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Lawyer Assistance Program
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Lawyer Assistance Program

The North Dakota Lawyer Assistance Program (“LAP”) was created in 2004, pursuant to ND Supreme Court Administrative Rule 49. The program’s purpose is “to prevent and alleviate problems that adversely affect a lawyer’s performance.”

LAP is operated by a six-member Lawyer Assistance Committee (“the Committee”). Members serve three-year terms, and are appointed by the State Bar Board of Governors and the Chief Justice. ”

Confidentiality is the hallmark of the program - information, including communications with committee members, the affected lawyer, program staff and treatment professionals may not be disclosed without consent of the lawyer, except when disclosure is necessary to prevent the commission of an act likely to result in imminent bodily harm.


Who should participate in LAP?

Lawyers struggling with alcohol or drug abuse, stress, depression, or practice management.


Signs of Lawyer Impairment:

Attendance

  • Often Late or Leaving Early
  • Long Lunches or not returning after lunch
  • Missing appointments or schedules appearances

 Performance

  • Missed Deadlines
  • Deceased Efficiency
  • Poor Judgment
  • Inability to concentrate

Attitude and Behavior

  • Deterioration of personal appearance
  • Withdrawal or avoidance of others
  • Irritability, angry outbursts, hostile attitude, or mood swings

How Lawyer Assistance Works

The Lawyer Assistance Program (LAP) works on a referral basis, with referrals from: District Inquiry Committees, Disciplinary Board, the ND Supreme Court, or concerned colleagues. The State Board of Law Examiners can refer applicants or a lawyer may self-refer.

When a referral is received, a Committee member meets with the lawyer to conduct an intake evaluation and screening to determine whether LAP participation is appropriate under the circumstances. The Committee meets monthly and reviews intake evaluations.

If accepted, an individualized assistance plan (IAP) is developed for the lawyer to address the particular issues of concern and a peer assistance mentor is assigned. The lawyer must commit to all IAP requirements. The Committee monitors the lawyer’s progress and compliance through contact with the mentor and/or participant on a schedule established in the IAP.

After the lawyer completes all requirements of the IAP, the Committee issues a report of compliance and the file is closed.

For more information about the Lawyer Assistance Program, email the LAP Committee at NorthDakotaLAP@gmail.com or contact the State Bar Association at 701.255.1404.


Fill out the LAP Referral Form
Download the LAP Brochure
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