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Colleagues Need Our Help

     During the past year, our Committee has handled a number of referrals and met with one of our judges regarding one of those referrals.  
     In March, Lisa Kaplan, LCSW-C, CAC, the counselor for the State Bar Assistance Program, was invited to attend our meeting.  We do not have a paid counselor available to our referrals but Ms. Kaplan agreed to make herself available as an additional resource for those in need of her assistance.  Lisa is available on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday and her direct phone number is 443-703-3042. 

Our Mission Statement is as follows:  
     The BAMC Lawyer Assistance Committee is comprised of members of our association whose sole purpose is to help our colleagues.  We are a resource put in place to help lawyers, including those whose practices may be adversely affected, to better cope with such problems as depression, substance abuse, personal problems, stress, burnout, etc. 
     All referrals to the Committee are strictly confidential and may be anonymous.  This confidentiality is statutory.  (See, Bus. & Occup. Art. § 10-502).  The Maryland Lawyers Rules of Professional Conduct exempt from reporting requirements information received in the course of participation in our assistance program.  (See, Rule 8.3 (c) ).  Referrals to our committee come from Judges, members of the Bar, family and friends.  We respond whenever the need for assistance presents itself. 
     Our committee has resources, professional and otherwise, that can help colleagues who find themselves in crisis.  We strive to assist so as to minimize any negative effect on lawyers and their practices. 

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   The Lawyer Assistance Committee helps lawyers who are having difficulties due to such things as depression, alcohol, drugs, burnout, senility or family issues. WE ARE NOT THE STAR CHAMBER and under no circumstances do we contact Bar Counsel. We have always explicitly stressed strict confidentiality and as a member of this Committee for many years your oldest co-chair is confident in the absence of a breach of confidentiality.
     Each year a substantial number of Montgomery County attorneys are sanctioned by Bar Counsel. We want to help before Bar Counsel is involved, as then the ship has sailed. Lawyers are nearly 4 times more likely to suffer from depression than the general population and we rank 4th among all professions in suicides.
     Referrals can be anonymous and come from judges, lawyers, partners, colleagues, spouses, friends or adversaries. Please contact us when you observe a problem so we can help a fellow member of the Bar.

Co-Chairs

Deane A. Shure
Paul H. Ethridge

 

Committee Meetings

May 13, 2015Meetings will be held at 5:00P.M. on the 2nd Wednesday of the month in the upstairs conference room of the Bar Association building, located at 27 West Jefferson St., Rockville, MD, unless otherwise noted.