Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers was founded in 1976 by 14 lawyers, all recovering alcoholics, “to confidentially aid and assist chemically addicted lawyers and judges in the state of Minnesota”. LCL is the oldest continuing program of its type in the nation although nearly every state and Canadian province now has a similar organization. For the first few years, LCL volunteers and staff were mainly concerned with helping lawyers and judges with alcohol and drug issues, providing support, counsel and often assisting with interventions.

With a growing awareness of the magnitude of depression in the profession, the MSBA in 1999 established a task force, which included members of LCL, to study the incidence of lawyer depression and other mental illnesses. The study resulted in the unanimous adoption of a proposal to the Minnesota Supreme Court to establish a lawyer funded Lawyers Assistance Program (LAP). The order establishing the LAP was issued in 2000 to provide services to lawyers, judges and law students.

LCL was awarded the contract to provide the LAP services. Since depression, other mental illnesses and substance misuse are commonly co-existing conditions, LCL is uniquely positioned to be of great value in providing help and hope to members of our profession, their families, colleagues and law firms. We do this through our committed professional staff and many volunteers.

From the beginning, LCL has held to the strict policy of confidentiality. We do not report to any disciplinary, ethics or licensing committees of the bar. It is our longstanding firm belief that we can only be of help to our colleagues who still suffer if they can reach out for help without fear that by doing so, they might harm their reputations or livelihood.

A particular strength of LCL is the many committed lawyer volunteers who are eager to share their experience, strength and hope with other lawyers, judges and law students that they may recover from mental health and addiction issues that are interfering with their lives and livelihood. In this way, we also serve the interests of the bar at large.