The New York State Bar Association’s Lawyer Assistance Program is here to help.

 If you are a lawyer, judge or law student struggling with substance use issues or mental or emotional health concerns, the Lawyer Assistance Program is here to help with no-cost fully confidential support services and vetted referrals.

Depending on your needs, the LAP can provide short term support services, connection to individual or group support, referrals to treatment and counseling services, and if required, voluntary or court mandated monitoring services. Call the LAP office for more information on these confidential services, 518-487-5688.

The LAP also provides support through a 24/7 Hotline staffed by mental health professionals. Hotline staff provide brief mental health assistance and appropriate resources for those seeking additional support. For NYSBA members, the Hotline staff will provide referrals to a local or on-line therapist for up to four no-cost counseling sessions. 1-877-772-8835.

All communication with LAP and the LAP Hotline is fully confidential.

Don’t let another day go by suffering in silence, reach out to the LAP, we can help.

New York State Bar Association’s
Lawyer Assistance Program
Stacey Whiteley, Director
518.487.5688 (Call or text)
[email protected]

The Balance

The Lawyer Assistance and Attorney Well-Being Newsletter.


Previous Issues

The New York State Bar Association’s Lawyer Assistance Program provides important services to the legal community across New York State. NYSBA’s LAP provides:

  • Brief support and assistance to callers regarding issues and questions about substance use, mental or emotional health struggles and other related issues.
  • Guidance and resources to callers concerned about colleagues, staff, or family members who are struggling.
  • Connection with peer support throughout New York.
  • Referrals to therapists, treatment centers, support groups, and other helpful resources.
  • Monitoring services for attorneys involved in disciplinary proceedings. Monitoring services are also available for those seeking additional accountability as they address their issues.
  • The LAP Hotline: 877.772.8835. Staffed 24/7, the Hotline can provide immediate assistance to callers struggling with mental health or substance use issues. For NYSBA members, four no-cost sessions with a therapist are offered.
  • Materials and assistance to local bars and groups wishing to start their own local Lawyers Helping Lawyers groups.
  • CLE and educational programming, materials, and resources that can be incorporated into existing programming or as presented as stand-alone programming.
  • Outreach to local and specialty bars, legal organizations, firms, and law schools on topics such as substance use, mental health, and attorney well-being.


The Lawyer Assistance Committee (LAC) is charged with the duty, in collaboration with the New York Bar Association Lawyer Assistance Program (LAP), of assisting attorneys, judges and law students dealing with alcoholism or substance abuse and other addictive disorders. LAC will also assist those dealing with such issues as stress, depression, problem gambling, vicarious trauma, and other mental health issues where appropriate. In addition, the LAC is charged with the duty of formulating policies which will support its primary purpose. The LAC shall encourage and assist local bar associations in the development of education and outreach programs designed to facilitate the identification and rehabilitation of attorneys, judges and law students afflicted with these problems. In appropriate instances, as directed by the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court, LAC shall provide assistance to that court, to the extent possible along with the NYSBA LAP, in the monitoring, supervision and rehabilitation of attorneys with such conditions.

Other New York based Lawyer Assistance Programs

Nassau County Bar Association’s
Lawyer Assistance Program
Beth Eckhardt, LCSW, PhD, Director
516.512.2618    Cell/Text
[email protected]

NYC Bar Association’s
Lawyer Assistance Program
Eileen Travis, Executive Director
[email protected]


It Was Me

Ours is a Troubled Profession

Life Defining Loss


All LAP services are confidential and protected under Section 499 of the Judiciary Law as amended by Chapter 327 of the Laws of 1993.

LAP Staff

Director, Stacey Whiteley | [email protected] | 518.487.5688

Coordinator, Kim McHargue | [email protected] | 518.487.5757

Well-Being Program Manager, Jennifer Clayton | [email protected] | 518.487.5573

Intake Coordinator, Lia Grover | [email protected] | 518.487.5669

Lawyer Assistance Program

The Lawyer Assistance Program Hotline

Call: (877) 772-8835

The LAP Hotline is a free confidential service provided to members who are seeking assistance with challenges such as depression, anxiety, burnout, alcohol or drug related concerns, and other mental health issues. When a caller contacts the hotline, a trained mental health professional answers the call and provides immediate support. For NYSBA members, a referral to a professional counselor will be provided. The caller can receive up to four free counseling sessions a year. All communications with the LAP Hotline staff are strictly confidential.

