The Texas Center for Legal Ethics has contributed $30,000 to a fund that helps attorneys pay for critical mental health and substance abuse treatment.

The donation is one of several recent gifts to the Sheeran-Crowley Memorial Trust, an independent entity designed to help Texas attorneys and their families affected by substance abuse or mental disorders by paying for treatment. The State Bar of Texas committed $250,000 to the trust in its current budget, and the Texas Bar College has pledged $30,000.

The trust works in partnership with the Texas Lawyers’ Assistance Program (TLAP), part of the State Bar of Texas, to provide critical assistance to lawyers who cannot otherwise afford services. State Bar President Allan K. DuBois has made raising funds for the trust one of his major initiatives for 2015-2016.

“Substance abuse and mental disorders are a significant issue for Texas attorneys, who face unique challenges in their role as legal advocates and stewards of our court system,” said Jonathan Smaby, executive director of the Texas Center for Legal Ethics, which promotes the ethical and professional practice of law. “Our hope is that TCLE’s contribution will help the Sheeran-Crowley Memorial Trust continue providing assistance to Texas attorneys and their families who are facing these issues.”

“The trustees wish to give our deepest thanks to the TCLE for its contribution to assist our sister and brother lawyers who are struggling with the challenges of substance abuse or mental illness,” Sheeran-Crowley trustees Robert “Bob” Nebb, Mike Lee, and Dicky Grigg said in a statement. “The contribution permits the trust to continue its efforts to give these attorneys an opportunity to restore their lives, their families, and their law practices.

“We all know that the genesis of so very many ethical lapses lies in substance abuse and/or mental health issues. By supporting the trust and the efforts of TLAP, we can all contribute to TCLE’s mission of promoting and enhancing professionalism and ethics among lawyers.”

To be eligible to receive funds, an attorney must be a Texas resident, a law school graduate, and have applied for a Texas law license or already have a license that is active, suspended, or revoked.

Funds are made available only when other resources are not available. Recipients are asked to make a moral commitment to repay the grant, so other attorneys who suffer can be helped.

For an application and information on how to apply, contact TLAP at (800) 343-8527.

Pictured: State Bar of Texas President Allan K. DuBois, left, accepts a donation to the Sheeran-Crowley Memorial Trust from Jonathan Smaby, executive director of the Texas Center for Legal Ethics.