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The Impaired Advocate: Dealing with the Source of Addiction

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The Impaired Advocate: Dealing with the Source of Addiction

Despite its complexity, substance abuse impacts our profession at every level, often resulting in devastating outcomes. Yet, discussions about addiction commonly overlook preventative steps we can take to reduce the risk of professional and personal peril which may occur if left unaddressed. This presentation explores both sides of the issue by examining the root causes which lead to substance abuse within the legal profession. This course also delves into the connection between depression and addiction and how to implement successful strategies to address the underlying sources before they become destructive. For those suffering with substance abuse, discover key strategies and positive practices that can aid you in your journey toward wellness.

Transcript

- Hi everyone, this is Dr. Patty McCartney, I am a board certified naturopathic doctor, an animal naturopathic doctor, and a licensed Texas attorney. I am also a corporate wellness coach and founder of Inspired Council, which is a company dedicated to holistic wellness within the legal community. I wanna thank you for joining me today as we cover the impaired advocate, dealing with the source of addiction. I wanna start out by covering some sobering statistics. According to 2016 research sponsored by the ABA, approximately 21% of the participating lawyers and judges engaged in hazardous drinking. Now, I want you to picture for me sitting at a CLE event with four other colleagues, they may be lawyers you've known since law school or just other members of your firm or perhaps a judge you knew while he or she was practicing, who recently took the bench. According to these statistics, one of you are engaged in hazardous drinking that study also revealed additional findings, including the fact that lawyers in private firms have the highest rate of hazardous drinking. Junior associates had the highest reported problem drinking followed by senior associates and junior partners. According to the research, 28.1% of participating lawyers in their first 10 years of practice demonstrated signs of a drinking problem compared to 19.2% of lawyers in their second decade of practice. What this reveals is that our profession has a problem with substance abuse, including alcohol. And unfortunately it is the younger lawyers who seem to be suffering the most with this form of addiction. That is all the more alarming when we consider that the young lawyers are the future of our profession. Now let's turn to the link between substance abuse and suicide, suicide ranks among the leading causes of premature death among lawyers, according to a Utah State Bar Journal in 2003. Estimates from lawyers throughout the country indicate that the incidence of substance abuse among lawyers is as much as double the national average. Substance abusers are also 10 times more likely to commit suicide. Now let's turn to understanding the source of addiction. Despite common perceptions, substances are never the root cause of addiction. Using a car analogy, they are simply the dangerous vehicle that has lost control. In determining the underlying cause of addiction, a broad approach must be taken to consider the various factors involved, which is why I as a wellness coach and a naturopathic doctor, believe in a holistic view for purposes of prevention, analysis, and resolution. Sticking with our car reference, when a check engine light comes on, we don't simply wash our car and think it will go away. Instead, we understand that diagnostics have to be performed in order to discover the source of the warning light. Now let's consider some professional pitfalls that lead to lawyer addiction. Anxiety, depression, operating in a state of heavy stress, obsessing about the competitive nature of the profession, compensation and status driven focus. Clients, acquiring them, the fear of losing them, dealing with difficult clients and their demands, as well as the combative nature of our profession. I heard one lawyer explaining the difference between our profession and one such as a surgeon. He explained how surgeons don't have another surgeon on the other end of the table trying to undo what that surgeon is doing. And unfortunately that's so often the case in the practice of law. We have an adversarial profession and because of that, there are unique stressors and stresses that come with that. So let's also consider some common culprits that contribute to lawyer substance abuse. Long hours. As a profession, we must recognize that we work at a pace that is unsustainable for physical and psychological wellness long term. Lawyers can also experience social alienation, work addiction, sleep deprivation, job dissatisfaction, complaints of work life conflict, negative public perception. Now let's consider some ethical obligations that we are responsible for as attorneys. ABA Model Rules Of Professional Conduct Rule 1.1 covers competence. A lawyer shall provide competent representation to a client. Competent representation means that we exhibit the legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness, and preparation reasonably necessary in our representation. This is hard to do if we are impaired and it affects our mental capabilities. A healthy mind is critical in our ability to function effectively and successfully perform our professional responsibilities. Whether that mental challenge is in the form of cognitive, which I discuss in another CLE or some other form of mental health, or as in the topic covered here, an impairment due to substance abuse. I also want to point out ABA Model Rule 1.3, which governs client lawyer relationships in states as a minimum that lawyers shall act with reasonable diligence and promptness in representing a client. That is hard to do if we're missing deadlines due to a substance abuse issue. Keeping on the subject of alcohol, it's not surprising that alcohol is the most common source of addiction among lawyers. Research indicates that younger lawyers have the highest rates of excessive drinking as we touched on previously. In fact, lawyers under the age of 30 struggle at a rate of 32.3%, according to research, followed by lawyers between the ages of 31 and 40 at 26.1%. After the age of 40 rates of alcoholism do tend to steadily decline. Okay, we can't discuss the topic of alcohol without visiting the culture of alcohol that exists within the legal profession. Sadly lawyers have come to accept and even expect that alcohol will be present at client meetings and firm events. We can only truly tackle the issue of substance abuse by changing the culture we operate in to one that is more accommodating to non-alcoholic alternatives, such as mocktails, cofftails, which are coffee based cocktails and even herbal cocktails. Limiting and or removing alcohol from professional and social functions is, but one way we can begin to shift the current cultural paradigm within our profession. Now let's turn to the topic of natural therapeutics for lawyer substance abuse. As a naturopathic doctor, my focus is on natural therapies that can help the body without introducing any complicating factors that might arise in interactions or side effects. Let's look at detoxification. We know that substance abuse affects every aspect of the human body, particularly digestive functions and kidney and liver health. Detoxifying one's kidneys and liver is always important, but it is particularly critical when one is detoxifying as part of a substance abuse recovery regimen. Key foods that can assist in this process include parsley, cilantro, lemon, artichokes, cabbage, beets, apples, grapefruit, and dandelion leaf and root. Simple additions to the diet that can help the body in purging some of the effects of substance abuse. Next, I wanna turn to the discussion of vitamin C and addiction. There is so much I could say on this topic, but let me begin with the fact that research has shown that patients suffering from major