The North Carolina Lawyer Assistance Program has revamped its website – and that’s good news for everybody.
LAP – which traces its roots back to 1979 – helps lawyers, judges, law students and family members dealing with:
- Stress, burnout and balance
- Depression and suicide
- Anger management
- Compassion fatigue
- Substance abuse
- Process addictions
- Grief and loss
The current incarnation of LAP is a merger of two programs. The Positive Action for Lawyers Committee (PALS) provided assistance for lawyers recovering from alcoholism and other addictions. FRIENDS covered mental health issues unrelated to substance abuse.
Today, both of these causes are under the umbrella of LAP, which has a full-time staff and a cadre of dedicated volunteers throughout the state. They are on call to provide assistance to lawyers and judges whenever and wherever needed.
A key feature of LAP is its two-pronged approach: (a) professional therapy and treatment, and (b) peer counseling and volunteer support.
Free Resources Online
The new website is clean, attractive and easy to navigate. It offers valuable resources such as:
- Guidance for law firms dealing with a member struggling with depression, bipolar disorder or substance abuse.
- Links to the Sidebar e-newsletter that connects LAP volunteers, clients and staff.
- Video library of testimonials and expert advice.
- An archive of articles such as “A Recovery Story: Get Off The Couch” and “Women at Work: Gender, Discrimination and Life Satisfaction.”
- Surveys, scientific studies and social research on job satisfaction, mental health issues, recovery and quality of life.
- Information on becoming an LAP volunteer and signup information.
The Mission of NCLAP
LAP helps legal professionals – lawyers, judges and law students – figure out what is not working in their lives and provides guidance and ongoing support for getting back on track.
Typically, this process involves:
- Assessment. This may involve one to three sessions covering the client’s history and sources of concern. The sessions generally last up to two hours.
- Referral. Sometimes all the caller needs is a few counseling sessions. If consistent, ongoing help is required, LAP can provide a referral to a counselor, therapist, treatment center, physician or hospital. LAP has no financial ties to any of the providers
- Follow-up. LAP maintains ongoing relationships with clients. Periodic check-ins are scheduled to see how the recovery is progressing. Clients who successfully overcome their issues and achieve two years of stable recovery are often recruited to become LAP volunteers themselves.
- Peer Support. An individual contacting LAP will, when appropriate, be connected with a judge or lawyer volunteer who has been through a similar issue. This individual will serve as a mentor, contract monitor or liaison to a care provider. LAP also conducts confidential, invitation-only lawyer support group meetings and discussion groups around the state.
- Consultation. LAP provides guidance to judges, law partners, friends and family members who are concerned about a judge or lawyer but unsure how to get help.
- Intervention. LAP works with family members to conduct an intervention – or refer the client to a professional interventionist – for clients in serious trouble or in need or immediate treatment.
- Monitoring. Accountability helps prevent relapses. LAP can provide assurances to law firms or judges that a client is successfully maintaining recovery.
Want to learn more? Know someone who might benefit from these services? Check out the NCLAP website.
Source: NCLAP www.nclap.org
Jay Reeves a/k/a The Risk Man has practiced law in North Carolina and South Carolina. Formerly he was Legal Editor at Lawyers Weekly and Risk Manager at Lawyers Mutual. Contact him at 919-619-2441 or firstname.lastname@example.org.