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The Impaired Lawyer: A Call for Action

(432 reviews)

Produced on May 14, 2019

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Course Information

Time 62 minutes
Difficulty Advanced
Categories Ethics

Course Description

Recent studies have shown that there has been a dramatic increase in impairment due to alcoholism, addiction, and mental health disorders among members of the legal profession. The statistics are compelling and clearly indicate that 1 out of 3 attorneys will likely have a need for substance use or mental health services at some point in their careers. Join attorney Brian Quinn as he discusses these important issues, including a breakdown of the results of the first scientific study of impairment in the legal profession due to alcohol, drugs and mental health disorders as contained in the 2016 ABA/Hazelden Krill report.  

This program will place special emphasis on the danger of enabling behavior among the peers of the impaired lawyer or judge and how it can actually prevent treatment by reinforcing the denial that so called "high functioning" impaired individuals often exhibit. Most importantly, Mr. Quinn will share his own compelling story of impairment due to alcohol and drug use over the course of a highly successful career that ultimately resulted in the loss of his family, career, and freedom, and how Pennsylvania's Lawyers Assistance Program helped to restore not only his standing in the legal community, but his life as well.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Identify the early warning signs of impairment due to alcohol and substance use as well as mental health issues such as depression, stress, and anxiety
  2. Best approach the impaired individual and understand how your state’s Lawyers Assistance Program can provide assistance
  3. Bring awareness to the services that Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers provides to lawyers, judges, their family members, and law students in a safe, non-judgmental, CONFIDENTIAL environment
  4. Look closely at what barriers exist that prevents lawyers and judges from seeking the help they so desperately need
  5. Discuss the role that education plays in breaking the stigma and fear associated with addiction and mental illness in the legal profession
  6. Address the ethical considerations facing the legal profession and how the impaired lawyer's illness-based misconduct will, if left untreated, often lead to greater harm to clients, careers, and personal well-being 

Credit Information

After completing this course, Lawline will report your attendance information to {{ accredMasterState.state.name }}. Please ensure your license number is filled out in your profile to ensure timely reporting. For more information, see our {{ accredMasterState.state.name }} CLE Requirements page . After completing this course, {{ accredMasterState.state.name }} attorneys self-report their attendance and CLE compliance. For more information on how to report your CLE courses, see our {{ accredMasterState.state.name }} CLE Requirements FAQ .


Brian S. Quinn

Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers of Pennsylvania, Inc.

Brian S. Quinn, Esquire is a licensed attorney in Pennsylvania who currently serves as the Education and Outreach Coordinator for Lawyers concerned for Lawyers of Pennsylvania, Inc., a Lawyers Assistance program established in 1988 for the purpose of helping lawyers, judges and law students recover from alcoholism, drug addiction and mental health disorders.

Mr. Quinn obtained his undergraduate degree in 1970, his law degree in 1973 and a certificate in Drug and Alcohol counselling in 2012, all from Villanova University. Prior to accepting his position with Lawyers concerned for Lawyers in 2017, Mr. Quinn was engaged in private practice for nearly 40 years, handling a variety of civil and criminal matters.

Mr. Quinn has also worked in the field of Alcohol and Drug Counselling at Mirmont Treatment Center and Malvern Institute in suburban Philadelphia.

Mr. Quinn is a past member of the Board of Directors of Lawyers concerned for Lawyers of Pennsylvania and served as a peer volunteer for over six years prior to accepting his current role as the organization's Educator.

As LCL's Educator, Mr. Quinn has conducted CLE presentations for Bar Associations, private law firms and professional organizations in Pennsylvania, as well as for National CLE providers, on a variety of topics in the fields of Lawyer wellness and impairment in the legal profession.


Barbara Jane I.

One of the best courses I've taken. Brian Quinn's story and ability to connect with lawyers because of his own experience is remarkable.

Daniel L.


Carlos B.

