Lawyers & Judges Assistance Program Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is monitoring?
A: Also called "contractual probation" or "diversion."
It is a reality that the incidence of issues related to substance use and mental health disorders is disproportionately high among legal professionals. Such issues sometimes lead to impairment of personal and professional functioning. The Lawyers and Judges Assistance program (LJAP) recognizes that individuals who struggle with issues of impairment are not “bad” people, but human beings who are suffering from treatable physiological conditions. Recovery is possible. In the interest of protecting the public and supporting professionalism within the legal profession, the State Bar of Michigan Lawyers and Judges Assistance Program has developed a monitoring program. Read More
Q: Help with substance use or mental health issues . . . is it really confidential?
MLJAP policy is based on federal confidentiality guidelines, and prohibits disclosure of information about program participants to the State Bar of Michigan, Attorney Grievance Commission, Attorney Discipline Board, Judicial Tenure Commission, Character and Fitness, or Law School without a signed release of confidential information.
The Monitoring Program and those working with the program in any capacity, whether volunteer or otherwise, shall be provided all confidentiality and immunity protection afforded the Lawyer's and Judges Assistance Program under MCR 9.125.
Q: I think I'm depressed. What can I do?
A: There are two major types of depression; situational, and clinical.
Situational depression is temporary, and is linked to a life event such as job loss or death of a loved one. Clinical depression may have its roots in brain chemistry and is longer in duration and/or cyclical in nature.
For a free, confidential consultation with a trained mental health professional, call the Lawyers and Judges Assistance Program at (800) 996-5522.
Q: How can my law firm take advantage of the Lawyers and Judges Assistance Program?
A: The Lawyers and Judges Assistance Program is available for free consultations, as well as training services.
We will gladly speak to your group about stress management, substance use issues, or any identified topic which relates to overall coping/mental health. We also coordinate a volunteer recovery network, which is available to lawyers and judges who are entering recovery from chemical dependency or mental health issues. Call the Lawyers & Judges Assistance Program at (800) 996-5522 with your questions and/or requests.
Q: I have a colleague who has a substance use or mental health problem . . . what can I do?
A: For over twenty years, the Lawyers and Judges Assistance Program has been serving attorneys in trouble with substances with these problems.
We are staffed with trained addiction/mental health professionals. We also have access to a network of attorneys and judges throughout the state of Michigan, who lend their time and effort toward supporting attorneys. The Lawyers & Judges Program will gladly consult with you about what action, if any, is necessary and appropriate. Call our free, confidential helpline: (800) 996-5522.
Q: If I refer a colleague to LJAP, will they get in trouble?
A: LJAP is here to assist individuals who are struggling, to get on track, with the hope that disciplinary actions can be avoided.
The Monitoring Program and those working with the program in any capacity, whether volunteer or otherwise, shall be afforded all confidentiality and immunity protection afforded the Lawyers and Judges Assistance Program and that provided under MCR 9.125. If you know someone who is struggling, encourage him/her to call our free, confidential helpline: (800) 996-5522.
Q: I like to gamble . . . how much is too much?
A: In the past year have you:
- been preoccupied with gambling?
- needed to gamble with increasing amounts of money in order to achieve a desired excitement?
- had repeated, unsuccessful efforts to control, cut back, or stop gambling?
- been restless or irritable when attempting to cut down or stop gambling?
- gambled as a way of escaping from problems or of relieving unpleasant feelings, like guilt, anxiety, or depression?
- after losing money gambling, returned another day to "get even"?
- lied or minimized regarding the extent of your gambling activity to family or others?
- committed illegal acts such as forgery, fraud, theft, or embezzlement to finance gambling?
- jeopardized or lost a relationship, job, or educational opportunity because of gambling?
- relied on others to provide money to relieve a desperate financial situation caused by gambling?
If you have answered yes to four or more of these questions, or if your response to any of these questions causes you concern, there is a strong possibility that your gambling activity is already, or is becoming problematic.
The Lawyers and Judges Assistance Program has a close working relationship with clinicians who are experts in the treatment of problem gambling. We will gladly assist you with regard to assessment and referral, as appropriate.
Call our free, confidential helpline at: (800) 996-5522
LJAP Helpline (800) 996-5522