depression and in therapy for drug addiction tend to be deficient in vitamin C and 74% of those entering in drug therapy have been shown to be clinically deficient in nutrients, particularly vitamins A and C. Chronic alcohol users have also been shown to be severely deficient in glutathione. Other studies indicate that vitamin C supplementation may prevent the development of drug tolerance or the likelihood of dependency and vitamin C supplementation has successfully been used to clinically treat addiction cravings, such as food, tobacco, or drugs. Successful strategies in overcoming the grip of addiction. The National Institute On Alcohol And Alcohol Abuse estimate that 10% of the US population is alcoholic or chemically dependent. In the legal profession, the abuse may be as high as 20%, and we can see that based on the statistics we've already reviewed. Lawyers are at risk for problems with addiction at almost twice the rate of the general population sticking with our reference to vitamin C, I want to now look at vitamin C and withdrawals. I'm trying to keep my Texas accent out as I say that. So let me say, according to numerous studies, vitamin C and vitamin E have been shown to relieve withdrawals for inpatients and outpatients addicted to heroin. Another study found that vitamin C was instrumental in helping patients detoxify from stimulants and opiates. Going back to the importance of detoxification. In fact of 60 patients who were observed, one third reported a significant reduction in their acute withdrawal symptoms while taking buffered vitamin C during the active detox phase of the program and aftercare clients, which were those who had completed the active detox phase reported even greater benefits with relief of 90% of their withdrawal symptoms. Now, because I believe in a holistic approach to addressing physical, emotional, and mental issues, I don't believe any discussion regarding substance abuse would be complete without examining the role of toxic thoughts and the benefits of emotion detox. Because of the negative emotions that are frequently at the root of substance abuse, no recovery can be truly complete without considering the emotional toll of addiction. Emotional detox is the process of addressing these and other emotions that are linked to the addiction and may only increase during the process of withdrawal. Let's also turn to a consideration of the signs of substance abuse. Although signs of substance abuse may be nonspecific to the common observer, there are some notable indications which people may pick up on, especially if you are close to the person suffering from the substance abuse. These include the more obvious smell of alcohol, bloodshot eyes or a puffy face, slurred or rapid speech, hyper vigilance, or even suspiciousness, failure to return from lunch or a break, either timely or at all, the pattern of being late or even a noshow on Mondays. Other signs may include leaving early from work on a habitual basis. Failure to return phone calls, missed appointments, failure to meet deadlines, change in mood or general demeanor and the deterioration of personal appearance or hygiene. Again, these are just some factors to be on the lookout for and to consider if you suspect substance abuse in someone you know,. Now I wanna turn to a case study and I will concede that this is a more dramatic example of substance abuse. I am a Dallas native and practiced the majority of my career in Dallas, Texas, and certainly was practicing during this time. In 2014, Dallas police responded to a call at an uptown luxury apartment on what was believed to be a burglary call. The resident involved, made a call to police alleging an attempted burglary. When the police arrived, officers were engaged in a shootout with the resident who was wearing a t-shirt and boxer shorts and had appeared to be barricaded in the lobby. After repeated request to disarm and the resident refusing to do so, the resident who was 47 year old Dallas attorney Michael E Schmidt was killed. Months before this incident, Schmidt who was a personal injury attorney had won a staggering 10.5 million verdict. Schmidt was a partner in a prestigious law firm with his father located in Dallas. And by all appearances was a good guy and a very caring and empathetic lawyer. Schmidt had recently separated from his wife and had four children. One of whom sadly was there during this incident, but was out of the sight of the police. The autopsy revealed numerous prescription drugs within Schmidt's system and assorted drug paraphernalia was found in his home. As I mentioned, his daughter was sadly there to hear if not witness, what has been deemed suicide by a cop. I wanna turn to another case study involving Peter. Peter was a Silicon valley patent lawyer. After 20 years of working 60 hour weeks, Peter had reached the pinnacle of stature as a partner in his firm. Despite erratic behavior and severe weight loss, Peter's drug addiction remained undiscovered until his wife found him unresponsive. What happened here was he and his wife remained friends as they continue to raise their two children. Despite extreme weight loss, when they were together, others would question if Peter was going through something. Was he ill? Was there something else going on? His ex-wife later admitted she never even considered the possibility of drug use . After attempting to call Peter for a couple of days, the ex-wife went to his home, parked in his driveway, used her spare key and walked into his home, calling out his name, when there was no response she walked toward his bedroom and looked toward his bathroom where she found him lying on the floor. She called 911, and the paramedics pronounced him dead on the scene. Surrounding Peter were various items, including a white powdery substance, another colored powdery substance, a half filled syringe, crushed pills, and assorted drug paraphernalia. Peter's ex-wife was shocked to see what appeared to be a drug overdose. In looking at his cell phone history, it was discovered that Peter's last moments of life were spent on a conference call for work. At his funeral, many of the lawyers who attended could be seen huddled over their cell phones, working throughout the service of their friend and associate. Peter's actual cause of death was not overdose, but rather a systemic bacterial infection common to IV drug users. Now let's consider the depression addiction connection. Addiction is defined as a chronic brain disorder characterized by compulsive and relapsing behavior, and is commonly referred to as SUD. Which is substance abuse disorder. Those with SUD are often known to suffer from social isolation, depression, anxiety, and elevated stress levels. Drugs and or alcohol often are used to calm these negative feelings based on their ability to increase dopamine activity, which helps boost the mood. Next, I want to turn to a recent antidepressant drug discovery. Despite being commonly prescribed since the 1990s, the long term use of antidepressants has lacked successful outcomes when prescribed and they frequently result in potentially serious side effects. A study published in July of this year shattered this prevailing view by determining that there is little evidence supporting the connection between these drugs, commonly known as SSRIs, which stands for selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, which have commonly been prescribed in regulation of low serotonin levels. This belief that chemical imbalances are the cause of depression can no longer be supported by the evidence and should no longer justify the prescription use of antidepressants, according to the study's findings. Whatever the long term outcome from this study may be, we do know that antidepressants are a common source of addiction. Therefore, I would submit that natural safer alternatives should always be considered. Speaking of natural alternatives, let's turn to a discussion regarding herbal and nutritional supplements. Although by no means exhaustive, I have included a list of anti-inflammatories, herbs that can be used for easing the nerves, antispasmodics and herbs that