Like all members of the legal profession, judges experience difficulties with stress, depression, balancing work and home life, alcohol or drug abuse, as well as compulsive behaviors. Unfortunately, a judge’s problem is more likely to go unnoticed and untreated because of the very nature of the judge’s role in the legal system.
Judges frequently work in isolation, often shielding their problems from colleagues and associates. Fear, denial, embarrassment, and hopelessness can complicate their desire to seek out assistance. Concerns over confidentiality, a reluctance to having their problems known, and the fear of their status and reputation being compromised may impede a judge from seeking assistance. JLAP responds to judges who call for help with complete confidentiality and discretion.
Concerned About A Judicial Colleague? JLAP Can Help You Help Them
Judges are in a unique position to help other judges who may be challenged by substance use and mental health disorders. The Texas LAP has a special 800 hotline that judges may call to seek help for themselves or other judges: 800-219-6474. JLAP also has some volunteers who are judges who are interested in providing peer support to judges in crisis.
Judges can help other judges effectively with the support of JLAP volunteer judges who understand the issues and are genuinely concerned about helping their judicial colleagues.
Substance Abuse and Ethics: The Judicial Duty to Respond contains a Model Lesson Plan created by the collaborative efforts of the ABA Standing Committee on Substance Abuse & the ABA Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs.
TLAP has developed information for judges dealing with an impaired lawyer and is always available to consult with judges about specific solutions for specific situations.
Florida LAP’s Impairment in the Legal Profession: A Guide for Judges is also a helpful publication.
The Louisiana Lawyer’s Assistance Program has adapted traditional intervention models to include a judge’s participation: Judicial Intervention….How Judges Can Help Lawyers In Trouble.
The July-August 2006 issue of Judicature, the journal of the American Judicature Society, highlights the fact that “judges face the same challenges to their physical, mental, and emotional health as do other members of society, and that their unique position in society renders the provision of assistance in meeting those challenges critically important.” Introduction: Helping Judges in Distress