Every day, Texas attorneys work to ensure that their clients’ voices are heard and justice prevails. The toll of a demanding profession can leave many attorneys feeling exhausted, burnt out, and burdened by stress.
Last year alone, the Texas Lawyers’ Assistance Program, or TLAP, received more than 500 calls from lawyers seeking help for themselves or a colleague with substance abuse or mental health issues.
“When individual attorneys are faced with challenges, the impact is felt by our profession as a whole,” said Veronica Jacobs, board of directors chair of the Texas Bar College. “If our profession is affected, the public we serve will be affected. It is imperative that we address these issues and provide the assistance needed to uphold the high standards of our profession.”
Oftentimes, lawyers come to TLAP with depleted personal and financial resources, presenting a significant challenge to starting treatment. Understanding this need, the Texas Bar College has pledged to provide $30,000 in funding for the Patrick Sheeran & Michael J. Crowley Memorial Trust, an independent entity designed to help Texas attorneys and their families affected by substance dependence or mental disorders by paying for treatment. The trust works in partnership with TLAP in providing critical assistance to lawyers who cannot otherwise afford services.
“On behalf of the trustees of the Sheeran-Crowley Trust, I’d like to express our deep gratitude to the Texas Bar College for their generous contribution,” trustee Michael G. Lee said. “But mostly we express this gratitude on behalf of the Texas attorneys who will receive the help needed to recover from the seemingly hopeless state of mind and body caused by alcoholism, drug addiction, depression, or mental illness. The contribution permits the trust to continue our efforts to give these attorneys an opportunity to restore their lives, their families, and their law practices.”
State Bar of Texas President-elect Allan K. DuBois has made raising funds for the trust one of his major initiatives for 2015-2016. The proposed State Bar budget includes $250,000 to support the trust.
TLAP provides confidential support and referrals for lawyers, law students, and judges who are experiencing issues with substance abuse and mental health. Since its creation in 1989, TLAP has helped thousands of Texas attorneys by providing referrals to mental health professionals, recovery treatment programs, support groups, substance abuse evaluations, online resources, and educational media.
For more information regarding TLAP or the Sheeran-Crowley Memorial Trust, visit texasbar.com/tlap or call 1-800-343-8527.
Pictured: Michelle Hunter, executive director of the State Bar of Texas, accepts a $30,000 grant for the benefit of the Sheeran-Crowley Memorial Trust from Texas Bar College Board Chair Veronica Jacobs.