Mental health day discussion held at law school

In support of Mental Health Awareness Day, Western Michigan University Cooley Law School's Auburn Hills campus hosted the presentation "Stress in the Legal Field" on Thursday, Oct. 11. The event featured Jeffery Zapor, case manager with the Lawyers and Judges Assistance Program.

Zapor shared his story of success and failure as an attorney and how addiction led him to closing his firm. He earned his law degree from Capital University Law School and had a small practice focusing on probate law matters.

"I was in the top 10 percent of my class. While in law school, I worked as a paralegal at Jones Day and I clerked for a probate judge. After my clerkship, I started my solo practice and on day one i had a case load because of my contacts at the probate court," said Zapor.

He shared stressful situations he encountered as an attorney including the suicide of a client's son. "I was already drinking and gambling, but now it just intensified," he said.

"I wouldn't go into the office or answer calls. I would ask for continuances when it wasn't appropriate," he said. Zapor eventually closed his practice and it was later found that he had inappropriately used clients' funds.

He found himself before the legal system having his law license suspended. Zapor had to pay back the funds he took from his clients plus the fees they paid to him. In order to keep from being disbarred, Zapor entered into various recovery programs including Alcoholics Anonymous. He eventually decided to use his experiences to help others and went back to school to become a licensed counselor.

Today, Zapor lectures regularly on substance abuse recovery and the utilization of 12-step programs. He has been published in the Michigan Bar Journal and will be a presenter at the 2019 American Counseling Association's Annual Conference.

Published: Wed, Oct 31, 2018