Conference to explore mental health, addiction challenges in the legal profession

Feb 1, 2019Latest News

The Duke Law Bolch Judicial Institute will hold an open Distinguished Lawyers conference on Developing a Useful Framework to Address Alcohol Abuse, Drug Addiction, and Anxiety/Depression Among Bench, Bar, and Related Professionals at the University of Miami, Newman Alumni Center, 6200 San Amaro Dr., Coral Gables, Florida, on February 28-March 1, 2019.

The conference will bring together the best and most knowledgeable experts and professionals from around the country to discuss and highlight these life-threatening issues afflicting the legal profession, including:

• George Koob, Director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
• Charles Nemeroff, Professor, Department of Psychiatry; Director, Institute for Early Life Adversity Research, University of Texas at Austin Dell Medical School
• Amir Rezvani, Professor in Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, Duke University School of Medicine
• Scott Rogers, Director, Mindfulness in Law Program, University of Miami Law School
• Stephen Delisi, Medical Director for our Professional Education Solutions, and Assistant Professor – Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation.

The conference will critically examine the recommendations of the American Bar Association’s National Task Force on Lawyer Well-Being and identify the most promising best practices for both the bench and bar.  Members of judiciary attending include:

• Brooks Smith (Chief Judge, Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit)
• Marjorie Rendell (Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit)
• Michael Moore (Chief Judge, Southern District of Florida)
• Timothy DeGiusti (Western District of Oklahoma)
• Robert Hinkle (Northern District of Florida)
• Tim Baker (Southern District of Indiana)
• Philip Pro (District of Nevada, retired)
• Jeremy Fogel (Northern District of California, retired)
• Jorge Labarga (Supreme Court of Florida)

Actress Gabrielle Anwar and former Congressman Patrick Kennedy will be special guest speakers.

Eight panels of national experts, judges, and professionals and members of the ABA’s Lawyer Well-Being Task Force will address the following issues:

Panel 1 – Overview of problem writ large, focusing on medical explanations
Panel 2 – Extent of the problem in the profession
Panel 3 – How state bars are managing (policing and treating)
Panel 4 – How judiciary is coping (policing and treating)
Panel 5 – How law firms and in-house departments are managing (policing and treating)
Panel 6 – Existing treatment programs, including mindfulness and other therapy techniques
Panel 7 – Rehabilitation programs and alternative programs to help
Panel 8 – How should we manage the problem in the profession – are the ABA’s recommendations feasible, effective, and sufficient

This is an opportunity to place a spotlight on a perennial and growing problem, which the legal profession has neglected for too many years.  The stigma attached and potential damage to livelihood to any professional in need of counselling present serious obstacles to a lawyer seeking treatment.  At the same time, the need to protect the client’s and public’s strong interest in having a judge or a lawyer whose judgment is not impaired is paramount.  Developing and identifying the most useful and promising guidance that reconciles both concerns will be challenging.

Registration Fee.  Because of the importance of the issues that will be discussed at the conference, the registration fee has been substantially reduced to $399 ($199 for medical professionals, $99 for students), which includes conference materials, two continental breakfasts, coffee breaks, lunch on Thursday, a reception on Thursday evening, and grab-and-go snacks at the end of the conference on Friday. Further discounts on the registration fee and scholarships will be considered on request.

CLE ─  We will apply for CLE in North Carolina and Florida. The total number of hours will be updated soon. If you are a practicing attorney in North Carolina, your CLE hours will be submitted for you.  Attorneys from other states will receive a “Certificate of Attendance” and a completed “Uniform Application for Accreditation” form after the conference in order to submit CLE hours for your state.