When you contact Lawyers’ Assistance Program (whether for yourself or a colleague for whom you are concerned), all interactions are held in strict confidence. In addition to Illinois legislative guarantees of confidentiality and privilege regarding interventions that are provided by the Alcoholism and Drug Addiction Intervenors and Reporters Immunity Law, the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct in the Supreme Court Rules, Article Viii, provide further guarantees of confidentiality for all communications made to LAP’s trained intervenors. Lawyers, judges, and law students who request consultation, treatment referrals, or peer assistance can do so in complete confidence.
Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (Effective January 1, 2010)
Rule 1.6 Confidentiality of Information
(a) A lawyer shall not reveal information relating to the representation of a client unless the client gives informed consent, the disclosure is impliedly authorized in order to carry out the representation, or the disclosure is permitted by paragraph (b) or required by paragraph (c).
(b) A lawyer may reveal information relating to the representation of a client to the extent the lawyer reasonably believes necessary:
(1) to prevent the client from committing a crime in circumstances other than those specified in paragraph (c);
(2) to prevent the client from committing fraud that is reasonably certain to result in substantial injury to the financial interests or property of another and in furtherance of which the client has used or is using the lawyer’s services;
(3) to prevent, mitigate or rectify substantial injury to the financial interests or property of another that is reasonably certain to result or has resulted from the client’s commission of a crime or fraud in furtherance of which the client has used the lawyer’s services;
(4) to secure legal advice about the lawyer’s compliance with these Rules;
(5) to establish a claim or defense on behalf of the lawyer in a controversy between the lawyer and the client, to establish a defense to a criminal charge or civil claim against the lawyer based upon conduct in which the client was involved, or to respond to allegations in any proceeding concerning the lawyer’s representation of the client; or
(6) to comply with other law or a court order.
(c) A lawyer shall reveal information relating to the representation of a client to the extent the lawyer reasonably believes necessary to prevent reasonably certain death or substantial bodily harm.
(d) Information received by a lawyer participating in a meeting or proceeding with a trained intervener or panel of trained interveners of an approved lawyers’ assistance program, or in an intermediary program approved by a circuit court in which non-disciplinary complaints against judges or lawyers can be referred, shall be considered information relating to the representation of a client for purposes of these Rules.
Comment: Information about the fitness or conduct of a law student, lawyer or judge may be received by a lawyer while participating in an approved lawyers’ assistance program. Protecting the confidentiality of such information encourages law students, lawyers and judges to seek assistance through such programs. Without such protection, law students, lawyers and judges may hesitate to seek assistance, to the detriment of clients and the public. Similarly, lawyers participating in an approved intermediary program established by a circuit court to resolve non-disciplinary issues among lawyers and judges may receive information about the fitness or conduct of a lawyer or judge. Paragraph (d) therefore provides that any information received by a lawyer participating in an approved lawyers’ assistance program or an approved circuit court intermediary program will be protected as confidential client information for purposes of the Rules.
The work of LAP intervenors and the actions of the individuals who come to LAP asking for help regarding a colleague, friend, or loved one, are covered under the Alcoholism and Drug Addiction, Intervenors and Reporter Immunity Law. This Illinois statute was enacted in 1987, amended in 1991 and 1998. A synopsis of the statute is as follows:
- Intervenors who are members of any professional association that has established an assistance program to intervene in alcohol and drug-related problems, the instructors of those intervenors, and the agencies of those instructors, have immunity from any tort liability that may arise from their acts or omissions relating to their interventions.
- This immunity from tort liability applies only so long as such intervenors or instructors do not act with “actual malice or willful intent to injure the subject of the intervention.”
- Persons who report facts to trained intervenors, in good faith, have immunity from all liability, “civil or criminal or otherwise,” relating to the course of an intervention. The good faith of any fact-reporter is a rebuttable presumption.
- All reports, findings, proceedings, and data regarding interventions are confidential, privileged, and not subject to discovery, and are inadmissible in any legal proceeding.
- However, any information or record that is otherwise available from original sources does not become privileged merely because it has been presented in an intervention.
LAP keeps no long-term records and does not report client information to any local or state organizations. LAP only makes public statistical, non-personal demographic information, such as the number of clients served, issues addressed, and services provided. Please review LAP’s Annual Report for more information.