Lawyers Helping Lawyers – the Alabama Lawyer Assistance Program
Few professions are as stressful as the practice of law. Every day, lawyers talk to clients about problems. They work long hours, and often face frustration and disappointment when they feel they can’t right a wrong. Too often, people facing these types of challenges try to find relief in what seems an easy answer – alcohol and drugs. However, this temporary relief can quickly spiral out of control, leading to devastating consequences.
Here to help is the Alabama Lawyer Assistance Program (ALAP). The ALAP is a program of the Alabama State Bar (ASB) that assists legal professionals with chemical dependency and/or psychological problems. It provides evaluation, assessment and referral services, peer and facilitated support, aftercare programs, and monitoring services. It serves lawyers, judges and law students in Alabama. In addition, ALAP engages in preventative services through educational outreach programs and presentations to the judiciary, law schools, law firms, bar associations, bar seminars and other organizations.
Working in conjunction with the ALAP, the Alabama Lawyer Assistance Foundation can provide funding for lawyers who cannot afford treatments. The money is distributed as a loan, paid directly to the treatment provider, and attorneys make arrangement to repay the loan when they are back on their feet. This ensures there are always funds available for the next lawyer or judge in need. Lack of funds should never be a reason why a lawyer doesn’t get appropriate help.
ALAP is assisted by the Lawyers Helping Lawyers Committee and its many lawyers and judges throughout the state who volunteer to carry the message to fellow members of our profession that recovery is possible.
Recently, the ALAP honored three lawyers who have demonstrated outstanding commitment to this program. James O. Standridge (Crownover & Standridge; Tuscaloosa, Alabama) received the Highest Distinguished Service Award in recognition of the innumerable lives he has touched through encouraging and selfless actions. He has passed on hope to the hopeless and encouragement to the dismal and broken. Kimberly Davidson (member, Shelby County Bar) was honored for her commitment and service to women in early recovery. She hosts a women’s support group in her home each week, encouraging wellness and recovery, and helping women get through the shame of addiction. Mobile Bar’s Mack Bruner Binion III (Briskman & Binion, P.C.; Mobile, Alabama) was recognized for his time and commitment in assisting members of the legal profession through offering hope and healing to members in need. Mack has formed a recovery support group in Mobile for lawyers in recovery.
Thank you, to each of you, for giving your time and talents to help those in crisis.
If any Alabama lawyers need assistance with an alcohol or drug dependency problem or with other emotional or stress-related issues, or know someone who does, they can contact the ALAP. They are there to help. You can find more information online at www.alabar.org/alap. You can also call to speak to someone confidentially at 334-834-7576. These calls do not go through the State Bar switchboard, and are confidential. These names are not referred for any type of disciplinary action. If you feel you are in urgent need of assistance, the ALAP also operates a 24-hour help line at 334-224-6920.
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