The Commission maintains a directory of state and local lawyer assistance programs (LAPS) throughout the country. LAPs provide confidential services and support to judges, lawyers and law students who are facing substance use disorders or mental health issues.
If you or someone you know is in need of assistance, contact your state or local LAP.
Learn more about LAPs with the Frequently Asked Questions page, and about their confidential nature with a map that links to each LAP's confidentiality rules or statements.
Directory | LAP FAQ's | Confidentiality | Articles about LAPs
The Commission has compiled a list of national resources that may be useful when seeking help for substance use disorders or mental health issues. Many of these sites will also direct you to additional resources. As with any resource, please use your own judgment when selecting your individual support and information.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
1-800-273-TALK (8255), National, Toll-Free, 24 Hours
Crisis Text Line
Need help? Text START to 741-741
Access the full list of national resources for help.
Articles, information and resources are available on a variety of topics, such as:
- Alcohol and Substance Use Disorders
- Compassion Fatigue
- Stress and Anxiety
- Wellness, Mindfulness, Work-life Balance
- and more...
You will also find information and resources specifically targeted towards distinct groups within the lawyer population, such as:
- Law students
- Senior lawyers
Learn about upcoming events and programs, as well as view and download recordings of past programs, including:
- Recap of the suicide prevention Twitter chat
- The Besden Redemption, Laurie Besden's candid story about addiction to prescription medication
- Fierce & Gritty: Resilience Training for Lawyers
- Charting a Sustainable Path Forward: What the ABA/Hazelden Betty Ford Study on Substance Use and Mental Health Means for the Future of the Profession
- I’ve Got Your Back; You’ve Got My Ear: Suicide Prevention in the Legal Profession
Access the full list.
“The Path To Lawyer Well-Being: Practical Recommendations for Positive Change," from the National Task Force on Well-Being, a coalition dedicated to “creating a movement to improve the health and well-being of the legal profession."
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 conducted national research on lawyer impairment examining alcohol use, substance abuse, mental health issues and help-seeking behaviors of lawyers.
Survey of Law Student Well-Being: In the spring of 2014, fifteen law schools around the country participated in the Survey of Law Student Well-Being (SLSWB) examining alcohol, drug and mental health issues and help-seeking behaviors among law students.
Comprehensive Survey of Lawyer Assistance Programs: Conducted every two years by CoLAP and includes information on annual LAP budgets, staffing, client characteristics, types of impairments served and more.
Access the full list of available research reports.
ABA Resolution 106 (February 2017) amending the ABA Model Rule for Minimum Continuing Legal Education to include a requirement for lawyers to receive at least one hour of mental health or substance use disorder programming every three years.
ABA Resolution 102 (August 2015) which calls for character and fitness questions to address conduct rather than treatment or diagnoses when inquiring into an applicant's mental health history.
Access the full list of policy-related developments and resources, including rules and “Case Law Reviews” dating from 1990 to 2015 that summarize lawyer discipline cases involving substance use disorders and/or mental health issues.
Each fall, CoLAP hosts the National Conference for Lawyer Assistance Programs to bring together the LAP community - including lawyer assistance program directors and staff, law school administrators, judges, disciplinary staff, bar leaders and law firm managers - for educational sessions and networking opportunities.
This year’s National Conference will take place October 17-19, 2017 at the Kansas City Marriott in Kansas City, Missouri.
Access the materials archives from past conferences.
The Commission is available to conduct a review of lawyer assistance programs (LAPs) already in operation. A team consisting of a LAP volunteer and director is assembled by the Commission Chair. This team reviews the job responsibilities of the staff, the financial operation, services provided, volunteer involvement, and cooperative measures between the LAP and bar association. Following the evaluation, the Commission provides a written report with recommendations for expanding and/or improving the reviewed program. The Commission does not charge a fee for this service other than reimbursement of the expenses for the two reviewers.
For further information or to schedule an evaluation, please email Sharon O'Connell, or reach her by phone at 312/988-5717.
The purpose of the CoLAP Presentation Materials Library is to make it easier for LAPs to share presentation materials.
There, directors can view and download Word, PDF and PowerPoint documents on a variety of subjects that other directors have shared, as well as upload their own files to the library.
If you are a director and you would like to gain access to the Library, contact Sara Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org.
"The Path To Lawyer Well-Being: Practical Recommendations for Positive Change."
The National Task Force on Well-Being is a collection of entities within and outside the ABA, including the Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs (CoLAP), National Organization of Bar Counsel (NOBC) and Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers (APRL), with a mission to “create a movement to improve the health and well-being of the legal profession.” The group's report, “The Path To Lawyer Well-Being: Practical Recommendations for Positive Change,” published August 2017, provides recommendations to multiple legal stakeholders, including legal employers, regulators, the judiciary, law schools, professional liability carriers and bar associations, on what they can each do to institute a culture change so that well-being becomes a priority.
Access coverage of the Report and other developments.
CoLAP recognizes the contributions of others through a series of awards, such as those that honor LAP volunteers and employees, judges, bar directors and law school initiatives.
2017 Meritorious Service Award Winners: Linda Albert and Patrick Krill, for their tireless efforts toward The Prevalence of Substance Use and Other Mental Health Concerns Among American Attorneys, a collaborative study by ABA CoLAP and the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation examining alcohol use, substance use, mental health issues and help-seeking behaviors of lawyers.
2017 Meritorious Service Award for Law Student Wellness: Megan Cunningham, a rising 3L at Boston University School of Law, for her vital part in the establishment and growth of theRecovery@BU program, a Collegiate Recovery Program that offers services, support and fun for students in recovery.
View the full list of awards which includes links to past recipients.
The Speakers Bureau is an online resource available to those organizing conferences, workshops, continuing legal education and similar programming around the country.
Find speakers by state or topic area for your next event.
Are you a speaker? Sign up to be included in the list.