help with tissue health, all of which have been shown to aid in the process of detoxing and healing from substance abuse. I also wanna turn to the topic of essential oil therapy. For those of you not familiar with them, essential oils are volatile oils that are made from plants. They date back thousands of years and are all natural, but incredibly potent. Essential oils are able to assist in symptoms commonly involved with addiction, and I have also included a list of some examples, such as bergamot which helps relieve tension and is a powerful antidepressant. It also has both calming and uplifting effects that will help through the recovery process. Also black pepper essential oil, which can help reduce cravings by simply inserting a toothpick into the oil and then chewing on it. The black pepper also naturally helps improve serotonin levels. Camomile is widely used for a number of medicinal, including its ability to calm and reduce anxiety. Helichrysum essential oil also helps calm and soothe the nerves while taking care of the physical ailments that tend to appear as a result of the withdrawal process, including those that can be particularly strong. It also helps in reducing pain in the muscles, joints, tendons, and even the ligaments. Rosemary essential oil can also help alleviate stress and anxiety. In fact several studies suggest that Rosemary oil is useful for pain relief. One study found that Rosemary oil helped reduce the severity of symptoms for those experiencing opiate withdrawal. Researchers found that those who were given Rosemary essential oil had an improved, had improved sleep and reduced muscle pain compared to the group that was not given essential oils. Lavender oil is also known for its stress relieving properties. Research suggests that lavender can help reduce symptoms like anxiety, restlessness and insomnia. Aroma therapy with lavender oil is calming and promotes a sense of wellbeing when going through the challenges of addiction recovery. Lemon oil is a mood booster that may also help reduce anxiety and depression. There is also some evidence that it can reduce nausea, and vomiting, however, lemon essential oil can make your skin more sensitive to the sun, so it is recommended that you avoid direct sunlight if you're using lemon essential oil. Ginger oil is backed by several studies for many reasons, including its ability to act as a liver protector. Ginger oil is a great choice when detoxing alcohol from your body, since the over consumption of alcohol can lead to liver damage, ginger essential oil may support liver healing and it's another essential oil that has evidence of nausea reduction. As nausea is common as a withdrawal symptom, ginger oil may be on to use if someone going through addiction withdrawal is experiencing nausea and vomiting. Peppermint oil is also supported by research in reducing nausea and acting as a relaxant. Ylang-ylang is an that central oil that increases self-esteem and reduces anxiety when applied topically or when it's inhaled. All of these essential oils are part of my therapeutic recommendations when it comes to corporate wellness. I like to encourage firms to purchase these oils in the form of inhalers or in the form of roller bottles. I also like to encourage firms to have these available in common areas to act as calming agents throughout the firm, not just for their calming effect, but also for their medicinal value. Now let's consider some preventative measures. We all understand that the best form of prevention is through the creation of a culture of wellness. We can accomplish this through minimizing risks, planning firm-wide wellness events, offering well care kits to each employee. And that would include things such as herbs for teas, essential oil inhalers, essential oil roll-on bottles, and other suggested products that can help in creating a culture of wellness. Also stocking common areas with calming teas and mood boosting snacks and offering office massages such as chair massages and walking meetings. We're so used to the structured conference room meeting style that we failed to take into consideration that there are other alternatives that will accomplish the same purpose while allowing us to breathe fresh air and get some healthy exercise. Additionally, practicing deep breathing. It's amazing how the process of simply breathing deeply can increase our health and alleviate some of the symptoms that cause our stress and lead us to more addictive or destructive behaviors. The majority of Americans breath shallow breathing. And so the process of deep breathing is often lost. In fact, deep breathing should be such that as you, as you inhale and inhale and inhale, you can feel it all the way down to your abdomen. A true deep breathing exercise will actually strengthen your kidney health. So that's what I mean by the process of deep breathing. Also find somebody in your life that you trust to confide in. This is incredibly important. Spending time in nature, as we discussed, whether it's through a walking meeting or just getting out and enjoying the outdoors on a walk. We're so used to walking around tracks in buildings or in gyms, getting outside and breathing that fresh air makes all the difference in the exercise we get and in its healthful effects, especially with regard to our mental health. Journaling your thoughts, expressing your gratitude. In my other CLE presentations, I discussed this, but let me say here, it's incredibly important to have this as an outlet, to be able to just write down or type out on your iPad or on your phone, your thoughts, just purging them into the tablet, the phone on the paper. It's so cathartic and also taking the time to find things to be grateful for, focusing our attention to more of an attitude of gratitude. This can be done by beginning your day with three things you're grateful for that are there when you wake up. Whether they're events that happen to you the day before or just things you're aware of in your life that you have to be grateful for. Or concluding the day writing down or typing out three things you're grateful for that occur to you during that day. Again, in my other CLE presentations, I referenced the studies that have been conducted to show the positive effects of gratitude and actually journaling these. Engage in creative pursuits. We are so focused on our jobs that we often fail to allow time for fun, more creative pursuits. We need to channel some of our energy in events that are just for fun, that allow us to express the other sides of our brain, the other parts of our personality, and allow us to disengage for whatever timeframe from our work. These are all practices that within my wellness coaching, I try to suggest to firms and implement in plans for them. Also ground yourself spiritually. Whatever your belief system is, find an appropriate outlet for you to express that belief system. And also a source of grounding yourself into a spiritual practice, whether it be meditation, mindfulness, for some that may be yoga or prayer. Then invest in self-care. This may seem self-evident but the reality is a majority of lawyers fail to invest in self care. Yes, it is true that we live in a world and we practice in a profession where there are constant demands on our time and our attention. But nevertheless we still need to take time to invest in our own health, our own wellness, our own peace of mind. If we fail to do that, we're not able to be productive, not as lawyers, not as significant others, not as parents or children or friends or any other role that is placed upon us. It is critical that we give our ourselves and our lives the time and the attention that they deserve in order for us to fulfill the demands placed upon us, both personally and professionally. I quote this often in my other CLEs and I'm including it here because it's so profound, and yet, so simple. Years ago, my husband was hospitalized and one of the physicians told him in the end, we all have to be our own best doctor. And that is so true. So nobody knows us like we do, nobody knows you and what you're capable of handling like you do. No one knows when