For the past year the Lawyers and Judges Assistance Committee has continued to work in conjunction with the activities and programs of the Lawyers and Judges Assistance Program.
It has been the objective of the committee to expand and increase the knowledge base of the State Bar membership in the following ways.
Committee members have attended both state-wide and national bar conferences in an effort to become updated with regard to programs across the country as they may be relevant to the State Bar of Michigan.
Committee members have been asked to attend and participate in local bar organization programs in an effort to expand the knowledge of each and every attorney within the State of Michigan as to what programs are available through the Lawyers and Judges Assistance Program. A special effort and emphasis has been placed on issues involving psychopathologies other than the traditional substance abuse problems.
The Committee has worked with various agencies within the State Bar with regard to character, fitness, and discipline, to encourage the use of the monitoring program, and diversion as alternatives to, and in conjunction with, discipline and bar admission.
It has always been the Committee's position that, while lawyers necessarily should be screened and disciplined, if there is an alternative that can work in conjunction with traditional methods, these alternatives should be utilized (such as the monitoring program).
The Committee has taken a more proactive effort in fund raising, principally aimed at trying to assure the broadest possible dissemination of the information through its publication known as The Turning Point. This year I've seen Committee members become involved in fund raising activities in conjunction with other state bar organizations.
The effort has always been, and will continue to be, on education. In the coming year the Committee will direct further attention to attendance at, and participation in, local bar organizations in an effort to educate bar members to utilize the Lawyers and Judges Assistance Program in the most proactive way possible.