Some Practical Advice
Since 1988 LCL has been in the business of helping impaired lawyers. Through trial and error we have learned what works and what doesn’t usually work. Here are a few observations for your consideration.
1. Addicted and depressed lawyers can usually pull it together for short periods of time and make a presentable appearance in your courtroom. He or she may even have extended periods of remission which belie the chronic and progressive nature of these illnesses. However, sooner or later the addicted or depressed lawyer will once again find him or herself out of control and unable to properly function.
2. Discreetly discuss your concerns with your colleagues to develop a complete picture and discern whether or not a pattern of impairment exists. You may be surprised that other judges have also been concerned but have been hesitant to say anything to anyone else.
3. Call LCL before approaching an attorney. We can provide guidance and serve as a sounding board regarding your proposed conversation with the lawyer in distress.
4. All conversations must be based on firsthand knowledge with properly documented dates, times and facts.
5. LCL’s motivational intervention approach employs a continuum of increasingly more direct conversations. This minimizes the likelihood of a defensive or resentful reaction by the attorney and validates your need to apply leverage should the attorney’s condition worsen.
6. We recommend that the attorney uses LCL to schedule an evaluation. This ensures that a qualified healthcare provider will conduct the evaluation and render an accurate diagnosis.
7. We strongly suggest that the attorney agree to provide you with verification that he has attended the evaluation and is complying with any treatment recommendations.