you're at your limit, when you need help, or when you need to unwind. So you need to allow yourself the time or the help that is necessary to get you where you wanna be. Only then can you function at your best. We have a profession that demands a great deal of us, but at the same time, we can only give what we have. If our tank is empty, we can't keep running. So it's up to us to identify that. And there are always resources around us. So I wanna take this moment to encourage you to utilize the resources around you. As a naturopathic doctor, and as a coach, I try to encourage lawyers and make those resources accessible to them, however, as a licensed attorney who has practiced for more than two decades, I understand the demands and I understand the feeling of being able to handle it all ourselves and not wanting help. So again, be your own best doctor. Look out for the colleague next to you, but at the same time, look out for yourself and whatever that means for you to achieve health and wellness and be at your best. As part of that self care, let's now look at the impact of diet and addiction. There's no doubt that physical wellness is an integral part of preventing or recovering from substance abuse. Good health begins with a good diet. Without proper nutrition, the body cannot withstand the challenges we face in our profession. That's part of what I was discussing a moment ago. Nutritional recommendations while recovering from substance abuse should include foods such as poultry and fish. These foods contain tyrosine, which is an amino acid that aids our body in creating dopamine and norepinephrine. Drug abuse can keep the body from processing tyrosine. The consumption of poultry and fish can improve your mood and your wellbeing. Also bananas, bananas contain tryptophan, which is an amino acid that is required to produce serotonin. And that is important for healthy sleep. Bananas are also rich in potassium, vitamin B6, and vitamin C, bananas are an excellent example of a healthy snack to have in the common area. I know fresh bananas can be challenging sometimes because they turn so quickly, but something like banana chips are also a wonderful snack alternative. Again, healthy mood boosting foods are always wise choices, especially in assisting those who may have the added challenge of overcoming addiction. And those may be people that are within your firm whom you know, or do not know are battling such a challenge. Other examples include yogurt, as a probiotic, yogurt is able to help repair the digestive system and increase your gut's absorption of nutrients. Also blueberries, which contain high antioxidants. These are also immune boosters and are able to attack free radicals and other toxins created by the drugs or alcohol. Next vegetables, consider boosting your diet with vegetables, any and all vegetables do provide a range of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other key nutrients that the body needs for fuel and function. Leafy greens like kale, cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and starchy vegetables like potatoes, all play their own separate role in returning the body back to health after addiction. Now I know that there are always several people in any group who are doing the keto diet. So certainly if you are on a keto diet, there can be separate recommendations that can be made to continue to help boost your body to heal while you are going through the addiction recovery process. For everyone else, whole grains also provide the body with complex carbs that keep you feeling fuller for longer. And they also contribute much needed fiber to help the digestive system recover. However, the most important part of nutrition for recovering alcoholics and addicts is to find the foods that work best for you and the ways you like to eat them. There is no one size fits all when it comes to healing the body. In other words, the best program or alternative or therapeutic is the one that works. Now let's turn to one of my favorite subjects, which is animal assisted therapy. Over the last decade or so, animal assisted therapy or AAT has gained recognition as a significant contribution to substance abuse therapy. The addition of therapy animals during sessions can foster communications between the patient and the therapist regarding a shared therapeutic alliance in early sessions. In other words, if a patient is reluctant to open up to a therapist, having a pet as a common source of bonding or connection has been proven to be incredibly successful. Studies show that patients are more likely to trust therapy animals much earlier than therapists when beginning treatment and the therapists are able to incorporate that into establishing common connections with patients, making the environment much more accepting and comfortable. AAT also eases the anxiety and feelings of shame as well as significantly reducing patient's physiological symptoms of anxiety, animal assisted therapy also provides nurturing to the patient that can play such a pivotal role in offering support at a level that is comfortable to the patient. In my other CLE programs, I've emphasized the health benefits of interacting with animals. And those are no less true when it comes to animal assisted therapy while someone is recovering from substance abuse. A holistic approach to recovery. A naturopathic or holistic approach understands that stopping the abuse or the abuse of conduct is only part of the addiction recovery. At its core, addiction recovery is about creating a healthy, happy and productive life so that a return to addiction is no longer appealing or desired. In other words, once we get to the core issues that led to the behavior that ended up in the form of substance abuse, then we are more able to have a positive result, not just getting someone off of the substance that they are addicted to, but helping them return to a better happier, healthier place in the way they see themselves and others around them. In discussing holistic approaches to recovery, I wanted to include a section here on homeopathy. For those of you who may not be familiar, homeopathy dates back over a hundred years, and it is a form of natural medicine. One of the great benefits of homeopathy is there are no known interactions and it is safe to take whether someone is on other medication, prescription medication, there are no known side effects. So it is generally considered very safe, not just for purposes of recovery, but as a whole or complete health system in treating chronic and acute conditions. So the idea of homeopathy when it comes to treating substance abuse actually also goes back more than 200 years and it has been successful because conventional medication relies on prescription drugs, counseling, and support. Whereas homeopathy is able to address substance abuse by easing withdrawal symptoms while strengthening the individual's physical and emotional constitution. One of the benefits of natural medicine is most of the natural therapeutics work on multiple levels, not just on the physical level, but also on an emotional and mental level. So that's extremely important in treating someone with substance abuse. And it can help ease anxiety and stress, and also heal from a deeper level than most prescription medications. Numerous studies have been conducted and do show that homeopathic remedies have dramatically reduced the number and severity of symptoms of withdrawals and have resulted in a decreased relapse of alcohol and drug users. So again it is extremely gentle and yet has a proven record of being successful and is a wonderful alternative in considering a therapeutic or a treatment plan while addressing substance abuse. The last thing anyone wants to think about is trying to recover from an addiction and becoming addicted to something else, and again, this is one of the strengths of natural medicine, particularly homeopathy. So if you're not familiar with it, I would encourage you to read up more. If you know somebody who is dealing with any chronic issue, not just substance abuse, it is certainly worth checking out. I've included a link there that can