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Friday, September 21, 2007

ABA to celebrate 20 years of helping lawyers cope

It’s been 20 years since the American Bar Association formed its Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs. To celebrate the occasion, hundreds of lawyers and other professionals involved with lawyer assistance programs -- which are designed to help lawyers cope with depression, stress and alcohol or substance abuse -- will gather in Halifax from Oct. 2-5.

In a press release, Barbara Smith, conference co-chair and director of the New York State Lawyer Assistance Trust, said that the conference will introduce a new initiative that calls for assistance programs for judges.

Minnesota’s own lawyers’ assistance program celebrated its 30th anniversary last year. According to Joan Bibelhausen, director of Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers, judges have been included in Minnesota’s program since the beginning, although enhanced efforts -- through the Minnesota District Judges Association -- are currently underway to get the word out to the bench about the availability of program to judges.

Bibelhausen and at least six other Minnesotans will be attending the conference next month. “There will be a good Minnesota representation,” Bibelhausen said.

More information on the 20th anniversary National Conference for Lawyer Assistance Programs is available here.

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