Almost every state bar member has experienced a time when a personal problem or crisis affected their life. Recognizing this, your State Bar, over the past several years, has instituted a variety of ways to support our members when they may need it most. This page is dedicated to providing you with the information you need about the programs and resources available to the members of our South Dakota legal community and their families.
Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers
Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers ("LCL") is a Confidential and Independent resource for South Dakota lawyers, law students, and their families. Do you or a Lawyer/Law Student you know have a drug or alcohol problem or are struggling with depression or anxiety? LCL volunteers are here to help, are independent of the State Bar, and your referral or visit with us is strictly confidential and privileged (as set out in the Appendix to SDCL Ch. 16-19, Rule 8.3 (c), (d)). Call Becky Porter for more information at (605) 391-5191. Becky is an LCL member and your communications with her are likewise confidential and privileged.
Sand Creek Member Assistance Program
You can also call 1-888-243-5744. This service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. A trained professional will speak with you about crisis services and/or problem assessment, action planning and follow up.
South Dakota state bar members and their families have access to the Sand Creek Member Assistance Program portal. Because we believe in the importance of providing support when YOU need it, our state bar has contracted with Sand Creek to provide FREE, confidential assessment, short-term counseling, referral, and follow-up for you and your eligible family members. A licensed counselor will assist you in assessing your situation, finding options, making choices, and locating further help.
For more information, please visit the Sand Creek Member Assistance Website, click on the “My Life Expert Login,” located on the top bar of the website. From there, you can create a profile to review all information available to state bar members. Our State Bar Company ID is sbsd1.
Living Above the Bar
Want to be the best lawyer you can be? To do that, sometimes we need the help of a medical expert – our own doctor. Don’t feel like you have time to go see your medical provider? These short videos will provide you with inspiration from other South Dakota lawyers and advice from a nationally recognized physician so that you will know when medical evaluation is your best option. Knowing when to ask for help is not only a sign of strength and intelligence, it can literally save your life.
- Substance Use Disorder
- Approaching a Colleague or Friend
- Co-Occurring Disorders
- Cognitive Impairment
Mental Health Centers Agreement
Our state bar has an agreement with the eleven mental health centers across the state of South Dakota. If you think you need help with a mental health, substance or addiction issue, the State Bar encourages you to seek a professional evaluation. If you don't have insurance or otherwise lack the financial resources, this State Bar project, funded by ALPS and the SD Bar Foundation, will cover the evaluation cost and several follow-up counseling sessions if they are needed.
The only requirement from you is to schedule your appointment with the mental health center of your choosing and show your active State Bar membership card. This is a confidential project. Counseling records are not made available to the State Bar. We just pay the bill for those who can't afford it, up to a limit of $500 per lawyer.
A listing of the South Dakota Mental Health Centers can be located here:
- South Dakota Council of Mental Health Centers (will download a PDF document)
What is SOLACE? If you are aware of anyone within the South Dakota Legal Community (this includes lawyers, law office personnel, judges, courthouse employees, or law students) any member of this community who has suffered a sudden or catastrophic loss due to an unexpected event, illness, or injury, the South Dakota SOLACE Program may be able to assist.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you, or someone you know, could benefit from this program. We have a nationwide network of generous South Dakota attorneys willing to get involved and help. The SOLACE program includes contributions of clothing, housing, transportation, medical community contacts, and a myriad of other possible solutions through the thousands of contacts available through the State Bar of South Dakota and its membership.
It's Okay to Get Help
Getting help can not only save your career, it can make your career – and it can help you save others. Need proof that it is okay to get help? This seven minute video, produced by the United States Courts, features the story of Judge Donovan Frank, a senior U.S. District Court judge from Minnesota. Judge Frank’s recovery from alcohol addiction is an important part of his pathway to the bench, and he credits his treatment and recovery for making him a better lawyer and a better judge. Not mentioned in this video is the fact that Judge Frank is so dedicated to assisting others in recovery from substance use disorders that he has been honored by having a building named for him at The Range Mental Health Center, which has locations in both Hibbing, Minnesota and Virginia. (You can contact The Range for information about its substance use disorder treatment services at 218-263-9237.)