Attorney Licensure and the Impaired Professional (On-Demand)

Substance Abuse Credits:


Course Description

Substance use disorders and mental health challenges can affect any attorney regardless of gender, culture, ethnicity, age, or socioeconomic status. This program, taught by seasoned attorneys Tracy Kepler and Laurie Besden, instructs attorneys on how to recognize the impaired professional, provides various resources to assist in the recovery and identifies the possible disciplinary implications of impaired attorneys’ conduct.

Ms. Besden will share her personal journey from the darkness and depths of despair, while struggling with a substance use disorder, as a licensed attorney, to her path of long-term recovery, where she received a full Governor’s Pardon by Governor Wolf in 2020.


  • Understand substance use disorders and mental health challenges as medical diagnoses and how their prevalence rates affect the legal professional as told by one of the presenters, that is in long term recovery herself.
  • Spot warning signs of, and learn how to begin the conversation with, an impaired attorney
  • Learn about the interface between potential attorney disciplinary action and impairment as well as possible reporting obligations
  • Identify confidential, safe, free, and supportive resources available to the impaired legal professional, their family members, and their colleagues
  • Learn several wellness tips that you can apply in your daily life, without much effort, that will positively impact your mental health, both personally and professionally.


  1. Setting the Stage – Personal Recovery Story of Laurie Besden
  2. Discussion of Prevalence Rates of Substance Use and Mental Health Challenges in the Legal Profession, including the most recent data
  3. Discussion of why legal professionals are at high risk for Substance Use and Mental Health disorders
  4. Disciplinary statistics relevant to attorney impairment
  5. Warning signs that someone is struggling and how to help them with resources/a loving conversation
  6. The Model Rules of Professional Conduct relevant to attorney impairment
  7. Lawyers’ assistance program resources – nationally and the 2021 trends
  8. What should firms be doing to help support attorneys that may be struggling
  9. Solutions: Wellness tips and self-care strategies


Laurie Besden, Esq.

Tracy Kepler, Esq.

Credit Details

Course Type

Original Date Of Course

Course Instructor

Laurie J. Besden, Esq., Tracy Kepler, Esq.

Substance Abuse Credits