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Substance Abuse Ethics: What All Attorneys Must Know

 

Substance and alcohol abuse can have costly consequences - know your ethical responsibilities to protect your practice.

Substance and alcohol abuse can have costly consequences - know your ethical responsibilities to protect your practice. It has been a truism for decades, if not centuries, that lawyers have problems with the bottle, it is a common cliché in movies and novels. Many lawyers have difficulty dealing with the stress of the profession but do not know how to identify what the problem is or what can be done. Attorneys are also often reluctant to ask for help. Often they ignore the problem until it's too late, they are facing a job loss, discipline, or even criminal charges. This topic will address the modern definitions of substance abuse and mental illness and then discuss some of the underlying reasons that lawyers suffer disproportionally high rates of these diseases, review some examples of attorney misconduct caused by substance abuse and/or mental illness, and will suggest some ways to protect yourself and your practice from the consequences of substance abuse and mental illness.

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Substance Abuse Ethics: What All Attorneys Must Know

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Substance Abuse Ethics: What All Attorneys Must Know

Faculty

Meredith S. Heller

Meredith S. Heller

Law Office of Meredith S. Heller PLLC

  • Principal, the Law Office of Meredith S. Heller PLLC
  • Practice emphasizes criminal defense and professional responsibility
  • Frequent speaker at CLEs on substance abuse and the profession, as well as professional ethics, generally
  • Current chair of the New York City Bar Association’s Professional Responsibility Committee
  • Member of the New York City Bar Association (former chair, Professional Responsibility Committee; former chair, Lawyers Assistance Program Committee); New York State Bar Association (member of Professional Discipline Committee); New York Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers; National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers; and Federal Bar Council
  • J.D. degree, Cardozo Law School; M.A. and B.A. degrees, Case Western Reserve University
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Substance Abuse Ethics: What All Attorneys Must Know

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