A le­gal prob­lem

Finweek English Edition - - News -

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.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.