Phone Number: 877-772-8835

What to Expect When You Call:

  1. Your call will be answered by a trained counselor, day or night. You will be asked for basic information such as your name and birth date and where in the state you are calling from. All information provided is kept strictly confidential.
  2. The counselor will ask you to discuss what has prompted your call to the Hotline. You can disclose as much or as little as you wish. Remember, it is a confidential call. They will use this opportunity to talk through the matter with you and recommend resources such as calling your local LAP for support group information or taking advantage of the four no-cost counseling sessions. If you want to be connected with counseling services, you will be asked for your NYSBA membership ID # to verify your eligibility. Note-If you call after regular business hours, you will receive a call back within 24 business hours with a referral to a counselor.
  3. If, after you meet with the counselor you were referred to, you don’t find it to be a good fit, you can call back the Hotline and request a different counselor for your remaining sessions. NYSBA members are eligible for four no-cost sessions per year.

The Lawyer Assistance Program Hotline is a free and completely confidential service provided by NYSBA and supported by the New York Bar Foundation.

2024 LAP Spring Retreat Registration Now OPEN

May 17-19, 2024, Silver Bay, Lake George, NY

Silver Bay

For 2024, The Retreat theme is Practicing the Principals in All Our Affairs. Join the LAP community on the shores of beautiful Lake George to learn more about incorporating the principals of recovery into all aspects of your life. Recovery encompasses many facets including substance use as well as mental health challenges. The skills learned in recovery are life skills applicable to everyone, whether in active recovery or providing support to someone that is. All are welcome.

This year, you can expect a fulfilling weekend including recovery meetings, inspirational speakers, thought provoking programming which includes 2 CLE credits, and moments of quiet reflection. Family is encouraged to attend!

Registration is $185.00.

Guest/Family members 16 and over is $140.00

Guest/Family members 5-16 is $40.00

The registration fee covers the cost of two catered dinners on Friday and Saturday evenings.

**The registration fee reflects a $50 scholarship for the first 50 registered attendees and guests.

If you would like to donate to the Spring Retreat Scholarship Fund, please email Stacey Whiteley at [email protected].

Scholarships are available and easy to apply for, contact Stacey Whiteley [email protected].


You can reserve your room now at our block room rates by clicking here: LAP Silver Bay Lodging Reservations. Or call Silver Bay reservations: 888.758.7229.

ADHD Support Group

Dr. Michael Appelgren facilitates a twice monthly ADHD Support Group that is open to anyone in the legal profession. The dates for the ADHD Support Groups are below. Each group takes place from 12:00-1:00 pm over Zoom. To register for this free and confidential program: ADHD Support Group

  • Jan 18
  • Feb 1
  • Feb 15
  • Feb 29
  • Mar 14
  • Mar 28 *New Date Added*

The ADHD Support Group will continue into Summer 2024. Additional information will be posted shortly.

2023 LAP Volunteer Appreciation Dinner

Congratulations to David Keehn, Esq., this year’s recipient of the Ray of Hope Award, which was presented at this year’s Volunteer Appreciation dinner. For more information: CDLHL Honors Attorney

Highlights from the 2023 LAP Spring Retreat

David Pfalzgraf, former chair of the Lawyer Assistance Committee, presented the Raymond P. O’Keefe award to Mary Clare Keenan

David Pfalzgraf, former chair of the Lawyer Assistance Committee, presented the Raymond P. O’Keefe award to Mary Clare Keenan, who accepted in honor of her father Bill Keenan.

Click here for more information about the awards and this year’s recipients:  New York State Bar Association Recognizes Legal Professionals for Commitment to Mental Health and Recovery

Online Lawyers Helping Lawyers Meetings

Open to all in the legal profession from student to retiree who are in recovery or seeking assistance with substance use disorder issues or emotional or mental health challenges. Meetings are confidential and protected under Section 499 of the Judiciary Law. Contact LAP Director Stacey Whiteley for links to any of the following meetings. [email protected]

The Capital District and Hudson Valley Lawyers Helping Lawyers groups have joined forces!

