Vermont Bar Journal
Spring 2008 - #1.
We Need Your Help!
THE VERMONT BAR JOURNAL #173, Volume 34, No. 4 SPRING 2008
We Need Your Help!by S. Stacy Chapman, III, Esq.
We are on the verge of losing what many thought would be a valuable service to members of the Vermont Bar Association. Invest EAP is an Employee Assistance Program that became available to bar association members and their families approximately eighteen months ago, at the conclusion of the presidency of Jim Gallagher. At its inception, this program was intended to supplement a separate service called Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers that has been in existence for quite a number of years under the "guiding hand" of John Webber. Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers operates "under the radar" and is a confidential service that helps lawyers who may be troubled in areas such as substance abuse or stress, whether it be personally or professionally. Invest EAP is intended to provide lawyers with the opportunity to obtain professional assistance when such services are necessary. Access to the Invest EAP program is available through an 800 number, which is printed on your VBA membership card. Trained professionals will answer an initial contact and "hook up" an attorney or family member with the appropriate professional, whether it be a doctor, counselor, hospital, or other facility specializing in the issues for which help is needed.
Over the past eighteen months, the Invest EAP Program has had very little utilization by VBA members. The service was instituted on a two-year trial basis and the Board of Bar Managers will be considering whether to renew or extend the Invest EAP Contract. Does the lack of utilization of Invest EAP indicate that Vermont lawyers are free from stress and without the need for an occasional "ear" of a medical or other trained professional? I doubt it. In speaking with colleagues on a daily basis and at bar association functions, it is clear that the practice of law is increasingly stressful and the problems that face lawyers both personally and professionally do not easily go away.
As leaders of the association, the Board of Managers has attempted to be responsive to the needs of the membership and to provide useful resources in the various aspects of the practice of law. We want to make sure, however, that...