Real Talk with KALAP (September Episode) – Suicide Prevention

In honor of National Suicide Prevention Month, KALAP Executive Director, Danielle Hall, recently sat down with Monice Kurz, Director of the Kansas Suicide Prevention Resource Center, to discuss suicide prevention.

Resources discussed in this video include:

Suicide Awareness Month 2020

To raise awareness, the month of September is recognized as National Suicide Awareness Month. It is a time to share resources and stories in an effort to shed light on this highly stigmatized topic. Its mission is to bring awareness to suicide and to prevent it.

Suicide is an important subject matter we should be discussing more within the legal profession. According to the Center for Disease Control, lawyers rank fourth in the rate of suicide in terms of professions and have six times the suicide rate as the general population. In 2016, the American Bar Association Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs and the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation Study revealed 11% of lawyers reporting having suicidal thoughts at some point during their legal career. According to the Survey on Law Student Well-Being conducted that same year, 6% of law students reported having serious suicidal thoughts in the past year.

According to the American Association of Suicidology, the warning signs of acute suicide risk include:

  • Threatening to hurt or kill him or herself, or talking of wanting to hurt or kill him/herself; and or,
  • Looking for ways to kill him/herself by seeking access to firearms, available pills, or other means; and/or,
  • Talking or writing about death, dying or suicide, when these actions are out of the ordinary.

It is important to note these warning signs are not always communicated directly or outwardly.

Additional warning signs include:

  • Increased substance (alcohol or drug) use
  • No reason for living; no sense of purpose in life
  • Anxiety, agitation, unable to sleep or sleeping all of the time
  • Feeling trapped – like there’s no way out
  • Hopelessness
  • Withdrawal from friends, family and society
  • Rage, uncontrolled anger, seeking revenge
  • Acting reckless or engaging in risky activities, seemingly without thinking
  • Dramatic mood changes
  • Giving away prized possessions or seeking long-term care for pets

If you know someone who may be having thoughts of suicide, please visit for more information on helping someone in crisis. If you have had thoughts of suicide, please seek help by calling KALAP for immediate assistance or call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to speak with the National Suicide Prevention Hotline.

Supreme Court Appoints Four, Reppoints Two to Kansas Lawyers Assistance Program Board

The Kansas Supreme Court appointed four new members and reappointed two others to the Kansas Lawyers Assistance Program Board.

New members are:

  • Justin Barrett, a lawyer at Barrett Law Firm, Colby;
  • Emily Hartz, a lawyer at Sloan, Eisenbarth, Glassman, McEntire & Jarboe, Lawrence, who will complete an unexpired term ending June 30, 23;
  • Judge Micheal Hoelscher, who serves in the 18th Judicial District, which is in Sedgwick County; and
  • Brian Leininger, a lawyer at Leininger Law Office, Overland Park.

Barrett, Hoelscher, and Leininger will serve six-year terms that began July 1 and end June 30, 2026.

Reappointed were:

  •  Ben Burgess, a retired district judge from Sedgwick County, who will serve a six-year term; and
  • Bryan Smith, a lawyer at Smith Law Firm, Topeka, will serve through June 20, 2025.

To see the full press release, click here.



Quick Resources for Relieving Stress and Anxiety Before the Bar Exam

KALAP has gathered a list of quick resources for Kansas bar exam takers to relieve stress and anxiety as they prepare to take the exam next week on Tuesday, July 28.  Below find activities and exercises including everything from meditation to learning the benefits of power posing.

Blank sheet of paper and a pencil on a desk

International Bar Association Survey on Lawyer Well-Being

The International Bar Association (IBA) has embarked on a global project aimed at addressing the mental wellbeing of legal professionals as COVID-19 exacerbates tensions in professional and personal lives. The key initial phase of the project consists of two global surveys – one for individual lawyers, the other for law firms and other legal institutions, including bar associations, law societies and in-house legal departments. Available in both English and Spanish, the surveys are anonymous and take approximately ten minutes to complete.

The IBA Individual Lawyer Wellbeing Survey can be accessed here.
The IBA Institutional Wellbeing Survey is available here.

The data gathered from the completed surveys will provide insight into:

  • the pressing mental health concerns of legal professionals;
  • the support they can expect to receive from their workplaces;
  • how the wellbeing of lawyers and other stakeholders in the legal profession are affected by their work and working environments;
  • identifying problems that each might have faced in getting the help they needed; and
  • what law firms, bars and law societies should be doing to support those in distress.

Data gathered from the surveys will be discussed in detail by the IBA’s Wellbeing Taskforce in a showcase session at the IBA 2020 – Virtually Together Conference in November.

Typewriter with a piece of paper that says deadline

Kansas 2019-20 CLE Deadline Extended Until September 30

On April 8, 2020, the Kansas Supreme Court issued several Administrative Orders extending the due date for annual fees, modify continuing legal education attendance and reporting deadlines, and temporarily waiving the limitation on prerecorded programming through September 30, 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Each year, Kansas licensed attorneys are required to attend 12 hours of CLE, including 2 hours of ethics. For the 2019-20 CLE compliance year, the deadline for attendance remains June 30, but for those who cannot meet that requirement, there is an automatic extension without penalty through September 30. Additionally, for the 2019-20 reporting year, per the Administrative Order, you can complete all 12 of your hours via pre-recorded, “on demand” programs. These programs must still be accredited and approved in Kansas for CLE credit.  Please note, on-demand programs differ from live webinar programs. Per the Kansas CLE rules, Kansas attorneys could and can still get all 12 hours via live webinar programs approved in Kansas.

In order to assist with ensuring Kansas lawyers meet their CLE requirements, KALAP will be hosting a series of webinars throughout August and September.  Please check the Events page on our website. To find other approved and accredited CLE programs in Kansas, visit the Kansas CLE Commission website.