A Place for Lawyers to Turn: You Are Not Alone
Lawyers assistance programs exist across the country and Wyoming is no exception. The Wyoming Lawyer Assistance Program (WyLAP) has existed for five years. It has an advisory committee, a director and a team of volunteer lawyers. It is governed by its own set of Supreme Court rules (Rules for the Wyoming Lawyer Assistance Program) and is supported by the WyLAP Foundation. WyLAP helps dozens of lawyers every year with issues ranging from substance abuse and alcohol dependence to depression, stress management, and anxiety.
WyLAP began at a time when the Bar Member Survey showed a remarkable percentage of Wyoming attorneys struggling with work-related stress, including reports that work-related stress was affecting their family and personal lives. Similar statistics continue to pervade the practice of law nationwide and in Wyoming. The 2019 Bar Member Survey reported high stress and work-life balance as two of the three most significant challenges faced by Wyoming lawyers. In honor of WyLAP's many years of success—and in recognition that attorneys in our profession will continue to need support—this month's column describes what it is actually like to call WyLAP and what happens after the call.
What Is It Like?
The process of calling is simple. Dial the number and after a ring or two, the phone is answered with a friendly human voice on the other end of the line saying "Hello, this is Jack Speight."That's right. A real person answers, not an answering service or a call center in some remote location. A real Wyoming lawyer answers the phone, and as a Wyoming litigator with decades of experience, he has been through the tribulations of practice. Jack Speight has been the Director of WyLAP since its inception. He carries the phone with him at all times.
WyLAP receives calls from three types of people: judges, concerned colleagues, and lawyers in need of some help. The majority of calls over the years have been received from judges who have noticed an attorney struggling.
Surprisingly, the least number of...