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Attorneys should be required to complete continuing legal education sessions centered on mental health and substance abuse, according to the American Bar Association.

The ABA’s House of Delegates on Monday approved changes to the organization’s Model Rule for Minimum Continuing Legal Education that include a required hour of substance abuse and mental health CLE every three years, as well as mandatory diversity and inclusion CLE. The decision was made at the ABA’s midyear meeting in Miami without any opposition or debate.

The change comes a year after a landmark study concluded that lawyers suffer substance abuse and mental health problems at higher rates than other industries. That study, conducted by the ABA’s Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs and the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, found that 21 percent of licensed attorneys qualify as problem drinkers; 19 percent have symptoms of anxiety; and 28 percent show signs of depression. Lawyers in their first decade of practice were more likely to face these issues.

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