A Word of Caution for Lawyer Assistance Programming
16 Pages Posted: 24 Feb 2005
With increasing awareness of the problem of substance abuse in the legal profession has come the natural desire to develop responses. Formal bar-sponsored "lawyer assistance" programs have sprouted throughout the United States. Many of these programs have been accompanied by rules that permit lawyers to seek help on a confidential basis.
There is a very real tension between the functions of the bar in assisting lawyers in reforming their behavior, or seeking help for their addiction, and in protecting clients against lawyer misconduct. This tension has ramifications for the programs and rules bar organizations may wish to institute, for the principles that should govern administrators of lawyer assistance and bar disciplinary programs, and for the emphasis bar associations may wish to adopt for their activities. The goal of this brief comment is to identify a few of the issues that each state and local bar association should address before reaching any conclusions regarding the appropriateness of particular forms of lawyer assistance.
Keywords: drugs, alcohol, lawyer assistance, LAP
JEL Classification: K10
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation