Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Ohio Lawyers Assistance Program?
The Ohio Lawyers Assistance Program, Inc., is a confidential, private Ohio non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation dedicated to helping Ohio lawyers, judges, and law students obtain treatment for substance use disorders and mental health issues. OLAP started in 1991 and is active across the state of Ohio.
How can OLAP help me?
If you or a colleague are concerned about your mental health or a substance use disorder, such as drinking, OLAP will meet with you to provide confidential assistance. We have assisted more than 3,400 law students, lawyers and judges, and helped them save their careers, families, etc. We help with depression, anxiety, mental health disorders, burnout, substance use disorders (drinking, street and prescription drugs), gambling disorders, and more. Once you complete an assessment with an OLAP clinician, we will:
Give you a list of recommendations to help you move in a better direction, such as confidential advice about individual problems, including finding counseling and help deciding between outpatient, inpatient, and other treatment programs
Help arrange and implement formal interventions, if necessary
Provide you with reputable resources for counseling services, treatment and support groups
Arrange for monitoring services
Is OLAP really confidential?
Yes. If you contact OLAP about yourself or a colleague, you can rest assured that your call and anything you discuss with OLAP will be protected by strong rules of confidentiality. We are 100% confidential.
Professional Conduct Rule 8.3 provides an exemption from the duty to report knowledge of ethical violations when that knowledge was obtained in the course of OLAP's work.
Code of Judicial Conduct Rule 2.14 provides a like exemption when we are working with judges.
R.C. § 2305.28 provides qualified immunity from civil liability for OLAP staff (B and C) and for anyone who provides information to OLAP (D).
If you or someone you know is having problems with substance abuse, alcohol abuse, addiction or mental health, don't let fears about the disciplinary consequences prevent you from contacting us. No potential disciplinary situation will be made worse by contacting OLAP.
Is OLAP part of discipline?
No. OLAP is totally separate from the Ohio Supreme Court's Office of Disciplinary Counsel, and all local certified grievance committees. However, the disciplinary counsel sends some legal professionals to OLAP for help.
If I contact OLAP, will anything I tell you be disclosed to the disciplinary counsel?
Our compliant lawyers and judges get through the disciplinary process, and rarely have grievances filed against them again. For those who do what we and their treatment providers recommend, life turns around, and they get to be happy and productive lawyers and judges, wives and husbands and partners, colleagues, and friends again.
If I am working with OLAP, and I later become involved in the discipline process, will OLAP disclose it?
No, not unless you ask us to do so in writing. If you later become involved in the discipline process, you may choose to disclose your participation with OLAP. OLAP does not disclose it unless you ask us to do so in writing.
I think I have a drinking/drug/mental health problem. Will I be disciplined if I seek help?
No. Substance use and/or mental health disorders do not violate the rules of professional conduct and are not necessarily ethical violations. If left unchecked, though, drinking/drugs/mental health issues may lead a lawyer to commit an ethical violation. The Disciplinary Counsel of the Supreme Court and grievance committees only prosecute violations of the rules of professional conduct and seeks to prevent lawyers who may be impaired from harming the public. There is no reason not to seek help.
I am worried about a colleague who is a lawyer. If I call OLAP, will the lawyer know that I am the one who called?
No. We will not disclose your involvement without your permission. We get calls/referrals from colleagues, judges, disciplinary counsel, certified grievance committees, admissions committees, defense counsel, spouses, children, law school administrators and professors, and the occasional client.
We generally require corroborating information on a new client before doing anything. If we do not obtain corroboration, we do not move forward to intervene—we open a confidential file and wait. Where we have corroboration, we often will set up and facilitate an intervention. Sometimes we provide information to the caller on how to approach the troubled person, and that results in a call from a new client.
What will OLAP do if I call about a colleague?
It depends on the situation. An OLAP clinical staff member will speak with you to get as much detail as possible about the situation. We will discuss possible ways to proceed and start a file on the individual.
I am a law student with past issues that will be disclosed on my character and fitness application. What should I do?
Call OLAP as early as possible in your law school career so that we can assess the situation and offer suggestions about the best course of action. Each of our compliant law student clients gets to take the bar exam.
What if I don't live in Columbus?
OLAP helps legal professionals in all areas in Ohio. Our main headquarters is in Columbus, but we have associates in Cleveland and Cincinnati. We also travel around the state to meet your needs.
What is the cost of OLAP's services?
We do not charge a fee unless you have a recovery contract with us. Don't let concern about cost keep you from seeking help. We never deny assistance because of money issues.
The Ohio Lawyers Assistance Program is a private, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to helping Ohio's judges, attorneys, and law students obtain treatment for substance abuse, chemical dependency, addiction, and mental health issues. OLAP has existed since 1991 and is active across the state of Ohio. Through OLAP, judges, attorneys, and law students receive:
Confidential advice about individual problems.
Help in arranging and implementing formal nterventions
Help in deciding between outpatient, inpatient, and other treatment programs