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Overcoming Stigma: Recommendations for Positive Change

(540 reviews)

Produced on March 27, 2018

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$ 79 Ethics In Stock
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Course Information

Time 1h
Difficulty Intermediate
Topics covered in this course: Ethics

Course Description

Substance abuse and mental illness can affect any attorney regardless of gender, culture, ethnicity, age or socioeconomic status. But no matter what their background, attorneys dealing with these issues seem to suffer in silence. Why? Stigma – cultural prejudice and discrimination that labels an individual suffering from such illnesses as defective, or weak, oft-times have more damaging consequences than the illness itself and create a barrier to treatment.

This presentation, led by attorney Tracy Kepler, will define the stigma, explain the reasons why stigma is so pervasive in the legal profession, and why it is critical to overcome these beliefs and identify effective means to ameliorate stigma and replace its effects with affirming attitudes for recovery. It will focus on several different “life stages” of an attorney - law students, practicing attorneys, and judges, as well as unique challenges faced by underrepresented minorities, and how stigma affects each group. Finally, the course will identify practical and applicable ways to conquer stigma in the legal community.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Define stigma and explain why it is so pervasive in the legal community
  2. Examine the various statistics demonstrating the prevalence of stigma in the legal profession
  3. Explore the different stages an attorney’s life, and unique challenges faced by each group
  4. Identify practical ways to overcome and recover from stigma

Credit Information

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Tracy L. Kepler is the Director of Risk Management Consulting for CNA.

Ms. Kepler is formerly 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.


Tracie K.

Thank you!

Angela H.

Excellent presentation on important topic.

Hope Marie H.

Excellent program - everyone should hear this.

Ellen B.

Excellent, evidence-based program.

Nancy O.

Appreciated the reminder about labeling, and the importance of word choice.


Nice job on a tough topic!

John M.

The presenter was most effective and caring. A great choice for a touchy subject.

Martin S.

excellent presentation especially for the times in which we live

Greg C.


Anthony D.

As a member of the bar confronted with both mental health challenges, I found this to be a phenomenal program and recommended that only two members of the bar and judges but also lawyers assistance program directors and coordinators.

Randi M.

Interesting and I learned things even though I was not really sure what the program would cover and probably would not have chosen it had I known. Good presenter!

Brian S.

Excellent program, excellent presenter

Robert E.

excellent presentation by knowledgable lawyer

Mary E G.

Interesting presentation

Michelle A.

This presentation was one of the best I’ve seen Lawline publish. You should have this speaker work on other content.

R. Christopher R.

Ms. Kepler's programs are amazing and should be required material for any member of the Bar.

Mattie A.


Jodi E.

Excellent program.

Andrew P.

Very interesting and helpful

Cynthia G.

Excellent PowerPoint!

James J.

One of the best competence mcle programs I have come across

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