A legal problem
JOURNALISTS, BOOKMAKERS, foreign exchange dealers, investment bankers hugely so (when they had the money) and English Premier League footballers. Those are just a few of the various groups whose members are widely assumed to be generally prone to excessive consumption of alcohol and/or “social” drugs.
However, an in-depth report published in London offers a surprising addition to the list – lawyers. Jim Baxter, editor of Britain’s Legal Business, reports: “It’s no secret that alcohol abuse has always been a problem for the legal profession, with lawyers celebrating a big deal with a case of Champagne or other drinks. But our survey has found lawyers are increasingly turning to hard drugs, both in and outside the workplace.”
LawCare, a charity that helps lawyers with work-related health problems, claims 30% of males in the profession and 20% of females drink to excess. Another charity, Alcohol Concern, urges: “The death rate from liver cirrhosis among lawyers is twice the overall national rate.”
Legal Business quotes one lawyer as observing: “I spent £100 000 in one year on cocaine and nobody noticed. The law, unlike medicine and teaching, doesn’t care as long as you’re profitable.”
Neil Brener, a consultant psychiatrist at the Priory Group, says: “One eighth of my entire practice is made up of members of the legal profession. Substance abuse is absolutely endemic.”
Hilary Tilby, CEO of LawCare, told The Times of London: “Some 15% of our case files relate to drink or drugs. For those involving barristers (advocates) the figure is more than 30%. Once, after dinner, you’d be offered After Eights chocolates. Now it may well be a mirror with lines of cocaine.”