The Cobb Bar Association’s Lawyers Helping Lawyers (LHL) is a volunteer group of your peers, established to provide confidential assistance to any lawyer who may be facing issues such as depression, stress, or other mental health issues, and alcohol or drug related problems. LHL uses the services of trained psychiatric and substance abuse professionals, and also includes peer support through our attorney volunteers. By giving timely and confidential assistance and support, the intent of LHL is to prevent damaged careers and reputations and assist other attorneys in the recovery of personal health and professional confidence.
Another facet of LHL is the assistance of sole practitioners and other attorneys in implementing a succession plan in the event that such attorney becomes disabled, retires or dies. Although there is no specific requirement in the Disciplinary Rules of the Code of Professional Conduct outlining the steps a lawyer must take to protect his or her clients in the event of a sudden inability to continue in practice, it is prudent to establish an advance plan to protect yourself, your clients, your families and beneficiaries. It is clear that there is a duty on the part of the attorney to protect his/her client from the adverse consequences of such an event. For example, a lawyer who neglects, abandons or fails to diligently pursue a matter may violate certain Disciplinary Rules. By arranging in advance for the temporary management or closing of your practice, your ongoing matters will be handled in a timely manner and there will be less likelihood that a court date will be missed or clients’ interests otherwise prejudiced. You can be assured that your clients’ files will be protected and that the proper bookkeeping records will be maintained.
PEER ASSISTANCE FOR ATTORNEYS
As a group, lawyers face tremendous pressure to solve the problems of others. Often, in their zeal to help their clients and to serve their employers, lawyers overlook their own personal needs. A peer support group for lawyers can help lawyers address their emotional needs. It can be very reassuring for a lawyer to know that he or she is not alone in whatever problems he or she might be facing – and to know that others have been there before him or her, and were able to address the problem and move on.
No one in our profession is free from stress. But whether it is stress, alcohol or drug use or dependency, mental health issues, or other personal issues, LHL is available to help Bar members manage personal problems before they escalate to the point of endangering client interests, or irreversibly damage careers or relationships.
LHL would encourage, and can assist, all Cobb County Bar members to establish an Advance Exit Plan. This Plan would come into action in the event of your disability, incapacity, retirement or death.
For further information contact:
332 Lawrence Street
Marietta, Georgia 30060
Phone (770) 427-1500
Fax (770) 427-7377