Losing your case can be devastating — especially if it costs you your freedom. Worse still is the feeling that it would have had a different outcome if your lawyer hadn’t blown it.
Unfortunately, the reality is that the legal profession is plagued by problems with substance abuse, and clients can suffer because of their attorney’s addictions.
How common is addiction among lawyers?
The American Bar Association estimates that one out of every five attorneys has a drinking problem. That’s twice the national average for other professions — and it might be too low of an estimate.
Other studies indicate that up to 31.1% of attorneys in certain positions and fields report “problem drinking,” and that’s not the end of concerns. A survey in the Journal of Addiction Medicine found that 15.7% of responding attorneys admitted using sedatives, more than 10% used marijuana, over 5% used opioids and 4.8% used stimulants.
In other words: substance abuse, alcoholism and addictions among attorneys are disturbingly high.
Why do attorneys tend to suffer from high levels of substance abuse and addiction?
Theories abound. It could be partially related to the idea that the profession tends to attract people with intense personalities, which can sometimes translate to risk-taking.
It could also be that the profession puts a lot of burdens on an attorney’s shoulders. It’s not easy, after all, to be responsible for the futures of so many clients.
Other studies have shown that 28% of attorneys also struggle with depression, 23% report excessive levels of stress and 19% suffer from anxiety. All of those mental health issues tend to be associated with drug abuse and drinking.
If you believe that you lost your criminal case because your attorney was suffering from drug addiction or alcoholism during your trial, that could be grounds for an appeal. Find out more as soon as possible so that you can best preserve all of your legal options.