Staying Mentally Safe, Sound, and Sober During COVID-19

Level: Advanced
Runtime: 62 minutes
Recorded Date: April 06, 2020
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• The Problem: Anxiety
        - Affects of Anxiety on Legal Profession
        - Strategies to Address COVID-19 Anxiety
• The Problem: Maintaining Your Recovery During COVID-19
        - Active Substance Use Disorders and the Pandemic
        - Mediation and Mindfulness
        - Well-Being Strategies During the Pandemic
        - The Collateral Impact of the Pandemic
• The Problem: Well-Being Strategies
        - Connect and Debrief
        - The Power of Helping Others
        - Technology Usage

Runtime: 1 hour, 2 minutes
Recorded: April 6, 2020


Join our panel of speakers as they provide information on how to identify the signs and symptoms of behavioral health disorders that may be exacerbated by emergencies like that of COVID-19, including depression, anxiety and substance use disorders. They also discuss strategies for preventing the onset of - or coping with - these conditions and the available resources for treatment. And, they set out the manner in which these disorders and a general reduction in the ability to cope with current stressors can impact a lawyer's duty of competence and other ethical responsibilities owed to clients.

This program was recorded on April 6th, 2020.

Provided By

American Bar Association


Tish Vincent

Chair, ABA Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs
American Bar Association

Tish Vincent is the Chair of the ABA Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs. She retired from serving eight years and four months as the Program Director of the Lawyers & Judges Assistance Program at the State Bar of Michigan on July 24, 2020. She is licensed to practice law and social work in the State of Michigan and holds her Certified Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor certification. Ms. Vincent is a co-host of the State Bar of Michigan On Balance podcast produced by Legal Talk Network. She presents frequently on issues of wellness, stress management, and risks attorneys and judges face when their own wellness is neglected.

She is credentialed by the American Social Work Board to present continuing education in Social Work. She presents for the Michigan State University School of Social Work, Community Mental Health, and to other social service agencies on Ethics, Treatment of Co-Occurring Disorders, Diagnosis, Referral and Treatment of Substance Use Disorders, Monitoring Programs and other topics.

She is a licensed attorney and a licensed Clinical Social Worker in the State of Michigan. She earned her JD from the Michigan State University College of Law and her MSW from the Michigan State University College of Social Work.

Laurie J. Besden

Executive Director
Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers of Pennsylvania, Inc.

Laurie Besden is the Executive Director of Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers of Pennsylvania, Inc. (“LCL”). Since 2011, she has served as LCL’s Deputy Executive Director overseeing LCL’s Helpline operations and serving as the primary contact for intervention requests, expanding LCL’s law school outreach, and increasing LCL’s presence within the organized Bench and Bar. As the newly appointed Executive Director, Ms. Besden is now responsible for LCL’s administrative and financial operations as well as Judges Concerned for Judges (judges’ assistance program).

She received her B.A. in Criminology and Criminal Justice from the University of Maryland, College Park, MD (1995) and her J.D. from The Dickinson School of Law of the Pennsylvania State University (1999).

Ms. Besden was the 2015 recipient of the Montgomery Bar Association’s Henry Stuckert Miller Award for her dedication to public service in the legal profession.

Chris Ritter

Texas Lawyers Assistance Program

Chris Ritter graduated magna cum laude from Baylor Universityin 1994 with a B.A. Political Science and Philosophy. After law school at the University of Texas School of Law (J.D., 1998), hewas a trial lawyer in West Texas for over 15 years until he joined TLAP in 2014.

Most recently, Chris obtained a master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Lamar University (M.Ed., 2018). He has been recognized by his peers for his legal accomplishments, including being named a Texas Monthly Super Lawyers’ Rising Star three times.

During his career, his law practice has included being a solo practitioner, an Assistant Criminal District Attorney, and a partner in prominent law firms. In his work at TLAP and in pursuit of his master’s degree, he has gained significant knowledge and experience pertaining to mental health and substance use disorders and their treatment.

Bree Buchanan

Senior Advisor
KRILL Strategies

Bree Buchanan draws upon her extensive professional knowledge and experience to help legal employers excel in creating a culture of well-being. She is the founding co-chair of the National Task Force on Lawyer Well-Being and is a co-author of its groundbreaking 2017 report, The Path to Lawyer Well-Being: Practical Recommendations for Positive Change. Bree is chair of the ABA Commission on Lawyers Assistance Programs (2017-2020), which works to ensure assistance is readily available for those in the legal community experiencing issues related to substance use or mental health issues.

Prior to joining Krill Strategies, she was the Director of the Texas Lawyers Assistance Program, where she regularly worked with individual lawyers experiencing behavioral health issues, and with legal employers who were seeking resources and support for their staff. Her tenure with that program followed a two-decade legal career which included positions as a litigator, lobbyist and law professor. As Senior Advisor with Krill Strategies, Bree provides consultation on issues related to lawyer well-being and impairment for major legal employers.

Ms. Buchanan is a frequent speaker for international and national law-related organizations, as well as global law firms on strategies for lawyer well-being and impairment. In 2018, she was awarded the “Excellence in Legal Community Leadership Award” by Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation. She has shared her own story of recovery as a featured guest on podcasts in the United States and Canada. Ms. Buchanan’s writing has appeared in Law Practice Today, Judicature, The American Lawyer, and Family Lawyer Magazine, as well as Lawyer Health and Wellbeing: How the Legal Profession is Tackling Stress and Creating Resiliency (Ark Group, 2020).

In 2018, she graduated from the Seminary of the Southwest with a Masters in Spiritual Formation, where she honed a deep interest in the intrinsic link between meaningful work and personal well-being, as well as in assisting individuals with vocational discernment. Ms. Buchanan tends to her own well-being by engaging in a regular meditation practice, cycling, rowing, and being willing to ask for help when she needs it.

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