May 17, 2017

Policy, Process & Prevention: A Systems Approach to Improving the Health & Wellbeing of the Profession

(Grand Ballroom A/B/C, 4th Floor)

Friday, June 2 
(3:40pm - 5:00pm)

Moderator:  Tracy Kepler 
Panelists:    Bree Buchanan, Robert Denby, Patrick Krill, William D. Slease

This program will highlight key results of the Survey of Law Student Well-Being and the 2016 landmark study conducted by the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation and the American Bar Association Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs (CoLAP).  Through an analysis and discussion of the results of these studies, the panelists will offer the following ideas:

  • The establishment of a new baseline understanding of where the legal profession currently stands in relation to the historically substantial challenges presented by substance abuse and other mental health problems;
  • An increased spotlight on these issues, presenting both the impetus and opportunity to revisit, update and innovate systemic changes in terms of profession-wide practices and cultural norms related to drinking, drug use and psychological wellbeing;
  • Discussion of possible approaches, preventative measures, and proposed policy initiatives that solo practitioners, law firms, and law schools may implement to protect clients as well as save careers;  and
  • Identification of how differing regulatory agencies interact and share information, if at all, regarding mental health and substance abuse issues; the challenge of identifying when an addiction causes professional misconduct and the appropriate response by regulators; whether disciplinary or regulatory counsel do or should consider a lawyer’s or judge’s addictions or mental health issues in recommending and seeking disciplinary sanctions and, if so, how and to what extent; and the difficult decisions faced by assistance professionals when a lawyer is causing significant harm to himself/herself, clients and the profession, including whether, what and when, if ever, to report the lawyer to regulators.


  1. ABA Model Regulatory Objectives
  2. Colorado PMBR Wellness Diversity Table 081916
  3. Discipline Petition Letter Template
  4. MRPC 8.3 Reporting Professional Misconduct 7.28.16
  5. NM Rules
  6. PMBR Roadmap graphic (2)
  7. The Prevalence of Substance Use and Other Mental.8

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