Wednesday, May 5, 2010

THE IMPAIRED ATTORNEY/THE IMPAIRED CLIENT

Yesterday, I attended a terrific seminar entitled "REPRESENTING AND ASSISTING THE IMPAIRED ATTORNEY, Strategies To Minimize Fallout and Maximize Potential for Recovery". Among the issues discussed in addition to depression were alcohol and drug abuse, gambling addiction and the NYS Diversion & Monitoring Agreement. Attending the seminar, I realized that the strategies discussed also apply to the layperson. Whether it be mortgage foreclosure, bankruptcy, eviction, job loss, divorce, criminal issues - the problem of mental health should be identified. On that same day, I had a consultation with an individual who had just suffered a job loss. The signs of mental anguish were obvious in every word spoken. Like a primary care physician, sometimes an attorney's job is to advise the client of all the issues that can be identified - and with job loss, besides issues of discrimination, whistle blowing, COBRA, unemployment insurance, etc., the issue of mental health may also be appropriate.

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