The New York State, NYC and Nassau County Bar Associations’ Lawyer Assistance Programs are here to help you. Our offices offer support services to lawyers, judges, law students and their families who need assistance navigating every day emotional health struggles, substance use disorders, and more challenging mental health issues. Give one of our offices a call to begin the discussion and find the help you need. All communications are confidential and services are free.
New York State Bar Association’s
Lawyer Assistance Program
Stacey Whiteley, Director
The New York State Bar Association’s Lawyer Assistance Program provides several important services to the legal community across New York State. NYSBA’s LAP provides:
- voluntary monitoring services for attorneys facing grievance procedures and for those that are court ordered.
- a helpline: 800.255.0569. The helpline provides general assistance for callers and referrals for therapists, treatment, support groups, and peer support.
- CLE and educational speakers, materials, and resources that can be incorporated into existing programming or as presented as stand alone programming.
- peer support from experienced volunteers.
- materials and assistance to local bars and groups wishing to start up local Lawyers Helping Lawyers groups.
- outreach to local and specialty bars, legal organization, firms, law schools, and legal organizations on topics such as substance use, mental health and attorney well-being.
- the home program for NYSBA’s Lawyer Assistance Committee, the Judicial Wellness Committee, and the local Capital District Lawyers Helping Lawyers group.
- co-sponsors the weekly Lawyer to Lawyers Well-Being Roundtable. Held Thursdays at 4 pm via Zoom.
- Curates a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/nysbalap/
- participates on task forces and working groups researching and developing reports and recommendations.
- collaborative opportunities with other LAP Directors in New York to address the needs of New York’s legal community.
- articles, information and content for NYSBA publications and other media outlets.
STATEMENT OF PURPOSE
The New York State Bar Association Lawyer Assistance Program (LAP) provides education and confidential assistance to lawyers, judges, law school students, and immediate family members who are affected by the problem of substance abuse, stress, depression or other mental health issues. Its goal is to assist in the prevention, early identification and intervention of problems that can affect professional conduct and quality of life.
All LAP services are confidential and protected under Section 499 of the Judiciary Law as amended by Chapter 327 of the Laws of 1993.
Director, Stacey Whiteley | [email protected] | 518.360.2352
Assistant, Sharmin Woodall | [email protected] |518.487.5686
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. swhitele[email protected]
- Capital District | First and Third Wednesdays at 12:30 pm
- Hudson Valley | Second and Fourth Fridays at 4:00
- Erie County | Thursdays at 5:30 pm
- Nassau County | Wednesdays at 12:30 pm
- Suffolk County | Wednesdays at 6:00 pm
- New York City | Thursdays at 6:30 pm
Lawyer to Lawyer Well-Being Roundtable
Join other lawyers, law students and judges from across the state in a free and confidential online support group being held weekly on Thursdays at 4pm via Zoom. The group will be facilitated by Libby Coreno, Chair of the Attorney Wellbeing Committee and Kerry O’Hara, PsyD. Each group session will be loosely organized under a theme for discussion. All participants will be given the opportunity to share if they wish, with supportive discussion to follow.
NOTE: The Roundtable is on hiatus as of April 2, 2021 and will return shortly. Check back for the next Roundtable date.
2020 Program Archives
FALL SERIES RESOURCES
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 RESOURCES
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?
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.
Co-Chairs: Thomas E. Schimmerling, Esq. and Daniella E. Keller, Esq.
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. Jonah Triebwasser
Vice Chair: Hon Linda Poust Lopez
Capital District Lawyers Helping Lawyers Committee (CDLHL)
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. 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 example. Services offered to members of the legal profession and their families include: outreach, education, prevention, consultation, intervention, referral, peer support, and mentoring. The CDLHL is now meeting virtually on the first and third Wednesdays of the month at 12:30 pm. Please contact Stacey Whiteley at [email protected] for the Zoom links.
VOLUNTEERS ARE NEEDED THROUGHOUT NEW YORK!
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. We are currently in need of female volunteers and also volunteers that have struggled with and worked through issues around anxiety, depression, and grief.
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, 518.360.2352 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 three practicing lawyers reported problematic drinking patterns, which is significantly higher than studies which show 6.8% 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. Resources can be accessed by calling the LAP 800.255.0569. Additional information can be found below.
Lawyer Assistance Committee members present a mock intervention.
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 helpline at 800.255.0569.
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.