New Mexico Lawyers and Judges Assistance Program
Confidential Member Services
In addition to 24-hour helplines, the New Mexico Lawyers and Judges Assistance Program (NMJLAP) provides confidential assessments, referrals, peer assistance, consultations, interventions, presentations, and monitoring services.
Substance abuse and mental health assessments are available at no cost for law students and all members of the Bar and Bench. Assessments typically consist of one to two sessions; call 505-797-6003 to schedule.
If an assessment indicates a need for counseling or treatment, NMJLAP will provide
the person with information regarding the most appropriate resource(s). NMJLAP maintains referral resources across the state and country that include private therapists, physicians, and private and state-funded treatment facilities.
NMJLAP volunteers are lawyers and judges committed to providing peer assistance to their colleagues. Most volunteers are individuals who, having received help for their own substance abuse and/or mental health problems, are interested in sharing their experiences with colleagues who face similar challenges.
Our volunteers know how important confidentiality is to a legal professional in crisis and are trained to help in a variety of ways: providing one-to-one peer assistance, participating in interventions, introducing others to local support groups and to other lawyers in recovery, making presentations, etc.
Whether you’re concerned about a colleague, a family member, or yourself, a professional counselor and peer assistants are available to listen, share experiences, and discuss options. Don’t worry if you don’t know what’s causing the problem, or even if you’re unsure whether a problem exists; We will explore options with you and initiate an action plan appropriate to the circumstances and the individual in need. Consultations are available by telephone or in person, and may even be done anonymously.
Policy and Program Consultations
Drug-Free Workplace programs improve productivity, reduce costs, and help protect employers and employees from the potentially devastating consequences of alcohol/other drug abuse. The foundation of a successful program is a written policy that clearly prohibits alcohol and other drug use in the workplace, and encourages employees to voluntarily seek assistance for alcohol/other drug problems. Other program components may include employee education, supervisor training, drug testing, and employee assistance services. For further information,
contact the NMJLAP administrator at 505-797-6003.
Sadly, many individuals don’t seek help for themselves even when they are suffering emotionally and losing control of their lives. Brushing aside concerns or waiting and hoping the person will independently seek help usually guarantees that the problem and its associated consequences will progressively worsen. The earlier an individual receives treatment for a mental health or substance abuse problem, the better their prognosis. Sometimes it takes only a concerned person willing to speak up to break through the inertia or denial of the impaired professional; other situations require a formal intervention involving several concerned persons (colleagues, friends, relatives). In either scenario, NMJLAP is ready to assist.
Reporting Situations Involving Professional Misconduct
Legal professionals are required to inform the appropriate professional authority of violations of the Rules of Professional Conduct when the conduct raises a substantial question as to the individual’s honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness. When substance abuse or mental health is believed to be involved, making a report directly to the NMJLAP may be an appropriate alternative to the Disciplinary Board. Doing so provides an important opportunity for professional assistance that might not otherwise occur, and may avert civil liability for the reporting professional.
NMJLAP staff and peers offer presentations for State Bar associations and sections, private firms, and legal governmental departments on a variety of topics including, stress reduction, substance abuse, and depression. Call NMJLAP at 505-797-6003 for more information.
In situations where a individual’s impairment has resulted in ethical, disciplinary, or
employment problems, NMJLAP can provide a monitoring function to assist the
recovering impaired professional demonstrate to the court or employer that he or she is maintaining recovery appropriately.
NMJLAP sponsors 12-step oriented meetings for lawyers, judges, and law students in Albuquerque. The meetings are held the first Monday* of each month at 5:30 pm and the third Monday of the month at 7:30 am. Both meetings convene at the First United Methodist Church located at the corner of 4th Street and Lead.
*In the case of a holiday, the meeting takes place the second Monday of the month.
NMJLAP is preparing to sponsor a monthly support group for legal professionals dealing with depression, anxiety, or stress. Contact Jill Anne Yeagley at 505-797-6003 for more information.