John Barkett | The Ethics of Lawyers Needing Assistance

Generally speaking, we're not supposed to be perfect, but we're not supposed to make mistakes."

That's how Shook Partner John Barkett expressed the dilemma for attorneys during a recent presentation at the ABA Section of Litigation & Solo, Small Firm and General Practice Division Conference in New York City: how should attorneys weigh the ethical issues and obligations when deciding whether mental, emotional or physical well-being is affecting their ability to represent clients—or when such issues may be affecting the professional ability of a colleague?

In his conference paper, "The Ethics of Lawyers Needing Assistance," Barkett provides a comprehensive review of the Model Rules, formal ABA and state ethics opinions and case law that provide guidance for practitioners facing these issues. 

Shook, Hardy & Bacon, along with dozens of other law firms across the country, has committed to take part in the American Bar Association’s Well-Being Pledge Campaign. The ABA is committed to providing resources to its members, including a directory of Lawyer Assistance Programs (LAPS), which provides confidential services and support to judges, lawyers and law students facing substance abuse or mental health issues.