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.