ABA Makes Its Suicide-Prevention CLE Freely Available - Strategist
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ABA Makes Its Suicide-Prevention CLE Freely Available

Hopefully, yesterday's post about the state of the legal market in the first quarter of 2009 only strengthened your resolve to roll up your sleeves and drum up some business. 

If, on the other hand, you or anyone you know has been feeling down for economic or professional reasons, you may want to take a look at this: "What Lawyers Need to Know About Suicide During a Recession" is a free download available from the American Bar Association that covers what employers should know in order to help employees or clients who exhibit signs of suicidal behavior.
There have already been at least three suicides among attorneys at large law firms, and possibly many more among big law firms and small to mid-size firms that have gone unreported.  A recent article in the National Law Journal suggests that the recession may be increasing the risk for attorney suicides, which one study has suggested is already higher than in the general population:

"Lawyers tend to be overachievers whose legal training and working conditions can contribute to what studies -- most notably one by researchers at Johns Hopkins University -- suggest is a predisposition to depression and anxiety that can contribute to suicidal thoughts. Although it's impossible to pinpoint the many factors that may lead to suicide, the added stress of the economic downturn could be exacerbating that predisposition and pushing some people too far, they said."

The article reaches the conclusion that there isn't much of a legal risk involved for employers when their employees commit suicide.  There is a strong ethical and moral imperative to make sure that people who exhibit the warning signs for suicide get the help that they need, though.

The ABA made the complimentary archived version of this CLE course available to the public in order to spread awareness of these imperatives and impart strategies for preventing tragedies among employees. 

I strongly suggest that you download the program - especially if your firm is facing hard times and cutbacks - and help your employees get the help they need.