While we rarely frame it this way in law school or at a CLE, the reality is that practicing law is one of the most emotionally strenuous and challenging jobs one can do. While working as an attorney can at times be very rewarding, aspects of the profession itself combined with the personality of those who self-select to join the profession put lawyers at greater psychological risk in their professional and personal lives than the general public and even at greater risk than most other professionals.
Extreme stress, long hours, handling high stakes issues, Type-A personalities, unrelenting perfectionism, and “looking good at all costs” are unfortunately an accepted and intrinsic part of our professional legal culture. As a result many lawyers engage in a prolonged and silent struggle with alcoholism, addiction, anxiety and depression, among other issues. As many as one in four lawyers are affected. This means it is likely that you, an associate, a partner, or one of your best lawyer friends will encounter one of these issues.
The LAP was created by lawyers for lawyers to assure that free, confidential assistance is available for the lawyers of North Carolina. LAP can help you find the kind of therapy or treatment that works for you.
What does LAP do?
We help lawyers deal with and recover from a wide range of issues including, but not limited to:
- stress, burnout, and work life balance
- depression and suicide
- anger management
- compassion fatigue
- substance abuse
- process addictions (like food, gambling or sex)
- grief and loss
Our trained staff provides short-term counseling and crisis management, intervention assistance, assessments, referrals to outside resources (such as therapists and treatment centers), long-term aftercare case management and follow up, on-going support, or just a safe space to discuss your issues.
The LAP has a network of lawyer volunteers throughout the state who have recovered from these very same issues and who assist lawyers who are just beginning their own journey of recovery. These LAP volunteers gather together at lawyer peer discussion support groups that meet throughout the state. Many volunteers and clients report that peer support is one of the most important tools for a lawyer who is struggling with any issue. Just knowing you are not alone and that others have struggled with the same issue and emerged stronger on the other side can offer meaning and a renewed sense of hope as one begins the journey of recovery.
How do I know if I should contact the LAP?
The LAP provides comprehensive assistance for any issue lawyers face. Whether you just need help coping with day-to-day anxieties, or you are suffering from addiction or suicidal thoughts, we are here to help. There is no issue too big or too small.
These conditions are highly treatable, especially in the early stages. Asking for help, however, runs counter to our legal training and instincts. Most lawyers enter the profession to help others and believe they themselves should not need help. The good news is that all it takes is a phone call. The LAP works exclusively with lawyers and has been a trusted resource for thousands of lawyers in overcoming these conditions.
If you are concerned about the well being of a colleague, you can also contact the LAP to give an anonymous and confidential referral. We will never reveal your name to anyone unless you want us to as part of an intervention. Please see our confidentiality statement which assures your communication is treated as confidential.
The LAP offers support at all stages
One of the primary goals of the LAP is to provide assistance to lawyers before any of these problems become debilitating or cause a lawyer to commit an ethical violation. Contacting the LAP before a problem escalates is one of the best investments you can make, which is why we offer counseling, support, and referrals to any North Carolina lawyer seeking our services.
If you are suffering from substance abuse, depression, or other mental health issues, you are not alone. The quicker you recognize the issue and ask for help, the quicker you will be on the road to recovery. Contact the LAP today.