Help for a Colleague—If You Don’t Help Who Will?

By Leota Embleton, MSW, I.C.A.D.C. Program Manager, Ontario Lawyers Assistance Program A typical alcoholic lawyer may drink heavily for years before colleagues begin to notice that something is terribly wrongC Waldhauser The Ontario Lawyers’ Assistance Program is rooted in the concept of ―lawyers helping lawyers.‖ Our mandate is to promote wellness, prevent problems and assist when...

A Soft place to Fall

By Jill S. Fenaughty When lawyers, students or judges need to unburden themselves from time to time they can call the Ontario Lawyers’ Assistance Program (OLAP). It is a free 24 hour confidential program where between nine to five they will be connected to a lawyer counsellor who within just one call can offer a good deal of comfort (for the remaining hours one is transferred to the afterhours...

Exploring Career Alternatives

By Leota Embleton, MSW, I.C.A.D.C. Program Manager Ontario Lawyers’ Assistance ProgramSubmitted to Durham Region Law Association “I think that there can be great depth and meaning in the practice of law - we just have to keep struggling to find it!” Robert Girvan Why did you go to law school? I have heard many answers to this question. My father expected me to follow in his footsteps and...

Lawyers Starting Over

It took a tragic incident one late summer night to change a high-profile Toronto lawyer’s life. Facing charges of criminal negligence causing death and dangerous operation of a vehicle following the death of a bicycle courier with whom he allegedly had an altercation, former Ontario attorney general Michael Bryant now faces a career as uncertain as the fate that awaits him in the justice...

Sick and tired of being a lawyer? There are options

Have you had enough? When you look at the number of hours you work, the financial pressures, clients that are hard to please, workplace conflict, and family and friends asking when they will ever get to see you, do you wonder if this is the life you want? Do you feel the work you are doing is making a difference? Have you considered leaving your practice and doing something that you hope will be...

Time to have some fierce talks?

I read the most amazing book recently: Fierce Conversations —Achieving Success at Work & in Life, One Conversation at a Time, by Susan Scott. Scott bases her work on the premise that conversations are not about the relationship but are the relationship and that our lives succeed or fail one conversation at a time. Since life is a series of relationships with life partners, clients, law...

Battling addiction in the workplace

Have you ever wondered, when a colleague is not performing or is “off ” for a period of time if anything is wrong? Maybe it’s stress, burnout, family problems or it could be the issue of the progression from use to misuse to abuse to dependence on a substance or compulsive behaviour. Without information, we can’t begin to understand what may be happening to someone we work with or care...

Lawyers running from legal profession

Why good lawyers areleaving the legal world There are very good things happening in the legal profession, despite a general sense that I feel sometimes of doom and gloom. A legal education is still a prized asset in the business world and an excellent method of intellectual development. Advances in the protection of civil and human rights are progressing. Legal interpretation and evolution of...

Feeling down? Start with a mission statement

Depression can strike anyone, including lawyers, and the recovery process can be complex. It didn’t happen all at once. It sort of snuck up on me because of my belief and those of the legal profession that I could not have a problem because I solved them. Depression and recovery have become a way of life for me. So it might help you to hear what and how this illness started. I was a contented...

Workaholism

The law is a profession with a culture of hard work with long hours, demanding clients, loads of files, due diligence, trial preparation, and more importantly, unrealistic demands lawyers put on themselves. Some lawyers revel in the hours they log in by bragging, as if it were a badge of honour, about the late nights and the volume of output. Others bemoan the sheer quantity of work that must be...