Managing Mental Health and Substance Use Issues for Lawyers: Key Considerations
Hounded by stress and pressure, lawyers have long struggled with mental health and substance use disorders more than any other professional. A 2016 study reveals that a significant number of lawyers are positive for drug use, problematic drinking, and mental health concerns such as anxiety, depression, and panic disorder.
This significant problem calls for law firms to implement policies that will encourage their lawyers to seek assistance through treatment programs. It is also crucial that the management understands the significance of early intervention to ensure maximum positive results.
Listen as seasoned lawyers Carolyn Reinach Wolf (Abrams Fensterman) and Pamela Polacek (McNees Wallace & Nurick LLC) present an in-depth discussion of the prevalence of substance use and mental health issues among lawyers. Speakers will offer helpful tips and strategies that law firms can implement in developing policies that will better promote lawyers’ wellness.
Key topics include:
- Substance Use and Mental Health Issues - Statistics
- Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders as Professionalism/Ethics Issues
- Addressing Treatment Challenges
- Lawyer Wellness - Best Practices and Strategies for Law Firms
Carolyn Reinach Wolf, Executive Partner
- Identifying “Red Flag” Behaviors of Those Who May Be Suffering from Mental Health Issues, Substance Abuse, and/or Dementia
- Mental Health Legal Tool Kit: Legal and Clinical Interventions Available to Support Those in Need
- Lawyer Assistance Programs Available Through State and/or County Bar Associations
Pamela Polacek, Member
McNees Wallace & Nurick LLC
- Barriers to Seeking Treatment:
- Seeking Help Means That I Am Weak or Unworthy;
- Seeking Help Means That I Am Going to Lose My Job;
- Being Open About Seeking Help Will Magnify the Results If I Fail—recognize that the attorney who is dealing with substance abuse or mental health problems often is not able to challenge the validity of the assumptions that are going through their minds.
- Navigating the Road Back to Work and Success: Need for balance between employment policies that have teeth and policies that facilitate reentry. Each person’s recovery path is different. Relapses can occur. Changing expectations around alcohol, work hours, etc.
- McNees’ Steps on Wellness
Who Should Attend:
- Law Office Managers
Carolyn Reinach Wolf is an Executive Partner in the law firm of Abrams, Fensterman, Fensterman, Eisman, Formato, Ferrara, Wolf & Carone, LLP and Director of the Firm's Mental Health Law practice. She is the only attorney in the country with a family-focused practice dedicated to serving individuals and families struggling with serious mental illness and/or alcohol/drug addiction. Supported by a team of expert clinicians, she specializes in navigating the complex landscape of legal issues utilizing her mental health toolkit to coordinate services for those in need. She also represents institutions, mental health, healthcare and addiction professionals, and higher educational institutions. Ms. Wolf is a regular contributor to Psychology Today and was profiled by The New York Times in a 2013 story entitled, “A Guide in the Darkness,” which ran on the front page of the Sunday Edition Metro section.
Carolyn Reinach Wolf is an Executive Partner in the law firm of Abrams, Fensterman, Fensterman, Eisman, Formato, Ferrara, Wolf & …
Pam is an energy lawyer who practices in the Energy & Environmental Group. Pam advises clients regarding commercial, legal, regulatory and legislative opportunities and risks in the electric and natural gas industries. She is a past President of the Dauphin County Bar Association and of the Public Utility Section of the Pennsylvania Bar Association. During her term as DCBA President, she openly discussed her personal struggles with stress, anxiety and substance abuse. She continues to promote help-seeking behaviors and wellness through her participation on the PBA’s Lawyers Assistance Committee, in her leadership role at McNees as co-chair of the Professional Development and Education Committee and through personal outreach to friends and colleagues. Pam holds a B.A. in Politics from St. Joseph’s University and a J.D. from the Duke University School of Law.
Pam is an energy lawyer who practices in the Energy & Environmental Group. Pam advises clients regarding commercial, legal, regulatory …
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NY Category of CLE Credit:
Ethics and Professionalism
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About Abrams Fensterman
The legal team at Abrams Fensterman is committed to providing each client with quality counsel, innovative solutions and personalized service. Founded in 2000, the firm offers the legal expertise of its 90-plus attorneys, who have accumulated experience and problem-solving skills over decades of practice.
The firm initially built its reputation for excellence through its representation of health care providers in all aspects of health care law. The firm is composed of partners who have been recognized for their work in the field of regulatory law, transactional health care representation, white collar criminal defense and mental health law. Abrams Fensterman is the only firm in New York with a family-focused mental healthcare practice. The firm boasts experienced attorneys in a multitude of other practice areas. Capitalizing on these strengths, Abrams Fensterman has grown to become a well-recognized, full-service law firm.
About McNees Wallace & Nurick LLC
McNees is a full-service law firm, established in 1935. The Firm is comprised of over 130 attorneys serving our clients from seven offices in Harrisburg, Lancaster, State College, Scranton and York, Pennsylvania as well as Frederick, Maryland, Columbus, Ohio, and Washington, D.C. For more than 84 years, McNees has provided clients with a comprehensive range of legal services tailored to meet the legal priorities and unique needs of public entities, businesses, education institutions, and individuals.