Stressful holidays? Call the Lawyer Assistance Program

 In Firm Announcements

The holidays are a stressful time for everyone. Everybody needs assistance with their problems from time to time. And the legal profession is already stressful enough, so the holidays can make it even worse. Lawyers have high rates of suicide, alcohol and drug abuse, and other related, often stress-induced problems. Our firm has been involved in two legal malpractice claims where one of the opposing party lawyers involved decided to end their life. And in 2016, a former lawyer-client committed suicide. Of course, there are unfortunately many more stories like this. Stress and resulting depression are serious problems for the legal profession.

In all of those cases, it was not just one factor that was affecting the person’s life. Substance abuse, depression, bi-polar disorder, financial problems, professional problems, and family problems all play a part. It’s important to remember that—despite what you may have heard—lawyers are human, too. And, of course, humans make mistakes, fail to live up to expectations, and make messes. Even lawyers who’ve never had a client grievance or faced a legal malpractice complaint could go through a divorce or suffer from substance abuse issues. Or, they could have family members who deal with these issues, perhaps because the lawyer’s working all the time and away from home too much. As the saying goes, the law is a jealous mistress. Everybody needs assistance with their problems from time to time.

The State Bar of Georgia created the Lawyer Assistance Program to help the members of the bar. There’s more information at the link, which shows that the State Bar contracts through Corp Care for the service. When needed, we have called upon the assistance of Corp Care for our professional clients, and they have been prompt, responsive and caring. All inquiries and help are confidential. The main thing is to get help early. Don’t wait. The best way to deal with stressful situations is to get organized and get things moving, attack the problems one small step at a time. And when you’re in over your head—or a colleague is—that first small step is to get the help that you need. Ignoring a problem only makes it worse.

If you, or someone you know, needs help, or maybe you aren’t sure, but need to discuss a situation with a professional, below is the place to start.

Services available through the Georgia Lawyer Assistance Program

All services are accessible through the confidential LAP Hotline: (800) 327-9631

  1. Telephone Hotline: Staffed by trained counselors 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you are a lawyer or judge and have a personal problem that is causing you significant concern, the Lawyer Assistance Program can help. Please call LAP’s confidential hotline at (800) 327-9631.
  2. Personal Counseling: Up to six prepaid in-person sessions per presenting issue per 12-month period.
  3. Work/Life Program for assistance with such issues as childcare, elder care and finances. Callers receive advice, referrals and materials customized to take into account their individual concerns, financial and geographic needs. These referrals are reached through calling the LAP Hotline: (800) 327-9631.
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