Wednesday, November 16, 2016
A survey showed that a significant percentage of attorneys are unhappy with their legal job because of extreme stress from deadlines set by clients, partners, judges, and filing deadlines. For some reason, lawyers complained of long hours of sitting at a desk and reading cases and/or technical documents. In an attempt to escape this stress, too many attorneys apparently drink heavily.
The American Bar Association and the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation reported that approximately 21-36% of attorneys drink at levels consistent to alcohol addiction. (If true, this is 3-5 times higher than the general population.) Please see The Journal of Addiction Medicine, 2016, for the published survey. Similarly, the study suggests high rates of depression among practicing attorneys. So why is substance abuse so rampant? Is the practice of drinking away stress a generally accepted practice in the profession? After all, attorneys all belong to the bar, right? Wrong. Excessive alcohol use is a poor escape that typically only adds to the attorney's problems.
If you know of an impaired lawyer or are an impaired lawyer, please contact your state bar association. Almost every bar association has an impaired attorney help program. The practice you save may be more than just a practice... it may be a life.