Letter From The President Of The Missouri Bar

2004-04-01 01:00

To The Readers Of The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel:

As President of The Missouri Bar, I have had the opportunity to see first hand the various programs of The Missouri Bar. More important than seeing and understanding these fine programs, however, is the awareness of how these program benefit our membership.
One such program that I am particularly proud of is the Missouri Lawyers' Assistance Program (MOLAP). While initially outplaced in 1990, MOLAP in its present form started in 1996 and is managed and staffed by a Missouri Bar staff director and an administrative assistant. The director is a Licensed Professional Counselor with considerable program management experience.
MOLAP is a professional, confidential assistance program designed to help members of The Missouri Bar and their families, as well as law students in Missouri, overcome any personal problem that may interfere with one's professional or personal well-being.
These problems may include stress, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, marital, family, emotional or work related issues.It is recognized that conditions such as depression and substance abuse, if left untreated, can eventually impair one's client representation and professional career, as well as adversely impact one's health, marriage and family.
Services include:
•Assessment:of the presenting issue and development of a plan of action to alleviate the problem that may include:
>Referral to appropriate resource for treatment
>Case management
>Substance abuse/depression
>Other addictions
>Crisis:MOLAP will assist in coordinating crisis intervention services to individuals and law firms.
•Education and Prevention Programs for:
>Bench and Bar Meetings
>Law Firms and
>Missouri Law Schools
Services, incidentally, are available 24/7 with calls handled by a licensed counselor with a minimum of 5 years experience.With the higher than average incidence of depression (estimated to be 21 to 30%) and alcoholism (15 to 18%) for lawyers, MOLAP is playing a vital role in helping impaired lawyers and protecting the client's interest and the reputation of the profession.
With accurate information about depression and alcoholism, more and more lawyers in Missouri are accessing MOLAP services. Both of these conditions are health issues, not moral problems.In addition, both are treatable.
One of the most interesting and pleasant surprises has been that efficacy of phone counseling. While MOLAP provides face to face counseling, many clients are satisfied with and even prefer phone counseling.It seems to have a perceived additional level of confidentiality. The 800 access number further ensures confidentiality. Phone counseling does work. Of course, some issues, such as depression, substance abuse, family and marital problems, are simply not conducive to phone counseling.
MOLAP, as well as other state Lawyer Assistance Programs, are fortunate to have the guidance, support and resources of the ABA's Commission on Lawyers' Assistance Programs (COLAP). Since its inception in 1988, COLAP has helped state programs by provided a suggested program model.
In addition, COLAP sponsors a national conference for Program Directors and volunteers. The conference offers top of the line speakers presenting on various program structures and services and substance abuse and mental health issues.
It soon became obvious to me why MOLAP has successfully helped lawyers and the families in Missouri. While the quality of services and staff is important, the real key to utilization of the program can be found in the promotion and visibility of MOLAP and its services. MOLAP advertises in the two major Missouri Bar publications, The Bulletin of The Missouri Bar and the Bar Journal.MOLAP has its own section in The Bulletin for various announcements and articles of interest. In addition, MOLAP has its own web page as part of The Missouri Bar's website.The MOLAP Page includes:
•Program Description and Services
•Self inventories for Depression, Substance Abuse, Gambling and Sexual Addictions
•Index of past articles
•Most recent MOLAP quarterly newsletter
•Most recent MOLAP Annual Report
As effective as MOLAP is, it takes the support and effort of many volunteer lawyers and judges to provide needed assistance in the State. MOLAP provides an Annual Conference and quarterly newsletter for the volunteers. In addition, periodic Intervention Training is offered.
Finally, I just want to say that I am pleased and grateful that we have such a program for our lawyers in Missouri.


William M. Corrigan