THE LAWYER’S DAILY – Three ways to help with mental health and addiction in lawyer discipline proceedings

What can the law society do about this issue? I have three concrete solutions to propose:

1. At the intake and investigative stage, when it is apparent the lawyer has AMH [Addiction and Mental Health] issues, the focus should be on getting the lawyer help and ensuring the lawyers’ clients are protected.

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ADVOCATE DAILY – LSUC should encourage discussion, real change on issue of diversity

“I would like to see more fulsome discussion with the profession where they [the law society] say ‘look, we know we have an issue. We’ve done this big, fancy report.’ The report has told us what everybody knew,” he says, adding that racism and discrimination in the legal profession were apparent before the report was released.

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OBITER DICTA – Presenting the New Alumni Support Program

OPSC: What message would you like to pass on to the students of Osgoode?

Singer: You may feel, as a law student, that you don’t know what you’re doing here in school. I felt like an imposter at Osgoode, and that’s not an uncommon feeling among law school students and lawyers. No matter who you’re comparing yourself to, everybody’s got some shit that they’re going through.

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THE TORONTO STAR – Chris Spence seeks new hearing on PhD plagiarism accusations

Darryl Singer told a University of Toronto appeal hearing the proceedings last June should never have taken place because neither Spence nor his lawyer participated.

At the very least, Singer said Thursday, a penalty should not have been imposed without giving Spence a chance to address the accusations.

“Nothing ought to have gone ahead on June 20. The entire matter should have been adjourned,” said Singer, adding there was no urgency and that the situation unfairly left Spence without the right to a proper defence.

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THE GLOBE AND MAIL – Seven ways to help lawyers with addiction

The rates of addiction and mental-health issues for lawyers are typically 2.5 to 3.5 times the national average.

A 2016 study by the American Bar Association (ABA) and the Hazelden Foundation found that 21 per cent of lawyers have a drinking problem; 28 per cent struggle with depression and 19 per cent with anxiety. The ABA has issued a 73-page report on how to improve lawyers’ well-being.

While each case is different, there is certain advice I give to everyone if a lawyer you know is suffering from an addiction. Here is a non-exhaustive list of seven things you can do to help an addict:

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THE TORONTO STAR – Chris Spence fights to keep his PhD amid plagiarism findings

Spence’s notice of appeal argues the tribunal erred by failing to grant an adjournment when he was unable to attend the proceedings for medical reasons. As a result, Spence was “denied the opportunity to present a full defence,” says the notice.

It alleges potential bias on the part of the tribunal chair, a conflict of interest by the university’s law firm and concludes the penalty recommended “was excessive” and didn’t properly consider Spence’s circumstances or less severe options.

Spence, currently living in Chicago, is not required or expected to attend the Thursday appeal, his lawyer Darryl Singer said in an email.

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