Q&A

Questions and AnswersIn this area of the site, you can find answers to non-legal questions about the human side of lawyering.  Answers are written by licensed clinicians with the purpose of providing information, and are not a substitute for a clinical evaluation.

We do not post responses to questions that seem to be frivolous or unrelated to our mission, or that don’t seem to be from Massachusetts lawyers, law students, judges (or family members). We have no way to check back with you, because of the mechanism that keeps this anonymous.

CLICK HERE TO SUBMIT AN ANONYMOUS QUESTION

or click any of the topics in the above list to access a wealth of information accumulated in years of archived Q&A columns.


CURRENT QUESTION(S) OF THE WEEK

[A reminder to those who have sent questions about how to function as a lawyer, such as the proper way of setting up a contingency fee arrangement — this is not the function of LCL — we would suggest instead trying our sister program, masslomap.org.]

DOES LCL, OR THOSE TO WHOM IT REFERS, KEEP RECORDS?

QUESTION:

If someone sees a therapist through your support group does it get put into a medical record ?

ANSWER:  

There are number of possible sub-questions in your question, so let’s sort them out.

  • What we call “LCL Support Groups” are peer-run meetings which are not attended by our clinical staff. These are open to any lawyer or law student and are held at our suite Tuesdays and Thursdays at 1 pm, and at satellite locations noted in our Calendar. These meetings are run in the 12-step tradition, and no records are kept on those in attendance.
  • If you arrange for an individual clinical evaluation with one of the LCL clinicians, we do keep records, but these are never disclosed to anyone outside of LCL except (1) if you want the records disclosed and provide written consent, or (2) if there were to be an issue of physical danger to you or someone else. (That would include cases of learning of ongoing abuse of a child, elder, or disabled person.) Some lawyers who are especially worried about these things register with us under a pseudonym.
  • If, after doing a clinical evaluation, we refer you to an outside licensed mental health provider, they are also required to keep records, but, like us, would be prohibited from disclosing those records without your written permission except in cases of danger.

Both the confidentiality and the record keeping are there with your interests in mind.


LAW SCHOOL OBSTACLES, 2 YEARS INTO RECOVERY

QUESTION:

I have an addiction to opioids since I was 18 (now 27) and clean since age 25. I entered law school at age 21 while continuing to use opioids. Due to my addiction I was unable to complete my studies and as my disease progressed I began to miss classes until the school dismissed me. The Dean informed me that I had ‘no shot at getting back in’ due to my brain disease. Please advise as I only have three classes left.

ANSWER:  

We checked with LCL clinician Barbara Bowe, LICSW, who has dealt most with law student issues. She reports, “These things are always complicated,” and that any response we would post would raise further questions, so she suggests, assuming that you are a Massachusetts law student, that you give her a call here at LCL. Certainly, we have met a range of people who were able, in recovery, to find ways to proceed from law school to bar admission and careers.

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