Stockwell Named New Executive Director Of TLAP

July 1, 2020

Buddy Stockwell has been appointed by the Tennessee Supreme Court as the new executive director of the Tennessee Lawyers Assistance Program (TLAP).  Stockwell comes from south Louisiana where has been a volunteer and program monitor for the state’s Committee on Alcohol and Drug Abuse since 1993, and the executive director of the comprehensive Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program (JLAP) for the last ten years. He advanced Louisiana’s program to a level now recognized as one of the nation’s best.   

“TLAP plays an essential role in the Tennessee legal community, and it is critical there is a strong leader at the helm,” said Chief Justice Jeff Bivins. “The Court was impressed with Buddy’s experience, passion for assisting lawyers and judges struggling with substance abuse or mental health issues, and ability to innovate and modernize.”

Stockwell’s tenure as JLAP’s executive director began upon his return from a sailing adventure in October 2010, and, in 2012, he was awarded the Bar Association’s President’s Award for his exemplary service at Louisiana’s JLAP. Stockwell is a certified clinical interventionist through “Love First” training at the Betty Ford Center and has personally been in recovery from alcoholism for over 37 years. He has supported hundreds of bar members, bar applicants, and family members of the bar with a wide range of substance abuse and mental health issues and he brings a high level of professional clinical programming expertise to TLAP. Stockwell credits the progress to the development of close working relationships with some of the top addiction experts and treatment centers in the nation.

“There is a lot of change happening in legal practice right now, and lawyers and judges are under a tremendous amount of stress as they balance covid-related changes to work, family, and life,” said Judge Michael Spitzer, TLAP Commission Chair. “TLAP is here to help. We are delighted to bring Buddy onboard at such an important moment for the TLAP program and are confident he will bring a fresh perspective and energy to help the program develop and evolve.”

Stockwell earned a bachelor’s degree in management from Louisiana State University in 1989 and a law degree from LSU in 1993. He enlisted in the United States Navy and served on a guided missile destroyer prior to attending college. Post-law school, Stockwell opened a solo practice in Baton Rouge after a few years at other firms. He focused heavily on domestic litigation. In 2004, Stockwell sold his Baton Rouge law office, home, and vehicles, and he and his wife, Melissa, moved aboard a large catamaran and sailed the seas for six years, covering 19,000 nautical miles. The Stockwells are both U.S. Coast Guard Licensed Captains and seasoned ocean mariners.

“The level of the profession’s support for TLAP is unmatched anywhere to my knowledge,” Stockwell said. “TLAP is exceptional in its design and enjoys a very strong level of unified support by the Tennessee Supreme Court, the TLAP Commission, and stakeholders in the profession. That strong, unified support provides an opportunity to focus extensively on developing an even more effective clinical program specifically for legal professionals to save even more lives and careers. I love a challenge, and I am very appreciative for this wonderful opportunity to serve the Tennessee Supreme Court and the profession.”

TLAP is a free, confidential assistance program providing consultation, referral, intervention, and crisis counseling for lawyers, judges, bar applicants, and law students who are struggling with substance abuse, stress, or emotional health issues. It was established by order of the Tennessee Supreme Court in 1999. The mission and general structure of TLAP are set forth in Rule 33 of the Tennessee Supreme Court Rules. For more information, please visit: