Resources available to help prevent lawyer suicides

Not another suicide. That’s a phrase I have found myself uttering too often. I’ve experienced the anguish and profound sense of loss on two separate occasions following the suicides of friends, both of whom were highly respected and accomplished lawyers. 

Since beginning work at the Texas Lawyers’ Assistance Program (TLAP), I’ve learned all too well that those suicides were not anomalies. Rarely a month goes by that we don’t hear of a lawyer somewhere in our state who has taken their own life.

Sunday, Sept. 9, marked the start of Suicide Prevention Week in Texas and nationally, an effort to draw attention to this growing problem and reduce the number of suicides.

Nationally, suicide ranks as the third-leading cause of death among lawyers. Reasons for this distressing statistic include a number of unique characteristics and circumstances experienced by lawyers: a persistent high level of stress, a pessimistic outlook developed through law school and practice, long hours and isolation of daily work, perfectionism and low tolerance for failure or “losing face,” the high stakes nature of our work, and a reluctance to ask for help. Taken together, these traits result in a heightened susceptibility to mental health disorders, substance abuse and suicide.

The State Bar of Texas has developed numerous resources in an effort to address this problem. Most recently, we’ve added a webpage to www.TexasBar.com that’s dedicated to suicide prevention. You can find it here. The page includes resources and tools that are designed to prevent suicides, including “Life Alert: Save a Lawyer,” which was created by TLAP’s Mental Health Initiative Subcommittee. This resource lists warning signs of suicide and has a protocol for having the difficult conversation with a lawyer who you suspect may be considering suicide.  

If you’re concerned that someone you know is suicidal, please call 911 or contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). If you would like more information about this issue, call TLAP at 1-800-343-8527. We are a free, 24/7, confidential service of the State Bar of Texas.

Bree Buchanan, J.D, Texas Lawyers’ Assistance Program.

Texas Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers 23rd Annual Convention

The Texas Lawyers Assistance Program and Texas Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers are co-hosting their Annual Convention in San Antonio, June 1st - 3rd. Participation is a great way to meet other members of the legal profession who are in recovery from substance abuse and/or mental health problems and to learn about how these issues affect lawyers’ lives and practices. Attendees are asked to maintain the confidentiality of those in attendance. Registration information and agenda are available at: www.TexasBar.com/TLAP. Things to know: registration is $220 but scholarships are available, up to 9.5 hours of ethics CLE is pending, exciting speakers from around the country are lined up. Questions? Call TLAP at 1-800-343-8527.

Texas Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers is hosting its 23rd Annual Convention June 1 - 3

by Bree Buchanan

Texas Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers (TLCL), a volunteer organization associated with the State Bar of Texas Lawyers’ Assistance Program (TLAP), helps those in the legal profession who are experiencing difficulties because of alcohol and/or substance abuse, depression, anxiety and other mental health issues. As part of this effort, TLCL is hosting its 23rd Annual Convention on June 1 – 3, 2012, at the Crowne Plaza Riverwalk Hotel in San Antonio.

Opportunities for socializing will be plentiful! The event starts on Friday evening with a speaker and ice cream social. Saturday will begin with a welcome from State Bar President, Bob Black, followed by presentations (CLE credit for up to eight hours is pending) and an evening banquet and keynote speaker. A highlight of the dinner is the presentation of the Ralph Mock Award to a TLCL member who exemplifies the mission of the TLCL program. The weekend’s events will conclude with a brunch. Registration is $220 and early bird room rates are $109 per night.  Scholarships are available to those who cannot pay the registration fee and hotel cost.

Registration forms can be found at www.texasbar.com/tlap. For more information, please contact TLAP staff, Cameron Vann or Bree Buchanan, at 1-800-343-8527.

Texas Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers 22nd annual convention

The Texas Lawyers Assistance Program is hosting its annual convention in coordination with the non-profit, Texas Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers (TLCL) from June 3rd to the 5th at the Hyatt Hotel in Austin.

Now in its 22nd year, this event will highlight speakers from around the state and the country who will share their experience, strength and hope for living a great life as a lawyer recovering from substance abuse or mental health issues.

The convention will also feature presentations about new, as well as tried and true, methods for reducing stress and maintaining a sense of balance and wellness so that the practice of law is a sustainable career path. The Austin Chapter of TLCL is hosting an Ice Cream Social on Friday night at the hotel.

Download the registration form (pdf) for more information.