Your first question might be whether there really is a problem. Start with the warning signs below and you can have our help from there.
Our clinicians can help anyone — a colleague, family member, or friend — who is concerned for the well-being of a lawyer or law student in Massachusetts. Our services our confidential, and if you’re uncertain whether you’ve perceived a problem we can help with, our clinicians can help sort through your concerns.
Find out more about confidentiality and scheduling a time to talk with a clinician here.
(For Lawyer Assistance Outside of Massachusetts, Click Here.)
What signs might I see that a colleague is struggling with a problem? Changes in mood and/or behavior, such as:
- Missing deadlines or appointments;
- Not returning calls;
- Hostile, inappropriate, or odd behavior in professional situations;
- Deterioration in record keeping, managing funds, etc.;
- Changes in appearance/grooming/manner of speech;
- Readily tearful or overwhelmed;
- A colleague actually confides that they’re struggling with life or an aspect of it (e.g., marital, financial)
- Find warning signs for suicidal thoughts here.
- Find reasons why warning signs of substance abuse are often missed here.
- Find more on concerns about a lawyer showing signs of cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s, or similar disease here.
What would be my most productive course of action? This depends on many factors, so we advise:
- Ask how they’re feeling, which can be a lifesaving intervention when individuals are suicidal. Follow up with questions about suicide (find more here), which do not cause suicidal thoughts.
- Call LCL for a confidential discussion with a clinician to get more perspective on what you see and to develop a specific plan for approaching the individual;
- Do not attempt to diagnose the individual yourself;
- Remember the goal is to help, not to judge;
- Refer the lawyer to LCL, or arrange to come in them; and
- If the lawyer refuses, discuss alternative options with LCL clinician.
What will LCL do to help?
- A licensed and highly experienced mental health clinician will carefully assess the situation;
- Our clinician will develop a plan to address problems or to identify them further;
- Our clinician will make a referral to appropriate helping resources;
- In case of financial need, LCL can offer (limited) funding assistance to get further help;
- Our clinician can consult as needed with colleagues, family, treatment providers;
- LCL offers support group meetings for addiction recovery (among other support groups);
- LCL offers support for professional disciplinary issues
Related Resources for Concerned Colleagues from LCL MA.