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Task force to focus on lawyer well-being

The newly formed Kansas State Task Force on Lawyer Well-Being will address health issues in the legal profession and implement recommendations from a national group.

The National Task Force on Lawyer Well-Being, created in 2016 by the American Bar Association, suggests reaching out to groups that influence the legal profession: the judiciary, regulators, legal employers, law schools, bar associations, lawyers' professional liability carriers, and lawyer assistance programs. The national task force's report, “The Path to Lawyer Well-Being: Practical Recommendations for Positive Change,” details its recommendations, which are listed on pages 4-6.

The Kansas Lawyers Assistance Program (KALAP) will coordinate the Kansas task force’s efforts to implement the national recommendations. KALAP provides immediate and continuing assistance to any lawyer needing help with treatment for physical or mental illness, substance abuse, or emotional distress.

The Supreme Court showed its support for the task force by asking Justice Eric Rosen, the court's liaison to KALAP, to represent the court on the task force. The Kansas task force’s executive committee includes Lou Clothier, KALAP executive director; Steve Grieb, general counsel to Chief Justice Lawton Nuss; Anne McDonald, retired KALAP executive director; and Penny Moylan, deputy disciplinary administrator from the Office of the Disciplinary Administrator.

The Kansas task force is composed of representatives from each of these lawyer-affiliated groups:

Judiciary: Steve Hill, chair, Kansas Court of Appeals. Justice Eric Rosen. District Magistrate Judge Shannon Rush, 4th Judicial District. District Judge Teresa Watson, 3rd Judicial District.

Lawyer assistance: Lou Clothier, chair. Anne McDonald. Brynn Mroz, program director, KALAP. Regulators: Penny Moylan, chair. Stan Hazlett, disciplinary administrator, Office of the Disciplinary Administrator.

Legal employers: Ron Paschal, chair, deputy district attorney, Sedgwick County District Attorney’s Office. Dennis Depew, deputy attorney general for civil litigation, Kansas Attorney General’s Office. Stacey Donovan, chief public defender, Shawnee County Public Defender's Office. Jerry Fairbanks, owner, Fairbanks Law PA. Greg Goheen, board of directors, McAnany, Van Cleave & Phillips PA. Lynn Johnson, principal, Shamberg Johnson and Bergman. Bob Lambrechts, partner, Lathrop and Gage. Dave Rebein, partner, Rebein Brothers PA.

Law schools: Leah Terranova, chair, director, Career and Student Counseling Services, University of Kansas School of Law. Jalen O’Neil Lowry, associate dean of student affairs, Washburn University School of Law. Kyler Weinegar, student, Washburn University School of Law.

Bar association: Shelby Lopez, chair, executive director, Kansas Bar Association. Professional liability carriers: Karen McCarthy, chair, president and CEO, Bar Plan Mutual Insurance Co. Peggy Wilson, member, Morrow, Willnauer, Church LLC.

Anyone interested in serving on a subcommittee to the task force can contact Mroz at mrozb@kscourts.org.

Mary Shultz