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Competency and Cognitive Decline in the Legal Profession: Ethical Pitfalls Encountered by Lawyers with Diminished Capacity

Level: Advanced
Runtime: 92 minutes
Recorded Date: July 26, 2018
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  • Signs of diminished capacity and understanding the effects of aging on the human brain
  • Examining and understanding attorneys' obligations
  • Understanding the importance and components of a succession plan for lawyers
  • Locate resources when needed
Runtime: 1 hour and 32 minutes
Recorded: July 26, 2018
For NY - Difficulty Level: Experienced attorneys only (non-transitional)


Our panel will explore the mental and physical changes associated with aging and the effects that these changes have on mental processes and physical functioning. With that foundation, faculty will provide practical advice about what are lawyers are supposed to do when they recognize that they may be becoming impaired themselves and that a colleague, opposing counsel or judge may be experiencing dementia or other similar issues.

This program was recorded on July 26th, 2018.

Provided By

American Bar Association
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Amber Bevacqua-Lynott

Chief Assistant Disciplinary Counsel
Oregon State Bar

Amber is the Chief Assistant Disciplinary Counsel at the Oregon State Bar. She received her BA from the University of Redlands, and her JD from Pepperdine University School of Law.

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Dr. Doris Gundersen

Medical Director & Assistant Clinical Professor
Colorado Physician Health Program & University of Colorado

Dr. Doris Gundersen received a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Texas in 1981. She studied medicine at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center in San Antonio, Texas. Upon graduation in 1989, she pursued residency training in psychiatry at the University of Colorado (CU), which was completed in 1993. She is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology with added qualifications in Forensic Psychiatry.

In 1993, Dr. Gundersen joined the CU Department of Psychiatry faculty where she enjoyed teaching medical students and residents in training. She received the Eleanor Steele Teaching Award in 2000. She provided clinical care in both inpatient and outpatient settings and conducted Phase Three trials of novel psychotropic medications. She served as the medical director of the University North Pavilion Medication Clinic which provided comprehensive care to patients in addition to consultation to workplaces concerning employee health, fitness for duty evaluations and violence prevention. She is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the department today and continues to teach medical students, residents and forensic fellows alike.

In 1999, Dr. Gundersen entered private practice. In addition to general adult psychiatry, she developed a forensic practice specializing in independent medical evaluations and threat assessment. She has assisted various local and national employers in developing violence prevention policies and has served on various threat assessment teams. She has taught locally and nationally on the subject of workplace violence. She currently volunteers with the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, reviewing scholarly papers submitted for publication.

In 2000, Dr. Gundersen was invited to join the CPHP team and has remained dedicated to assisting physicians with serious illnesses and providing education to medical communities locally, nationally and internationally concerning physician health. She has been CPHP’s medical director since 2009. She has collaborated with her CPHP colleagues on physician health research and coauthored articles accepted for publication.

She currently chairs the Colorado Medical Society’s committee on physician wellbeing and helped develop a wellness toolkit for all physicians in the state. Dr. Gundersen is currently the Past-President of the Federation of State Physician Health Programs (FSPHP) and received an Outstanding Achievement Award from the FSPHP in April 2013. More recently, Dr. Gundersen has provided education and consultation across the country pertaining to the legalization of marijuana and the implications for health care professionals.

Dr. Gundersen is past president of the Colorado Psychiatric Society (CPS). She has served on several CPS committees and has been extensively involved with the American Psychiatric Association (APA), previously serving on the Council of National Affairs as a consultant to the Committee on Women, serving as a Public Affairs representative for Colorado and as Colorado’s Area VII representative to the APA Assembly. She became a Distinguished Fellow of the APA in 2003 and was inducted into the American College of Psychiatrists in 2002. Dr. Gundersen received the CPS Outstanding Achievement Award in 2012. From 2012 through 2014, Dr. Gundersen served as president of the Balance for Women Physicians which hosts an annual wellness conference in Colorado open to all women physicians across the country.

Dr. Gundersen obtained a Colorado Supreme Court appointment to the Attorney Regulation Committee in 2010 where she continues to provide clinical input concerning attorneys who may have health problems and are potentially facing discipline. Most recently (2013), Dr. Gundersen received a “Denver’s Best Doctors for Executives” acknowledgement along with several of her professional peers. In 2014 she received a Best Doctors™ acknowledgement.

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Dr. Alex Y. Yufik

Case Management Supervisor
State Bar of California - Lawyers Assistance Program

Dr. Alex Yufik is a Board Certified Forensic Psychologist and a licensed attorney.

Dr. Yufik is employed by the State Bar of California as a Case Management Supervisor at the Lawyers Assistance Program, where he supervises other clinicians in the program and conducts evaluations of attorneys who require monitored recovery and treatment for substance abuse and/or mental illness. He also assists the State Bar Court and Office of Chief Trial Counsel regarding attorneys who face disciplinary proceedings and have mental health problems.

In his private practice, Dr. Yufik sees patients and conducts forensic evaluations of competency to stand trial, criminal responsibility, sex offender evaluations, post-traumatic stress disorder and psychological injury in both criminal and civil cases.

He obtained his law degree from Villanova University School of Law and his doctorate in clinical psychology from George Washington University in D.C. 

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