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Substance Abuse Ethics: What All Attorneys Must Know

Date: Wednesday, April 4, 2018
Time: 1:00 - 2:30 pm EST
Length: 90 minutes

Sponsored by Lorman Education Services

Registration for Session Only: $199.00

Registration plus Session Recording and Written Materials: $268.00


Substance and alcohol abuse can have costly consequences - know your ethical responsibilities to protect your practice.

It has been a truism for decades, if not centuries, that lawyers have problems with the bottle - it is a common cliché in movies and novels. Many lawyers have difficulty dealing with the stress of the profession but do not know how to identify what the problem is or what can be done. Attorneys are also often reluctant to ask for help. Often they ignore the problem until it's too late - they are facing a job loss, discipline, or even criminal charges.

This topic will first address the modern definitions of substance abuse and mental illness and then discuss some of the underlying reasons that lawyers suffer disproportionally high rates of these diseases. We will then review some examples of attorney misconduct caused by substance abuse and/or mental illness. Finally, this material will suggest some ways to protect yourself and your practice from the consequences of substance abuse and mental illness.

Areas Covered in the Session:

Definitions of Terms

  • Substance Abuse and Addiction
  • Mental Health Issues

Current Statistics on Lawyers and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Issues

  • Possible Explanations for These Numbers
  • Discussion of Krill Study
  • General Understanding of Causes
  • Differences Among Attorneys Re: Gender, Age, Area of Practice, Length of
  • Practice, Income

How These Disorders Impact Lawyers' Practice

  • Ethical Violations and Discipline
  • Criminal Consequences
  • Loss of Reputation and Opportunities

Treatment and Disciplinary Alternatives

  • Diversion Programs
  • Lawyers Assistance Programs
  • New Trends in Treatment

Strategies for Getting Help for Yourself and/or Your Colleagues

  • Asking for Help – and Issues to Be Aware of - What to Do If You Think Your
  • Colleague Is Impaired
  • Suggestions for Ways to Protect Your Firm and Clients From Impaired Colleagues

Credit Information (Sponsored by Lorman Education Services):

  • CLE
  • NALA
For Detailed Credit Information page click here

Only registered attendee will receive continuing education credit.

Instructor Profile:

Meredith S. Heller, Law Office of Meredith S. Heller PLLC

  • Principal, the Law Office of Meredith S. Heller PLLC
  • Practice emphasizes criminal defense and professional responsibility
  • Frequent speaker at CLEs on substance abuse and the profession, as well as professional ethics, generally
  • Past chair of the New York City Bar Association’s Professional Responsibility Committee
  • J.D. degree, Cardozo Law School; B.A. and M.A. degrees, Case Western Reserve University
  • Member of the New York City Bar Association (past chair, Professional Responsibility Committee; past chair, Lawyers Assistance Program Committee); New York State Bar Association (member of Professional Discipline Committee and Lawyers Assistance Program Committee); New York Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers; National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • Can be contacted at

(Not available outside the US)