  • Capital District & Hudson Valley | First Wednesdays at 12:30 pm (hybrid) & Third Fridays at 4:00 pm (virtual)
  • Erie County | Thursdays at 5:30 pm
  • Nassau County | Wednesdays at 12:30 pm
  • New York City  | Thursdays at 6:30 pm

LAP Resources

For up-to-date programming, join the LAP mailing list! You’ll receive a weekly email with LAP specific programming and support group information sent directly to you, so you won’t miss a thing. Email [email protected] to join.

ADHD Introductory Program and Workshop Series

Below you will find ADHD recorded resources, slide decks, and an ADHD self-assessment developed and presented by Dr. Michael Appelgren in the fall of 2023. These courses carry no CLE credit and should be used as informational resources only. They are not meant to diagnosis or treat ADHD or any other condition. Dr. Appelgren’s contact information is included in each presentation, feel free to reach out to the doctor should or have specific questions regarding an ADHD topic.

Dr. Appelgren facilitates a twice monthly ADHD Support Group that is open to anyone in the legal profession. The dates for the ADHD Support Groups are below. The support groups are drop-in (no registration required), confidential and free. The link to join is: ADHD Support Group Meeting ID: 868 8626 9762   Passcode: 459185

ADHD Support Group

Every other Thursday from 12:00-1:00 pm

  • April 11
  • April 25
  • May 9
  • May 23
  • June 6
  • June 20

ADHD Introductory Program
ADHD and Its Impact on Your Practice: An Overview and Introduction to Management Skills
ADHD and Its Impact on Your Practice Slides
ADHD Self-Assessment

ADHD Six-part Workshop Series
Workshop 1: Change Your Mindset: Enhance Your Emotion Regulation
#1: Change Your Mindset Slides

Workshop #2: Problem Management & Decision-Making
#2: Problem Management Slides

Workshop #3: Data Management and Material Management
#3: Data Management Slides

Workshop #4: Time and Task Management
#4: Time and Task Management Slides

Workshop #5: Strengthen Your Mental Flexibility and Impulse Control
#5: Strengthen Your Mental Flexibility Slides

Workshop #6: Environmental Engineering: Managing Your Surroundings and Workplace
#6: Environmental Engineering Slides

ADHD Support Group Resources

Below are resources including websites, apps, and products that members of the ADHD support group have found helpful. These resources are suggestions, not recommendations and do not indicate endorsement by NYSBA.


  • ADHD focused website with self-tests, resources, webinars: ADDitude
  • A website just for ADHD lawyers: jDHD
  • Mindfulness created for the ADHD mind: MindfullyADD



Timer: many are on the market, this one was recommended by ADHD group participants: Time Timer Home MOD


Hints and Helpful Tips:

Find a useful agenda/planner. Use any one that works best for you, digital or paper. Experiment to find one that you use. Vital to keeping on track and on top of due dates.

Take advantage of automatic bill pay. set up bill pay with your bank to take those tasks off your to-do list.

Start a distraction log. Use a notebook or pad of paper to jot down thoughts as they crop up. Helps “park” those thoughts for the time being, allowing you to continue to attend to the work at hand. Return to those notes at the end of the day, incorporate them into your schedule for the following day.

Schedule “Worry Time”. If there’s something weighing on your mind, plan a time later in the day to spend thinking about it. Make sure the time is limited, say 15 minutes.

Co-working. Use an app or identify a peer to participate, then schedule time to co-work with someone. Co-working is working in parallel with another person, quietly and attending to your own work. Often done virtually, but also helpful if in-person.

Use a timer. Divide tasks up into smaller chunks, 20 or 30 minutes. Only attend to that task, no distractions. Use a timer to keep you on track.

Exercise. Schedule exercise into the day, remove all barriers to doing it-lay out clothes the night before, get water/snacks prepared beforehand, couple a pleasurable activity to the exercise, ex: listening to a podcast or the newest audiobook.

