A new, landmark study conducted by the ABA and the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation reveals substantial and widespread problems with addiction and mental health issues.
Of the 15,000 U.S. lawyers studied across the country, more than 1 in 3 practicing attorneys are problem drinkers. Lawyers report suffering from depression at a rate of four times the general U.S. population, with 28% suffering from depression, 19% from anxiety and 23% from stress.
I’m sure no one starts their legal career believing they will end up a statistic. So how does it happen?
Each story is different but probably shares many similarities. There were red flags that colleagues could have seen if they were looking. There were choices to make and decisions regretted.
Don’t become a discipline statistic. Here are a few red flags that are often symptoms of an underlying problem.
Relationship issues often show up as a symptom of an underlying problem.
- Complaints from clients
- Disagreements or inability to work with colleagues
- Irritable, impatient
- Angry outbursts, combative
- Hostile attitude
- Overreaction to criticism
- Unpredictable, rapid mood swings
Personal issues often show up as a symptom of an underlying problem.
- Legal separation or divorce; custody issues
- No family support
- Living outside financial means
- Credit problems, judgments, tax liens, bankruptcy
- Frequent illnesses or odd accidents
- Isolating from friends, family
- Chaotic personal life/lots of drama
Performance issues often show up as a symptom of an underlying problem.
- Missed deadlines
- Decreased efficiency
- Inadequate follow through
- Lack of attention
- Poor judgment
- Inability to concentrate
- Blaming or making excuses for poor performance
Know who your friends are. There are many programs across the state to help lawyers in trouble. If you believe a colleague is in trouble, but you aren’t sure how to help, you can reach out to one of the many organizations in the state designed to meet these needs.…