Delco re:View Fall 2018 - 32

www.DelcoBar.org

The Path to Recovery

How LCL Saves Lives
B

rian S. Quinn, Esquire, first
became a member of the Delaware
County Bar Association shortly
after his admission to the Bar in 1973.
On October 11, 2018, Brian presented one
compelling and riveting CLE presentation
to our Bar!
Entitled The Impaired Lawyer -
A Call for Action, Brian used his current
role as the Education and Outreach
Coordinator for Lawyers Concerned
for Lawyers of Pennsylvania (LCL) to
chronicle not only the startling increase
in alcoholism, drug addiction and mental
health issues within the legal profession,
but did so through his own story of
professional success and prominence that
was progressively destroyed by the grip of
alcohol and drug addiction.
As an audience of his fellow Delaware
County lawyers listened in nearly pindropping silence, Quinn led them through
a life and thirty-five-year career that
was littered with failed marriages, arrests and incarceration, and
professional discipline that resulted in a five year suspension of
his law license.
In equally compelling fashion, however, Brian also spoke of
the restoration of his law license, his relationship with his family
and, more importantly, his life.
"LCL saves lives," Quinn stated, "and I am not trying to be
dramatic. I know, because LCL saved my life. I finally said 'yes'
in 2008, when a fellow Delaware County lawyer asked me if I
was willing to accept help and he called LCL. Until that moment
I had never heard of LCL."
The statistics that were outlined in Quinn's presentation
were equally compelling. Patrick Krill, an attorney as well as a
certified drug and alcohol counselor, was the lead researcher for
the 2016 report from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation and
the American Bar Association, which analyzed the responses of
12,825 licensed, practicing attorneys across 19 states, including
Pennsylvania. The results that were uncovered were, in Krill's
words, "incompatible with a sustainable professional culture."
The findings revealed that 21% of all licensed attorneys suffer
from problematic drinking and 28% suffer from depression.

32 | Fall 2018

As Brian explained with his own story,
when lawyers are faced with emotional
issues they tend to judge themselves
harshly simply for feeling that way. And
when they fail to address stress, anxiety,
depression and other personal issues,
it usually gets worse and can lead to
addiction or a breakdown and, thus, the
impaired lawyer.
"The stigma attached to addiction and
mental illness in our society as a whole
is disproportionately magnified in the
legal profession. Instead of admitting that
we have a problem and asking for help,
we are often overcome with the shame
and embarrassment of being labeled an
alcoholic, drug addict, depressed, bi-polar,
etc., which is then reinforced by the fear
of how public disclosure may harm our
reputations and careers or embarrass our
colleagues in the bar and on the bench."
Since 1988, Lawyers Concerned for
Lawyers of Pennsylvania has provided
free, safe, confidential and supportive services to Pennsylvania
lawyers and judges, members of their families, and law students
in the form of a 24-hour, confidential Helpline and peer assistance
program. LCL services include an evaluation with a health
care professional, free literature and resources, intervention
services, as well as peer support and assistance with treatment
obstacles. Most importantly, Lawyers Assistance Programs like
LCL offer encouragement and support in a safe, nonjudgmental
environment.
Although light heartedly referring to his program as a modernday version of "the prodigal son returns," Brian moved some of
his colleagues to tears with his heartfelt conclusion:
"I have used my personal story to describe for you what
impairment looks like. I have also used my personal story to
describe for you what denial looks like, what hopelessness looks
like. But most importantly, I have used my personal story to show
you what recovery looks like. Lawyers have a great impact on all
aspects of society. Just imagine what impact the impaired lawyer
has on society as well. It is up to us to ask the question that can
change a life - and to make the call that may save one."
- Brian S. Quinn, Esquire *


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Delco re:View Fall 2018

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