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.
Tracy L. Kepler is the Risk Control Consulting Director for CNA’s Lawyers Insurance Program. In this role, she designs and develops content and distribution of risk control initiatives relevant to the practice of law. She collaborates with the underwriting and claims teams to develop and execute strategies for the profitable growth of the program. Tracy lectures frequently at CNA-sponsored events and at state and local bar associations and national seminars hosted by industry-leading organizations. She also writes articles focusing on law firm risk control and professional responsibility issues.
Prior to joining CNA, Tracy served as 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, client protection, professional liability, and attorney well-being. From 2014-2016, Tracy 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.
Ms. Kepler has served in various volunteer 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 is currently an Adjunct Professor at American University’s Washington College of Law, Georgetown University Law Center and Loyola School of Law (Chicago) teaching Legal Ethics. Committed to the promotion and encouragement of professional responsibility and attorney well-being throughout her career, Ms. Kepler has served on the ABA’s Commission on Lawyers Assistance Programs, 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. She is a member of the National Task Force on Lawyer Well-Being and an author of its Well-Being Report. She is also an Advisory Board Member of the Mindfulness in Law Society. She is a graduate of Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, and received her law degree from New England School of Law in Boston, Massachusetts.
Excellent. One of the best on the subject matter.
Excellent presentation on important topic.
Excellent program - everyone should hear this.
Excellent, evidence-based program.
Appreciated the reminder about labeling, and the importance of word choice.
Nice job on a tough topic!
The presenter was most effective and caring. A great choice for a touchy subject.
excellent presentation especially for the times in which we live
EXCELLENT PRESENTER... PLEASURE TO LISTEN TO...
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.
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!
Excellent program, excellent presenter
excellent presentation by knowledgable lawyer
This presentation was one of the best I’ve seen Lawline publish. You should have this speaker work on other content.
Ms. Kepler's programs are amazing and should be required material for any member of the Bar.
Very interesting and helpful
One of the best competence mcle programs I have come across