Giving clients a break puts small firm owner at the breaking point

Issue March 2008

Q. I read an article about the LOMAP [Law Office Management Assistance] program in a Boston Globe article in December. Some of the quotes were from people involved in LCL, and there was mention that Mr. Dowell of LOMAP could help people prevent alcoholism or depression by better organizing their law practices. As far as I know, I have no signs of alcohol, drug or mental health problems — would LOMAP have anything to offer me, and would I be eligible?

A. Yes and yes. While Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers really appreciated the Globe reporter’s interest in both LOMAP and LCL, some aspects of the article may have been misleading.

LOMAP itself is not designed to address mood disorders, addictions or any kind of personal problems. Dowell is an attorney with considerable experience in the business aspect of running a legal practice who now makes himself available to any Massachusetts lawyer for consultation about office management activities such as filing, software and proper reconciliation of IOLTA accounts.

He does recognize that (a) lawyers overwhelmed with practice management problems may be more prone to reacting by developing behavioral symptoms, and (b) lawyers with existing problems such as substance abuse or depression are more likely to let their practices fall into a state of disrepair, but the kind of help he can provide for those problems would be a referral to LCL.

LCL, which has been around since 1978, has a clinical staff and provides evaluation, consultation and referral services, as well as peer support. It targets a wide range of human problems in attorneys, including career and family stress, depression and alcohol/drug abuse. LCL advocated for the development of LOMAP, which is funded through the same channels and housed in the same suite, but is run operationally as an autonomous program, keeping separate records. Both LCL’s and LOMAP’s services are confidential and provided free of charge, and the two programs refer to one another when appropriate.

So, yes, please do seek practice management assistance from LOMAP whether or not you’ve experienced any behavioral problems, and please do call LCL for help with personal or clinical matters, whether or not you have any problem managing your legal practice. Both programs subsist through a small portion of your annual registration fees, and both exist to help Massachusetts lawyers thrive and avoid disruptions to their successful functioning.

Questions quoted are either actual letters/e-mails or paraphrased and disguised concerns expressed by individuals seeking assistance from Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers.

Questions for LCL may be mailed to LCL, 31 Milk St., Suite 810, Boston, MA 02109 or called in to (617) 482-9600. LCL’s licensed clinicians will respond in confidence. Visit LCL online at