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69 U. Pitt. L. Rev. 531 (2007-2008)
Law Students and Lawyers with Mental Health and Substance Abuse Problems: Protecting the Public and the Individual

handle is hein.journals/upitt69 and id is 539 raw text is: LAW STUDENTS AND LAWYERS WITH MENTAL HEALTH AND
This Article is dedicated to the memory of Stanley Herr and his unrelenting work on
this issue.
Laura Rothstein*
The practice of law is a high-prestige, high-income, high-skill, and high-
stress profession. Lawyers provide important professional services to
members of the public-services that can affect life and death and important
matters in the lives of others. Whether because of the personalities of those
who choose to enter the legal profession, professional pressures, or a
combination thereof, there are significant concerns within the legal profession
about the impact of stress on mental health and about substance abuse
*    Professor and Distinguished University Scholar; University of Louisville Louis D. Brandeis
School of Law. B.A., University of Kansas; J.D. Georgetown University.
This Article grew from my involvement with two separate projects, which have related goals. I am
a member of the Milbank Fund Physician Depression and Suicide Prevention Project (2004-present), which
focuses attention on why there is such a high incidence of physician suicide and what might be done about
it. See Herbert Hendin et al., Licensing and Physician Mental Health: Problems and Possibilities, 93 J.
MED. LICENSURE & DISCIPLINE 6 (2007) [hereinafter Hendin et al., Licensing and Physician Mental
Health]. Before that project, I was a member of a workgroup of the American Bar Association Commission
on Lawyer Assistance Programs (CoLAP), which focused on constructive ways to provide support to
lawyers suffering from alcohol and substance dependency. The involvement in both projects is a result of
my work on disability discrimination generally, with focused work on issues relating to higher education
and professional licensing.
The Article was the basis for remarks made at the September 7-8, 2007, Emory Conference on Ethics
and Professionalism on Lawyers and Disability. At that conference, many of the speakers helped focus
some of the discussion in this Article. In particular, I am indebted to Sam Bagenstos, Susan Daicoff,
Wendy Hensel, John Jacobi, Michael Perlin, Kelly Timmons, and Michael Waterstone (whose remarks
addressed related issues), and my co-panelists Kertia Black, Richard Limoges, and James Thompson (who
joined with me in a roundtable comparing the law and medical professions).
Appreciation is also expressed to my colleague, Professor Linda Ewald, who provided information
about lawyer discipline and the relationship to mental health and substance abuse, and who was a sounding
board for discussing issues raised in the Article. In addition, Robert Sabalis, Associate Vice President,
Student Affairs and Programs, Association of American Medical Colleges, was very generous in discussing

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