DOES LCL PROTECT THE CONFIDENTIALITY OF ITS CLIENTS?
Is LCL Confidential?
YES. Confidentiality and respect for anonymity is the foundation of the organization. When an LCL client sees and/or discloses information to a clinician, the same therapist-client privilege applies that would with any mental health clinician. Similarly, when an LCL client participates in an LCL support or discussion group, or is in communication with an LCL volunteer (a lawyer in recovery who makes him/herself available to support other lawyers), all parties are protected by the statutory attorney-client privilege under MRPC Rule 1.6(d). LCL’s support groups allow participants to share their experiences with confidence that other participants are required by the Rules of Professional Conduct to keep them confidential, and that Rule 8.3 (the mandatory reporting requirement) does not require them to report misconduct disclosed in an LCL support group meeting.
There are very limited exceptions to the therapist-client privilege. Upon identifying a current condition of child or elder abuse, the clinician, like medical personnel, is a “mandated reporter,” required by law to notify appropriate authorities. The same rule applies to so-called Tarasoff cases (involving imminent bodily harm to an identifiable individual or group). In some cases, court orders can mandate turning over medical records. Such cases have never arisen at LCL. In other words, absent certain legal exceptions applicable to all therapists, LCL may NOT disclose any information to anyone without the client’s explicit written authorization.
Are the names of lawyers who seek assistance from LCL accessible by anyone else?
Absolutely NOT. No segment of the bar, including the courts and BBO, has access to the names of those served by LCL.
How about the Board of Bar Overseers? Does the Office of Bar Counsel or the BBO have access to the names of anyone seeking the services of LCL now or in the past?
NO. As previously stated, no one has access to the identity of those seeking LCL services. LCL only gives out client information if there is a signed “Consent to Disclosure” form on file giving permission to disclose to a specific individual.
Is a lawyer who requests assistance from LCL obligated to report this action to the Board of Bar Overseers, Office of Bar Counsel or the Courts?
NO. Seeking help from LCL is STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL.
Can a retired lawyer seek help from LCL?
YES. Any lawyer, past, present or future, including law students may seek LCL’s help.
Can a disbarred lawyer, or a lawyer under discipline such as suspension, censure or reprimand seek the services of LCL?
YES. These are the persons, perhaps, most in need of LCL’s services.
Can I expect to be treated differently by the Courts or by the Board of Bar Overseers because I sought the services of LCL?
NO. The Courts and the Board of Bar Overseers both endorse the work of LCL and recognize that those who seek help are interested in getting better and changing their troublesome behavior.
Can I enter into a monitoring agreement with LCL because of a drug or alcohol problem without involvement with the Bar Counsel or the Board of Bar Overseers?
YES. Almost every lawyer who enters into LCL’s monitored probation program does so in order to document their sobriety efforts to a third party — most often the BBO but sometimes a firm or other organization. However, as you work with us to draft a monitoring agreement, it remains private unless and until you sign a specific consent to disclose.
Should I ever be wary of seeking the help of LCL, because somebody might find out that I did seek such help?
Absolutely NOT. That is why LCL has been so effective. LCL has been a safe and confidential resource for attorneys since 1978. The foundation of the organization is the confidentiality and anonymity of the lawyers, judges and law students it serves.