Starting Over Today/Hiding in Plain Sight

Starting Over Today/Hiding in Plain Sight


Course Description – Ethics and Professionalism

Mental Health Study

Jim Blackburn


                The program is a very detailed and personal study of Ethics and Professionalism as told by someone who was very successful in the practice of law, both in government and private practice before getting himself into serious legal and ethical difficulties, losing his law license and spending years in private counseling and psycho-therapy.


                Specifically, the program studies the requirements that a lawyer represent clients to the best of his or her ability, communicating regularly and effectively with the client, including meetings and phone calls on a regular basis, the necessity of maintaining complete honesty with the client at all times, being zealous and passionate in that representation, maintaining the dignity and high standards of the legal profession, and doing all of this on a timely basis.


                Essentially, this program is a personal study of the Rules of Professional Conduct, with the concept that no matter how someone has practiced law until this time, going forward, there is always room for improvement.  Despite any past practices that have not been up to the best standards, today, you can start over and change…for the better.


                What you should do –


  • Build and keep trust with clients
  • Communicate with them often and honestly
  • Do not over promise
  • Follow through on promises made
  • Give clients individual and complete attention
  • Keep everything confidential
  • Avoid even the appearance of impropriety
  • Find passion in your work and always to the best for your clients that is possible
  • Realize truth is the most important asset you and your client have


It is also important to


  • Live within your means
  • Keep  both your personal and professional life happy
  • Reduce the stress in your life
  • Never take  money from the trust account of your law firm
  • Not overbill clients



To make changes you should


  • Let the past go
  • Make your weaknesses  your strengths
  • Never give up
  • Be persistent in your efforts to change
  • Be willing to try new things even if they fail
  • Make every effort to be kind to people
  • Own your mistakes
  • Show up and be on time
  • Treat everyone equally




                In addition, in recognition that lawyers are in a high stress environment, there is a detailed discussion of the mental illness of depression, how it can come about and how it can affect lawyers and their performances and conduct, what should a lawyer do if he or she is suffering from depression, what are the symptoms specifically to lawyers, how other lawyers should react to someone suffering from depression and finally how to get better. 


                This portion of the program is titled “Hiding in Plain Sight” as recognition that lots of people, both lawyers , paralegals and clients may be suffering from depression, but work among you and they do not give anyone a clue as to how they are really feeling.


                I go over the symptoms of depression, particularly as it can relate to the legal profession and what can happen to anyone who is not treated and helped.  But I also talk in detail about how to defeat this illness and reclaim your life…there are specific steps a person can take to get better.


                There is a discussion as to how to survive the adversities of practicing law and making the occasional mistakes – that is – the requirement to accept responsibility quickly and completely.


                The goal of the program is to show what can happen to anyone if he or she is not careful in obtaining protection  from the dangers of violating Ethical Rules for Lawyers. The goal is to make lawyers realize more fully the responsibilities they have with respect to their clients.


                I present the program in my own personal story of years ago in how I went to the top of the legal profession in North Carolina and then fell quickly and completely. I discuss the danger and warning signs to lawyers, and how they can prevent what happened  with  me from happening to them.


Time –


9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. – Ethics and Professionalism

10:30 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. – Break

10:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. Ethics, Professionalism and Mental Health


Speaker – Jim Blackburn




Contact us with any questions.