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August 2003 Archives

August 3, 2003

Volume 16 No. 6 Aug/Sept 2003

* President's Message: New Bar Programs on the Horizon
* That Frayed Rope
* Views from the Bench: We Are All In This Together
* Darkest Before Dawn
* Relapse Prevention
* My Mother, My Father, and Me - A Story About a Childhood and the Effects of Suicide and Substance Abuse
* Effective Stress Management
* Lower Your Stress with these Law Management Tips
* Bottom of the Totem-Pole Blues
* The History and Purpose of Lawyers Helping Lawyers

At Your Side Bar

I know a great number of attorneys. I currently work in a large law office and have worked in several others over the years. However, I am not an attorney, but I am married to one. I also know and have spoken with many of your spouses and partners. Yes, we stand at our own sidebars comparing notes. Nonetheless, we continue to be amazed with the schedules you keep.

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Bottom of the Totem-Pole Blues

We all know that being a lawyer can be taxing, but demands on new lawyers are particularly unique. Oftentimes new lawyers have stout billable hour requirements that are the gauge for survival at a firm, without the leniency extended to more experienced lawyers. More experienced lawyers often feel that newer lawyers must "pay their dues" and therefore do little to make the firm culture any less painful for the new associate than when they were in that role. New lawyers are often quoted statistics about how bar complaints and disciplinary actions are more common against them. Finally, firms usually have some conversation with the new associate that assures the associate understands how expensive new lawyers are and that the firm will experience a bleed for several years because the firm is hiring this young lawyer.

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Darkest Before the Dawn

My name is Kent S. and I am a recovering alcoholic and drug addict. I am sober today through the grace of God and the fellowship of Alcoholic's Anonymous. I am also a husband (married thirty-four years), father of five children, and an active member of the LDS faith. I have been a member of the Utah State Bar for thirty years, which involved one year of suspension. I have been a member of Alcoholics Anonymous - one day at a time - for seventeen years.

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Discipline Corner

On June 23, 2003, Michael R. Loveridge was publicly reprimanded by the Chair of the Ethics and Discipline Committee of the Utah Supreme Court for violation of Rules 1.3 (Diligence), 1.4(b) (Communication), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.

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Effective Stress Management

Perhaps anger and fear are practical jokes that Mother Nature has played on us. After all, throughout most of our history as a species, the three stress responses (fight, flight, and freeze) could handle most problems. Hit it with a club, run, or play dead. Our ancestors who mastered those three instincts survived, and we carry the genes of their success.

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Letters to the Editor

Manny Garcia's Accidental Soldier: Memoirs of a Mestizo in Vietnam (reviewed by Betsy Ross in your June/July 2003 issue) is an extraordinary book. I, too, fought in combat in Vietnam and helped kill dozens of people. A third of a century later, I am still haunted by that experience. We commit young men and women to death in battle without disclosing the cost-benefit calculus of sacrifice. Each soldier who dies - friend and foe alike - is a child, sibling, cousin, spouse, or parent whose death will devastate scores of others, now and for generations. And those who kill struggle to survive the enormity of their acts. In just the first five years after the end of the war, more than 58,000 Vietnam veterans committed suicide - more than the soldiers killed in combat. As Garcia says, "Some men know numbers. Others know words. But none knows more than a man who knows war." What Manny experienced is unthinkable; what he knows unbearable. His book is a gift of truth and great courage.

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Lower Your Stress with these Law Management Tips

In addition to the stress of getting clients' legal work done, many lawyers have the added stress of running a business. This article gives a few quick tips to help you reduce that stress.

Financial Management
1. Get a Retainer
- A retainer is your way of doing a credit check of a potential client. It measures both the willingness and ability to pay you for your services.

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My Mother, My Father, and Me - A Story About a Childhood and the Effects of Suicide and Substance Abuse

She did it. She actually did it. She'd been talking about it for years, but she actually drank a whole bottle of Benadryl, then a bottle of muscle relaxers, and convulsed to death in her car on a lonely road off a deserted highway.


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New Bar Programs on the Horizon

In keeping with the theme of this special edition of the Bar Journal, I want to highlight the Bar Commission's important decision to grant $120,000 from unreserved surplus funds to Lawyers Helping Lawyers. Also on the horizon are CaseMaker and the Fall Forum - two new programs that will benefit all members, and in particular the thirty-five percent of us who are solo and small firm practitioners.

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Personal Resiliency: Your Key to a Successful Relationship

Research into successful relationships found that people with the happiest relationships did not (to the surprise of the researchers) necessarily fight less. In the successful relationships was at least one partner who knew how to self sooth when discussions got too intense.

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Relapse Prevention

"To cease smoking is the easiest thing I ever did. I ought to know because I've done it a thousand times."1

Anyone who has ever tried to quit smoking (drinking, using drugs, over-eating, etc.) understands Mark Twain's humorous comment. It is difficult to change behavior, particularly addictive behaviors. Once changed, it can be even more difficult to maintain the change, especially abstinence from substances.

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State Bar News

Commission Highlights

During its regularly scheduled meeting of June 6, 2003, which was held in Park City, Utah, the Board of Bar Commissioners received the following reports and took the actions indicated.

1. John Adams introduced the new Commissioners-elect: Yvette Diaz (Third Division), Nate Alder (Third Division), and Rob Jeffs (Fourth Division). He welcomed these individuals who will be sworn in at the July Commission Meeting.

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That Frayed Rope

The superhero precariously hangs at the end of his rope. "Oh!!! No!!!" we all gasp.

The tension builds. Surely, it's over for the superhero and maybe even for justice itself. Time is quickly running out.

If you listen carefully enough you can hear the tick, tock, tick, tock of the clock. The striking of the clock intensifies as the frayed rope slowly unravels and begins to break, first one strand, then the next. Tick, tock, tick, tock. The tension mounts as another strand gives way.

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The History and Purpose of Lawyers Helping Lawyers

In 1988 the Board of Governors of the American Bar Association ("ABA") created the Commission on Impaired Attorneys to assist lawyers and judges whose lives and practices were impacted negatively by the abuse of alcohol and/or drugs. In 1996 that name was changed to the Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs ("CoLAP") to both remove the stigma implied in the earlier name and to indicate the expanded role of the program to include lawyers and judges suffering from stress, depression and other mental health problems. (Statistical information supporting the ABA's decision to announce this program is contained in an article on page 8 in this volume of the Utah Bar Journal.)

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We Are All In This Together

Someone I care about has recently admitted to a long-standing addiction that threatens to ruin a marriage "made in heaven," an extraordinary career, and, indeed, not just a life, but many lives. This person, like many lawyers, has always enjoyed a reputation for competence, skill, and personal strength: someone who "has it all together." By acknowledging addiction and seeking therapy, this person is facing loss of all the carefully constructed ways in which the addiction has allowed pain to be suppressed, self-doubt and anxiety to be held at bay, and a fundamental sense of inner emptiness to be assuaged, albeit temporarily and at great and constant risk. There are no guarantees this person will get well, but there is, for the first time in years, some hope. And the alternatives are pretty limited: illness, professional disaster, divorce, degradation, and death.

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About August 2003

This page contains all entries posted to Utah Bar Journal in August 2003. They are listed from oldest to newest.

June 2003 is the previous archive.

October 2003 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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