Cornerstone Banquet and Auction Successfully Kicks Off Lawyers Helping Lawyers Foundation
(April 2, 2012) It was a sold out crowd attending the recent Cornerstone Banquet and Auction benefitting Lawyers Helping Lawyers Foundation Inc. The evening was a huge success – thousands of dollars were raised that will go toward intervention services for lawyers combating mental health and substance abuse challenges. The event, sponsored by the Lawyers Helping Lawyers Assistance Program Committee and LHL Foundation Inc., was a kick-off for the foundation’s revitalized fundraising drive this year.
LHLAP Committee Chair Tom Riesen said, “OBA President Cathy Christensen has identified this program as one of her top priorities for 2012. It benefits both OBA members and the public if we can intervene before problems spin out of control. This dinner and auction launched our efforts to be able to assist more lawyers than ever before.”
The Lawyers Helping Lawyers Assistance Program offers confidential assessment, counseling and treatment of lawyers in crisis. The foundation’s fundraising efforts will go toward grants that will deepen the scope of services to be offered to those seeking assistance, but the campaign also seeks to establish substantial, long-term support for the program.
Those attending the banquet and auction heard two speakers share their own personal stories. Oklahoma lawyer Reggie Whitten talked about his experience turning personal heartbreak into productivity; later, noted attorney James Blackburn took to the podium as the keynote speaker. The former attorney is the author of Flame-out: From Prosecuting Jeffrey MacDonald to Serving Time to Serving Tables. He was well known as the young lead prosecutor in the Fort Bragg triple homicide case chronicled in the book and film Fatal Vision. He later went into successful private practice before suffering a very public and very humiliating fall from grace. His talk, “Night Falls Fast,” focused on the quickness with which his life turned out of control due to crippling depression, and his efforts to overcome his demons and turn his life around.
“Mr. Blackburn’s story can be interpreted as a wake-up call for lawyers who may be recognizing the warning signs,” said Mr. Riesen. “It’s also the story of his redemption and finding purpose after his legal career ended. His broad message is staying positive, even during the darkest of circumstances.”
Those who were unable to attend the Cornerstone Banquet and Auction, still have the opportunity to assist the fundraising effort. They can visit www.lhlfoundation.org/donate to make a donation.