provide more information on the benefits of homeopathy, as well as provide the studies and the research that has been conducted with regard to homeopathic remedies in the treatment of substance abuse. Now, I would be remiss if I did not include in this presentation, a discussion regarding the ABA's effort to address lawyer wellbeing. As the ABA became more aware of the problems that were going on within the legal profession, they conducted not just the 2016 landmark study, but also acted on the results. In 2017, the National Task Force On Lawyer Wellbeing published The Path To Lawyer Wellbeing, Practical Recommendations For Positive Change. The report was commissioned by the ABA again, in response to the alarming number of lawyers who were, and still are battling substance abuse. The results was a list of recommendations to improve the current legal climate to one that is more embracing of wellbeing. It is a lengthy report and I have included a link there, but I wanna touch on some of the main points covered in the report. The report begins by acknowledging that in order to be a good lawyer, one must be a healthy lawyer as we've discussed throughout this presentation. It's important that we take a holistic view of our wellness. The report also references the two studies that were the basis or the genesis of this report and how the findings were incompatible with the sustainable legal profession. The report also notices that these findings raise troubling implications with regard to many lawyers' basic competence. And therefore it's critical that we respond in an actionable way. As we know, and the report makes a point of acknowledging, the legal profession is already struggling. We are confronted with dwindling market share as the public turns to more accessible, affordable, alternative legal service providers, we're at a crossroads and in order to maintain the public confidence, it should be all the more important and should be a greater motivation for us to concentrate on lawyer wellness. So in creating and compiling the report, the recommendations focus on five central themes. The first is identifying stakeholders and the role of each and the role each of us can play in reducing the level of toxicity in our profession. I wanna pause here and mention something on the subject of toxicity, I know we mentioned emotional toxicity earlier, and I did discuss detoxing your system. One thing I wanted to add and expand on that is our bodies are incredibly made and we have a system throughout our body that actually acts to take the toxins that are in our system and try and absorb them, if we're not able to release those, just like with our emotional thoughts, then we're not able to truly detox. And I've mentioned this in other CLEs, but our systems are made amazingly with lymph nodes. We have hundreds of lymph nodes throughout our body, and each of them act as little waste baskets that trap toxins, and so they can get congested. And often when we're looking at a holistic approach to detoxing, that is one of the most commonly overlooked areas. So when you're taking a holistic approach to recovery, again, it's worth partnering with someone who is familiar with holistic health and can examine the different areas of detoxing, not just on the emotional level, but also on the physical level, not just on the foods we eat to help strengthen our digestive system and filtrate our kidneys and our liver, but also things like our lymph system that can be congested. Because again if we can address each of these and get the toxins from these substances out of our bodies, then we're going to be on a quicker road to recovery. So I just wanted to throw that in here while talking about toxicity. Although that's not the specific toxicity that the report is covering, I did wanna mention it for purposes of our discussion. The next point included in the plan is eliminating the stigma associated with help seeking behaviors. So we really are all in this together, and we need to understand that there is no shame. Although lawyers are trained and used to thinking that we can handle everything, after all, we make a living handling other people's problems. But there are those who also make a living handling problems such as ours. So in order to function well professionally, we need to recognize just like we can step in and be an advocate for those whose cases we handle, there are also professionals who can step in and help us in handling whatever we're dealing with, whether that's from a responsive position or whether it's from a proactive position. Obviously as a naturopathic doctor and a wellness coach, I like focusing on the preventative aspects and putting steps in place for firms to implement to try and reduce these stressors from having such catastrophic effects, but as I stated earlier, statistically for young lawyers, almost one in four, slightly more than one in three of the young lawyers that you know are dealing with some form of substance abuse. And again, when you're talking about one in five lawyers, chances are, you know a lawyer that is battling this, whether he or she is willing to admit it or feels comfortable enough to overcome the perceived stigma. So that is another way that the ABA and the Task Force, our National Task Force tried to address this concern and offer responses. Third is emphasizing that wellbeing is an indispensable part of a lawyer's duty of competence. And we've already covered that. And with regard to educating lawyers, judges, and law students on lawyer wellbeing issues. This of course is what I focus my time on and dedicate my efforts to is making sure that lawyers are aware of the wide range of options available when it comes to lawyer wellness, what I call wellness, what the ABA or the Task Force references as wellbeing. It's the same approach. It's the holistic view of taking every aspect of our lives into consideration in addressing the weaker areas, the deficiencies in our lives, whether they are mental, emotional, physiological, whatever they may be. That's the benefits of having a wellness plan put into place. So if you have your own firm, I would highly recommend that you create a wellness plan. And if that's something you want to touch base with someone for again, that's what wellness coaches do. We help design these programs, these plans. And if you are an associate with the firm, it's always worth making a recommendation. Because one lawyer's substance abuse challenge affects all of us, whether we know it or not. And then fifth is taking small incremental steps to change how law is practiced and how lawyers are regulated to instill greater wellbeing in the profession. So again there's a lot we can do to change the paradigm that we've been working under. We know that paradigm doesn't work. So in reapproaching the topic and coming together as a profession, there's so much change we can make. And particularly with regard to the younger lawyers who do represent the future of our practice, we want to equip them and implement all the best tools available, so they can be the strongest for themselves, their families, their friends, and their profession, as a whole. As a final word, I wanna thank you for sharing your time and for the opportunity to speak to you about a topic I am so passionate about and a profession I feel so privileged to be a part of. I hope that something you heard here today will benefit you or someone you know. Please remember that no matter what the challenge is, there is always hope and you are never alone. So please do not hesitate to reach out, and again, I would encourage you to check out the Lawyer Wellbeing Talk Force Report on the link that I have included here to get some more helpful tips. And I have included my contact information for you. If you have any questions on the material, or just in general on this topic, please don't hesitate to reach out. I'm always happy to explore other options and advise on how wellness can really change the way that we practice law, and hopefully again, create a new paradigm of wellness. So we can all be our best in our personal and professional lives. Thank you again, take care.

