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Iowa Lawyers Assistance Program

The practice of law is a stressful occupation, indeed. Day in and day out, attorneys focus on resolving other people’s problems, while by and large ignoring their own. The daily pressures faced in our profession can lead to inordinate stress, which, in many cases, can result in alcohol and drug abuse, depression, gambling problems, burnout or other emotional upheaval.

There is a solution
Iowa lawyers don’t have their problems alone. Confidential help is available from Iowa lawyers who have “been there, done that.” In most cases, the initial call for help to ILAP comes from a fellow attorney or family member.

How can ILAP help?
ILAP considers the attorney’s unique circumstances in suggesting a course of action and in assisting the lawyer in need, the law firm or the family. ILAP can arrange treatment, counseling, peer support or other help as needed.

Does an attorney have to leave practice to undergo counseling and treatment?
The ILAP director recognizes that every situation is different, and works with each individual to explore options that work best in a particular situation.

Lawyers abuse alcohol at a 50- 80% higher rate than the general population. The incidence of depression among lawyers is twice as high as in the general population. According to a recent report of the ABA, studies indicate that more than 50 percent of all disciplinary cases involve impaired lawyers. The incidence of malpractice insurance claims are significantly higher among impaired attorneys. Lawyers suffering from alcoholism, drug addiction or depression often deny that they have problem.

The ILAP assists lawyers, law students and their families who are suffering from alcoholism, drug abuse, depression or other stresses affecting their ability to practice law. Our program uses attorneys who share similar experiences, and is completely confidential. ILAP is not affiliated with or attached to any other organization, nor is it affiliated with the disciplinary process.

The Oregon Attorneys Assistance Program gave me many gifts. Most importantly it gave me the will to live and the support I needed to deal with the wreckage of my life. Our program is here to help lawyers here in Iowa who are addicted to alcohol or drugs, who are depressed or stressed. Many are afraid of the choices they have made. However, volunteers throughout the state will help. If You Need An Attorney. If you cannot resolve your complaint, or it involves a large amount of money, you may want to hire a lawyer.

Private Attorneys. The State Bar Association and many county bar associations operate lawyer referral programs. Often there is only a small fee for the initial consultation. Legal Aid or Legal Services. If you can't afford a lawyer, you may be eligible for federally-funded legal assistance. Look in the phone book under "Legal Aid" or "Legal Services." Law School Legal Clinics. Many law schools operate legal clinics at which law students assist people under the supervision of a law professor or other lawyer. Contact the law school nearest you for more information.

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