This was one of the best CLE courses I've watched. The personal story at the end made the presentation come alive. It also shows a lot of bravery. I commend the speaker on his willingness to share openly a truly painful past.

James J.

Wow. Powerful presentation

Billy J.


Karen E.

Excellent presentation. Best I've ever seen. I thought it was so brave that Brian shared his story with us. Very meaningful.

Elizabeyh L.

Great Course!!

Bill G.

This was one of the best, maybe the best, program I have viewed.

Amanda M.

Great presenter. You can hear his passion in the subject.

Charles D. J.

Wow! What a powerful presentation on the the pit falls attorneys face with respect to alcohol and substance abuse as well as mental healh problems by the nature of their profession on a daily basis. I learned more by this course in an hour about the hazards that practitioners face in my profession that would have taken me numerous sessions to learn on someone's "couch."

Jodi Pyser J.

The end was very powerful

Robert w.

extremely powerful!

Brett B.

Brian was an excellent presenter and his story and message were very impactful. Every lawyer and their families should watch this presentation.

Brad G.

definitely one of the top presentations I've seen on lawline.

Ancheska E.

Must see video for lawyers! Personal journey helps others.

Dakota D.

Very informative!

Timothy G.

Amazing and powerful presentation!

david z.


Eric D.

Powerful story

Ryan A.

Thanks for sharing your story. This really touched me, and I will be praying for you. I'm so very sorry about the death of your mentor.

Kenneth R.

Put a few relevant personal matters into perspective (many years ago I saw that I was headed in the wrong direction, so I sought and received help, and was able to redirect my life). Kudos to Brian Quinn for having the courage to tell his story!

Victoria P.

Excellent presentation!

Andrew P.

Wow! Thanks for sharing. And caring!

Kenneth M.

Content was excellent, and the presenter's personal story made it even more impactful.

tom c.

outstanding and compelling!

William S.

Definitely one of the more engaging courses

Robert S.

Brian was great!

Keith P.

Good class

Manjit K.

Very powerful program and his story was eye opening.

Suzanne V.

Really great

Margaret A.


Scott M.

The speaker’s testimonial was riveting !!

Stephen W.

Amazing course. It should be required for every practicing attorney.

Larry B.


Adam C.

Brian, Thank you for sharing your testimony. God bless

Scott B.

I'm not sure there could be anyone more knowledgeable and effective in giving this presentation. All I can say is congratulations on the comeback. Our profession desperately needs more people like this. Thank you for your story.

maree s.

Great speaker.

James A. T.


Alfred S.

Excellent program. Recommend to all lawyers.

Matthew W.

Outstanding! Thank you, Brian, for your service.

James S.

Very powerful,

Jennifer F.

Hands down, best CLE course I've ever taken. Should be required for all lawyers.

Melinda Noelle M.

Really great speaker.

Meenakshi A.

Best CLE course I have ever attended. Should be mandatory for all lawyers.

Sarah R.

Brian is a fantastic orator and his story was extremely compelling and relevant to the points made.

Kimberly C.

Thank you for sharing this important information with us and for sharing your story. Very engaging presenter and presentation.

James E H.

I would like to thank Mr. Quinn for sharing his story. Takes courage, and he has it.

Cynthia K.

Great presentation! Appreciated all the statistics and then really appreciated the personal story. Thanks for all your work!

Robert K.

if you had a five or higher, he would get that rating - excellent presenter and the personal experience he described was greagt

John D.

Fantastic!!! The instructor was engaging and made a tremendous impact with this very difficult subject matter. Thank you.

julia s.

Liked the presenter - he was effective.

Chris V.

The information was all very valuable, but the presenter's personal story was incredibly moving!

Jonathan M.

One of the best presentations I have seen on Lawline. Very engaging presentation.

Patrick C.

I thought the presenter was just wonderful. His story of dealing with his personal issues was very inspiring. I really enjoyed this CLE.

Alexander H.

Very good stuff. Would listen to a presentation from him again.

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