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Vol. 40, No. 5

A LAP director’s wish list for addressing cognitive impairment

by Robert J. Derocher

If Terry Harrell, executive director of the Indiana Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program and chair of the ABA Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs, drew up a wish list for how LAPs and bar associations should confront the issue of helping cognitively impaired lawyers, this is what it would look like:

  • A good network of local neuropsychologists and clinical resources to help with identification and transition.
  • More LAP staff to handle the expected increase in calls in the years ahead.
  • Teams of local lawyers to help older colleagues effectively “dismantle a practice,” which would assist not only the older attorneys, but their clients as well.
  • Widespread education on the need for lawyers to draw up an effective succession plan.

“I hope lawyers understand that LAPs will help, and it will all be confidential,” she adds.