Lawyers on a Mission
To help judges, lawyers and law students get assistance with substance use, addiction, and mental health problems compromising wellness.
The Lawyers’ Assistance Program was founded in 1980 by a concerned group of lawyers who saw the need for members of the profession to reach out to help colleagues impaired by alcohol abuse and addiction. By August of that year, Lawyers’ Assistance Program, Inc. was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation.
These committed volunteers sought guidance from addiction treatment professionals and engaged clinicians to educate themselves on addiction and recovery, instruct them on peer support and on intervention techniques. Behind the scenes, these volunteers worked quietly and confidentially to help legal professionals find recovery. By 2001, LAP had two full-time employees – an executive director and an administrative assistant. In 2003, LAP opened a downstate office in the metro east area to better serve clients outside the Chicago area and hired a part-time associate director to work from that office.
Support from the Supreme Court of Illinois
Volunteers, and later part-time staff members, depended on financial support from the Chicago Bar Association, the Illinois State Bar Association, law firms, and concerned individuals. In 2002, with the support of the Illinois Supreme Court and the Lawyers’ Assistance Program Act, LAP received stable funding for the first time – with $20 of every lawyer’s registration fee designated to support this program. Funds are collected by the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission and administered through the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts. The Supreme Court now appoints a 15-member board of directors for LAP.
Broadening LAP’s Horizons
By 2004, LAP moved its Chicago office into independent office space on the 4th floor at 20 South Clark Street – providing a more efficient and discreet space for expansion of services. LAP has broadened its scope beyond alcohol and drug addiction to address a broad range of mental health problems and now has 4 clinicians on staff. In 2012, the Board of Directors created an Advisory Committee which assists the Board in the creation, planning and implementation of new programs.
Still headquartered in Chicago, LAP has expanded to include 2 satellite offices located in Park Ridge and Kane County.