International Conference of Legal Regulators 2018

The Hague | 4-5 October 2018

Hosted by the Netherlands Bar, the 7th annual ICLR conference took place at the Hilton Hotel in the Hague on 4-5 October 2018.

The central theme of the conference was ‘Trust in Regulation’.

Conference Description:
Trust is the key to successful regulation of legal services.

The regulator must win the trust of the clients and consumers of legal services and reassure them that it is carrying out its functions in a way that helps them to make decisions about using legal services.

The actions of the regulator must help government and anti-crime agencies to trust that confidentiality in the provision of legal services is not being used to cover up unethical or illegal behaviour.

And above all, the regulator must win the trust of the community it regulates – demonstrating that it understands the changing environment in which they operate and that it is able and willing to remove the ‘bad apples’ from the profession.

The 7th International Conference of Legal Regulators touched upon all of these topics and provided participants with the opportunity to share their experiences and reflect on how they are dealing with these issues in their own jurisdictions.

Links to the conference programme and all of the materials are available at the bottom of this page.

The following materials give more information about the conference and the themes that were touched upon:





ICLR 2017 – Panel: “Overcoming Stigma”

A synopsis of panel session 4, which takes place on 5 October at ICLR Singapore, kindly provided by the session’s moderator, Tracy Kepler. Conference materials will be made available to members after the conference.

Moderator: Tracy L. Kepler, Director, ABA Center for Professional Responsibility

Kuah Boon Theng – Vice-President of the Law Society of Singapore
Dr. Munidasa Winslow, MBBS, M.Med. (Psych), CMAC, CCS, FAMS – Executive Director of Promise Heathcare Pte, Ltd. Singapore
James C. Coyle, Attorney Regulation Counsel of the Colorado Supreme Court
Marian DeSouza, Executive Director of the Alberta Lawyers’ Assistance Society

Substance abuse and mental illness can affect any attorney regardless of gender, culture, ethnicity, age or socioeconomic status. But no matter what their background, attorneys dealing with these issues seem to suffer in silence. Why? Stigma – cultural prejudice and discrimination that labels an individual suffering from such illnesses as defective, or weak, oft-times have more damaging consequences than the illness itself and create a barrier to treatment. Through our discussion, the panelists will define the stigma, explain the reasons why stigma is so pervasive in the legal profession, and why it is critical to overcome these beliefs and identify effective means to ameliorate stigma and replace its effects with affirming attitudes for recovery. The discussion will focus on several different “life stages” of an attorney – law students, practicing attorneys, and judges, as well as unique challenges faced by under-represented minorities, and how stigma affects each group. The panelists will also identify practical and applicable ways to conquer stigma in the legal community as well as during the regulatory process, and discuss various regulatory efforts and objectives centered on increasing the wellbeing of our profession.

Why is this session of particular interest and to whom?

Everyone is effected by this issue – whether they recognize it openly or not.  One challenge for this session (and others) will be how to ensure the session resonates with both western and non-western regulators who have different cultural and societal backgrounds.  Attorney wellness cuts across all countries, but the nature and intensity of the problems likely differ, and stigma is an even larger issue in more traditional cultures.  We hope to engage all participants in the dialogue to learn the different and cultural differences in the way mental illness and substance abuse is perceived in the legal community.

One reason this is a hot topic at the moment is that globally, organizations are realizing that attorneys are suffering in silence, statistics reflect higher rates of alcohol/substance abuse/mental health problems among the attorney population, and these high rates are not sustainable or conducive to a spirit of wellbeing.  Research has shown that the two most common barriers to seeking treatment that lawyers reported were not wanting others to find out they needed help and concerns regarding privacy or confidentiality.

What particularly do you hope to explore in this session?

We hope to start at the beginning with a definition – The Oxford English dictionary defines stigma as “a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person”.  But it is really more pervasive and goes deeper – it sets a person apart, makes them part of “the other.”
When people are labelled by their illness, they then are seen by others as part of a stereotyped group.

