Dallas Bar Association

TLAP: Providing Confidential, Discrete and Respectful Assistance Since 1989

by Cameron Vann, TLAP Attorney

The Texas Lawyers’ Assistance Program is a confidential crisis counseling, peer assistance and referral program that helps Texas law students, lawyers and judges challenged by substance abuse and other mental health issues, including depression, anxiety and stress.

TLAP staff, TLAP Committee members and TLAP volunteers are able to help by providing discrete and respectful personal outreach, appropriate referrals and ideas for concrete solutions. TLAP can help save lives and careers.

One of the foundations supporting TLAP is its STATUTORY CONFIDENTIALITY under the Texas Health and Safety Code, Chapter 467. In spite of that, many in the legal community fail to seek help or make referrals because of the mistaken belief that “someone will find out” or “calling TLAP will get the lawyer in trouble.’” Not so. By statute all communications with TLAP are confidential. TLAP staff, TLAP committee members and TLAP volunteers sign a confidentiality acknowledgement that details both the policy and statutory requirements concerning TLAP and confidentiality. As most lawyers know, there are limited exceptions to this confidentiality, such as when an individual is a danger to himself or others, but in 99.9 percent of cases, the information remains confidential.

In addition to statutory confidentiality, TLAP staff, committee members and volunteers personally pledge to keep all information confidential and many volunteers also follow the principles of 12-step recovery, established by Alcoholics Anonymous, wherein anonymity and confidentiality are the spiritual foundations of the programs. A TLAP volunteer best summed it up by saying, “We never talk.”

TLAP lawyer support group meetings, operating in the major cities in Texas to provide group support for lawyers with substance use and depression issues, also fall under the confidentiality umbrella of TLAP services and adhere to the philosophy of “who we see here, what we hear here, let that stay here when we leave.” In Dallas, there are two lawyer support groups that meet on a regular basis.

The Texas Lawyers’ Assistance Program is confidential. Really, it is! You can reach TLAP at (800) 343-8527 (Lawyers’ Hotline) or (800) 219-6474 (Judges’ Hotline).

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