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PM
Patti McCartney
Attorney
DrPattiMcCartney.com

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Credits
Available until
Status
Alabama
    Not Offered
    Alaska
    • 1.0 ethics
    September 22, 2024 at 11:59PM HST Available
    Arizona
    • 1.0 professional responsibility
    September 22, 2024 at 11:59PM HST Available
    Arkansas
    • 1.0 ethics
    September 22, 2024 at 11:59PM HST Approved
    California
    • 1.0 competence issues
    September 22, 2024 at 11:59PM HST Approved
    Colorado
      Not Offered
      Connecticut
      • 1.0 ethics
      September 22, 2024 at 11:59PM HST Available
      Delaware
        Not Offered
        Florida
        • 1.0 substance abuse
        July 31, 2024 at 11:59PM HST Approved
        Georgia
        • 1.0 general
        Pending
        Guam
        • 1.0 ethics
        September 22, 2024 at 11:59PM HST Available
        Hawaii
        • 1.0 ethics
        September 22, 2024 at 11:59PM HST Approved
        Idaho
          Not Offered
          Illinois
          • 1.0 general
          September 25, 2024 at 11:59PM HST Approved
          Indiana
            Not Offered
            Iowa
              Not Offered
              Kansas
                Not Offered
                Kentucky
                  Not Offered
                  Louisiana
                    Not Offered
                    Maine
                      Not Offered
                      Minnesota
                        Not Offered
                        Mississippi
                          Not Offered
                          Missouri
                          • 1.0 general
                          September 22, 2024 at 11:59PM HST Available
                          Montana
                            Not Offered
                            Nebraska
                              Not Offered
                              Nevada
                              • 1.0 aamh (substance abuse-addiction-mental health)
                              December 31, 2025 at 11:59PM HST Approved
                              New Hampshire
                              • 1.0 ethics
                              September 22, 2024 at 11:59PM HST Available
                              New Jersey
                              • 1.2 general
                              January 16, 2025 at 11:59PM HST Approved
                              New Mexico
                                Not Offered
                                New York
                                • 1.0 ethics
                                September 22, 2024 at 11:59PM HST Available
                                North Carolina
                                • 1.0 substance abuse
                                Unavailable
                                North Dakota
                                • 1.0 ethics
                                September 22, 2024 at 11:59PM HST Available
                                Ohio
                                • 1.0 general
                                Unavailable
                                Oklahoma
                                  Not Offered
                                  Oregon
                                    Not Offered
                                    Pennsylvania
                                    • 1.0 general
                                    Pending
                                    Puerto Rico
                                      Not Offered
                                      Rhode Island
                                        Not Offered
                                        South Carolina
                                          Not Offered
                                          Tennessee
                                          • 1.0 ethics
                                          Pending
                                          Texas
                                          • 1.0 general
                                          Pending
                                          Utah
                                            Pending
                                            Vermont
                                            • 1.0 attorney wellness
                                            September 22, 2024 at 11:59PM HST Approved
                                            Virginia
                                              Not Offered
                                              Virgin Islands
                                              • 1.0 mental health/substance abuse
                                              September 22, 2024 at 11:59PM HST Available
                                              Washington
                                                Not Offered
                                                West Virginia
                                                  Not Offered
                                                  Wisconsin
                                                    Not Offered
                                                    Wyoming
                                                      Not Offered
                                                      Credits
                                                        Available until
                                                        Status
                                                        Not Offered
                                                        Credits
                                                        • 1.0 ethics
                                                        Available until

