News and Information
April 29, 2008

Attorney Support Programs Need Volunteers


Lawyers Helping Lawyers needs volunteers to start support groups for legal professionals throughout the commonwealth.

LHL — a nonprofit program that offers mental health and substance abuse services to the legal community — wants to establish two types of groups:

  • A peer-led support meeting for legal professionals who live with addictions such as alcoholism or other substance abuse.
  • A meeting led by a mental health professional for people who cope with the stresses of law practice – stresses that can contribute to depression, anxiety, or other disabling conditions.
In both cases, groups will be limited to people involved in the legal profession.

Such programs already have been established in three areas of the state. LHL sponsors substance abuse meetings weekly in Northern Virginia and twice monthly in Roanoke. Mental health support is available in Roanoke (twice monthly), Northern Virginia (monthly), and Richmond (every two weeks).

That’s a start, but many more groups are needed to meet the needs of Virginia attorneys statewide, LHL Executive Director James E. Leffler said. The Hampton Roads area is in particular need of lawyer-focused support.

Any legal professional is welcome to volunteer. Lawyers who are familiar with twelve-step recovery programs are especially needed, Leffler said.

Volunteers will be put to work in a number of ways. They will be asked to attend support groups, work one-on-one with struggling attorneys, or provide telephone support to lawyers from another part of the state, for example.

Information exchanged is confidential, free, and not disclosed to the lawyer disciplinary system.

To volunteer, contact Leffler at (877) 545-4682 or jim@valhl.org. Information on LHL is posted at http://www.valhl.org/.

Updated: Apr 29, 2008