  • Stigma is about beliefs and attitudes – often derived from the media or those around us.
  • Stigma is based on negative views of people simply because they are seen as belonging to a particular group.
  • Stigma often results in fear of members of the stigmatised group (often based on ignorance and lack of understanding).

Negative attitudes also create prejudice which then leads to negative actions and often discrimination.  We hope to explore the various components of stigma such as Labelling, Discriminating, Prejudice, Ignorance, Stereotyping, and Devaluing.  And stigma brings with it experiences and feelings of shame, blame, hopelessness, distress, and most importantly for our purpose at this conference – reluctance to seek and/or accept necessary help.

What do you hope to achieve with this session?

  • To discuss and provide concrete examples of ways of combatting stigma that are nuanced, will be geographically and culturally sensitive so that they are effective.
  • To discuss and determine the effectiveness of certain resources, such as support groups, education, sharing stories, amelioration not reduction, a focus on wellness, outreach, finding ways to combat stigma by creating opportunities for open dialogue
  • To share and educate that language/semantics matter – substance use disorder v. substance abuse, i.e., when someone has bulimia, we speak about an “eating disorder,” not a “food abuse” problem – and start to dispel the lingering belief that addiction is a moral failure rather than an illness.

Useful documents/background reading for context

Online articles:

‘A culture of fear’: Legal Futures

‘JLD resilience and wellbeing report’: Law Society of England and Wales

‘Solving the Stigma of Lawyer Mental Health’: 2Civility

‘A Lawyer Breaks the Silence About Depression Among Lawyers’: Everyday Health

‘What We Can Learn About The Stigma Of Mental Illness From Susan Hawk’: Texas Monthly

‘Some Law Firms Try To ‘Eliminate Stigma’ From Attorneys Struggling With Mental-Health Issues’: Above the Law

Further reading:

  1. W. Britt, T. M. Greene-Shortridge, S. Brink, Q. B. Nguyen, J. Rath, A. L. Cox, C. W. Hoge, C. A. Castro, Perceived Stigma and Barriers to Care for Psychological Treatment: Implications for Reactions to Stressors in Different Contexts, 27 J. Soc. & Clinical Psychol. 317 (2008);
  2. Ey, K. R. Henning, & D. L. Shaw, Attitudes and Factors Related to Seeking Mental Health Treatment among Medical and Dental Students, 14 J. C. Student Psychotherapy 23 (2000);
  3. S. E. Hanisch, C. D. Twomey, A. H. Szeto, U. W. Birner, D. Nowak, & C. Sabariego, The Effectiveness of Interventions Targeting the Stigma of Mental Illness at the Workplace: A Systematic Review, 16 BMC Psychiatry 1 (2016);
  4. K. S. Jennings, J. H. Cheung, T. W. Britt, K. N. Goguen, S. M. Jeffirs, A. L. Peasley, & A. C. Lee, How Are Perceived Stigma, Self-Stigma, and Self-Reliance Related to Treatment-Seeking? A Three-Path Model, 38 Psychiatric Rehabilitation J. 109 (2015);
  5. N. G. Wade, D. L. Vogel, P. Armistead-Jehle, S. S. Meit, P. J. Heath, H. A. Strass, Modeling Stigma, Help-Seeking Attitudes, and Intentions to Seek Behavioral Healthcare in a Clinical Military Sample, 38 Psychiatric Rehabilitation J. 135 (2015).
  6. P. W. Corrigan, S. B. Morris, P. J. Michaels, J. D. Rafacz, & N. Rüsch, Challenging the Public Stigma of Mental Illness: a Meta-Analysis of Outcome Studies, 63 Psychiatric Serv. 963 (2012).


International Conference of Legal Regulators 2016

Washington, DC, United States of America | 14-17 September 2016 | A World of Regulation

Hosted by the Office of Disciplinary Counsel in Washington, DC, the 2016 conference focused on the core functions performed by legal regulators, and issues on the horizon.


