Dealing with Impaired Attorneys

The latest issue of the ABA’s Law Practice Today webzine includes an article by Sheila Blackford entitled “Dealing with Impaired Attorneys“.

The article details how the current economic downtown means more stress for lawyers, who as a professional may already be more susceptible to alcohol dependence. Depression, too, is common among attorneys, and generally under-diagnosed.

“It is challenging for lawyers to maintain their personal balance dealing with clients in crisis when stressed by their own professional and personal crisis,” writes Blackford. She warns that lawyers who are overly idealist, perfectionist, or controlling have a harder time dealing with this challenge.

Blackford encourages anyone needing help with alcoholism, depression, or other addictions to get in touch with their local lawyers assistance program or the American Bar Association Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs (CoLAP) hotline at (1-866-LAW-LAPS).

The article also included is a list of self-assessment tests for stress, addiction, and depression.

Blackford concludes, “The problem of impaired attorneys does not need to reach the point of destruction of health, family, and career. You may suspect that your friend or colleague has a problem. You may even suspect you yourself have a problem. Self-rationalizing and denial make it difficult to be honestly accurate. Be concerned. Be well.”

Comments are closed.