Lawyers’ Assistance Program
What LAP Can Do For You
LAP, Inc.--How it Works As A Practical Matter
A Louisiana attorney who has run afoul of the attorney disciplinary system in this State or who is having other difficulties related to the disease of alcoholism can be referred to the Lawyer's Assistance Program (LAP, Inc.). If the practitioner is willing to abide by the instructions received from LAP, Inc., then the wealth of recovery resources possessed by LAP, Inc. can be made available to assist the attorney. In order to participate, the attorney-in-trouble must agree to the following:
- First, he must make an honest and sincere admission that the disease of alcoholism has rendered him powerless and his life unmanageable.
- Then, the attorney-in-trouble must agree to become actively involved in a recovery process. If the members of LAP, Inc. think that inpatient rehabilitation and treatment is warranted, the attorney-in-trouble must avail himself of it. If the LAP, Inc. personnel feel as though the attorney-in-trouble must attend regular Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous or other similar 12-step programs, the attorney-in-trouble must do it.
- The attorney-in-trouble must agree to random drug screens and urinalysis, if the LAP, Inc. team assigned to him warrants its necessity.
- The attorney-in-trouble must sign a RECOVERY AGREEMENT with LAP, Inc. which spells out all of the reciprocal rights, duties and obligations between LAP, Inc. and the attorney-in-trouble.
- The attorney-in-trouble must agree to answer to a "Bar Monitor" assigned to him by LAP and must agree to interact on a regular basis with a "sponsor" assigned to him by the Bar Monitor.
- The attorney-in-trouble must also pay a reasonable monitoring fee which is neither excessive nor onerous. The current typical fee is approximately $50.00 per month, however this low figure may rise in the immediate future. In addition, the attorney-in-trouble is responsible for costs of all urinalysis or drug tests or other monitoring features or requirements which are fee based.
If the attorney-in-trouble scrupulously and sincerely abides by the terms of the RECOVERY AGREEMENT and by any other requests received from the personnel affiliated with LAP who are assigned to his case, then - in that event - the Executive Director of the Lawyer's Assistance Program and the Bar Monitor and the sponsor can - if need be - appear before any disciplinary tribunals investigating the attorney-in-trouble so as to provide information about the attorney's recovery and to venture an opinion regarding the unlikelihood of recidivism regarding whatever act or occurrence may have led the attorney-in-trouble to appear in the sights of Disciplinary Counsel.
In making this assertion, though, two points must remain paramount:
First, LAP, Inc. has no power to sway or alter the disciplinary process in any manner, shape or form. However, the past success rate of LAP, Inc. with attorneys-in-trouble has made both Disciplinary Counsel and the various disciplinary boards very respectful of the opinions provided by LAP's Executive Director and other affiliated professionals. So, while LAP can certainly guarantee no amelioration of either prosecution or discipline, the opinions delivered to tribunals by parties affiliated with LAP, Inc. are taken to heart. As a result, the practical effect on many occasions is the prevention of circumstances which might lead to disbarment or indefinite suspensions.
Secondly, all of the information secured by LAP, Inc. during the monitoring process of the attorney-in-trouble in absolutely confidential. It cannot and will not be revealed to anyone without the express permission of the attorney-in-trouble, himself. THE ONLY INDIVIDUAL WHO CAN AUTHORIZE THE RELEASE OF ANY INFORMATION DEEMED CONFIDENTIAL BY EITHER THE SUPREME COURT OR BY LSA-R.S. 37:221 IS THE ATTORNEY-IN-TROUBLE, HIMSELF. NO ONE ELSE.