Thursday 15 September 2016
09:00 | Welcome | Keynote address | Around the room
10:30 | Demonstration of the ICLR website: Watch intro video
10:45 | Attorney discipline system intake procedures from around the globe: comparative analyses and best practices

Materials: (1) Intake materials overview; (2) California; (3) Canada, national; (4) Colorado; (5) England and Wales; (6) Manitoba; (7) South Carolina; (8) Virginia; (9) Zimbabwe;

13:30 | Admission to the practice of law

Materials: (1) Adoption of the Uniform Bar Examination in the US; (2) Alberta admissions; (3) Canada admissions; (4) IBA Legal Regulators Directory; (5) Intro to US admissions, Laurel Terry; (6) Ireland admissions; (7) Summary of relevant sessions at ICLR conferences; (8) US guide to bar admission requirements, 2016

14:45 | Diversion: dos and don’ts

Materials: (1) Diversion materials summary; (2) New Mexico paper; (3) Arizona diversion; (4) Texas diversion.

To get the most from this session, please respond to the diversion survey

16:00 | I always feel like somebody’s watching me: reinstatement and supervision of lawyers on probation

Materials: (1) Illinois statistical review; (2) Connecticut reinstatement application; (3) Louisiana readmission; (4) California materials; (5) Missouri reinstatement questionnaire; (6) Singapore reinstatement; (7) Delaware reinstatement questionnaire; (8) New Mexico materials; (9) Netherlands materials; (10) England and Wales reinstatement; (11) Canada reinstatement survey.

17:00 | A question of trust – an exploration of professional values and standards and what they mean in practice.
Friday 16 September 2016
09:00 | Rethinking the application of technology to regulatory work

Materials: (1) Trends in Global and Canadian Lawyer Regulation, Laurel Terry; (2) Updated slides: Rethinking Technology; (3) Guide to going lean.

To get the most from this session, please respond to the technology survey

10:45 | Challenges facing emerging regulatory systems
13:30  | Reimagining the future: how proactive measures can reshape a “lawyer discipline system” into a “lawyer integrity system”

Materials: (1) PMBR materials; (2) PMBR roadmap graphic; (3) Article on improving PMBR, Susan Fortney; (4) Article advocating PMBR to US regulators, Laurel Terry; (5) Infographic; (6) PMBR in Australia

14:45 | Cooperative efforts and agreement between international jurisdictions

Materials: (1) Draft IBA Information Exchange Guidelines; (2) Cooperation Among American and European Disciplinary Bodies; (3) Establishment of lawyers directive 98-5-EC

16:00 | The take away – what have we learned, what do we take home, and what is the future of lawyers and regulation?
17:00 | ICLR in Singapore – a preview | Closing remarks

Full ICLR conference program and biographies


The JW Marriott hotel, in the heart of DC’s tourist district at 1331 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW.

International Conference of Legal Regulators 2013

San Francisco, USA | 5–7 August 2013


Topics included:

  • What powers do I need to be an effective regulator of legal services?
  • Risk based regulation
  • The role of intelligence and investigation in legal regulation
  • Fitness to practice, regulatory responses and cooperating with representative bodies
  • Keeping lawyers equipped for practice
  • The challenges of dual qualification
  • The changing purpose and goals of attorney regulation – experience from outside the USA


International Conference of Legal Regulators 2012

London, UK | 27–28 September 2012


Topics included:

  • Regulating the Changing Legal Market
  • The Regulator’s Identity Crisis
  • Proactive Regulation
  • Competence on Admission
  • Tools for setting and monitoring standards
  • Raising the standard of individuals practitioners
  • Regulating law firms
  • When Things Go Wrong
  • Non-Lawyer Involvement in the Delivery of Legal Services
  • Information Sharing – What Can Regulators Tell Each Other?
  • Hot Topics – What Trends and Issues Worry Regulators?
  • Other Influences on Regulatory Policy and Practice
  • Where next? Future Collaboration

Read the ICLR programme 2012

Members of the ICLR can log in for more conference materials