Healthy Lawyer Programs
Within the legal industry, substance abuse is a growing concern. Data indicates that one in three practicing lawyers are “problem drinkers,” with problem drinking defined as “hazardous, harmful and potentially alcohol dependent drinking.” The same data reveals significantly higher levels of depression, anxiety, and stress among those screening positive for problematic alcohol use. Other evidence suggests that lawyers experience problems with substance abuse early in their careers and these problems worsen over time.
When left unaddressed, lawyers with drinking problems are more likely to be defendants in malpractice cases and be subjected to disciplinary action. Largely as the result of these studies, the ABA’s National Task Force on Lawyer Well-Being has urged law firms to “start the process necessary to place health, resilience, self-care, and helping others at the forefront of what it means to be a lawyer.”
I offer separate programs on problem drinking and substance abuse, combatting stress, and developing resilience. Because I know that lawyers—especially lawyers—don’t respond well to messages that suggest they have no control over a particular concern, I focus on the biological and psychological factors that contribute to potentially troubling behaviors. We then discuss specific actions your organization and individual lawyers can undertake to address these critically important issues.
I work with my clients to customize programs to satisfy local CLE requirements. Please also note that these programs can be supplemented by one-on-one or group coaching.