Maryland Bar Bulletin
Publications : Bar Bulletin : April 2007


MSBA Welcomes New LAP Director

On March 5, MSBA welcomed James Quinn as the new Director of its Lawyer Assistance Program (LAP). Richard Vincent, who is retiring at the end of the year after 26 years of outstanding service as MSBA’s LAP Director, will serve as a mentor to Quinn and work part-time for the balance of 2007, officially retiring on December 31. Quinn brings a wealth of counseling and treatment knowledge, skills and experience to MSBA and is well known in the community for his compassion and commitment to help people in trouble.

“Richard Vincent has served the MSBA and its members well and his successor, Jim Quinn, has deep counseling experience and will continue LAP’s valuable worth,” states MSBA Executive Director Paul V. Carlin. MSBA’s new LAP Director has known Vincent for 30 years and has watched LAP evolve from a Lawyer Counseling Service, helping lawyers suffering from chemical dependence, to a comprehensive support network offering assistance to all lawyers in trouble. Quinn considers it a true “privilege” to work in LAP, a service that has helped thousands of troubled lawyers and judges in the last 26 years.

James Quinn

James Quinn

Quinn is very impressed with LAP’s broad-brushed approach to assist and support Maryland lawyers and judges facing difficulties. Today, LAP reaches out to all lawyers in trouble, helping them with substance-abuse counseling and treatment, stress-related problems, burnout, competency, depression, grief, chronic illness, mental health issues and preparation for retirement. In addition to its confidential assessment and referral service, LAP offers an intervention service, a peer-support network and attorney-support meetings.
A recovering alcoholic, Quinn has traveled the long road to recovery and succeeded. He followed in his father’s footsteps to alcohol addiction, suffering the consequences and “going downhill for years.” He has firsthand knowledge of and experience in the difficulties one faces as an alcoholic and the struggle to survive and recover.

Quinn credits his wife Irene with literally saving his life by getting him involved in “Recovery.” This involvement ultimately inspired him to not only stop drinking and recover but to help other people in the same situation through counseling. “My life could have been a disaster,” Quinn imparts, “but fortunately my career has been successful.” On May 30, 2007, he celebrates 30 years of sobriety. He has been married 42 years and has three children and three grandchildren.

Quinn met Judge David Bates, one of the founders of LAP, in the early stages of his recovery, and Bates became one of Quinn’s mentors. Bates offered him his first counseling position as an Alcohol and Drug Counselor for a new program, “Drinking Driver Monitor Program,” in Baltimore County. Quinn offered consultation, monitoring, evaluation and treatment services for DUI defendants to the legal profession. In this position, Quinn met Vincent and became acquainted with LAP. Eventually, Quinn earned a Masters of Science degree from Johns Hopkins University.

Quinn also served as an Employment Assistance Program (EAP) Counselor for PRIME before joining Taylor Health EAP as the Director. There he was involved in everything from treatment, management, training and contract negotiations to the development of a new EAP service and implementation of a national network of treatment providers. Recently, he has been managing his own EAP, Quinn & Associations EAP, overseeing a network of 20 EAPs targeting and helping employees experiencing personal problems that impact their ability to function in the workplace.

Now, Quinn is “carrying the torch,” so to speak, as he comes full-circle and assumes the helm of LAP, the program he knew well when he was a Baltimore County Alcohol and Drug Counselor. As the new LAP Director, he is pleased to be heading a program started by his mentor, Judge Bates. “I remember long ago hearing Bates tell his story of success, which was inspiring, so this is a great opportunity to re-connect with LAP,” states Quinn.

“We are fortunate to get someone of this caliber and experience to step right in and take over,” exclaims Vincent.
Quinn is excited about his new role and is very enthusiastic about working with LAP’s devoted volunteers. “I am really impressed with the large number of lawyers and judges who volunteer and give hours of their time to LAP,” declares Quinn. “I am also impressed with the strong support MSBA gives to our program.”

The new Director pledges that “LAP will continue to expand its outreach to lawyers and judges with problems. Our program is a great tool, a great resource for alcoholics as well as their family members.” He looks forward to making face-to-face presentations to educate lawyers and judges who are in a position to identify troubled lawyers and make referrals to LAP.

Quinn plans to emphasize the confidential aspect of LAP, as it is the key to the program’s success. “Confidentiality can make or break an assistance program,” he says. He would also like to generate a greater awareness of LAP and increase its visibility in the legal community. He wants all troubled lawyers and judges to know they can turn to LAP for support and assistance.

“MSBA provides many benefits to help our members, but perhaps none as critical as LAP,” adds Carlin, “where assistance to lawyers in turmoil can save clients’ interests, law practices and the lawyers themselves.”

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Publications : Bar Bulletin: April 2007