Over the next several issues of the Bar News, I will provide information regarding the newly-created New Hampshire Lawyers Assistance Program (NHLAP). First, a brief overview of the program, its history, and its purpose.
NHLAP was created by Supreme Court Rule 58, which was adapted from the ABA Model Rule for Lawyer Assistance programs. It is the culmination of over 15 years of volunteer commitment in New Hampshire by two separate organizations, the Lawyers Assistance Committee of the NHBA, and Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers, a 12-step based self-help group for lawyers. This model, the creation of a hybrid program from two existing programs, exists in many, if not most, of the 47 states that have LAPs.
Because of the sensitive nature of addiction and psychological problems, the law students, attorneys, or judges who need help — or want to assist someone else who might need help — are often reluctant to seek assistance. Recognizing this concern, and in order to foster early and confidential contact, the New Hampshire Supreme Court, through its rules, protects the confidentiality of all contacts between those who utilize the program and the employees and volunteers of NHLAP. Any information shared among NHLAP employees and volunteers, and a lawyer, judge or law student who seeks assistance, is strictly confidential and will not be disclosed except upon express, written release by the affected person.
To review provisions and rules governing NHLAP’s confidentiality of information, please see New Hampshire Supreme Court Rules 58.8, 58.9, 37 (1)(e), and New Hampshire Rules of Professional Conduct, Rule 8.3.
The program has a Web site at www.lapnh.org and will be providing updated and expanded information and resources later this month.
In upcoming issues of Bar News, I will be writing about:
- NHLAP and volunteers;
- NHLAP and the disciplinary processes for lawyers and judges;
- Signs and symptoms of substance abuse;
- When to ask for help.
I appreciate the opportunity to serve the Bar through this new program, and I welcome your inquiries. Please feel free to contact my office at any time, whether for yourself, on behalf of another, or to simply ask a question.
Cecie Hartigan, an attorney, is executive director of the New Hampshire Lawyers Assistance Program and can be contacted at:
26 South Main St., #261
Concord, NH 03301
877-224-6060 (toll-free 24/7);
firstname.lastname@example.org or www.lapnh.org.