Intervention Strategies for Helping Legal Professionals
Created on June 25, 2019
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.
- 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
- 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
- Spot the signs of impairment and learn the "Motivational Interventions" approach that yields results and saves lives
- Utilize the confidential, free, safe, and supportive resources that are available through the lawyers assistance programs throughout the United States
- 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
- 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
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