How We Can Help
The Virginia Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program (VJLAP) provides confidential, non-disciplinary assistance to lawyers, judges, law students, legal professionals, and their family members who are at risk for or may be experiencing impairment as a result of substance use, chronic stress, and/or other mental health conditions.
Our assistance is designed to:
- Prevent disciplinary problems for the professional
- Promote recovery
- Protect the working professional
- Strengthen the profession
- Support their families and professional associates
We also prioritize education and outreach services throughout the Commonwealth’s legal community to ensure we can identify the signs and symptoms of distress and/or impairment in ourselves or our colleagues early; know how to respond/address when concern is elevated; and know how to connect with intervention resources when needed.
We are available for presentations, CLEs, exhibition tables, and networking opportunities, upon request, to educate members and prospective members of the legal profession regarding the impacts of chemical dependency and mental health disorders not only on you but on your loved ones also. Early treatment is key for successful recovery.
Who We Help
As a judge, you experience an immense amount of pressure in court, see trauma almost daily, deal with high-stake issues and work long hours. Many judges experience burnout, depression, compassion fatigue and addiction. You are not alone.
We know you hold a visible, public position and may fear asking for help because of the negative impact it may have on your status and reputation. We promise our services are 100% confidential and non-disciplinary.
Lawyers are twice as likely to develop depression and alcoholism compared to the general population. Practicing law is one of the most emotionally strenuous and challenging jobs you can have.
The pressures of dealing with client problems, looking perfect, competition and putting your boss’ and client’s needs above yours can be debilitating. However, you are not alone, and you don’t have to face these issues alone.
Law school is an experience like none other. As a law student, there are times you may feel extremely overwhelmed. Adjusting to the Socratic Method; managing reading, outlining, and other academic activities; and trying to “squeeze in” wellness-enhancing activities can be exhausting. If this continues, the prolonged stress can turn into burnout, anxiety, depression, anger, addiction or all of the above.
Because of the competitive nature of law school, you may feel like you have no one to talk to or turn to. Many law students have felt the way you do and have turned to drugs and alcohol to cope with deeper mental health problems.
We are here for you, and we can help you.
A family member is typically the first person to notice when their loved one has a problem. It can be devastating to watch your loved one deal with mental health issues and addiction. What’s worse is when these problems start to affect the family as a whole.
We can help break your loved one’s destructive cycle.
We can also help if you are a family member who is suffering second handedly from the extreme pressure your loved one is under.
Other Legal Professionals
We recognize that the occupational risks in and stressors of the legal profession impact all members of the legal community. We work with paralegals, legal assistants, magistrates, clerks, sheriff deputies, and other members of the legal community to mitigate the impact of these risks and bolster resilience and improved well-being.