The Lawyers Helping Lawyers (LHL) Committee of the Bar Association of Erie County was established in 1978 to provide confidential assistance to lawyers and judges struggling with drug and alcohol abuse. According to the Association, one in five lawyers is addicted to drugs or alcohol, two times the rate of the general population. This higher risk can at least partially be attributed to the fact that lawyers are often highly driven individuals who work long hours in high-pressure environments.
Just as in the general population, one legal professional’s struggles with drugs or alcohol may differ substantially from those of others; whereas one individual might drink daily, others may abstain for long periods and then binge. Similarly, while some people begin exhibiting out-of-control behavior rapidly, others develop addictions over time. Common symptoms of addiction include lying about drug or alcohol use; feeling nervous, tense, or angry when drugs or alcohol aren’t available; and missing work because of drug or alcohol use. Depression and poor decision-making, as well as neglecting personal relationships with friends and family, are also symptoms.
The LHL Committee offers discreet, confidential assistance through referrals, local support groups, and help getting connected with organizations that specialize in assisting people with addictions.
Legal professionals at Rosicki, Rosicki & Associates, P.C., are members of the Bar Association of Erie County.
As homeowners struggle to recover from the housing recession that began in 2008, research shows that housing counseling can significantly improve homeowners’ chances of securing a loan and maintaining home ownership. More than 7 million households lost their homes during the recession, and the resulting foreclosures or short sales damaged owners’ credit and made getting a new mortgage extremely difficult. Divorce, student loans, and unemployment also have made the housing market inaccessible to many, and a number of people under the age of 35 have put off buying their first home.
An analysis in the MReport, a publication of the Five Star Institute, argues that housing counseling is the right solution to promoting recovery in the housing market. Lenders must adhere to stricter underwriting and regulatory requirements necessitating that some families undergo credit remediation before buying a house. Housing counseling can help at-risk buyers modify a loan and acquire a mortgage, and it can encourage regular repayment as well. Mortgage companies and nonprofit credit counseling organizations should work together to help people who previously have been unable to buy a house, the article states.
The managing attorney for Rosicki, Rosicki & Associates, P.C.’s Closing Department and one of the firm’s senior associates, Janet Ward is a member of the Legal League 100’s education committee. The Five Star Institute, which publishes MReport, also oversees Legal League 100.
Dutchess ARC, which offers services for people with developmental and other disabilities and their families, offers a guardianship program for clients who do not have families or who need support and advocacy. A foundational value of Dutchess ARC is treating people with lifelong dignity and respect, and the guardianship program makes sure that all clients who do not have an adequate support system receive security and welfare. NYSARC, Inc., becomes the legal corporate guardian of clients who qualify, and Dutchess ARC provides guardianship support for clients who live in Dutchess County.
Dutchess ARC helps families apply for the program, which is overseen by a standing committee that includes professionals and parents, and then works with clients to help them create a meaningful life through enriching experiences and grow intellectually, socially, and vocationally. In 2014, NYSARC administered more than $1.6 in support to its chapters’ guardianship programs across the state.
Jana Fezza, manager of Rosicki, Rosicki & Associates, P.C.’s Fishkill office, is a Dutchess ARC committee member.
In his 2015 State of the State address, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo unveiled an “Opportunity Agenda” that called for investing nearly $500 million into housing for people in need. According to Governor Cuomo’s office, almost 3 million households in New York put more than 30 percent of their income toward housing costs and are financially insecure in their residences.
About half of the Opportunity Budget’s investment in housing will go toward continuing House NY, a $1 billion, five-year program to build and conserve more than 14,000 housing units across the state. The rest of the funding will be allocated for neighborhood revitalization, affordable housing, and community renewal activities and other housing programs.
In response to Governor Cuomo’s announcement, NYSARC Executive Director Steven Kroll said the organization hopes that the governor’s plan also includes funding services and support for people with developmental disabilities whose aging caregivers are struggling to take care of them at home. As details of the budget are released in the coming weeks, NYSARC will begin working with legislators on funding programs that help people with developmental disabilities and their families.
Hallie Greene, a director with Rosicki, Rosicki & Associates, P.C., serves on the Board of Governors of NYSARC.
The Joint Commission has ranked Mercy Medical Center in Rockville Centre, New York, as a Top Performer on Key Quality Measures for the second year in a row. One of the foremost health care organization accreditors in the United States, The Joint Commission works with more than 20,500 such organizations. Mercy Medical Center was one of four hospitals on Long Island to earn the Top Performer designation. Like Mercy, two of those hospitals, Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center in West Islip and St. Charles Hospital in Port Jefferson, are Catholic Health Services facilities.
The Joint Commission calculated its ratings using accountability measure data collected during 2013. Mercy scored high in measures for pneumonia, surgical care, heart failure, and heart attack. Moreover, it achieved a score of 95 percent or higher for its overall performance threshold.
Mercy has received several other accolades recently, including the 2013 Outstanding Achievement Award from the American College of Surgeons’ Commission on Cancer and the American Nursing Credentialing Center’s Pathway to Excellence designation.
Bob Molloy, Rosicki, Rosicki & Associates’ CFO, has been a sponsor member of Mercy Hospital since 2000.
In its latest seminar for people with visual impairment, the Baruch College Computer Center for Visually Impaired People (CCVIP) will host a workshop focusing on whether online dating is disability-friendly and accessible for people who are blind. In the workshop, called “Love is Blind . . . And So Am I,” experts will look at popular online dating sites and companion apps, and discuss whether online dating has “leveled the playing field” for people with disabilities.
For those who cannot attend the presentation at Baruch College, the workshop will be recorded and available on the college’s website.
The CCVIP was founded in 1978 with the mission to help people with visual impairment learn how to use adaptive technology. Along with webinars and workshops on relevant cultural issues that affect people with visual impairment, the center offers computer training, individualized instruction, and assistive technology demonstrations. It also provides numerous online learning opportunities.
Craig Wolfson, associate partner with Rosicki, Rosicki & Associates, P.C., is a board member of the Baruch College CCVIP.
Steven V. Modica, president of the Monroe County Bar Association, shared recent developments in the MCBA with the New York Daily Record. This spring, members will receive the most current information about issues in the Seventh Judicial District courts at a speakers forum. Chief Administrative Judge Craig Doran will lead the discussion, which will also include several other supervising judges from the district.
Modica also noted ways that national organizations are working to improve the health of lawyers, who suffer from high rates of depression, addiction, and suicide. The American Bar Association is collaborating on a study of the current rates of anxiety, depression, and substance abuse among legal professionals, and seven states have made mental health issues part of their required continuing legal education programs. In December, the MCBA Board of Trustees approved Modica’s request to start a Health and Well-Being Task Force, which will make recommendations about how the association can support its members struggling with mental health issues.
In addition, the MCBA’s Education Task Force is researching how the association provides continuing legal education and is looking into alternative educational opportunities for MCBA members.
Rosicki, Rosicki & Associates, P.C., legal professionals are members of the Monroe County Bar Association.