                                                        September 22, 2024 at 11:59PM HST

                                                        Status
                                                        Available
                                                        Credits
                                                        • 1.0 professional responsibility
                                                        Available until

                                                        September 22, 2024 at 11:59PM HST

                                                        Status
                                                        Available
                                                        Credits
                                                        • 1.0 ethics
                                                        Available until

                                                        September 22, 2024 at 11:59PM HST

                                                        Status
                                                        Approved
                                                        Credits
                                                        • 1.0 competence issues
                                                        Available until

                                                        September 22, 2024 at 11:59PM HST

                                                        Status
                                                        Approved
                                                        Credits
                                                          Available until
                                                          Status
                                                          Not Offered
                                                          Credits
                                                          • 1.0 ethics
                                                          Available until

                                                          September 22, 2024 at 11:59PM HST

                                                          Status
                                                          Available
                                                          Credits
                                                            Available until
                                                            Status
                                                            Not Offered
                                                            Credits
                                                            • 1.0 substance abuse
                                                            Available until

                                                            July 31, 2024 at 11:59PM HST

                                                            Status
                                                            Approved
                                                            Credits
                                                            • 1.0 general
                                                            Available until
                                                            Status
                                                            Pending
                                                            Credits
                                                            • 1.0 ethics
                                                            Available until

