Throughout one’s legal career, it is likely that an attorney will experience limiting physical and mental disabilities, including depression and anxiety, and will need to modify and restructure how to work to accommodate the disability. Private practice attorneys may also need to take a medical leave from work and will need to take measures to protect the interests of their clients.
As part of the firm’s overall disability practice, we can help attorneys through these time- limited transitions in the following ways:
- Secure reasonable accommodations from the Court, per Cal. Rule of Court, Rule 1.100, and file Judicial Council form MC-410 with the Court on behalf of the attorney;
- Negotiate the appropriate stipulation(s) with opposing counsel to create the most effective accommodation necessary, including the possibility of a short term stay of the proceedings; and
- Prepare the necessary client communications to apprise the client of the attorney’s need for an accommodation or short term medical leave and to inform the client of their option to: (1) secure alternative representation; (2) agree to work with the assistance of other counsel and to make whatever fee sharing arrangements are necessary to modify the terms of the representation agreement, per Rule 2-200; or (3) to agree to a short term stay of the proceedings.
The Law Office will also identify the efforts an attorney can make to mitigate the effects of the disabling condition, including: (1) participation in the State Bar Lawyer’s Assistance Program (LAP); (2) participation in a 12-step program; (3) private psychotherapeutic counseling; (4) medical treatment, including the appropriate medications; and (5) modifications to, and delegation of, some of the tasks regularly performed by the attorney.
The Law Office will explore the impact the disability may have on the attorney’s obligations under Professional Rule of Conduct, Rules 3-110 and 3-700, and will assist the disabled attorney in making the best possible decision to serve the clients’ interests while still addressing their limitations.