Letter from the President
Originally published in the September 2018 issue of COMMUNIQUÉ, the official publication of the Clark County Bar Association:
Concerns for the Mental Health of Attorneys
By John P. Aldrich, Esq.
This month’s issue of Communiqué addresses several important topics, including an article to address substance abuse and addiction among lawyers. In recent years, state bars and other organizations have increased their emphasis on wellness for lawyers. This is a welcome paradigm shift for many.
Another area that needs attention is the mental health of attorneys, particularly as it relates to suicide. Earlier this year, an attorney I knew well, and with whom I had tried a case, took his own life. I had little interaction with him in the year before his death, and I am sad to say that I was unaware of the problems he was suffering. I cannot help but wonder if I could have helped him if I had known.
Many of us make our living litigating cases before various courts. Litigation can be contentious, and it is probably rare that an attorney with whom or against whom we are litigating would divulge a mental health issue. One might fear doing so would make one look weak, or it might result in a competitive disadvantage. Certainly, an attorney might fear loss of clients if a mental health issue was divulged. But there is help. If anyone reading this is contemplating suicide, or if you know someone who is, please know that help is available. The Nevada Lawyer Assistance Program (“NLAP”) is funded by the State Bar of Nevada, but is independent of the State Bar. NLAP can help you. NLAP will provide an assessment at no charge to you, will make recommendations for treatment, and will assist with continued support. For more information, go to https://www.nvbar.org/member-services-3895/nlap/. Just one suicide is one too many.
“Good Lawyer Doing Good”
This month’s Good Lawyer Doing Good is Dan Waite of Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie. I have known Dan for many years, and he has always exemplified the good work lawyers do in the community. Dan is a past recipient of the Pro Bono Attorney of the Year Award (2009) and the Vince A. Consul Memorial Pro Bono Award (2013). He has served as a panel chair for the State Bar Fee Dispute Committee and is a long-time member of the Southern Nevada Disciplinary Panel, frequently serving as a chair of a panel and a mediator. Dan also plays trombone and tuba in two local orchestras, and until recently was an executive member of the Las Vegas Philharmonic. Without a doubt, the Southern Nevada legal community, and the community as a whole, is a better place because of the great work that Dan does.
Note: This page is updated with the release of each edition of the printed bar journal, COMMUNIQUÉ.