                                                            September 22, 2024 at 11:59PM HST

                                                            Status
                                                            Available
                                                            Credits
                                                            • 1.0 ethics
                                                            Available until

                                                            September 22, 2024 at 11:59PM HST

                                                            Status
                                                            Approved
                                                            Credits
                                                              Available until
                                                              Status
                                                              Not Offered
                                                              Credits
                                                              • 1.0 general
                                                              Available until

                                                              September 25, 2024 at 11:59PM HST

                                                              Status
                                                              Approved
                                                              Credits
                                                                Available until
                                                                Status
                                                                Not Offered
                                                                Credits
                                                                  Available until
                                                                  Status
                                                                  Not Offered
                                                                  Credits
                                                                    Available until
                                                                    Status
                                                                    Not Offered
                                                                    Credits
                                                                      Available until
                                                                      Status
                                                                      Not Offered
                                                                      Credits
                                                                        Available until
                                                                        Status
                                                                        Not Offered
                                                                        Credits
                                                                          Available until
                                                                          Status
                                                                          Not Offered
                                                                          Credits
                                                                            Available until
                                                                            Status
                                                                            Not Offered
                                                                            Credits
                                                                              Available until
                                                                              Status
                                                                              Not Offered
                                                                              Credits
                                                                              • 1.0 general
                                                                              Available until

                                                                              September 22, 2024 at 11:59PM HST

                                                                              Status
                                                                              Available
                                                                              Credits
                                                                                Available until
                                                                                Status
                                                                                Not Offered
                                                                                Credits
                                                                                  Available until
                                                                                  Status
                                                                                  Not Offered
                                                                                  Credits
                                                                                  • 1.0 aamh (substance abuse-addiction-mental health)
                                                                                  Available until

                                                                                  December 31, 2025 at 11:59PM HST

                                                                                  Status
                                                                                  Approved
                                                                                  Credits
                                                                                  • 1.0 ethics
                                                                                  Available until

                                                                                  September 22, 2024 at 11:59PM HST

                                                                                  Status
                                                                                  Available
                                                                                  Credits
                                                                                  • 1.2 general
                                                                                  Available until

                                                                                  January 16, 2025 at 11:59PM HST

                                                                                  Status
                                                                                  Approved
                                                                                  Credits
                                                                                    Available until
                                                                                    Status
                                                                                    Not Offered
                                                                                    Credits
                                                                                    • 1.0 ethics
                                                                                    Available until

                                                                                    September 22, 2024 at 11:59PM HST

                                                                                    Status
                                                                                    Available
                                                                                    Credits
                                                                                    • 1.0 substance abuse
                                                                                    Available until
                                                                                    Status
                                                                                    Unavailable
                                                                                    Credits
                                                                                    • 1.0 ethics
                                                                                    Available until

                                                                                    September 22, 2024 at 11:59PM HST

                                                                                    Status
                                                                                    Available
                                                                                    Credits
                                                                                    • 1.0 general
                                                                                    Available until
                                                                                    Status
                                                                                    Unavailable
                                                                                    Credits
                                                                                      Available until
                                                                                      Status
                                                                                      Not Offered
                                                                                      Credits
                                                                                        Available until
                                                                                        Status
                                                                                        Not Offered
                                                                                        Credits
                                                                                        • 1.0 general
                                                                                        Available until
                                                                                        Status
                                                                                        Pending
                                                                                        Credits
                                                                                          Available until
                                                                                          Status
                                                                                          Not Offered
                                                                                          Credits
                                                                                            Available until
                                                                                            Status
                                                                                            Not Offered
                                                                                            Credits
                                                                                              Available until
                                                                                              Status
                                                                                              Not Offered
                                                                                              Credits
                                                                                              • 1.0 ethics
                                                                                              Available until
                                                                                              Status
                                                                                              Pending
                                                                                              Credits
                                                                                              • 1.0 general
                                                                                              Available until
                                                                                              Status
                                                                                              Pending
                                                                                              Credits
                                                                                                Available until
                                                                                                Status
                                                                                                Pending
                                                                                                Credits
                                                                                                • 1.0 attorney wellness
                                                                                                Available until

                                                                                                September 22, 2024 at 11:59PM HST

                                                                                                Status
                                                                                                Approved
                                                                                                Credits
                                                                                                  Available until
                                                                                                  Status
                                                                                                  Not Offered
                                                                                                  Credits
                                                                                                  • 1.0 mental health/substance abuse
                                                                                                  Available until

                                                                                                  September 22, 2024 at 11:59PM HST

                                                                                                  Status
                                                                                                  Available
                                                                                                  Credits
                                                                                                    Available until
                                                                                                    Status
                                                                                                    Not Offered
                                                                                                    Credits
                                                                                                      Available until
                                                                                                      Status
                                                                                                      Not Offered
                                                                                                      Credits
                                                                                                        Available until
                                                                                                        Status
                                                                                                        Not Offered
                                                                                                        Credits
                                                                                                          Available until
                                                                                                          Status
                                                                                                          Not Offered

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