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The Impaired Lawyer and COVID-19: Strategies for Encouraging Attorneys to Seek Help and Responding Appropriately If They Don't

(202 reviews)

Produced on October 02, 2020

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Course Information

Time 1h 2m
Difficulty Intermediate
Topics covered in this course: Ethics Covid-19

Course Description

COVID-19 has heightened the risk of substance abuse by attorneys, due in large part to increased isolation and stress coupled with less “face time” and visibility into personal behaviors while working remotely. Attorneys are also struggling with increased levels of depression, anxiety, PTSD, and other behavioral health issues. Messages from leadership can sometimes make the problem even worse. Leaders sometimes send messages that discourage attorneys from acknowledging that they are struggling with a mental health or substance use problem. In the firm/corporate culture, acknowledging vulnerability may be viewed as a weakness rather than a strength.  

This program, presented by Jonathan Segal of Duane Morris and Patrick Krill, an attorney licensed and board-certified alcohol and drug counselor, will focus on systemic approaches that law firms and other employers should take to make it more likely that an attorney with substance abuse or other behavioral health issues will step forward and seek help, and will also explore how to respond to attorneys who do voluntarily seek help. Items to be discussed include possible warning signs of behavioral health struggles, by both on-site and remote workers; legal, ethical, business, and human risks of ignoring potential behavioral health struggles; and ADA, privacy, and other legal protections that must be considered in addressing potential or acknowledged behavioral health issues.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Appreciate the degree to which COVID-19 has increased the potential for attorney impairment due not only to substance abuse but also to depression, anxiety, and PTSD
  2. Identify the rights, risks, and responsibilities of firms and other employers in addressing actual or potential behavioral health issues
  3. Develop strategies for getting help, or for encouraging an employee or colleague to get help 

Credit Information

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Jonathan A. Segal

Duane Morris LLP

Jonathan A. Segal is a partner at Duane Morris LLP in the Employment, Labor, Benefits and Immigration Practice Group. He is also the managing principal of the Duane Morris Institute. The Duane Morris Institute is the educational arm of the Employment Group. It delivers on-site training, webinars, on-demand training, and e-training for human resource professionals, in-house counsel, and other leaders.

Previously a litigator, Jonathan’s practice focuses on:

  • Counseling, strategic planning, leadership training and policy development with regard, to among other issues:
    • COVID-19 and health and safety; 
    • Sexual and other unlawful harassment;
    • International compliance plans;
    • Gender and other pay equity;
    • FLSA/wage and hour compliance;
    • Implicit bias in general and disrupters in particular; 
    • Diversity, inclusion and belonging (with emphasis on gender and race);
    • Impaired professional
    • Social media;
    • Background checks;
    • Performance development and management;
    • Reductions in force;
    • Recruiting/interviewing/hiring;
    • Violence in the workplace;
    • Investigating EEO and other claims;
    • Attorney-client privilege;
    • Employment policies and handbooks; and
    • Technology and privacy.
  • Administrative charges, for example, discrimination, harassment, retaliation and failure to accommodate charges as well as wage and hour charges before federal, state and local agencies.
  • Mergers & Acquisitions, for example: legal and cultural due diligence; bargaining issues with the union, if any; drafting representations and warranties; reconciling employment policies and practices to minimize legal risks and to ensure cultural compatibility; implementing reductions-in-force as necessary; and drafting stay bonuses, as appropriate (either before or after closing).
  • Privileged audits, for example climate surveys (harassment); wage and hour compliance; gender and other pay equity; union susceptibility; and diversity and inclusion (unconscious and systemic barriers).
  • Agreements, for example, business protection agreements (such as non-competes); confidentiality agreements, employment agreements, independent contractor agreements, and recruiter agreements.
  • Traditional labor, for example union prevention programs, union election campaigns, collective bargaining, contract interpretation and management rights training.

Jonathan is a member of Duane Morris’ COVID Strategic Task Force.  Jonathan delivered his first webinar on COVID-19 in the first week of February 2020, one of the first, if not the first, webinar for employers in the country.    .

Jonathan has served for 20 years as a consultant to the Federal Judicial Center in Washington, D.C., providing training on employment issues to federal judges around the country. The training covers issues judges face not only in court but also in chambers.

Jonathan was appointed in March 2015 by the EEOC to its Select Task Force on Harassment.

Jonathan was cited in and provided background to Time with regard to the 2017 Person of the Year: Silence Breakers. December 2017.

In 2020, for the 11th year in a row, Jonathan also has been named by HRExecutive as one of the nation’s top corporate Employment Attorneys.

In 2020, for the 10th year in a row, Jonathan has been listed in Chambers USA:  America’s Leading Lawyers for Business among the top-rated lawyers for labor and employment in Pennsylvania. Chambers said of Jonathan, “Jonathan Segal is particularly experienced in counseling and training employers on policy development matters.  He is described by a client as ‘the king of making legal answers work in a business context.’  Another client wrote:  “If Superman wore pinstripes, his name would be Jonathan Segal.”

Jonathan is also frequently a featured speaker at national, state and local human resource, business and legal conferences, including conferences sponsored by SHRM and the Pennsylvania State Chamber of Business and Industry. He consistently is one of the top-rated speakers.

Temple University’s Fox School of Business and Management named Jonathan the recipient of its “Outstanding HR Leader of 2013” award. The award recognizes an individual who promotes progressive HR practices and is committed to advancing the profession through educating current and future HR leaders. Jonathan was the first recipient.

