Confidential Assistance for West Virginia Judges
Like all members of the legal profession, Judges sometimes face problems—physical illness, aging, stress, depression, trauma, work/life balance, substance abuse, codependent and/or compulsive behaviors.
Unfortunately as a Judge, the problems you face are more likely to go unaddressed because of the very nature of your role in the legal profession and the community at large:
- Because of your unique position, it is easy to find yourself working in isolation.
- You may be hesitant to talk with friends or colleagues about your concerns.
- You may be reluctant to ask for help out of fear or embarrassment—even hopelessness.
- You may be concerned that discussing your problems will negatively impact your status and reputation.
Contact WVJLAP and utilize the confidential support of WVJLAP’s Staff and Volunteer Judicial Assistance Group (JAG), who understand the issues themselves and are genuinely concerned about helping their colleagues.
With WVJLAP, never again will a judge have to say there was nowhere to turn for help!
National Helpline for Judges Helping Judges
Judges who need assistance because of alcohol, addiction, physical or mental/emotional health issues may reach out to other Judges, who have experienced and overcome similar problems, who have gone through treatment or who are in recovery themselves, by calling a helpline sponsored by the American Bar Association’s Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs.
Judges who have volunteered to be a personal resource to other Judges throughout the US and Canada are uniquely positioned to share their experience, strength and hope. Both Judges in need of help and those interested in serving as a peer-to-peer volunteer should call 800-219-6474 or you may contact WVJLAP directly at (304) 553-7232.
Concerned About a Judicial Colleague?
WVJLAP can help you help them.
On the bench and in your community, you are often in the best position to see problems of impairment in your colleagues and a diminishing capacity to practice or serve. Lawyers themselves are often reluctant to verbalize concerns or initiate judicial interventions for fear of retaliation by the Judge or the alienation of other Judges.
You can help by contacting WVJLAP and utilizing the support of WVJLAP’s Staff and Volunteer Judicial Assistance Group (JAG) who understand the issues themselves and are genuinely concerned about helping their colleagues.
The assistance process is always conducted with confidentiality, respect and concern.
Helping a colleague in need is the honorable thing to do!
Has an Impaired Lawyer Appeared Before You?
You’re in a position to help.
As a Judge, you are in a unique position to recognize impairments in the lawyers who appear before you. Consulting with WVJLAP Staff and other peer volunteer Judges about the behavior of an attorney can help identify someone who needs help. Most warning signs, such as changes in personality, appearance and job performance, are key indicators that something is wrong; and more often than not an individual does not know where to turn for help or that confidential assistance is available.
A perceptive, understanding, but assertive Judge can cut through the fear, denial, enabling, avoidance and indifference and reach out to the impaired attorney as no one else can, and WVJLAP Staff is available to assist you in facilitating an intervention when you have a concern about an attorney.
WVJLAP has a network of judicial and attorney peer volunteers ready to offer peer support and guidance. The program volunteers, combined with a professional WVJLAP staff, will offer a prompt response to help confront potential problems.
WVJLAP Needs Your Help
You play a critical role in WVJLAP services.
You can play a critical role as a trained WVJLAP peer volunteer, since you understand the day to day stressors of the job, the legal system, and the culture of being a judge or lawyer. WVJLAP is always in need of more peer volunteers in all regions of the state. There is no requirement that a peer volunteer be in some form of recovery themselves, though many do have personal experience. All that is required is that you care about your peers, partners, colleagues, profession and want to help.
Helping members of the legal community as a WVJLAP peer volunteer can be both meaningful and personally rewarding. If you are interested in becoming a peer volunteer, PLEASE contact WVJLAP for more information about the next peer volunteer recruitment and CLE training event.