Lawyers Helping Lawyers

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The New Jersey State Bar Association is here to help attorneys who are facing a sudden medical crisis. We know all too well how scary that can be on a personal and professional level. 

Lawyers Helping Lawyers is meant to serve as a resource for attorneys who find themselves in that harrowing state. We have resources and guidance.   

•  If you need help, contact us anytime at [email protected], and we will do our best to assist you. 
•  If you want to volunteer to assist attorneys facing a medical crisis, send your name, contact information and practice area to [email protected].  


The single most important action item to help an attorney facing a medical crisis, in the estimation of the Task Force is simple: Think ahead.  
That is the central finding of the NJSBA Lawyers Helping Lawyers Task Force. The Task Force's research consistently found and serves as the underpinning theme of all of the recommendations contained in this report. Indeed, it is clear that attorneys have a further ethical duty to their clients to have a plan in place that will ensure client matters are not neglected.
All lawyers, especially those in solo and small firms, would be wise to think ahead, organize a few documents, like maintain lists of active clients, important deadlines and a list of passwords, and identify a colleague who can be counted on to step in and help.  


Preparedness Checklist
Sample Letters for Colleagues, Clients and the Courts


Succession Planning Information 
The Oregon State Bar Professional Liability Fund created a handbook to assist lawyers in the process of creating a succession plan; the book, entitled Planning Ahead: A Guide to Protecting Your Clients’ Interests in the event of Your Disability or Death. Download it here.

NJSBA Disaster Preparedness Guide


The Lawyers Helping Lawyers Task Force was comprised of attorneys and judges who have experienced medical crisis, either personally or as a colleague. Read their stories here. 
NJSBA 2018-2019 President John E. Keefe Jr. launched the task force after a diagnosis and treatment of throat cancer. Learn more about that here.
Hon. Evelyn Marose, read her story
Catherine Finnerty, read her story
Amy Vasquez, read her story
Thomas Barlow, read his story


The NJSBA Lawyers Helping Lawyers Task Force was established by 2018-2019 President John E. Keefe Jr. 
Keefe formed the Task Force after a harrowing personal experience that began in May 2017. 

He was a successful and experienced civil trial lawyer, his family was thriving and he was next in line to become president of the NJSBA, the state’s largest organization of lawyers, judges and other legal professionals.
But then came a cancer diagnosis that leveled him. He underwent months of grueling treatments that kept him mostly out of the office. His partners and close friends kept his caseload moving, ensuring he had a relatively easy reentry when he was strong enough to return to work and be sworn in as president of the NJSBA. 
Though Keefe knew he was lucky to have that level of support, he also knew that many New Jersey attorneys don’t, especially in a state where over two-thirds of attorneys in private practice are in solo or small firms. 
With a desire to pay forward for all of the kindness and generosity that he had received during his illness, Keefe created the Task Force. Its mission was to ensure members of the profession -- especially lawyers in solo and small firms who don’t have partners or associates to rely on if they get sick -- could find assistance and resources to guide them through a difficult medical crisis. 

The NJSBA Board of Trustees adopted the Task Force's report at its April 2019 meeting.

To read the full report, click here.