History and Purpose of NHLAP
In 2007 the New Hampshire Supreme Court created the New Hampshire Lawyers Assistance Program. The program is the culmination of over 20 years of commitment in New Hampshire by two separate lawyer organizations, the Lawyers Assistance Committee of the New Hampshire Bar Association (LAC), and Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers (LCL), a 12-step based self-help group for lawyers. By 2000, most states had formalized programs, known as Lawyers Assistance Programs (LAPs), to assist attorneys in their states. The attributes of LAPs include confidentiality, outreach, and increased follow-through and support for struggling lawyers. With confidentiality, programs have seen a marked increase in attorneys seeking, obtaining, and continuing with needed assistance. The ABA established the Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs (CoLAP) to provide support and resources for the Programs developed in each state.
The New Hampshire Supreme Court formalized the NHLAP with the passage of Rule 58 in 2007. Chief Justice John Broderick, whose family had experienced the challenge of mental illness, championed a program that would provide confidential support and assistance to New Hampshire lawyers. Under Justice Broderick’s leadership, the Court appointed the governing Commission of the NHLAP, now the Board of Directors. Judge John Maher, founder of LCL in New Hampshire, was named Chair. Attorney John Tobin, head of the the former LAC of the NH Bar, was named Vice Chair. In August 2007, Cecie Hartigan was hired as its first executive director.
As a 25 - year member of the New Hampshire Bar, Cecie Hartigan is familiar with attorneys throughout the state. She is a long-time member of Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers, a lawyers recovery group. A graduate of the University Of Florida Law School, she clerked for the Fourth District Court of Appeal in FL, and for the New Hampshire Supreme Court. During her career she has been attorney for the New Hampsire Division of Human Services, contract attorney for the NH Division of Behavioral Health, and served on the NH Adult Parole Board. She has been a volunteer for the NH Bar in various capcities, and most recently was in general practice with Phillips Law Office, PLLC. Cecie gratefully welcomes this opportunity to assist lawyers through the NHLAP.
Through outreach and education, the NHLAP seeks to encourage attorneys to seek help for impairments early through the confidential resources that NHLAP provides.
As a friend of NHLAP says, “we set up discipline to make sure those who are not doing what they should be as lawyers are removed from harming the public. We set up client security funds to help those clients who have been financially harmed by lawyers. We require continuing education to maintain competence. And after we have protected our clients and the public in all of those ways we take care of ourselves through lawyer assistance programs. Ultimately this also protects the public but it helps us as well.“
If you or someone you know needs help,
don’t hesitate to call NHLAP 603-491-0282 or 877-224-6060.