Welcome to Lawyers Helping Lawyers.
A member benefit of the South Carolina Bar, this program is available to all lawyers, judges and law students experiencing challenges with substance use disorders, mental health illnesses and/or stress-related issues that affect their professional and personal lives. No matter what you’re going through, Lawyers Helping Lawyers is here to help.
For information on how LHL is here to serve you during COVID-19, click here or keep scrolling.
Why does Lawyers Helping Lawyers exist?
It’s no secret that law students and lawyers face stressful circumstances on a regular basis. You or others may have high expectations for success and self-sufficiency or concern for clients and time management. These challenges too often create an environment in which substance use disorders and other mental illnesses and emotional issues can develop. Lawyers Helping Lawyers exists to help you reduce the pain and loss that result from struggles with alcohol, other drugs and mental and emotional illnesses.
- In the 2016 study conducted by the ABA Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs and the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation more than 20% of lawyers and judges reported problematic alcohol use.
- In the same report, 28% of respondents experienced depression.
- Participants reported that attorneys in the first decade of practice experience the highest rates of problematic alcohol use.
How Lawyers Helping Lawyers can help
Lawyers Helping Lawyers provides:
- Referral to appropriate treatment services;
- Peer support;
- Five free counseling sessions each year;
- Mental health and wellness CLEs;
- Law student assistance through scheduled office hours and mindfulness sessions at both in-state law schools;
- Interviews, evaluations, and case management for bar applicants under Character and Fitness review;
- Oversees court-mandated monitoring for lawyers involved with Office of Disciplinary Counsel
- Monitors lawyers at the request of employers when appropriate and for lawyers who want to enhance their success in early recovery through added accountability
Free counseling sessions for all members
The SC Bar Lawyers Helping Lawyers program offers all members up to five free counseling sessions per year. Attorneys may call 1-(855)-321-4384, 24 hours a day/seven days a week and get referred to a counselor in their area for help with any issue that diminishes their productivity and/or quality of life. The counselors providing these services are credentialed and trained to understand issues related to the legal profession. This service is strictly confidential. Inquires, information or files received or maintained by the LHL shall remain confidential. Rule 8.3 (d), Rule 407, SCACR.
Identifying a problem
It’s crucial to identify a substance use disorder or other mental illness as early as possible. This can be difficult because we often do not know the signs and symptoms and because lawyers can be very good at masking their problems. If you have a suspicion that something is wrong with a colleague (or yourself) but don’t know how to address the issue, please call LHL for help. Our team can give you information without your needing to identify yourself or your colleague. For more resources, view our Lawyers Helping Lawyers Resources page.
Get in touch
When you call Lawyers Helping Lawyers, you will talk with a person who can relate to your experience and direct you to the appropriate service to help you deal effectively with your particular challenges. Contact the Lawyers Helping Lawyers team at 866-545-9590 for more information about LHL services, or contact Beth Padgett or Robert Turnbull. Their information is below.
- Beth Padgett: (803) 240-6526 (cell); (803) 576-3801 (office)
- J. Robert Turnbull, Jr.: (803) 603-3807 (cell); (803) 576-3781 (office)
Our Lawyers Helping Lawyers services will continue during this time of social distancing to assist lawyers who are experiencing depression, anxiety and/or substance use disorders.
All inquiries, questions and conferences are privileged and held in the strictest confidence between the program and the lawyer by 8.3(c) of Rule 407, SCACR.
Call 855-321-4384 to access up to five free counseling sessions. (Someone is available at this number 24-7.) Telehealth counseling sessions are now available.
Call 803-240-6526 for Beth Padgett or 803-603-3807 for Robert Turnbull.
Information and Support During COVID-19
COVID-19 has brought a greater than usual level of uncertainty into our lives and taken away many of the day-to-day choices we make that give us a sense of control. Lawyers Helping Lawyers put together a list a resources offering recommendations for relief from the uncomfortable thoughts and feelings you may experience during times of high uncertainty and low control.
We hope you find these resources helpful. If you find you need more support than they offer, please do not hesitate to call the team at Lawyers Helping Lawyers.
For those who have an alcohol use disorder, abstinence is the only path to ensure continued health. Call us if you need help immediately.
If you do not have a disorder bur are finding yourself tempted to drink more (in quantity or frequency) due to stress, anxiety, or boredom see Rethinking Drinking from the National Institutes of Health.
Virtual Recovery Resources from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
Mental health resources for the legal profession
Comprehensive list of resources from from the American Bar Association
Stress, anxiety, and depression during COVID-19
- Seven Science-Based Strategies to Cope with Coronavirus from The Conversation and Georgetown University professor Jelena Kecmanovic.
- Managing Anxiety and Stress from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- How to Help Someone with Anxiety or Depression During COVID-19 from Mental Health First Aid
- Taking Care of Your Mental Health in the Face of Uncertainty from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
Mindfulness and other strategies
- How to Find Calm and Nourish Resilience During the COVID Outbreak (mindful.org)
- Greater Good in Action (University of California Berkeley)