Depression and Suicide in the Legal Profession: Practicing from the Shadows (Online Seminar)

MCLE Credits: 2.0
Ethics Credits Included: 2.0

MCLE Credit: 2.0 (Ethics: 2.0)
Live-Interactive Credit: 0.0
Designation Credit: 2.0 Ethics (Designations Information)

$149 (Includes a downloadable audio version.)

Viewable Through: 10/04/2021


A pre-recorded streaming video replay of the October 2018 webcast, Depression and Suicide in the Legal Profession: Practicing from the Shadows.

Topics Covered

  • Learn how to recognize the signs and symptoms of depression
  • Learn the steps lawyers should take when faced with depression or suicidal issues in   themselves or with colleagues
  • Develop an understanding of the pervasiveness of this problem in the legal profession
  • Hear from lawyers who suffered from depression and overcame it

In 2014 a collaborative study conducted by the American Bar Association and the Hazeldon-Betty Ford Foundation found that 28% of attorneys suffered from depression; 11.5% reported suicidal ideation during their career; 2.9% reported engaging in self-injurious acts, and .07 % had attempted suicide on at least one occasion. More recent studies show that attorneys are in the top two or three professions to commit suicide—Virginia is not immune to this statistic.

Increase your understanding and compassion for members of the profession who suffer from depression. Develop an understanding of the ethical responsibilities an attorney has when faced with depression in him/herself or other members of the legal community. Learn how a mental health disability is handled by the Virginia State Bar. This program will address these questions:

  • What is a lawyer's ethical duty when he or she has reason to believe that a lawyer is having problems?
  • What if that lawyer is a member of your firm?  Opposing counsel in a case?
  • What actions should the other lawyers in a law firm take to protect clients if one of their members has a problem?
  • Must they, for example, take over client files and, if so, what should they tell the client?
  • Can a lawyer discharge his ethical duty under Rule 8.3 merely by reporting the lawyer to a Lawyers Assistance Program or Lawyers Helping Lawyers?
  • Would your answer depend on whether you knew of any misconduct that required reporting to the bar?
  • Is depression by a lawyer misconduct that must be reported to the bar?
  • How is a disability suspension different from any other suspension?

Lawyers Helping Lawyers offers free, confidential help that is not part of the disciplinary system of the Virginia State Bar. See more at Call a 24-hour hotline at 1-877-545-4682.

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James E. Leffler, MS LPC Clinical Director—Lawyers Helping Lawyers / Richmond

Jim Leffler has worked at Lawyers Helping Lawyers since January, 2004. He has been licensed as a professional counselor since 1990.

Alana “Sherrise” Powers, Attorney / Norfolk

Sherrise Powers has been practicing in the Hampton Roads area since 1999. Her practice primarily focused initially in criminal prosecution and defense in the public arena. For 10 years she had a general law practice, and then she managed the satellite traffic and criminal defense office in Hampton Roads for FirstPoint Law Group, PC, in Fairfax, VA.  Currently, she is transitioning to the government sector and does some pro bono work for her church.  After graduating from Regent University’s Law School in 1996, Ms. Powers became the first female Assistant Commandant at the Virginia Military Institute, playing an integral role to ensure that the U.S. Justice Department would not have to become directly involved due to any Title IX issues arising from the assimilation of women into the Corps of Cadets.  She is retired after twenty-one years combined in the active and reserve components of the U.S. Army.  

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