Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs

  • Supreme Court
The ABA Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs has the mandate to educate the legal profession concerning alcoholism, chemical dependencies, stress, depression and other emotional health issues, and assist and support all bar associations and lawyer assistance programs in developing and maintaining methods of providing effective solutions for recovery.


            RESOURCES FOR HELP                

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
1-800-273-TALK (8255), National, Toll-Free, 24 Hours

Crisis Text Line
Need help? Text START to 741-741

Directory of State and Local Lawyer Assistance Programs

National Helpline for Judges Helping Judges

National Resources

Economic Recovery Resources

Law Student ListServ
CoLAP maintains a confidential listserv for recovering law students. If you are interested in joining this group, contact Niki Irish at

The International Lawyers in Alcoholics Anonymous (ILAA) holds online meetings each Monday at 8:00 p.m and 10:00 p.m. EST. Click here to join.





Now Seeking Nominations for the 2016 Meritorious Service Award

The ABA Commission on Lawyers Assistance Programs seeks nominations for its 2016 CoLAP Meritorious Service Award on behalf of its Law School Assistance Committee. This award will be presented to a law student, law school, staff or faculty member who has made a significant contribution to law student assistance. The award encourages individuals within the LAPs, local bar associations, and law schools to initiate creative approaches to help students in becoming healthy and successful lawyers.

Access the Memo from Terry Harrell, CoLAP Chair, here.

Download the Nomination Form here. Nomination form and supporting materials due by Friday, May 27, 2016.

The Prevalence of Substance Use and Other Mental Health Concerns Among American Attorneys

In collaboration with the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, the ABA Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs has recently completed national research on lawyer impairment. This is a landmark study as never before has national data been gathered addressing both substance use and behavioral health concerns simultaneously. The survey examines alcohol use, substance abuse, mental health issues and help-seeking behaviors of lawyers. The results are compelling. The implications for the legal community are multifaceted and far reaching. Access the report in the Journal of Addiction Medicine here and click HERE for links to articles covering the study. 

CoLAP Member Tracy Kepler Receives Stellar Member Award

CoLAP Commission member Tracy Kepler is the recipient of the ABA Center for Professional Development's Stellar Member Award. The Stellar Member Award is given out each year to members who have made outstanding efforts to support ABA CLE initiatives.

Helping Law Students Get the Help They Need: An Analysis of Data Regarding Law Students’ Reluctance to Seek Help and Policy Recommendations for a Variety of Stakeholders 

This Bar Examiner article shares results from the Survey of Law Student Well-Being, the first survey to assess alcohol and drug use among law students since 1991. The study was administered with grants from the ABA Enterprise Fund and the Dave Nee Foundation and sponsorship in-part from CoLAP.

New Article from CoLAP Commission Member Linda Albert

Lawyer Assistance Programs: Advocating for a Systems Approach to Health and Wellness for Law Students and Legal Professionals was featured in the December 2015 issue of the Bar Examiner

Article from the CoLAP Senior Lawyers Committee

Concerns about Cognitive Impairment and Older Lawyers (ABA Senior Lawyers Division EXPERIENCE, Summer 2015)

2015 CoLAP Meritorious Service Award

The Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs (CoLAP) is pleased to award the 2015 CoLAP Meritorious Service Award to David B. Jaffe, Associate Dean for Student Affairs at American Washington University Washington College of Law, recognizing his significant contributions to law student mental and physical wellness through prevention, education, intervention, and treatment of substance abuse, addiction, and mental illness of law students.

ABA Approves New Policy - Limits Use of Mental Health-Related Inquiries for Bar Admission

On August 3rd, the House of Delegates approved Resolution 102 which calls for character and fitness questions to address conduct rather than treatment or diagnoses when inquiring into an applicant's mental health history. 

Lawyers in Transition

With assistance and input from CoLAP's Senior Lawyers Committee, the ABA Center on Professional Responsibility (CPR) has compiled resources related to end-of-career issues confronting lawyers. The new webpage includes information and resources on topics such as succession planning, intervention, regulatory issues, senior/young lawyer opportunities and more. 

Mental Health Toolkit for Law Students

Two toolkits have been merged and updated into one digitized document, the new "Substance Abuse and Mental Health Toolkit for Law Students and Those Who Care About Them." The resource is a collaborative effort of CoLAP, the ABA Law Student Division, and the Dave Nee Foundation.


Connect with CoLAP!


2016 National Conference for Lawyer Assistance Programs

We’re Better Together - Lawyers Helping Lawyers in Vancouver

October 4th to 6th in Vancouver, BC, Canada

Visit the Event Calendar to keep up-to-date with CoLAP programs and events.


For details on the Commission’s activities, view its Informational Report to the House of Delegates.

See the rosters for a list of Commission MembersAdvisory Committee Members, and Committees.

Download the CoLAP Business Meeting Minutes. View the Minutes Archive.

Read a Message From the Chair.