Jonathan has been cited as a national authority on employment issues in articles in the The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post The New York Times, The Harvard Business Review USAToday, Fortune, Philadelphia Inquirer, Associated Press, Reuters, Business Week, The Los Angeles Times, CNN Online, Money, and the Philadelphia Business Journal, among many others.

Jonathan is the Chair of the Pennsylvania Chamber’s Legislative Committee. Jonathan leads the group in providing counseling on pending legislation and in participating in drafting proposed legislation.

Jonathan has testified as an expert for SHRM before:

-The United States Commission on Civil Rights with regard to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s guidance on background checks.

-The Equal Opportunity Commission with regard to the intersections between social media and employment law.

Jonathan has published more than 400 full-length articles and blogs on employment, HR and leadership issues for, among others, SHRM, Bloomberg, Fortune, Chief Executive, Entrepreneur, Philadelphia Business Journal and Talent Culture.

Jonathan was profiled in DiversityInc for efforts in helping organizations increase their inclusiveness relative to diversity, broadly defined.

Jonathan is a member of  SHRM’s Compensation Equity Committee.

Jonathan received his B.A., summa cum laude, from the University of Pennsylvania and his J.D., cum laude, from the University of Pennsylvania School of Law.

Jonathan’s passions include animal rescue, Holocaust remembrance, and psychology. On the fun side, Jonathan remains mad about AMC’s Mad Men and is fortunate to have Bruce Springsteen as his workout partner. Even so, Nina Simone is Jonathan’s favorite musical artist.

Patrick R. Krill


Recognized globally as a leading authority on addiction, mental health, and well-being in the legal profession, Patrick R. Krill is an attorney, licensed and board-certified alcohol and drug counselor, author, researcher, and advocate.  He serves as a trusted advisor to large law firms and corporate legal departments throughout North America and Europe, educating them about and helping them navigate addiction, mental health, and well-being issues on a daily basis. 

Patrick's highly specialized background and unique breadth of knowledge relating to the substance use and mental health of lawyers make him a widely sought-after expert and trusted resource for solving one of the legal profession's most difficult problems. His clients include many of the largest, most prominent, and widely-respected law firms in the world.

Patrick's groundbreaking work in the area of attorney behavioral health includes: initiating and serving as lead author of the first and only national study on the prevalence of attorney addiction and mental health problems, a joint undertaking of the American Bar Association Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs and the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation; creating the framework for the ABA Well-Being Pledge, an innovative campaign to improve the health and well-being of lawyers that was launched in September 2018; partnering with American Lawyer Media to conduct the first-ever survey of AmLaw 200 firm leaders regarding their beliefs and attitudes related to addiction and mental health problems in the legal industry.

Patrick is the former director of the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation's Legal Professionals Program, a preeminent clinical treatment program for addicted attorneys, judges, and law students. While leading that program, he counseled many hundreds of legal professionals from around the country who sought to better understand and overcome the unique challenges faced on a lawyer’s road to recovery.  From young solo practitioners to equity partners in the largest global firms, law students to sitting judges, Patrick has successfully counseled patients from around the world and across all practice settings, offering distinctive guidance and uniquely qualified insights about achieving and maintaining recovery, health, and well-being in the practice of law.

Patrick has authored more than seventy articles related to addiction and mental health, including a frequent advice column for Law.com, and regular contributions to CNN.com and other national outlets.  Also a regular source for print and broadcast media, he has been quoted in dozens of national and regional news outlets, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, and countless legal industry trade publications and blogs. Patrick has been a guest on numerous national broadcasts, including multiple appearances on NPR and the Dr. Drew Podcast.

As a frequent speaker about addiction and its intersection with the law, Patrick has taught multiple graduate-level courses in addiction counseling and has spoken, lectured, or conducted seminars for more than two hundred organizations around the world, including law firms, professional and bar associations, law schools, and corporations.

Patrick serves on the Advisory Committee to the American Bar Association Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs, and in October 2017, was honored with the Commission’s Meritorious Service Award for Outstanding Contribution to Lawyer Well-being.  In 2017 he was also appointed to ABA President Hilarie Bass’s Working Group to Improve Lawyer Well-being, and is a member of the National Task Force on Lawyer Well-being, and co-author of its 2017 Report, The Path to Lawyer Well-being: Practical Recommendations for Positive Change. In November 2016, he was presented with the “LCL Founders Award for Service to the Profession” by Minnesota Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers.

BA, Political Science, and Government, American University

JD, Loyola Law School

LL.M., International Law, American University Washington College of Law

MA, Addiction Counseling, Hazelden Betty Ford Graduate School of Addiction Studies

Bar Admission:



Chantal J.

Provides good insights even for lawyers generally familiar with the area.

Junfei L.

Good course. It’s a good course.

Peter D.

Great program! Spot on.

Gregory S.

I found this very helpful. It would be interesting to hear more about how law firms and employers can create a work environment that does not burn out their employees/associates. Perhaps employees can be offered different salary and work hour options. Maybe more remote work can reduce office rent and put less pressure on associates to work like slaves in a salt mine. I just think more focus has to be placed on employers to think about the often inhuman environment that many associates have to face. Maybe fewer young attorneys will burn out and self medicate.

Edward C.

Excellent course. Both presenters were focused and organized and on target. Both spoke with real passion about these tough issues.

Patrick K.

very good job-sensitively presented and solid advice

robert s.


Eric R.

Very timeline and helpful program, professionally and personally

Kenneth V.


Sarah T.

Thank you

Rachel D.

Excellent collaboration. This ethics CLE should be mandated for all attorneys in NYS right now. I feel it only helps them feel that although we are attorney's we are still human and should respect each other's professional space.

Thomas B.

Thank you!

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