Lawyer Assistance Program

  • Events
    • What Makes Lawyers Happy

      The Women's Bar Association of Orange & Sullivan Counties, The Orange County Bar Association, The Sullivan County Bar Association 

      and The New York State Bar Association’s Lawyer Assistance Program


      What Makes Lawyers Happy

      2 MCLE CREDITS (1 Ethics Credit & 1 LPM Credit)

      April 28, 2015
      5:30 PM-8:00 PM
      Delancey’s Restaurant
      40 Park Place
      Goshen, NY 10924

      Cost is $30.00. Registration is required. Please email or call Linda McMahon at or 518.487.5686 by April 24th.

      Panel I Speakers:

      Hon. Sallie Krauss (Ret), LAP Outreach Coordinator, Sarah L. Krauss Consulting, LLC
      Patricia Spataro, LAP Director, New York State Bar Association

      Panel II Speakers:

      Sarah Jo Hamilton, Esq., Scalise Hamilton & Sheridan LLP
      Monica A. Duffy, Esq. Chief Attorney, Third Judicial Dept., Committee on Professional Standards
      Michael G. Gaynor, Esq. Deputy Chief Attorney, Third Judicial Dept., Committee on Prof. Standards

      Practicing law can be stressful and lawyers, as a group, are not always a happy bunch. Recent research, based on a survey of New York lawyers and lawyers from several other states, confirms what we suspected… many lawyers are happy. This research has helped to identified a few key elements of happy lawyering. These aspects of happy lawyering will be discussed by the panelists as well as the signs and symptoms of mental health problems and addiction that can jeopardize health, happiness and the ability to competently practice law.


      5:30 - 6:00 p.m.    Dinner

      6:00 – 6:10 p.m.   Overview of the Lawyer Assistance Program

      6:10 – 7:00 p.m.   PANEL I: The three key elements that can influence our happiness and how to cultivate them into your professional life. Stress and mental health can cause or exacerbate mental health problems.

      7:00 – 7:50 p.m.   PANEL II: Ethical Considerations… happy, healthy attorneys are more likely to be competent. Impairments due to addiction and mental health problems can place clients at risk of harm and your license in jeopardy.

  • Help Available


    or (confidential e-mail) 

    Patricia Spataro, LAP Director    
    Henry Kruman, LAC Chair


    The New York State Bar Association Lawyer Assistance Program (LAP) provides education and confidential assistance to lawyers, judges, law school students, and immediate family members who are affected by the problem of substance abuse, stress, depression or other mental health issues.  Its goal is to assist in the prevention, early identification and intervention of problems that can affect professional conduct and quality of life.


    All LAP services are confidential and protected under  Section 499 of the Judiciary Law as amended by Chapter 327 of the Laws of 1993.

    LAP SERVICES are confidential, voluntary, free and include:  

    • Early identification of impairment;
    • intervention and motivation of impaired attorneys to seek help;
    • assessment, evaluation and development of an appropriate treatment plan;
    • referral of impaired attorneys to community resources, self-help groups, outpatient counseling, detoxification and rehabilitation services;
    • information and referral for depression;
    • and training programs on alcoholism, drug abuse and stress management.

    NYSBA Lawyer Assistance Resources Available Online! 

    Click here to view the eLAP Website 


    Kenneth E. Ackerman, Esq. of Syracuse is the recipient of the 2014 Franklin P. Gavin Memorial Award, presented by NYSBA’s Lawyer Assistance Committee.

    The annual award recognizes an individual who has contributed to assisting lawyers in recovery.  Ackerman was recognized for his leadership, support and outstanding contributions to lawyer assistance efforts.

    He is past-chair of the NYSBA Lawyer Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Committee (currently the Lawyer Assistance Committee) and also served on the Lawyer Assistance Trust Board of Trustees.  

    2013 LAP Annual Report

    View 2013 LAP Annual Report (PDF)  


    On April 10, 2010 the New York State Bar Association's  House of Delegates and Executive Committee approved a Model Policy to assist bar associations, law firms and other legal departments in addressing impairment issues. 

    LAC Model Policy
    NYSBA Resolution   

  • Committees
    Lawyer Assistance Committee
    The Lawyer Assistance Committee (LAC) is charged with the duty, in collaboration with the New York Bar Association Lawyer Assistance Program (LAP), of assisting attorneys, judges and law students dealing with alcoholism or substance abuse and other addictive disorders.

    Judicial Wellness Committee
    The Judicial Wellness Committee seeks to foster a sense of community and care among the New York State Judiciary and to provide confidential assistance to impaired judges.
  • Resources