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That’s What Friends Are For: Mentors, LAP Lawyers, Therapeutic Jurisprudence, and Clients with Mental Illness


David B. Wexler


University of Puerto Rico - School of Law; University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law

October 16, 2013

Arizona Legal Studies Discussion Paper No. 11-33

Abstract:     
This chapter serves first to introduce briefly the concept of therapeutic jurisprudence (TJ) — the study of the impact of the law, legal procedures, and the role of legal actors on the emotional well-being of those affected by the law. It explains how TJ practices of lawyers and judges often find application in special problem-solving or ‘solution-focused’ courts — such as drug treatment courts, mental health courts, domestic violence courts, DWI courts, and most recently veterans courts. Many of those courts also have volunteers — often clients who have themselves successfully completed programs in such courts — who now serve as mentors for clients newly-admitted to those courts.

The chapter continues, however, by taking the ‘mentor’ concept to the professional level: speaking of lawyers and judges who have themselves confronted issues of drug and alcohol addiction and mental illness. In prior work, the author opened up this topic principally in the context of drug and alcohol addiction. Here, that work is summarized but the analysis is broadened focus principally on lawyers who have had their own struggles with mental illness — a newer area of consideration, opened up principally by a few law professors brave enough to come forth and to tell their stories of struggles with mental illness.

The chapter then compares these lawyers and their ‘mentoring’ opportunities with the work of lawyers with addiction issues and begins a discussion of how they may serve, often in a ‘second chair’ advisory capacity, in civil commitment cases, mental health court cases, veterans court cases, and the like.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 19

Keywords: therapeutic jurisprudence, LAP programs, lawyer assistance programs, disability, pro bono, civil commitment, mental health court, veterans court, post-traumatic stress disorder, PTSD, alcoholism, mental illness

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Date posted: November 22, 2011 ; Last revised: October 24, 2013

Suggested Citation

Wexler, David B., That’s What Friends Are For: Mentors, LAP Lawyers, Therapeutic Jurisprudence, and Clients with Mental Illness (October 16, 2013). Arizona Legal Studies Discussion Paper No. 11-33. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1962725 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1962725

Contact Information

David B. Wexler (Contact Author)
University of Puerto Rico - School of Law ( email )
PO Box 23349
San Juan.PR, AZ 00931
Puerto Rico
787-565-1625 (Phone)
HOME PAGE: http://www.therapeuticjurisprudence.org
University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law
P.O. Box 210176
Tucson, AZ 85721-0176
United States
787-565-1625 (Phone)
HOME PAGE: http://www.law.arizona.edu/faculty/facultyprofile.cfm?facultyid=91
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