“They were right,” said Richard Vincent, Director of the MSBA Lawyer Assistance Program (LAP), of the original lawyer assistance committee’s choice to have Vincent lead the newly founded Lawyers Counseling Committee (now Lawyer Assistance Program). After 26 years, Vincent proved to be the right person for the job.
On the morning of Friday, June 15, at the MSBA Annual Meeting, the Lawyer Assistance Committee honored Vincent for his years of service and upcoming retirement at its annual breakfast business meeting. At this meeting, the Committee presented Vincent with an engraved gift as well as a monetary gift to be used in his forthcoming retirement.
There will be a “change of the guard,” as one committee member noted. James Quinn will assume the reins of LAP once Vincent retires.
The transition is being helped by Vincent’s slow turn to retirement, easing Quinn into the position. The transition was described by one committee member as a “good, smooth, efficient process.”
“I will do the best I can to follow in his shoes,” said Quinn. Everyone in the room knew those were going to be large shoes to fill.
Vincent started his journey in 1981 as Director of the Lawyer Counseling Committee. No one knew how the program would work. There was no precedent, Maryland’s LAP being the first such lawyer assistance program in the nation.
Vincent, along with the developmental committee, “built the prototype used throughout the United States,” according to one Lawyer Assistance Committee member. Vincent also traveled throughout the country, spurring bar associations to develop programs. Many followed his lead.
“He would help one lawyer, one judge at a time, until there was no one left,” another committee member noted.
“He saved thousands of lives,” commented another. “He not only affected the attorney, but also their families.”
Other members of the Lawyer Assistance Committee remarked that Richard Vincent had saved thousands of lives, but that was just in Maryland. Many people fail to recognize the people in other states who he has also affected. Vincent was an advocate for lawyer assistance programs, many times traveling to other states to gain interest.
“His heart was in favor of the lawyers,” one member of the committee noted. “He was interested in saving an individual’s lives.”
“Richard is just phenomenal,” stated Paul Carlin, the Executive Director of the Maryland State Bar Association.
Vincent said he appreciated the support of the MSBA. “They gave us almost anything we asked for to make us successful,” he acknowledged.
“We’ve been blessed to have you,” Carlin told Vincent.
Vincent noted that throughout his time at the MSBA, he was able to meet people and start relationships. “We developed friends to last,” he said.
Out of respect, one member stated, “Richard Vincent, you’re a better person than we are.”
Vincent will officially retire on December 31, 2007.