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Law School Welcomes Lawyers Helping Lawyers

March 26, 2007

An overview of the Lawyers Helping Lawyers (LHL) program will be presented to students, faculty, and staff of Liberty University School of Law at 2:15 P.M. on Wednesday, April 4, in the Supreme Courtroom. Founded in 1985, the Richmond-based organization provides confidential, non-disciplinary assistance to legal professionals in Virginia who experience professional impairment related to mental health and substance abuse. Jim Leffler, the Executive Director of LHL, and George Hettrick, a recent appointee to the Board of Directors, will represent LHL at the law school presentation. R. Edwin Burnette Jr., Judge for the General District Court 24th Judicial Circuit, was the former Chair of LHL and served as an Advisory Director in 2005-06. He will be available to talk about his experience with LHL at a reception immediately following the presentation.

Mr. Leffler is a Licensed Professional Counselor who joined Lawyers Helping Lawyers as the Mental Health Services Coordinator in January 2004 and assumed the role of Executive Director in December 2005. He has extensive experience in the field of chemical dependency and mental health. He has supervised numerous individuals working towards licensure and certification as counselors in the state of Virginia. He has also consulted with various agencies in matters such as professional conduct of staff, privacy rights of clients, and the importance of accurate diagnosis to insure appropriate treatment. Mr. Leffler earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Virginia Commonwealth University and has been a licensed counselor since 1990.

Mr. Hettrick is a partner in the firm of Hunton & Williams LLP in Richmond where his practice focuses exclusively on pro bono matters. He is the Chair of the firm’s Community Service Committee and is an active board member of various community organizations. His experience includes 25 years of practice in the areas of general corporate and corporate finance. He was Special Counsel to the Governor of Virginia in 1970-71 and served in the United States Army in Europe from 1966 to 1968. He is the past chair of the Virginia Bar Association Committee on Substance Abuse and past chair of the Pro Bono Committee for the Bar Association of Richomond. He earned his undergraduate degree from Cornell University and his Juris Doctorate from Harvard Law School.

Jory H. Fisher, Associate Dean for Career & Professional Development and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Law, joined the LHL Board of Directors earlier this year. "Surveys and studies focusing on the legal profession found that 12-20% of attorneys experience a problem with alcohol or other drugs at some point in their careers and that 33% of lawyers suffer from significant mental health issues yearly. I am honored to be a board member of an organization that helps individuals overcome incredibly difficult problems and which gives support to their families and employers during incredibly difficult times. I encourage all Liberty law students to come learn the signs and symptoms of impairment as well as what steps to take to prevent an impaired lawyer from violating the Rules of Professional Conduct."

H. Beau Baez, III, Assistant Professor of Law, agrees with Dean Fisher. “I recently heard Mr. Hettrick’s presentation about the LHL program at a general bar meeting. An inspirational speaker, he was very transparent with the audience about his experience. I attended a similar event as a 3L at my alma mater and encourage all Liberty University School of Law students to attend this presentation.”