Create a menu of 5 to 10 minute refresher activities. This menu is for you to choose from after completing a chunk of work. Some examples: breathing exercises, quick meditation, mindful walk, review ADHD workshop slides, clear desk/work area, do a sudoku or crossword puzzle, stretching, watch a funny video, etc.


Enjoy this four-part introductory series on mindfulness and meditation with instructor Ann Lapinski. The sessions build upon each other, so to get the most of the series, watch them in order. Each session includes instruction, breath work, meditation, and discussion.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:

Program Materials:


July 6: Women’s Perspectives on Recovery and the Legal Profession

Presented by Jaqueline Cara, Esq. , Kathleen P. Kettles, Esq., Robin Zimpel, Esq.

August 24: Breathing Techniques for Attorneys- How to Lower Your Stress & Improve Your Practice

Presented by Heather D. Casale, Esq., eRYT  And the poem Heather read is here: My brain and heart divorced


September 17: Depression and Suicide Prevention in the Legal Profession with Dan Lukasik, Esq., Judicial Wellness Coordinator for OCA. Program materials are here.

October 1: My Early Recovery and Step Work with Tom Schimmerling, Esq., Lawyer Assistance Committee Co-Chair.

October 8: Taking Care of Your Mental Health While in Law School with Albany Law School’s Associate Dean for Student Affairs Rosemary Queenan; Professor Joseph Connors, Albany Law School; Dr. John Conners, Psychiatrist, College Mental Health Care; Sarah Dixon-Morgan, Colby Fellow with Albany Law School’s Wellness Initiative.

December 17: Lawyers in Transition: Shared Experiences with Erin Flynn, Esq., Chair of Lawyers in Transition Committee; Neva Strom, Esq.; Katherine O’Keefe, Esq. Disregard the error message that pops up on the link. Click play and the program will begin.


Summer Series Session June 16 2020  Freedom From the Bondage of Self: Steps 4 – 7 Part 1
Presented by Chuck B. and Dave P.  Introduction by Stacey Whiteley, LAP Director

Summer Series Session June 30 2020 Freedom From the Bondage of Self: Steps 4 – 7 Part 2
Presented by Chuck B. and Dave P.
[Please note, due to a recording error, this recording begins a bit abruptly while Dave P. is talking, there is no introduction.]

Summer Series Session July 14 2020 Helping Others: Volunteering with the Lawyer Assistance Program
Presented by Stacey Whiteley, LAP Director

Summer Series Session July 28,2021 Practicing Law While in Recovery
Presented by Thomas Schimmerling, Esq.

Summer Series Session August 11, 2020 Self-Care for Lawyers in Recovery
Presented by Eileen Travis, Executive Director NYC LAP and Gary Reing, Esq.

Summer Series Session August 25, 2020 Reducing Stigma in the Workplace
Presented by Dan Lukasik, Esq. and Jackie Cara, Esq.
View Handout: Managing Depression
View Handout: How Can I Help Reduce the Stigma?

Lawyer Assistance Committee

The Lawyer Assistance Committee (LAC) is charged with the duty, in collaboration with the New York Bar Association Lawyer Assistance Program (LAP), of assisting attorneys, judges and law students dealing with alcoholism or substance abuse and other addictive disorders.

Chair: David E. Gutowski, Esq.  Co-Chair: Hon. Richard Wallace

Judicial Wellness Committee

The Judicial Wellness Committee seeks to foster a sense of community and care among the New York State Judiciary and to provide confidential assistance to impaired judges.

Chair: Hon. Linda Poust Lopez || Vice-Chair: Hon. Patrick J. O’Sullivan

Committee on Attorney Well-Being

The Committee on Attorney Well-Being is tasked with the development and implementation of well-being programs and initiatives for all New York attorneys and law students, the state-wide coordination and advancement of well-being programs and resources for bar associations, the judicial system and employers, and the encouragement of a “culture change” in which the stigma and other barrier to participation in well-being programs are lowered.

Chair: Kim Wolf-Price, Esq.

