Bar Association of Erie County and Child & Family Services establish groundbreaking community collaboration to promote professional wellbeing

With the wellbeing and vitality of members a top priority, the Bar Association of Erie County and Child & Family Services Employee Assistance Program (EAP) have entered a groundbreaking partnership, a Member Assistance Program (MAP) to support attorneys and their families. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues and the traditional professional workplace undergoes transformational change, the MAP is designed to keep lawyers at their professional best. MAP will alleviate the stigma often associated with getting help for mental health and other challenges that come along with being in a high-pressure helping profession. Over three thousand attorneys and their households will have immediate, free, and confidential access to counseling and wellbeing programs.

Bar Association President, Hugh M. Russ, III, says, “Our businesses and families in WNY rely on lawyers in times of crisis. The work takes a toll on our attorneys and getting help to deal with the repeated trauma of being immersed in a crisis just makes sense. We are at our best when we are taking care of our clients, ourselves, and our families.”

Elizabeth McPartland, President and CEO of Child & Family Services, says, “From the formation of our organization nearly 150 years ago to today; lawyers have contributed to C&FS as board members, employees, volunteers, advisers and donors. We are proud to partner with the Bar Association in this groundbreaking effort to promote lawyer wellbeing by connecting its members to our resources.”

Julie Loesch, Esq., Director of EAP and the Center for Resolution and Justice, says, “As an employee of Child & Family Services and a member of the Bar Association myself, I am incredibly proud to be working with the forward-thinking Bar leadership on this initiative. This first of its kind MAP will tailor the counseling, coaching and work-life resources provided by our EAP to meet the needs and concerns of Bar Association members. We are also excited about the unique potential of MAP to reach lawyers in solo practices or small firms that wouldn’t otherwise have an EAP.”

Funding for the MAP is underwritten by the Erie County Bar Foundation, a nonprofit that has confidentially assisted lawyers in need for over 60 years. Michael Perley is the current President.

He states, “Lawyers, like everyone else, deal with family crisis, troubled teens, death, job losses, divorce and other challenges. And we have unique important ethical obligations. We must be there for our clients, even when unpleasant challenges surface in our own lives. So, the MAP makes enormously good sense. Using the MAP is comparable to the speech you get on the plane before takeoff: grab your own mask and get oxygen, and then help those around you. I am thrilled to be part of this innovative program and encourage all lawyers to use its services.”

About the BAEC

The Bar Association of Erie County (BAEC), a not-for-profit professional association, was founded in 1887. The BAEC’s goal is to advance the administration of justice through programs and services for the legal profession and the public. The BAEC is a nonpartisan association made up of over 3000 lawyers and judiciary from varied practices and backgrounds, including lawyers in civil and criminal practice, corporate and trial lawyers, defense counsel, in house counsel, and those working in government, educational, and nonprofit settings.

About Child & Family Services Employee Assistance Program

Child & Family Services is one of the oldest and largest private, nonprofit agencies in Western New York. C&FS has dedicated its resources to the delivery of innovative programming and services that foster healthy environments in homes, schools, workplaces, and the community at large. Child & Family Services EAP is a dynamic, growing program, currently serving more than 140 organizations and 36,000+ individual employees and members with high quality and accessible offers counseling, coaching, work-life resources, seminars, trainings, Critical Incident Response (CIR) services.



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