defensive. The window of opportunity to help someone is so small. With the alarming number of suicides in our profession, it tells us that people would rather die than ask for help - and this must stop. We are bringing you this program as part and parcel of the solution.

This important program, led by Laurie J. Besden, Esq., Executive Director of Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers of Pennsylvania, Inc., discusses the two studies conducted regarding the prevalence rates of substance use and mental health disorders in the legal profession which led to the creation of the National Task force on Well-Being. Ms. Besden, a person in long term recovery from an addiction that nearly cost her her life, will share strategies that work when you approach someone you feel may be impaired. Ms. Besden will also share real examples that she has handled through her work with LCL and what could have been done differently to yield different results. She will weave parts of her own addiction and recovery story throughout this program to further emphasize what did and did not work in her firsthand experience.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Recognize that one in three legal professionals will struggle with substance use and/or a mental health disorder at some point in their legal careers
  2. Appreciate that substance use and mental health disorders are chronic, progressive, and fatal if untreated, though the prognosis for recovery is excellent if help is sought
  3. Spot the signs of impairment and learn the “Motivational Interventions” approach that yields results and saves lives
  4. Utilize the confidential, free, safe, and supportive resources that are available through the lawyers assistance programs throughout the United States
  5. Assist a person struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder, as they may not physically be able to pick up a phone and ask for help
  6. Identify the parameters of Rule of Professional Conduct 8.3 (c) - there is a safe harbor to protect attorneys working with an approved lawyers assistance program or who contact a lawyers assistance program on behalf of an attorney or judge who is struggling

Credit Information

This course is pre-approved for CLE credit in the following states. If your state is not listed, contact support for more information on how to receive credit

Lawline reports attorney attendance in select states. View more about CLE reporting .


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.  


Anna-Lisa C.

Amazing, eye-opening, raw and real. Thank you

Bryan H.

An amazing story and very poignant in sharing the various perspectives that people in the speaker's life held during her road to recovery.

Robert H.

Very good

Jody M.

So powerful and well done. Thank you for sharing such a valuable resource. This is the first CLE program I’ve ever heard that felt like it was led by the heart and not statutes.

Amanda M.

Great topic, great presentation.

Deborah P.

Heartwrenching to listen to, but worthwhile. I'm grateful to the presenter for being willing to be vulnerable and generous with her personal story, and to the people who allowed their stories to be shared. Having been in the position of supporting a colleague through a severe mental health crisis, there are resources and advice here that I know would have been useful.

Janet S.


Louis R.

The lecturer’s story bought everything into perspective.

Theodore P.


Kathryn B.

Such a dynamic presenter.

Katherine P.

excellent presenter

Jason M.

Very good.

amy s.

excellent program

R. Christopher R.

She always puts on a great seminar.

Kathryn F.

Laurie is such an engaging and effective speaker. This is the second CLE I've watched of hers and each time I'm moved at how open and honest she is about her struggle with substance abuse. I highly recommend this course.

Cheryl O.

Excellent ... could not have been better.

John-Paul G.

presenter was great, she did a great job, i really enjoyed her stories and she was relateable. well done and good cle.

Mary F W.

Thank you for sharing your personal story; it makes the importance of the message undeniable.

Aimee B.

This is the second program I've watched with this presenter and each time I felt empowered and that I learned important things. She does a great job and is clearly passionate about the subject.

Penny W.

An important area of concern for legal professionals -- course offers multiple methods for dealing with such concern.

Jennifer H.

Excellent presenter

Leonora S.

The information was very helpful, as a family member is currently struggling with substance abuse issues.

Joretta D.

I think that this course should be required for all lawyers. It was just that good!

Bradley S.

I appreciated the presenter's willingness to share her own experiences.

Michael Y.

This is one of the most powerful seminars I've attended. I am so thankful that NC has made this area mandatory for CLE. Thank you.

Barry G.

Truly moving experience. Great presentation.

Richard W.


Mark K.

Arguably the best presentation and presenter that I have ever seen in over 20 years of practice! Outstanding!

Cynthia H.

Powerful personal stories

David J.

Excellent program! Everyone should watch this program.

Rebecca R.

Excellent presentation.

Trevor B.

A very compelling presentation!

Russell C.

Best presenter.

Robert K.

Excellent presentation of an important topic

Kristi H.

Seriously, one of the best I've seen.

Matthew S.

Presenter had excellent credibility and appealed to a wide audience.

Cheryl G M.

Inspiring story and really appreciated her honesty and candor.

Cynthia K.

Excellent presentation!

Donna M.

Best presentation on Lawline.

James P.

Very powerful presentation.

Lori W.

Very good

Kevin B.

Great course. Excellent instructor.

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