Lawyers Helping Lawyers Groups

The Capital District Lawyers Helping Lawyers

The CDLHL meets on the first Wednesdays of each month at 12:30 pm virtually, with in-person meetings on occasion. On the third Fridays of each month the group meets virtually at 12:00 pm

Link for first Wednesdays at 12:30 pm: Click Here

Link for third Fridays at 12:30 pm: Click Here

Co-Chairs: Thomas Nicotera, Esq. and Peter Walsh, Esq.

Questions or for more information email Stacey Whiteley, [email protected].

CDLHL Background

The CDLHL began in May 2007 as a local group of lawyers in recovery wanting to provide help for other lawyers struggling with alcohol and substance use issues. The scope of the CDLHL expanded over the years to include lawyers, law students and judges who are struggling with mental health issues both large and small such as anxiety, grief, gambling disorder, depression, and anger management. The CDLHL welcomes anyone in the profession who is having difficulties in their personal or professional lives to join us for connection and support.

The CDLHL is a peer led support group that is supported by the New York State Bar Association’s Lawyer Assistance Program (NYSBA LAP). Although not an official standing committee of NYSBA, the CDLHL is recognized as a NYSBA affiliated group and receives staff support, has an online community, and has access to NYSBA’s Bar Center and resources for its meetings and events. There are no dues associated with involvement with the CDLHL, and NYSBA membership, while encouraged, is not required.


The mission of the Capital District Lawyers Helping Lawyers Committee is to give confidential assistance to lawyers, judges, law students, and other members of the legal profession struggling with alcoholism, substance abuse and dependence, other addictions, depression, and mental health problems that threaten or impair professional and personal life.  Within the statewide Lawyer Assistance Program of the New York State Bar Association, the Committee has two goals: To give the bench and bar a better understanding of these conditions through appropriate education and dialogue, and to give colleagues in recovery hope and confidence through our example.  The services we offer to members of the legal profession and their families include outreach, education, prevention, consultation, intervention, referral, peer support, and mentoring.


The CDLHL holds virtual meetings on the first Wednesday of the month at 12:30 pm. Occasionally, these meetings are hybrid and are held at the Bar Center and over Zoom. The group also holds a virtual-only meeting on the third Friday of the month at 12:00 pm. Each meeting is structured a bit differently, but in general the meetings start with introductions, then a topical reading and open discussion.

The CDLHL’s work include outreach to local bar associations, providing public service announcements for CLE programming, developing educational programming, planning the annual dinner, and volunteering with the LAP as peer support, monitors, and program speakers.

Membership in NYSBA is not required and there is no cost to participate. All communications are confidential.


Each May, at its Wednesday meeting, the CDLHL hosts a hybrid celebratory birthday lunch during its regular meeting sponsored by the LAP. Members, current and past, attend this annual event.

Each November, the CDLHL awards the “Ray of Hope” award to an outstanding volunteer. The dinner is always well attended and a wonderful celebration to thank all those who have volunteered and participated in the CDLHL.


The CDLHL, as a recognized group under the LAP and its associated Lawyer Assistance Committee, is protected under Judiciary Law Section 499 which states:

1. Confidential information privileged.  The confidential relations and communications between a member or authorized agent of a lawyer assistance committee sponsored by a state or local bar association and any person, firm or corporation communicating with such committee, its members or authorized agents shall be deemed to be privileged on the same basis as those provided by law between attorney and client.  Such privilege may be waived only by the person, firm or corporation which has furnished information to the committee.

2. Immunity from liability.  Any person, firm or corporation in good faith providing information to, or in any other way participating in the affairs of, any of the committees referred to in subdivision one of this section shall be immune from civil liability that might otherwise result by reason of such conduct.  For the purpose of any proceeding, the good faith of any such person, firm or corporation shall be presumed.

This allows for an open dialogue between members of the CDLHL and with LAP staff and with any other individuals who are acting as an authorized agent of the LAC without concern of disclosure.


Volunteers are an integral component of  the statewide Lawyer Assistance efforts. Peer support has proven time and time again to be a vital component to the improvement in the condition of an attorney that is struggling. Having that connection to another attorney is a secure point for many who feel alone and have no other supports in place. Volunteers share their experiences and time, providing the struggling attorney with friendship, advice, and support. Volunteers connect with attorneys in person and over the phone, through text and email. Whatever method works best for the volunteer and the attorney is the best method for the connection. It cannot be stressed enough how important volunteers are to the program, they are the lifeblood of the LAP. The volunteer training manual is below, please read through it and contact the LAP for more information.

