SUBSTANCE USE

Mindfulness-Focused Substance Abuse Training for Attorneys

Mindfulness is a simple, yet proven practice that can help attorneys strengthen resilience skills and support their recovery from alcohol or substance use. Our trainings and Continuing Legal Education courses harness these powerful science-based techniques to help lawyers implement healthy coping skills to manage stress and support their overall well-being. Contact us today to discuss your organizational needs and schedule a customized program.

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SUBSTANCE ABUSE CLE

Cheers to a Mindful New Year: How to Overcome Substance Use Disorder and Avoid Legal Ethics Issues

The ABA and Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation’s (ABA/HBFF) groundbreaking 2016 study confirmed devastatingly high rates of both mental health concerns and substance abuse amongst lawyers. For example, between 21-36% of attorneys qualify as problem drinkers—3-5x higher than the general population. Moreover, 25-30% of attorney disciplinary matters, 60% of all malpractice claims, and 85% of all trust-fund violation cases were caused by a lawyer’s substance-use disorder issues.

Even though the problem is pervasive in the legal community, most lawyers aren’t equipped to seek help if in distress or to have sensitive conversations with those who need help. In fact, the ABA/HBFF’s 2016 study indicated that 93% of attorneys did not receive help for alcohol or other drug abuse. As we struggle to cope with life in post-COVID-19 world, lawyers are particularly vulnerable to worsened mental health and substance abuse issues.

In this eye-opening program, veteran attorney Cindy Sharp will share her struggles with alcohol, reveal how she got sober, and how she has remained alcohol free for over 11 years.  Attorney and certified meditation instructor Becky Howlett will share her perspectives on the issues and provide practical tips for reducing stress and anxiety in your professional practice and personal life.

In this timely program, you will learn:

  • What is a Highly Functioning Alcoholic Attorney (HFAA)

  • Why we must eliminate the stigma surrounding substance use disorder

  • How to detect the warning signs of impairment

  • Ethical rules to consider: MRPC 1.1 - Competence and MRPC 1.3 - Diligence

  • Ethical duties of the law partner of an impaired attorney

  • Treatment options and other resources to consider

  • Mindfulness as a tool for resilience, stress release, and relapse prevention

 
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IN THE NEWS

ABA GPSolo eReport


Attorneys Becky Howlett and Cynthia Sharp's monthly column in the American Bar Association's GPSolo eReport focuses on all aspects of attorney wellness and the real-life challenges of practicing law, including substance use, mental health, civility, and implicit bias.


We believe that generating open and honest conversations, including sharing our own personal struggles with mental health and addiction, will encourage others to seek needed help, as well as promote cultural change within our profession.

 

Substance Use Disorder, An Open Conversation

Veteran attorney Cindy Sharp shares her struggles with alcoholism and how she finally got sober. Learn about Substance Use Disorder, including common signs and symptoms and how you can get help or support someone who may be struggling.

 

How Do You Stay Well and Balanced During These Times?

Veteran Attorney Cynthia Sharp shares her keys to maintaining her sobriety and well-being especially during the stresses of pandemic times.

 

RESOURCES

 

Attorney Cynthia Sharp Talks Openly About Her Alcoholism

This is the story of how a Highly Functioning Alcoholic Attorney got sober. Veteran attorney Cynthia Sharp opens up about her lifelong struggle with alcoholism and discusses how she was finally able to get and stay sober one day at a time.

 

Get Out of Fight or Flight and Into Relaxation

Used by Navy SEALs and NASA astronauts, box breathing is a tried-and-true-method to turn off "fight or flight" and turn on your relaxation response. Attorney and Certified Meditation Instructor Becky Howlett teaches this science-based breathing technique you can use anywhere to immediately feel more calm, relaxed, and focused.