Ethics Counsel on www.OKbar.org

Lawyers Helping Lawyers


 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Lawyers Helping Lawyers Assistance Program?

The program assists OBA members who are having difficulties that adversely affect their practice. Difficulties can be from a variety of sources – not just drugs and alcohol but also depression, stress, relationship challenges and gambling.

Who runs this program?

The program is administered by the LHL Assistance Program Committee and funded by OBA member dues. The LHL hotline is answered by a counseling/mental health service, contracted by the OBA.

Does the OBA know when I call the hotline?

No. All calls are confidential and are handled by a counseling/mental health service, which reports numbers of those utilizing services but no names.

How does this all work?

Lawyers Helping Lawyers provides CONFIDENTIAL help to an impaired lawyer. By statute and by OBA resolution, any information received by the program must remain completely confidential. Information regarding a lawyer is often received from the lawyer personally or from family, friends, partners or even clients. Once contact is made through the hotline, the lawyer is provided the information requested or referred to needed services. If you wish, you can be referred to a peer mentor who can work with you on specific issues.

I struggle with drugs/alcohol. How can you help?

The majority of calls received by the LHL program deal with lawyers whose lives and practices are being ruined by a drug or alcohol abuse problem. This is not at all surprising because some researchers estimate a 15percent rate of alcoholism and other substance abuse among professionals. This means there could be as many as 2,500 lawyers in Oklahoma in one stage or another of chemical dependency. To address this problem, the program has a network of lawyers who are well acquainted with the disease of alcoholism or chemical dependency and who are willing to devote their time and energy to help others find recovery.

My problem is not with drugs or alcohol. How can you help?

Lawyers, who are trained not to show weakness, can sometimes be crippled by depression or other emotional problems. Take advantage of the free, short-term counseling, participate in the monthly discussion groups or ask for a committee member mentor, who can help with emotional problems due to physical illness, senility, divorce or stress.

I know I have a serious problem, but I can’t afford treatment.

The first step is to ask for help and take advantage of the free, short-term counseling. Call the hotline. Second, you may qualify for a grant from the Lawyers Helping Lawyers Foundation to help pay for treatment or medication. To apply for a LHL Foundation grant, schedule an appointment with the off-site LHL program coordinator by calling the 800-364-7886 hotline or email onelife@plexusgroupe.com. A grant application form and more details are available online.

I don’t have a problem, but my friend does.

If you fear that another lawyer has become impaired, and you want to get confidential help to determine whether a problem exists and/or to get help for that problem, simply call the LHL hotline at 800-364-7886.You can also confidentially email onelife@plexusgroupe.com.