In addition to providing peer assistance and support to their colleagues, volunteers can serve as speakers who help educate the legal profession about stress, depression, addiction and other mental health issues.

For additional information on how to become a LAP volunteer, call Stacey Whiteley, 518.487.5688 or email [email protected]

Alcohol use disorder is the most common substance use disorder in the United States, affecting nearly three million people annually. Up to 40% of all hospital beds in the US are being used to treat health conditions related to alcohol. There are an average of six deaths every day due to alcohol overdoses. These statistics are shocking, but for those in the legal field, the statistics around alcohol use disorder are even more concerning. In a recent study, one in five practicing lawyers reported problematic drinking patterns, which is significantly higher than studies which show 6.4% of Americans exhibited signs of alcohol use disorder.* There are many suggested reasons for the high rate of alcohol issues with those in the law, but the fact remains, alcohol use disorder is a big problem for the profession. There is help. The LAP can help you or your colleague come to terms with the problem and seek the professional help needed. If you’re concerned about your own drinking and want to take proactive steps before the disorder grows-because alcohol use disorder is a progressive disease, there are many in-person and online resources and supports available. These are listed below.

If you’re not sure if your alcohol use is really a problem in your life, there are several online tests available to help you figure that out. There is a link to one listed below. Alcohol is an addictive substance, no matter how little or how much you drink, its impact on your body is designed to increase your desire to consume more.

Substance use disorders, encompassing drugs such as opioids, benzodiazepines (benzos), stimulants, and even marijuana (THC) are not as highly reported in the legal field as alcohol use disorder, but they are still prevalent and can destroy a lawyer’s career, personal relationships, health and can take their life. Substance use disorders are treatable and help is available. LAP support and assistance is available— call Director, Stacey Whiteley at 518.487.5688. Additional information can be found below.

ABA/Hazelden Betty Ford 2016 Study: The Prevalence of Substance Use and Other Mental Health Concerns Among American Attorneys

Online AUDIT (Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test)

Cannabis Use Disorder Identification Test


We Need More Optimists in the Profession

Becoming an Alcoholic in Private-Living in Recovery in Public

Never Alone: Addiction, Recovery and Community

How to Help Judges in Need of Help

Two Men Met in 1935: The History of LAP

CLE Programs

Navigating the Ethics of Grievance Proceedings and Diversion Through The Lens of Lawyers Assistance

Attorney Wellness/Substance Abuse in the Legal Profession

Lawyer Assistance Program

Stress, Alcohol and Substance Abuse in the Legal Profession

Lawyer Assistance/Alcohol and Substance Abuse in the Legal Profession

The Elephant in the Room: The Legal Profession, Mental Health, and Substance Abuse

Other Resources

Voices in Recovery: an ABA and CoLAP Podcast series exploring substance use and mental health recovery through interviews with members of the profession

Lawyer Assistance Committee members present a mock intervention.

Online AUDIT (Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test)

NYC LAP serving NYC and Westchester: 212.302.5787

Nassau County LAP: 888.408.6222

Online AA Meeting guide

SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration)

National Helpline: 800.662.HELP (4357)

The LAP is proud to be a part of the larger mission of the New York State Bar Association in providing support, resources and information designed to enhance the well-being of New York attorneys, law students and judiciary. Please click on the link below to view NYSBA’s Attorney Well-Being page.


Please note: the assessments below do not provide a medical diagnosis; they are offered as a tool to help the user determine if seeking a professional evaluation is warranted. If you have questions about the tools or your results, call the LAP Director at 518.487.5688

Online AUDIT: Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test

Drug Screening Questionnaire (DAST)

Depression Self-Assessment

Gambling Self-Assessment (BBGS)

Burnout Inventory (Oldenburg Burnout Inventory)

ADHD Screener

Some of the assessment links will bring you to a non-NYSBA affiliated website. NYSBA does not endorse these sites or their organizations. You are not required to enter any personal information to utilize the assessments.